Pregnancy Help winding up

With more than 208 years' combined voluntary work, Pregnancy Help volunteers (front, from left) Heather Hughes, Anne Clarke, Clare Cousins (back, from left) Judy Knoops, Christine Darnill, Shona Fraser, Dianne Acker and Marita Moynihan are winding up the organisation.

ON Tuesday, a couple walked into the Pregnancy Help rooms on Forth St in Invercargill to get some support and much-needed baby equipment.

They walked out with a baby bath, blankets, a change table and, no doubt, some practical advice which they will use in the first few months of their baby’s life.

However, this couple will be among some of the last the organisation has helped throughout the region for the past 42 years, as it finishes in June.

Established in 1979, Pregnancy Help’s core beliefs were to offer help to pregnant women with care, concern and confidentiality.

When the organisation celebrated its 25th anniversary, volunteers had already assisted close to 5000 pregnancies.

President Dianne Acker said with many agencies now providing a similar service, it was time to close the organisation’s doors.

“It is apparent that many of these families have greater needs as the years have rolled by.”

Jubilee Budget Advisory Service contacted the group to take up the baton for families the group had been helping.

It would deliver a similar service through its Super Grans programme, Mrs Acker said.

A highlight during Pregnancy Help’s tenure was in 2007, when the organisation was nominated in the inaugural Trustpower Community awards in the health and welfare section.

Volunteer Anne Clarke remembers after the organisation was named top in its category, her and the late Liz Duncan were quietly planning on how they could discreetly leave.

It was as they were planning their escape, it was announced the organisation had taken out the supreme title across all categories.

“I truly found out the meaning of gobsmacked that day,” Mrs Clarke said.

For Marita Moynihan, who had contributed 40 years’ voluntary work to the group, a highlight came just recently when herself and Mrs Acker were invited to the baptism of a baby for a family they had helped.

“It was lovely,” she said.

Mrs Acker said she was proud Pregnancy Help had run for more than four decades with 100% contribution from volunteers.

She wanted to thank all the volunteers and the volunteers’ volunteers, the knitters and sewers, who had donated countless hours and goods to ensure the organisation could deliver help to those who needed it.

“They have all been wonderful,” she said.