A new home for Plunket in Te Puke

Te Puke Plunket community services coordinator Dale Snell soaks up some sun in the town’s new Plunket rooms before the official opening today.

Shopping in a small town with a baby or toddler in tow is never easy – there are nappies to be changed and feeds to be given and baby care facilities are not always available.

Te Puke Plunket’s new building in Queen St will give local mums somewhere to go as well as providing Plunket and other well child services, and space for activities such as play groups and parent support groups.

The town was expected to be abuzz today with the official opening of the building. Tangata whenua were involved in the powhiri, as well as kapa haka groups from local schools. Dignitaries and invited guests were joined by some of the 700 families Plunket works with in the area.

The new purpose-built facility is the result of nine years of fundraising in the community, combined with community grants and donations of both goods and services. The land was gifted by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

A stylish waiting room leads to two Plunket nurse clinics and a third clinic for other well child consultations, toilet and baby change facilities, including mini versions for littlies, a kitchen and a large, sunny play/meeting space which opens out onto a deck.

Bold primary colours are visible both inside and out, including the walls, carpet squares on the floor and furniture suitable for little people to climb on and over.

Community services coordinator for Te Puke Plunket, Dale Snell, says the service has been shuffling from one little space to another over the past nine years, with none fit for purpose, so everyone is looking forward to working in the new space.

Te Puke Plunket is having an open day tomorrow and the first play group will get underway on Monday. Dale also hopes to start up more parent support groups now that a space is available, including groups for local migrant communities.

“That’s what it’s all about – being able to meet like-minded parents and having a place to chill out.”

For mums with ‘timetable gaps’ they will also be able to pop in and use the building as a place to feed and change their babies and relax while waiting in between appointments or pre-school/school pick-ups and drop-offs.

“It’s just so beautiful and we are so lucky to have it. We’ve already had a lot of feedback from people keen to come along to the play group,” says Dale.

The space will also be hired out to groups for meeting space and birthday parties, which will help bring in some much-needed funding for Plunket.

The open day will be held from 10am to 3pm tomorrow, Saturday, September 9 and will include a sausage sizzle, face painting and children’s activities. The first play group will be on Monday, September 11 from 9.30am-midday for a gold coin donation.

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