We will get to know you, and find out a little about your interests, and then we will match you with a carefully chosen, trained [and vetted] volunteer.Ngaire Sullivan, Age Concern Kaitaia front of house co-ordinator It has its trained volunteers, and it has its contract with Age Concern New Zealand. Now all Age Concern Kaitaia needs for its brand new service is clients.

The Accredited Visiting Service matches volunteers with elderly folk who have shared interests, and who would enjoy a "yack" and a cup of tea on a regular basis, for about an hour once a week. And it wasn't only the visited who benefited, Age Concern Kaitaia front of house co-ordinator Ngaire Sullivan said. Volunteers enjoyed the experience too, and learned from the people they formed friendships with.

Anyone who would like an AVS visitor would be welcome to call in at the Age Concern Kaitaia office at the southern end of Commerce St (phone (09) 408-2997).

"We will get to know you, and find out a little about your interests, and then we will match you with a carefully chosen, trained [and vetted] volunteer," she said.

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"We will keep in touch with you and your visitor to make sure you're both enjoying your visits. If there is ever a problem we will work with you to put it right."

Visitors were not to help with regular shopping or tasks around the home. Nor were they permitted to provide personal care, or handle medications or finances, while clients, who were generally aged at least 65, had to be at risk of social isolation, and able to contribute to a mutually beneficial relationship. They were usually individuals, but may also be couples.