Reaching out . . . Reach Church senior pastors Hanneke and Brendon Perumal hope to establish a support network for grandparents raising grandchildren. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

You are not alone.

That is what Reach Church wants grandparents raising grandchildren in Waitaki to know.

After seeing a need in the community, senior pastors Brendon and Hanneke Perumal are holding a meeting for grandparents raising grandchildren next week.

The couple’s aim is to provide a space where grandparents in this situation can meet one another and establish a network.

Most importantly, Mrs Perumal wanted them to know they were not alone.

She had spoken to five different grandparents raising their grandchildren — and none of them knew others like them within the community.

The Perumals wanted that to change, but they also wanted to gauge what specific support was needed.

They hoped to establish what the needs were at the coming meeting and, in future, connect people to the necessary community services and organisations.

‘‘We are not trying to reinvent the wheel,’’ Mr Perumal said.

Instead, the church hoped to act as a facilitator.

While handing out flyers to Oamaru schools, Mrs Perumal had already noticed a demand, as some schools took more flyers than others.

Not limiting the plan to Oamaru, she had also reached out to schools from Hampden to Kurow.

Mrs Perumal said it was not just grandparents taking on the role of primary caregiver, but aunties, uncles and siblings too, and they would all be welcomed at the meeting.

The first meeting would be held at Reach Church, in College St, at 1pm on December 2 .

The couple said children were more than welcome to come and an afternoon tea and children’s activities would be provided.

Transport could be provided for some.

Those interested, but unable to make it to the meeting, are encouraged to contact the church on 437-2666.