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Big Buddy

The Central Otago Buddy Programme is a preventative programme for children between the ages of 4 and 12 who are matched one-to-one with a trained adult buddy. The service is a Presbyterian Support Otago initiative, which was developed in 1992.

The children are referred from a variety of different agencies as well as by their own families. They are referred for a variety of reasons. They are all children whose life circumstances indicate a need for additional adult support.

The aims of the programme are:

  • Offer friendship, support and guidance
  • Increase child’s self esteem
  • Develop social skills and help children make positive choices
  • Offer opportunities for new social experiences
  • Fun and happiness

Volunteers are matched to their buddies depending on gender, personality, skills level geographical proximity and professional judgement from the coordinator. Once accepted and trained volunteers will be introduced to their buddy at the child’s home and activities decided upon. Group activities are also organised by the Buddy Programme which offer new experiences for the children and buddies.

Full training is provided which covers communication skills, child development, child abuse and family dynamics. Once accepted volunteers are invited to attend further training including grief, first aid and managing difficult behaviour.

The hope is volunteers enjoy their role and will develop:

  • Interpersonal skills, particularly with children
  • Better understanding and appreciation of the needs and feelings of others
  • Insight into how actions impacts on others


18+ Volunteers need to be committed and reliable, to be good listeners, be unafraid to offer their ideas about what is right or wrong (when appropriate). They should be able to relate to and understand children whilst developing and maintaining a positive relationship with the child and their families.
Volunteers should have an acceptance of differing cultural backgrounds and lifestyles.

A Police background check is required for this role.

Time commitment

Volunteers need to be able to commit to at least 12 months volunteering.  Initial training takes 10 - 12 hours, followed by monthly supervision between 1 and 2 hours. Volunteers then meet their buddies approximately once a week for two hours.

Getting started

The first step is to express your interest by filling out the form below. We will then put you in touch directly with the organisation for more information on the role and how to proceed.

Ref: 1799

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In applying for this position I confirm that I have read the requirements of the position and believe I have the skills and attributes required to carry out this role safely and effectively.