National Volunteer Week (21-27 June) is a chance for Plunket to celebrate the thousands of volunteers across the country, and the different ways they give their time to support families with young children.
“Volunteers founded Plunket in 1907 to ‘help the mothers and save the babies’, and over a century later, volunteers are still at the heart of our services for families today,” said Andree Talbot, Plunket New Zealand President. “National Volunteer Week is a chance for us to say thank you to all those who give their time and their individual skills to help families in our region, this week and every week.”
Plunket estimates around 6000 people across the country give back to their local community by volunteering for Plunket. Volunteer roles are more diverse than ever before, with Plunket people volunteering for everything from running parent support groups, playgroups and toy libraries, to child safety programmes or parenting education courses, through to taking on volunteer governance roles on Plunket area boards.
“Many of Plunket’s volunteer-run services come from the local community, which is how Plunket began over a century ago. From our new Spanish language playgroup for families in Invercargill, to the second-hand clothes shop in Whangarei, volunteers across the country are setting up services to meet their local communities’ needs,” said Mrs Talbot. “The people who are best equipped to help support families are often other families in the same community.”
She said that volunteering at Plunket over the years has reflected each generation of its time: “In the 50s we had Dads building clinics and fixing roofs, in the 70s we had Mothers’ clubs growing into play groups and coffee groups and huge community support through our annual appeal. Today, there’s great diversity in how volunteers are giving their time – people are just as likely to run a local Plunket Facebook page or produce an e-newsletter, as staff a Plunket family centre. Volunteers today are more interested in ‘project volunteering’ for a specific period of time, or for a specific service.”
In response, Plunket has recently appointed a National Advisor Volunteers, Maia Faulkner, to devise a strategy to attract more volunteers, and provide voluntary roles and opportunities which fit into their lives.
“We want to keep the incredibly valuable volunteers we have and attract more, by ensuring we’re giving people the kind of opportunities they want to pursue. Plunket is committed to volunteering because research and our own experience show that children are more likely to thrive when they grow up in connected communities where families give their time to help each other.”
She said National Volunteer Week is a chance to give recognition to the volunteers in our communities who make our country a better, safer, healthier place to raise children: “We’re grateful to everyone who contributes their time to help families, through Plunket, now and over the years.”
If you are interested in getting involved in your local community, gaining new skills and helping Plunket get the best start for every child, contact your local Plunket office or visit plunket.org.nz
For more information contact:
For over a century Plunket has supported New Zealand parents to nurture healthy, happy kiwi babies.
Plunket is a not-for-profit organisation and is New Zealand’s largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five.
Plunket is dedicated to working with parents and communities to ensure that New Zealand children get the best start in life. Plunket’s services help families nationwide, through over 300 branches, mobile clinics and a free phone service PlunketLine, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (0800 933 922).
Plunket services are available free to families in New Zealand with children aged 0 to 5. As registered nurses with a postgraduate qualification, Plunket nurses are able to offer high standards of expertise and a range of services to families.
For more information visit plunket.org.nz
About BNZ – Principal Sponsor
Bank of New Zealand is proud to work hand in hand with Plunket to bring young New Zealand families support when they need it most.
BNZ is proud to have been a part of New Zealand since 1861 and looks forward to supporting another organisation that has been integral to our country's upbringing.
About Plunket volunteers
Plunket was founded over 100 years ago by people who wanted to help others in their communities. Today, we have thousands of Kiwis who give of their time, knowledge, skills and energy.
We believe that by working together with members of our local communities we can provide Plunket services, support and the education needed to enable the best start in life for every child.
Plunket Volunteers are an important link in our communities and have a vital role in helping us deliver services and support to families. Without our Volunteers, we would not be able to deliver the number of services we do throughout New Zealand.