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Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Volunteer profile: Introducing Stuart Beissel

Levin Home for War Veterans volunteer Stuart Beissel believes he gets as much out of his weekly visits to the home as the residents do.

“I love to talk and I love to listen to people. I find volunteering so rewarding, just listening to the residents here,” he says.

The retired primary school principal began volunteering at the home a few months ago when, after 40 years of teaching, he retired and moved from Taranaki to Levin with his wife.

He says it wasn’t long before he put his name forward at the Volunteer Resource Centre.

“I didn’t really want to volunteer with children – it was time for change after 40 years working with them! Instead, I said I’d like to be involved with older people.”

Levin Home for War Veterans contacted Stuart, who agreed to visit on Thursdays and offer companionship to residents in the hospital wing.

“I liked the idea of working with a rest home,” he says.

“My grandfather was a war veteran, so that was also a nice connection.”

Now Stuart also comes in once a fortnight on Mondays to work with academy students from Horowhenua College taking part in a training programme set up by the home.

“It’s a great system – the students get to learn about dementia, health and ageing, things like that, and the residents enjoy their company. With my background in education, I feel I have something to offer there.”

Levin Home manager Jenny Hodgen says volunteers like Stuart are vital to the home.

“The diverse range of skills volunteers bring makes such a difference to the residents here – some run creative workshops for them, others offer their woodworking skills and still others simply donate their time. We love seeing the way residents respond to their energy.”

The home is currently looking for volunteer piano players to provide some musical entertainment for residents, says Jenny.

“There are three pianos here crying out to be used, so please don’t be shy!”

Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Companionship for Wairarapa elders

For many elders living in the Wairarapa, Family Works’ Wisdom and Wellbeing programme is the highlight of the week.

Members meet up each Wednesday at Turret House in Featherston to take part in an ever-changing roster of activities which includes guest presentations, shopping, in house activities, group discussions, tai chi, the odd movie and sight-seeing tours.

The programme is the only one of its kind in South Wairarapa and aims to help elders maintain their sense of identity, enjoy companionship and have fun in their lives.

“For some in the group it’s the opportunity to meet with other older people which makes the programme special for them,” says Seniors Coordinator Pauline Cave.

“For others, it’s a place where they come to feel involved and valued. One attendee who has been coming each week for the last three or four years has a disability, and understands what is happening but has limited verbal skills.

“She feels loved and valued as a group member, and can always be relied upon to help serve the morning tea, be the model at the fashion show, and hand out the presents at Christmas.”

Wisdom and Wellbeing has been going strong for the last fifteen years and enjoys a loyal membership of around 30 elders.

“We try to keep things local so that everyone can take part, and our outings are both social and practical,” says Pauline.

“Apart from our quizzes and group activities, on our outings we also make sure our members who don’t drive get a chance to fill their prescriptions, buy batteries for their hearing aids, or whatever else is needed.

“Our last stop before coming home is usually to buy an ice cream in a cone for everyone. Just like old times.”


What the elders say

“I am a widow and aged 80 years. Today I have been on an Age Concern/Wisdom and Wellbeing trip to see a film at Martinborough and have a fish and chip lunch at Lake Ferry…We have been on some super bus trips and had plenty of laughs – on the bus and at Turret House. I have made plenty of friends and we miss each other if we are away. Some have passed on but they are not forgotten.”

– Glenys Harris

“The Wisdom and Wellbeing Group is a highlight of my week. As I have partial sight and cannot drive, it is more difficult for me to get out and about…it means a lot to me to meet other older people there who I don’t see otherwise. Sometimes Pauline takes the van up to Masterton for shopping which is so helpful to me, especially if I need to buy something that’s difficult to carry on the bus, or get to a shop away from the bus route. The fun and fellowship in the group is special to me.”

