Iona Playgroup celebrates 20 years


A unique playgroup that meets every Thursday at Iona Home and Hospital in Oamaru celebrated 20 years with a morning tea and cake yesterday.

Mothers and children have been coming to Iona Playgroup for 20 years to socialise with each other and with Iona Home and Hospital residents.

President Natasha Gutsell, who has belonged to the group for about five years, said they get on average 10 to 20 mothers come along with their children aged between zero and five every Thursday.

They have morning tea with some rest home residents, chat with them and have music at the end, she said.

Mother Hayley Grey said she liked the social side of it and being able to talk to other mothers.

Iona Home and Hospital senior activity co-ordinator Diane McCone said having the older residents mix with the mothers and children provided intergenerational stimulation for each age group.

“It’s nice for [the children] to see older people,” she said.

Co-founder Lauris Polson said she had the idea after working at the rest home and realising there was a need for more people in the community to mix with the residents.

The group meets every Thursday at Iona Home and Hospital from 9.30am – 11.30am.



CELEBRATION: From left, mothers Stacey Maindonald with Makenna Curry, 4 months, Natasha Gutsell with Monique Gutsell, 5 months,  and Hayley Grey with Benji Grey, 2, at the 20th anniversary of  the Iona Playgroup yesterday.

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