Barb has just completed 16 years as the chaplain at Gisborne Secondary College, after serving at Strathmore Secondary College for 11 and a half years. That is an innings of 27 ½ years!
Over these last 16 years, Barb has journeyed with the Gisborne community, made possible in large part by the dedication, support, commitment and fundraising of the Gisborne Support Group, which continued to finance the role after the school lost its government NSCP funding. Of course, many others lent their support: fellow workers, business owners, community groups, philanthropy groups, service clubs, health organisations and churches. Together with their support, Barb built social connections with and provided care to hundreds in the community.
When a local family was in crisis, Barb was likely to be involved. When a local parent struggled to put food on the table, or purchase new tyres on the car for safety, Barb was likely to be close at hand.
The local Foodbank came about primarily because of the work of Barb, who along with a few others, organised food to be delivered to those in need.
As the need for Foodbank grew, local churches organised a dedicated space in a local church property, providing shelving, new fridges and other key needs.
Demand for the service almost doubled due to the impact of COVID on the community. Families exposed to greater financial constraints were grateful for the gift of meals for the table.
Barb showed skill helping people navigate life decisions by identifying their options and linking them, as required, with other services equipped to meet their needs.
One volunteer stated, ‘Many families have shared they wouldn’t have made it without Barb. And they love knowing there is someone in the wings who cares for them, especially when the tough times hit.’
Our heartfelt thanks both to Barb and to the Gisborne Support Group for their exceptional commitment and service to the Gisborne community.