– Shirley Jamieson

“As a newcomer living in Featherston, I am overcome by the generous, helpful and kind attitude the local community has shown me, especially the Wisdom and Wellbeing Health Group at Turret House. We meet every Wednesday and the programmes are varied, interesting and well organised. I have developed friendships by attending this group and there is always a lot of laughter. I certainly feel most at home. What an asset this group is to the Featherston community.”

– Lucy Hiam


The Wisdom and Wellbeing programme relies heavily on funding from the local community, trusts and foundations, and is just one of the many ways Family Works goes above and beyond to help vulnerable members of the community.

Family Works would like to extend its thanks to the Thomas George Macarthy Trust for its ongoing support, including its recent grant of $7,500 towards this programme.

Posted on the: 3rd May, 2018

Donor profile: Amanda Shrapnell

When you choose to give regularly, you’re not just helping families and children in need, you’re also starting a conversation around the issues that matter, says Family Works Guardian Angel Amanda Shrapnell.

It was the harrowing story of a child victim of domestic abuse which first compelled Amanda, a former Presbyterian Support Central Fundraiser, to become a Guardian Angel.

“I started thinking about how scared the child must have been, how he must have feared for his mother’s safety, and most importantly, how much the whole family needed support,” she says.

“By giving to Family Works, I knew I’d be helping make sure support was there for families facing heart-breaking situations and that those services were robust and able to do what they set out to do.”

As a Guardian Angel, Amanda donates a regular amount each month, which comes straight out of her bank account. Her monthly gift to Family Works has prompted several conversations with her daughter about why she chooses to give.

“As a woman and as a mother, violence against women and children is a matter that really speaks to my heart and I feel privileged to be able to help those who are struggling to give their kids the start in life they deserve.

“I love being able to set a good example for my daughter too and help her understand that there are other children out there who are struggling, and who need the community to be there for them,” says Amanda.

If you would like to make a donation to Family Works or become a Guardian Angel, you can free call 0508 TO HELP or use the donation page of this website.

Posted on the: 25th November, 2017

Tailored help required to tackle family violence

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to family violence, says Family Works – Presbyterian Support Central’s social service arm that works to tackle the growing problem of family violence in New Zealand.

The message comes as New Zealand celebrates White Ribbon Day [Saturday 25 November 2017] – an international campaign is aimed at ending men’s violence against women.

“Domestic violence hurts children and adults in different and highly personal ways,” says Family Works Central practice development manager Nici Nixon.

“Most obviously it can hurt them physically, but it can be psychological in nature too – eating away at a person’s sense of self is just as damaging.”

Family Works believes to tackle family violence, communities and the agencies supporting people who have experienced family violence must place children at the centre and then focus on the whole whānau unit.

“That’s how we work, after all our vision is to make Aotearoa New Zealand the best place in the world to grow up,” says Nici

“A place where all children are safe, families and whānau are strong and communities are connected.”

In New Zealand, police are called out to a family violence incident every 5 ½ minutes and half of all homicides stem from family violence.

But Family Works believes their goal is achievable if the approach is flexible and individual to those involved.

“Each family’s challenges are unique and so they require individual, tailored approaches to put an end to violence in their homes.”

Nici says campaigns, like White Ribbon, are important because they get people talking about the sensitive topic.

“They  really help to start a conversation around family violence and bring the issue to the fore. We need to talk about it in helpful and constructive ways,” says Nici.

“Sadly, people who have experienced family violence, particularly children, can suffer further from the stigma that others attach to it.”

Some of the services Family Works offers as part of this approach include group support programmes for people who have experienced family violence , social work and advocacy, parenting education programmes, mentoring and counselling.

Family Works Central operates the evidence-based Te Ara Whānau, Family Solutions model when working with families and whānau facing significant and complex challenges, including family violence. This means the multi-disciplinary  Family Works Central team work with the family and whānau to work out what help and support is needed, and to build on existing strengths and resources. Support is usually intensive at first, reducing over time to match the needs of the whānau. 

