Student volunteers from Nelson College for Girls, Phoebe Gerry, Bella Davey, Esther Famcun and Biaktha Peng. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Students find new friends with IHC


Four Nelson College for Girls students have this year joined the IHC volunteer one-to-one friendship programme.

The programme involves pairing individuals with a new friend who is self-referred through IHC.

Nelson Marlborough Volunteer Co-Ordinator Jane Peoples says it’s about opening another social circle for vulnerable people and enriching the lives of volunteers.

“I’ve always been of the mind that it’s good to give back to your community. It’s important that young people and vulnerable people have others they can trust and talk to. It’s not paid, it’s a real friendship and they have each other’s back.”

Volunteer Phoebe Gerry had her first meeting with her new friend Stephen last week.

“We walked around his neighborhood and he showed me where his friends live. About halfway through he was already starting to plan the next meet-up.”

Jane says they try and make a match based on common interests.

“It’s meant to fit in with everyday life. Our general expectation is that they will meet up at least once a fortnight, but the whole point is that it becomes a natural and fluid friendship.
Volunteer Bella Davey says that their visits will really make a difference to both their new friends and their own lives.

“I had my first visit this week too and my friend kept saying ‘thanks so much for coming’. They are just really happy to have someone to talk to.”