Mates programme enriches lives

James Normile and his buddy Trevor Whiteside
James Normile and his buddy Trevor Whiteside

James Normile and Trevor Whiteside have been mates for about two years.

They like to share a beer over a game of snooker or after nine holes of golf - although their casual games can end up quite competitive.

The two men were introduced to each other through the IHC One-to-One volunteer programme, designed to build genuine friendships for people with intellectual disabilities.

IHC service user James and his friend Trevor normally meet once a week, and they argue about who won the last game of snooker.

Trevor loses all the time, James said.

"James's idea of snooker is whoever potts the last ball wins," Trevor replied. "He is very competitive."

James admitted his snooker and golf skills had improved. Trevor said that was purely down to his tuition.

James also goes to Trevor's house in Renwick every two or three weeks for dinner.

"When he comes to the house I always make sure I have a cold beer in the fridge to have with dinner," Trevor said. "He likes a beer, but just the one. He meets the wife and mother-in-law and we have a chat between ourselves."

They also enjoy going to the cinema. "I get to see the odd movie that nobody else I know wants to see," Trevor said. "We're not into those romantic movies."

IHC national fundraising manager Adele Blackwood said their Annual Appeal this year focused on the importance of the friendships that were made through the One-to-One volunteer programme, and the value of those friendships to people with intellectual disabilities.

The Annual Appeal ran until the end of March, she said.

IHC Marlborough volunteer co-ordinator Joycelyn Robinson said both people involved in the programme learnt from and enjoyed each other's company.

Trevor said he enjoyed taking James out to see him having a good time. They hoped to stay friends for many years.

"You're not going to kick me out?" Trevor asked his friend. "You wouldn't get your weekly can of beer."


Donations to the IHC annual appeal can be made through the IHC website at or post your donation to: IHC Fundraising, PO Box 1757, Wellington 6140.