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Volunteers say yes to IHC appeal for buddies

Media release
19 March 2008

Volunteers say yes to IHC appeal for buddies

In the recent IHC Annual Appeal, the call for volunteers to make friends with people with intellectual disabilities was answered by a stream of telephone calls.

The message touched many hearts and IHC staff were handling eight to 10 calls a day from people wanting to know more about IHC's buddy scheme and other ways to volunteer. Among the callers were 100 Otago University students and 35 students from Canterbury University.

At the same time as asking people for financial support, IHC encouraged people to share their everyday activities with those with an intellectual disability. Funds raised in the appeal will go to support IHC's volunteer programme.

"IHC is looking to increase the number of volunteers from 600 to 3000 over the next five years and this is a good start," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones.

"Thank you, too, for your donations. These are still coming in every day a month after the appeal started and for your messages of support.

"Some of the most moving letters have come from people who might not be in a position to support us financially, but wanted us to know that they were backing us all the way."

Ralph Jones says it is hard for many people with intellectual disabilities to make friends. "But volunteers can make a big difference. "We want people to spend time together and enjoy doing things together."

At present 374 people give 2958 hours a month to IHC's volunteer programme. A further 240 volunteers serve on branch committees.

Ralph says the money raised by the appeal is distributed throughout New Zealand to support people with intellectual disabilities to live in the community.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact IHC on 0800 442 442 and they will be referred to the nearest co-ordinator who will meet them and explain the programme.


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