Resource centre head moving on

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014
donna auld
ALAN J WILLIAMS/ Fairfax NZ
CALLING TIMES: Donna Auld is retiring as Geraldine Resource Centre's administrator after five years in the role.

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A familiar face at the Geraldine Resource Centre departs this week.

It is Donna Auld's last week as administrator for the centre. She will be replaced by Anna Worner, who arrived in Geraldine three weeks ago.

Ms Auld has been the centre's administrator since November 2008.

"The centre was still finding its feet when I started there ... It's been a fantastic journey," Ms Auld said.

The centre was established in August 2008. Ms Auld said the early months involved a lot of "co-ordination" with social services and other community organisations.

"People didn't quite know what we were about, but they soon found out. It became our role to connect people to the right services - whether it was a lawyer for legal advice, someone from Work and Income for employment advice or a counsellor for other issues."

She said the centre acted as a community hub for the influx of visitors in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes.

"There were thousands of people fleeing from the earthquakes, some escaped for a couple of nights to be with friends or relatives, others wanted to stay longer. It was ridiculously busy during that period, but it was a real privilege, as our help felt like it was really important for a lot of people."

Ms Auld also enjoyed the community Christmas tree initiative, run in conjunction with the Geraldine Lionesses. Last Christmas, volunteers prepared care packages for more than 60 households or 200 people after the resource centre created a list of deserving recipients based on suggestions from the community.

"Geraldine people are really good at using their initiative ... it's such a close-knit community," Ms Auld said.

Ms Auld has decided to take a break from work, as she wants to study nursing. She will begin a course at Aoraki Polytechnic next month.

However, she would continue to live in Geraldine. "This is my home, my partner and children love this place ... I wish Anna Worner all the best, she's going to be a great asset," Ms Auld said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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