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15 November 2019

Supporting Southland for a century

Celebrating 100 years of essential service in 2019, Presbyterian Support Southland continues to provide welfare for both young and old throughout the region, thanks to a dedicated staff of over 400, along with hundreds of volunteers and trustees.

While the scope and scale of the services that Presbyterian Support Southland offers has evolved over the decades, the founding principles remain steadfast.

“We provide essential support for both young and old throughout the region. In fact, we have services that cater to both the zero-to-five-year-olds, and 105-year-olds,” says Courtney Forde, Presbyterian Support Southland Marketing and Communications Manager.

Presbyterian Support Southland has a strong focus on the needs of those living in their own homes too

Presbyterian Support Southland has a strong focus on the needs of those living in their own homes too.

“Our Enliven programme provides multi-faceted support to older people living in their own homes, as well as those in retirement living environments and residential aged care facilities, including dementia care at rest home and hospital levels.

Similarly broad in focus, the organisation’s Family Works programme provides essential programmes to Southland’s next generations.

“Life can be challenging for many families in our community. Family Works provides counselling and social support for kids, as well as programmes to help parents be the best role models they can be. We believe that families are the backbone of every community and our teams strive to ensure they have the building blocks with which to enjoy healthier and happier lives.”

Early days of Presbyterian Support Southland

In fact, looking after the needs of Southland’s young people was the original focus for Presbyterian Support Southland. The unmet needs of Invercargill’s children led to the opening of a children’s home in 1917, with the association that would eventually change its name to Presbyterian Support Southland being formed in 1919.

Residential childcare remained the primary focus of the organisation up until 1938, when a “home for elderly ladies” was opened; a precursor to the region’s first purpose-designed rest home/hospital – Peacehaven – which the organisation founded in 1954.

The Peacehaven home official opening in 1954

The Peacehaven home official opening in 1954

Today, Presbyterian Support Southland operates several rest homes and retirement villages across Southland, including sites in Invercargill, Gore, Te Anau and Manapouri. A new facility in Frankton near Queenstown has extended the organisation’s reach into Central Otago as well.

"Presbyterian Support Southland has always had a strong focus on the needs of those living in the community in their own homes as well," continues Courtney.

"That's why our SupportLink service remains vital in providing support and companionship for older people still living independently." 

“Crombie Lockwood in Invercargill is one of our trustees  and we're extremely lucky to have their support, along with the support of many other Southland businesses.

"I think it's a real measure of the leadership within businesses like Crombie Lockwood, they are very aware of the community they're operating in; both the opportunities but also the challenges that many local people face every day."

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