2 | InTouch FEBRUARY 2022 The Muscular Dystrophy Association of New Zealand’s Southern Regions Branch failed to constitute a committee at the 2021 AGM for the second year running whichmeans the operations of the branch are beingmanaged by the National Support Office. Unfortunately, the Canterbury Branch committee has also disbanded due to two committee member resignations in 2021 and is also beingmanaged by the National Support Office. After discussion by the National Council, and consultation with the South Islandmembers, it was agreed that the two South Island branches (Canterbury and Southern Regions) will now be amalgamated and run as one branch; MDANZ South Island TeWaipounamu . There are many benefits to amalgamating the two branches includingmore options for funding and grant applications plus the opportunity to run as one centralised, engaged and committed branch for all South Islandmembers. What does this mean if I am a South Island member? For our members based in the South Island, nothing will change in terms of our services and support. At this stage, your Fieldworker will remain the same (Jane Hazlett, Ross Paterson and Jackie Stewart) and the branch will continue to be efficiently coordinated by Vivienne Fitzgerald. We hope we can form an engaged, committed, and focused group to represent the South Island. If you are a South Island member and would like to register your interest for the new committee, please contact us at NEWS ROUNDUP The new year ushers in positive change with the amalgamation of our Southern Regions and Canterbury branches. Update on the South Island Branches We are proud to announce that The Access Group, a leading global provider of business software, has selected MDANZ as its chosen New Zealand Charity of the Year. Each year, staff members from The Access Group vote for their chosen Charity of the Year. Tyler Barnes from Unleashed (one of their New Zealand businesses) put forward MDANZ because of the supportive role they help to play in his nephew, Eli Barnes’, life. Eli is one of our child members fromWhangarei who lives with a neuromuscular condition called Access Group Partnership Congenital Myopathy, which sees a progressive loss of muscle tone. Eli’s specific condition is so rare there is only 29 cases worldwide. The team at Unleashed will be taking part in a range of fundraising activities for the cause throughout 2022, with The Access Group set to match every dollar raised by each employee. Our work depends so much on the funding we get from the community, and this partnership with The Access Group will make a considerable difference to the lives of our members and their families. South Isl nd Te Waipounamu Imagine Better workshops Imagine Better is running a series of webinars to help discuss what home looks like for people with disabilities. The webinars are valuable to individuals who are thinking about home, wanting to create a home, or supporting someone in their home.