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Gavin's Story

Isabella and her dad were searching for
community and encouragement
at a time when everything
around them was changing.


Gunston family hobsonville point3For Gavin and Amy, the desire to contribute and be part of a connected and supportive community was a real focus when they moved to their new home. With friends and family left behind, and primary caregiver during the week to baby Isabella, Gavin could have struggled with loneliness, stress and self-doubt as a first-time dad. His health – and Isabella’s wellbeing – could have suffered.Can you imagine what it’s like for an at-home dad, moving to a place where you barely know a soul? Where you are new to community and friendships and connections are still to be made? When what you need is to be surrounded by others that understand?

Fortunately for Gavin, the generosity of people in his community has meant that there’s a Plunket playgroup in his neighbourhood. It’s a weekly sanity-saver for him, play haven for Isabella and, for both of them, a place where they can meet others and be a part of a community.

“I love being a dad, but it’s not always easy,” says Gavin. “The playgroup’s a great place to let off steam and connect with other parents. And Isabella thrives on the company of other kids; you should see her go!”

Gavin says the Plunket playgroup has done wonders for the local neighbourhood. “There are about 15 families, including grandparents, and we all look after each other,” he says. “When the kids are sick, or the caregivers are struggling, we all make an effort to make sure they’re encouraged and cared for, we see the children develop at different stages, and we talk about ideas for our community.” “Everyone has something to contribute. It’s brilliant.”

Donations made to Plunket help to establish playgroups like this one and ensure existing groups can continue to run. Playgroups have many ongoing costs such as venue hire, equipment and resources but are also an important place for parents to learn about all the other Plunket services that are available such as parenting education classes, car seat rentals, home visits and more.

Parents like Gavin need advice, information and reassurance that they’re doing the right thing for their children – and without donations, children across New Zealand would not receive vital support when they need it most.

If you would like to share a story contact stories@plunket.org.nz

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