From the day Presbyterian Social Services Association (PSSA) was founded in September 1906 volunteers have been an intrinsic part of our service.
The first board, then called committee, comprised 16 men – four ministers, two doctors, and 10 businessmen – who volunteered their time and expertise, as do the 11 men and women on our current board.
With just one paid employee, a situation that continued for 10 years, volunteers were called upon to help. That included assisting at our first children’s home, established in 1907. There were darning and mending bees, maintenance work, as well as volunteers cleaning and polishing at the home.
Now there are over 600 volunteers throughout Otago contributing thousands of hours each year supporting older people through home visits, participating in the Buddy Programme, care home visiting, helping in our charity shops or driving for meals on wheels. Many causal volunteers, often work groups, also help at events such as Octacan and the Christmas foodbank appeal.
Dunedin volunteers helped us win the coveted 2016 Trustpower Dunedin Community Supreme Award in May, and each year we celebrate volunteers at our own achievement awards in August. This year we acknowledged 13 volunteers for 20 years of service, three for 25 years of service, two for 30 years of service and three volunteers for a remarkable 35 years of service! They are part of a growing group of long term volunteers. How fortunate we are to have such incredibly dedicated supporters.
We thank each and every volunteer for their valued contribution, no matter how large or small. Every assistance contributes to a fairer, more just and caring Otago community. Thank you.