Ashburton single mum Rochelle van Wyk is looking to adopt grandparents for her two boys. She moved to New Zealand 10 years ago from South Africa.
Rochelle put a post on Facebook asking if anyone was keen and the post got a lot of interest from people saying it was a great idea.
She has her kids 24/7 and with her mother in South Africa and father in Australia she doesn’t have a family member who can take the boys from time to time.
‘‘I don’t have any support, so I thought of grandparents, like a granddad who can show them how to mow the lawn or dig in the garden, things that grandparents do, have time to patiently teach them little things, you know that whole grandparent experience. They are not getting that.’’
Mid Canterbury Plunket community services coordinator Sue-ann Carr said Rochelle’s plight was common and Plunket had been looking into ways of connecting families with grandparents and before covid had organised taking a playgroup to Radius Millstream rest home.
‘‘We invited families to come and have a playgroup there, the residents absolutely loved it, you could see their faces light up, even just watching the children play, it’s just that enjoyment.’’
With covid restricting travel, a lot of people have been cut off from their families.
‘‘A lot of people in our community don’t have family here, it’s not so much people wanting a babysitter, they are just wanting that connection, they are wanting their children to have that inter-generational relationship.’’
During her research into organising a local solution Sueann found, an online service that connects grandparents with families.
were already offering a service, so why not support what is already out there.’’
Sue-ann would like to work with GrandFriends and organise a local peer coordinator to help families like Rochelle’s meet eligible grandparents, and it doesn’t have to be a senior or retired person.
‘‘It can be anybody who has got that extra time to spend a couple of hours a week with a family, it could be semi-retired or a part time worker. I see the ‘grand’ part of GrandFriends as a special friend,’’ she said.
If you are interested in being a peer co-ordinator contact Sue-ann Carr on 021 679 348.
~ By Daniel Tobin