I do hope you enjoy reading Sione’s story in this issue of People. He is a young man with an extremely bright future and was a Young Buddy in our Buddy Programme. He was reunited recently with his Adult Buddies, and they reminisced about their time together and how it made a real, positive and lasting difference to each of their lives. Our Buddy Coordinators play a critical role in the programme by matching the buddies carefully and providing ongoing support, and these roles are largely funded by our generous donors.
I also want to highlight that behind the scenes of our services, the Covid pandemic has brought significant disruption and challenges to our teams. Our Enliven staff have worked especially hard to fill the gaps when colleagues need to isolate, and when residents are missing their families. As well, Covid has worsened the national shortage of nurses, careworkers and support staff. There is an ever-growing demand for our foodbank and social services too, bringing pressures to our Family Works teams. Our retail operations have been impacted too, especially by fluctuating consumer confidence. Thank you for your kindness and patience in your dealings with our hardworking staff!
Some of our country’s more long-standing challenges - such as the rising costs of living and housing – are part of a bigger picture and as PSO’s Chief Executive, I take every opportunity to make a case for changes that will help our most vulnerable New Zealanders. This includes writing to and talking with Members of Parliament and key decision makers. PSO is also regularly asked to comment in the media on social issues and my response to the 2022 Budget was published by the Otago Daily Times.
Finally, I hope that you have taken the opportunity to be vaccinated against the winter flu – it’s a particularly nasty strain this year!
Blessings to you all
CEO and Acting Enliven Director,
Presbyterian Support Otago