WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

New coordinator for Vinnies services

WelCom August 2018:

Millie Lambess

Rachel Harrison, Pregnancy Assistance Coordinator, SVDP Wellington. Photo: Supplied

Pregnancy Assistance is one of the many free, professional support services the team at St Vincent de Paul Society in Wellington offers. Started in the early 2000s, it continues to provide an invaluable service to Wellington mothers and their babies.

Based out of the newly refurbished Vinnies welfare office at 207 Riddiford St, Newtown, Pregnancy Assistance helps relieve the financial strain of the arrival of a new baby by providing 0–6 months’ clothing, bedding, maternity wear, reusable nappies and bassinets. This helps improve health outcomes for babies while supporting mothers and families with essential items at no cost.

Rachel Harrison has recently taken over the role of Pregnancy Assistance Coordinator. Coming from a background in population health and community health programmes that address social inequality, Pregnancy Assistance was a perfect fit for her. ‘I have two children, so I understand how mentally and financially stressful it can be with a new bub. I’m proud to coordinate a service that helps alleviate some of that initial pressure by providing baby essentials and referral support.’

‘Already I have seen young pregnant women ‘couch- surfing’ with family members who are providing all the support they can but struggling to make ends meet. And many families with refugee
or migrant backgrounds require our assistance.’

Over the past five years, Pregnancy Assistance has supported around 150 woman a year and has given out almost $70,000 worth of stock. ‘Our aim is to increase the number of women we reach. While we receive many referrals from midwives, our ‘word of mouth’ service needs your help in getting our message out in communities. We also gratefully accept any donations of baby clothing and bedding,’ Rachel says.

If you or someone you know in the Wellington area could benefit from this service, contact: Rachel Harrison: babyassist@vinnieswgtn.org.nz or ph (04) 389 7122; or drop in at Level 1, 207 Riddiford St, Newtown, 10am–2pm, Wednesday–Friday.