We spoke with Buddy Programme Coordinators around the region to see what Buddy pairs got up to during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Buddy pairs weren’t able to meet in person during this time, but that didn’t stop them spending time together in alternative ways and looking out for one another.
In East Otago, Buddy Coordinator Jo Scott told us that the Young Buddy of one of her Buddy pairs insisted to her mum that they bike past her Adult Buddy, Ann's house every day to check Ann was ok on her own! Others made and sent pictures, cards, Anzac poppies… there was lots of connecting going on!
South Otago Coordinator, Lee Ollerenshaw said that most of her Buddy pairs kept in touch via text message, phone calls, and video calls. One pair decided to keep in touch the old fashioned way – with letters which they dropped into each other’s letterboxes.
Wanaka Coordinator, Sharon Bell told us that one of her Buddy pairs set up a game of scrabble in each of their houses and played against each other over the phone. Initiative in action!
In Dunedin, one pair decided to play an online game together, and have been meeting up virtually to 'fight off some baddies'. Coordinator Marco Kleinlangevelsloo said that one Young Buddy took the initiative to cook and bake for her Adult Buddy and with her mum delivered food to her doorstep each week. What a lovely example of giving back!
Family Works Director, Carmen Batchelor says:
“Lockdown has given Young and Adult Buddies the opportunity to learn new skills around different ways of communicating, and being creative “together” when you’re apart. It was important for Young Buddies to maintain their connection with their Adult Buddy; to know that just because you can’t see someone, it doesn’t mean you don’t still care about them. Many Young and Adult Buddies learnt how to use online forms of communication, while some enjoyed the experience of ringing someone to have a chat. The kindness and thoughtfulness of some Young Buddies really showed the strength of the relationship they have with their Adult Buddy. That’s such an important part of the Buddy Programme.”