The Whakatipu Buddy Programme
If you want to know the benefits of “Buddying” ask Big Buddy Siobhan Adcock and her Buddy George Robbie.
The Whakatipu Buddy Programme is appealing for locals willing to spend two or three hours a week with a child needing extra adult support. They are holding a training programme in April for new buddies.
Siobhan has been Big Buddy to 11-year-old George for more than two years. “Being a Big Buddy has been one of the best experiences I’ve had during my time in Queenstown, it’s been rewarding beyond belief to see George grow as a person and to watch him discover new activities he likes,” she says. “It’s a fantastic feeling to know I have been a small part of encouraging that.” Being George’s Big Buddy has also given Siobhan the chance to get involved in new activities and experience other parts of what Queenstown has to offer. “We’ve made some awesome memories over our two years and a lifelong friendship! I encourage anyone who can spare a couple of hours a week to get involved in the Whakatipu Buddy Programme.”
George says: “I like being with my Big Buddy because she is funny and happy. My favourite things to do together are art, biking and visiting QT Community Cats.”
Currently 12 Big Buddies are matched with 12 Little Buddies in the Whakatipu Basin. Children are aged 4-12 years and are referred by agencies like Queenstown Lakes Family Service, Happiness House and schools. This can be for a variety of reasons such as learning difficulties or having a sole parent in need of more support. Big Buddies are encouraged to do low or no cost activities with their Little Buddies.
Two-to-three times a year, there are organised events such as last year’s Pickle Ball outing, a trip to iFLY and an Xmas picnic in Arrowtown. Feedback from parents, schools and others is that the programme for Little Buddies has improved social skills and confidence resulting in better outcomes at home and school. Little Buddies also are helped to find their passion such as art, cooking, fishing or mountain biking. Big Buddies get good training and back up from coordinator Nanette Benington.
Would be Big Buddies can contact her at BPW@familyworkssld.nz