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Media Release 3 April 2020 - Volunteer buddies assist residents in need

3 Apr 2020, 1:00 PM

People in need are being linked with volunteer buddies across the Western Waikato area.

Requests for assistance from residents in Otorohanga, Waipa and Waitomo are being matched with volunteer buddies who can assist with getting food, transport, social and financial support.

Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre local controller, Andrew Loe, says information was flowing in from the Waikato Welfare Call Centre.

“We’ve already matched 18 people in Te Kuiti and 12 in Cambridge with local buddies through getting information from the call centre,” says Mr Loe.

“We have people ready, willing and able to assist with over 50 volunteer buddies waiting in the wings across all Western Waikato.”

Volunteers are being coordinated through the Welfare function team at the local Emergency Operations Centre through networks across the three districts.

"All residents in Waikato can call the 0800 800 405 number to talk with the Waikato Welfare Call Centre, it’s not only available to Waitomo, Otorohanga and Waipa residents.”

More than 50 requests for assistance include groceries, financial assistance and transport have been received to date.

“Our message is don’t be too proud to ask for help if you are in need, we have support at hand,” says Mr Loe.

Residents who call the Waikato Welfare call centre are assessed for their needs and distributed to local Welfare teams nearby. The local teams then follow up to match the person with a volunteer buddy.

Volunteer buddies follow strict guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including maintaining physical distance, regular handwashing and other self-care instructions.

They are sourced from recognised support agencies with vetting procedures in place including local Rotary clubs, Neighbourhood support, Citizen’s Advice Bureaus, and community houses.

Residents utilising the service receive assistance with deliver of household goods, grocery items and pharmacy items. Volunteer buddies can also accompany and assist their identified support person to any doctor, hospital or other essential service appointment.

Buddies are required to wear an authorisation badge at all times and hold their authorisation letter with the name of the badge holder, from the Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre.

Any person who is uncertain about someone claiming to be a buddy should contact the EOC for confirmation.

To request assistance, please phone 0800 800 405 between 7am and 7pm. Stay kind, be considerate #manaakitanga

Media contact:

Public Information Manager - Western Waikato Emergency Operating Centre 027 382 3218 | [email protected]