This Christmas season comes with a reminder to cherish the connections we have with whanau and friends. This People Helping People e-magazine mirrors that theme with a focus on the connections we make in our communities.
In this issue, you will read about our Demolition Art Project, which showed how connections can be built by people coming together with a common goal. We are so grateful to the artists involved and the gift of their time and creativity. We hope you’ll enjoy sharing the artwork with your community by ordering a calendar. Also, in the magazine, you will also read a timely article concerning the lasting mental health effects of the Canterbury earthquakes and how Presbyterian Support seeks to help heal wounds with the power of connection.
Fighting Loneliness with Social Connection
Just this week, a study by the University of Otago revealed that one in five of our elderly in NZ are lonely. That loneliness impacts not just their happiness, but their health and quality of life as a whole. You can read more about the studyhere
At Presbyterian Support we fight exactly this kind of social isolation and loneliness on the front lines with our Enliven HomeShare service, which you will read about on page 8. All Enliven day programmes, including HomeShare, recognize that relationships aren’t built in a day or even in the short Christmas period. Relationships take time and consistency to flourish. That’s why every week, all through the year, people come together and deepen their relationships and grow in their connection with one another. As George Allen, a volunteer at HomeShare observed, “this group has become like a family and they look out for one another”. Through building up these networks, older people can go into the Christmas season stronger than ever with a whole community of others who are looking out for their wellbeing.
Making Connections in your community
Last year, HomeShare supported 459 people to build connections in their community. As Chris Guerin, HomeShare Service Coordinator for Christchurch/North Canterbury says, “We have 7-8 HomeShare services in Christchurch alone due to the massive gaps in this area.” However, HomeShare relies almost exclusively on funding from Presbyterian Support and generous donations from our supporters. This year, HomeShare is expected to have a deficit of $314,886. Every donation helps to close that funding gap and keep HomeShare going. Especially now, the need is high for HomeShare to continue to serve the upper South Island. This Christmas, the power of connection starts with supporters like you.