Posted on the: 2nd November, 2017

Protecting children when parents separate

Increasingly families across the lower North Island are using mediation to settle childcare disputes, and it’s having a positive impact on tamariki (children).

The Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) service and Parenting through Separation course offered by Family Works were introduced in 2014 as part of the Family Justice Reforms. The service helps separating couples agree on childcare arrangements without the need to go to court.

The free Parenting through Separation courses, run by Family Works in partnership with Community Law, provide practical advice and information to help focus parents on the needs of their children. It helps parents understand how separation affects children, how to support them and how to communicate with the child’s other parent.

The Family Dispute Resolution mediation service involves separating parents meeting with a trained FDR mediator to discuss and make decisions about childcare arrangements and to draft make a parenting plan. The mediator ensures that everyone has a say and that decisions are focused on the needs of the children. The parenting plan can then be lodged with the Family Court.

The mediation process is different for every family, but it does provide parents with the tools to help them resolve any parenting disputes that may arise in the future. And best of all, it’s proving to be much less time consuming, costly and stressful for everyone, particularly the children.

As well as focusing the process and the decision-making on the children, where possible Family Works mediators will also ensure that children have a say in the decisions being made about them. This is done in a carefully managed way that protects the children from additional stress and upset.

The cost of mediation is set by the government at $448.50 for each parent, however low income families can qualify for further subsidies. The Parenting through Separation programme is free.

Family Works is the social services arm of Presbyterian Support Central. For more information about Family Works Family Dispute Resolution visit www.familydisputeservices.co.nz or call 0800 337 100. 


Posted on the: 31st October, 2017

PSC’s 108th AGM

More than 50 Presbyterian Support Central supporters, stakeholders, board members and staff attended the organisation’s 108th Annual General Meeting yesterday afternoon.

The meeting was at 2.30pm on Monday 31 October 2017 at Wadestown Presbyterian Church, Hanover Street, Wadestown, Wellington.

The meeting provided PSC with the opportunity to share with members and supporters, some of the organisation’s achievements during the past year and present the audited annual accounts.

The members were delighted to award honorary memberships to Des McGrath and Cheryl Edwards, who both dedicated more than 20 years working at Presbyterian Support Central.

Staff also took the opportunity to sing the new PSC and Family Works waiata (song) Hutia, whose message emphasises the key focus of PSC’s work: the people, the people, the people.

Click here to read more about PSC’s 2016-17 year in our Annual Report. 

Posted on the: 5th October, 2017

WW1 veteran’s medal returned to Levin

Enliven’s Levin Home for War Veterans will honour former resident John Dalrymple by displaying his Victory medal in the home’s Veteran’s Lounge for visitors to admire.

John, a Rifleman Private in the Canterbury Regiment during World War I and a drover, lived at Levin Home for War Veterans for around four years before he died in 1961.

Australian Margaret Harris discovered his medal among her late aunt’s possessions and contacted the home after learning John had never married and had no descendants.

Manager Jenny Hodgen says the home was delighted to be able to offer the medal a permanent home.

“We’re really passionate about Levin Home for War Veteran’s proud reputation for caring for returned servicemen and servicewomen. These men and women have made such vital and important contributions to New Zealand and it’s wonderful to be able to help highlight that.

“As one of our former residents, John is part of the Levin Home family and we’re so pleased to be able to care for his medal and his memory,” she says.

Jenny notes that the home remains actively engaged with the service community, enjoying contact with Linton Military Camp, the Horowhenua College Services Academy and the TS Tutira Sea Cadets.

The home’s ANZAC Day celebrations are also well-attended by the local community.

“It’s the most important day in our calendar,” says Jenny.

Levin Home administrator Vicky Prouting, who met with Margaret while holidaying in Australia to escort the medal to Levin, says she’s pleased to see the home’s past residents continuing to be honoured.

“It’s been a privilege getting to know John through his war medal. He led such an active life!

“I’m proud to have played a small part in his history bringing the medal back to Levin.”

