Celebrating Connections with IHC

IHC is excited about new developments in its Volunteer Friendship Programme in Otago.

IHC’s Volunteer Friendship Programme is about making a positive change in someone’s life and
gaining a new friend in the process. Volunteers are matched with a person who has an intellectual
disability, and they both choose how to spend their time together by doing the things they like.
Newly appointed Volunteer Coordinator Gill Marshall says she is ready to hit the ground running to
recruit, train and support more volunteers to match with new friends in the Dunedin and Mosgiel

“I’m really looking forward to re-establishing connections in the community and meeting new
people,” says Gill. “It’s great to see some of our longstanding and existing friendships continuing.”
IHC is committed to providing ongoing training for its volunteers, for example attending first aid
courses or learning sign language. All volunteers have access to IHC online learning materials too.
Gill says, “It’s about recognising our volunteers and having fun as well.”

“Volunteer recognition is key to maintaining friendships in the community, and it’s important to us
to acknowledge the time and effort people put in.”

“Throughout the year we host a range of events to celebrate these wonderful friendships. Recently,
our end-of-year celebration saw the IDEA Services building rocking to the singing and dancing of
everyone who attended.”

“We couldn’t guarantee the quality of the singing, but its volume and the laughter demonstrated
how well-received the event was!”

“The donut decorating competition was also a highlight, and it was a great opportunity for everyone
to meet each other and share their experiences and stories.”

2024 will see new events and new friendships being formed. Although there is an initial time
commitment for volunteers to cover recruitment and training, this investment leads to successful
friendship matches based on shared interests.

“Volunteers benefit by knowing that they enrich the life and wellbeing of a person with an
intellectual disability and will also gain a new friend in the process.”

If you would like to know more about volunteering with IHC, please visit the website at
https://www.ihc.org.nz/get-involved/volunteer, or give Gill a call on 022 017 3115.