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Adult Mentors, big buddies Alexandra and Cromwell

Time Commitment; 2hrs per week and for a minimum of 12 months.

The Buddy Programme is a preventative programme for children between the ages of four and 12 who are matched one-to-one with a trained adult buddy. The service is offered by Family Works Otago, a Presbyterian Support Service 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 to:

  • 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
  • Enable 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, boundaries, 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 majority of matches are very successful with some relationships in place for a number of years. We hope volunteers enjoy their role and will develop:

  • Interpersonal skills, particularly with children
  • Better understanding and appreciation of the needs and feelings of others


To be eligible for this role, you need to be able to commit to a minimum of 12 months volunteering service or longer.

Adult Volunteers need to be over 20 years of age and 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.

Please note, all our volunteers need to complete a Police Check. All volunteers will receive appropriate training and supervision for their role and will be required to sign a Code of Conduct.

As part of PSO’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, this volunteer role has been assessed as high risk, meaning that anyone doing this role is required to be fully vaccinated. You do not have to disclose your vaccination status if you do not wish to, however that would mean that we would need to treat your vaccination status as unvaccinated.

A Police background check is required for this role.

Time commitment

Volunteers meet their buddies every week for about 2 hours. Volunteers need to be able to commit to at least 12 months volunteering from the time they are 'matched' with a young buddy. One days training before you start (held on a weekend), followed by monthly evening training/catch ups with other adult buddies, between 1 and 2 hours. Big buddies look forward to and get a lot out of the trainings and catch ups.

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: 2270

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