John’s military service took him half way across the world to Egypt, France and England. As a member of the C Company of the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, he would have taken part in the Battle of Passchendaele in which his Battalion suffered 400 casualties, including 126 men who were killed in action.

The Victory medal now housed at Levin Home for War Veterans recognises John’s service during the First World War.

A brief stint in the Wellington “Guard Company” during the Second World War also entitled John to the 1939-45 War Medal and the New Zealand War Service Medal.

“Where those medals are though is a mystery,” says home manager Jenny Hodgen.

“If anyone knows, please get in touch, we’d love to hear more about John’s amazing story!”

Enliven is the positive ageing services arm of Presbyterian Support Central, offering independent retirement living, rest home, hospital and dementia care, short-term respite and health recovery care and day programmes. 

Posted on the: 23rd May, 2017

Presbyterian Support (Enliven) Earns New Zealand’s Trust

Presbyterian Support (Enliven) has been named New Zealand’s Most Trusted Aged Care and Retirement Villages Brand.

The accolade comes from the independent, commissioned 2017 Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brand Survey.

Respondents highlighted Presbyterian Support (Enliven) for its not-for-profit values, genuine care, honesty, high quality aged care and retirement services and support.

National spokesperson Gillian Bremner says the win is recognition that the organisation’s values and not-for-profit philosophy drives service delivery.

“We’re about people first and foremost. We design, develop and operate quality care homes, retirement villages and home and community support services; with care at the heart of all we do.”

“We focus on creating communities where older people have companionship, variety, fun, a sense of belonging, meaningful activity and purpose in their lives.”

Enliven Central general manager Nicola Turner says the recognition is credit to the dedication, passion and care of the staff.

“Having trust in the people that are caring for you, or your loved one, is of the utmost importance and we are very pleased to be named as the most trusted aged care provider for 2017,” Nicola explains.

“Enliven staff, regardless of their role, treat and support every resident the way they would like to treated and supported themselves – with kindness, dignity and respect, and it really shows.”

Nicola says Presbyterian Support’s long history of providing support for communities also contributes to the high level of trust.

“Presbyterian Support has supported people and communities in New Zealand for more than 130 years,” she explains.

Enliven Central provides provides a full range of positive ageing services including rest home, hospital and dementia care, respite, health recovery and day programmes, as well as retirement villages between Taranaki and Wellington.

Posted on the: 13th February, 2017

February 2017 marks the end of an era for Enliven Community Support

From 13 February 2017, Enliven Central will no longer provide in-home support services between Taranaki and Wellington.

This comes after Enliven Central’s parent organisation, Presbyterian Support Central, elected to sell it’s in-home support service business to Geneva Healthcare.

“In 2016 we lost the Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHB in-home support contracts when the DHBs elected to contract with a single provider,” explains Chief Executive Chris Graham.

“This reduced our critical mass so the Board and Management team made the decision to sell Enliven’s remaining in-home support business and focus on our core activities – Enliven rest homes and retirement villages and Family Works social services.”

Presbyterian Support Central’s Enliven division and Geneva Healthcare have been working closely together for the past few months to ensure a smooth transition of service.

Part of this work has been around ensuring a smooth transition for staff which will help ensure there little impact for clients who, in the majority, should be able to retain their current support worker.

“We wish to thank Enliven’s Community Support staff everyone for their ongoing hard work, dedication and commitment to quality support during this transition.”

Enliven Central continues to offer a range of positive ageing services throughout the lower North Island, including independent retirement living, rest home, hospital and dementia care, day activity programmes, short-term respite and health recovery care, modified Tai Chi classes and a continence product service.

“These Enliven services remain a strong focus for us and we’re planning to announce some exciting new developments this year,” says Chris.

For more information about Enliven’s service freephone 0508 ENLIVEN (that’s 0508 365 483). For information about Geneva Healthcare’s in-home support services between Taranaki and Wellington phone 0800 436 382. For in-home support services in other regions visit www.enliven.org.nz.