Parents Centre struggling for members

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One of Nelson’s most valued parenting institutes has put the call out for new members and volunteers, saying that they are running on “bare minimum”.

The Nelson District Parents Centre has been helping local parents for more than 50 years and relies 100 per cent on volunteers to deliver its courses. But the centre is now struggling, having gone from 22 members to just five within the space of a year, and are currently without a president.

The centre has been a rock for many new parents over the years, running popular childbirth education and parenting courses, and helping new mums to form coffee groups.

Current treasurer, Michelle Hunt, who has been a member for two years, says that new members and volunteers are needed in order for them to run more courses and hold more events.

“It takes quite a lot of man power to keep everything going, and we can’t do it running on five people,” says Michelle.

“We are really stretching our resources. I don’t know what will happen.”

She says part of the reason they are struggling for new members is that mums are going back to work earlier. Also, at one stage last year they had no childbirth educators, and had to source them from Blenheim.

“Because we weren’t running any antenatal classes there was no follow through to the other courses,” says Michelle. “But we now have three educators on board and are going strong this year.
We are also offering the courses in Motueka too.”

Committee member Bec McEwan says that although there are only five of them, they are still continuing to provide the same high quality services. “We’re just working a lot harder to do it,” she says.

While Michelle says it’s common to go through ‘lulls’ she hopes that more people will put their hand up to help.

“It’s a great way to give back to the community, and it’s not just for mums – we’d love it if some nanas came down to help out during the courses. Just getting the biscuits and tea ready, or holding onto a baby to give some of the mums a break,” she says. “They don’t need to commit to coming every week, every little bit helps.”

Michelle says that if they are able to get more members, they are hoping to run some extra courses, such as postnatal pilates, taming your toddler, more first aid and toilet training courses, and a new course with a sleep consultant aimed at helping with sleeping issues.

“We would also like to run some more guest speaker evenings, like we have done recently with Nathan Mikaere-Wallis,” she says.

To find out more about volunteering, contact Michelle on 0211170437, or email [email protected].