Vic­tim Sup­port seek­ing help

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

When the worst hap­pens, Wakatipu Vic­tim Sup­port is there to help. Now the or­gan­i­sa­tion is seek­ing as­sis­tance for it­self.

‘‘We’d like the town to know we’ve al­ways been there for them and we’d like them to be there for us for a change,’’ Wakatipu chair­woman and vol­un­teer Fae Robert­son said.

The vol­un­teer crew of about 15 work rosters to make them­selves avail­able for those in need dur­ing some of Queen­stown’s dark­est mo­ments. Usu­ally the call comes from the po­lice, but it can be in­di­vid­u­als or other emer­gency ser­vices who see some­one in need.

Now, with two staff on leave of ab­sence and an­other leav­ing, they need more vol­un­teers to train and be a part of their work.

Wakatipu and Cen­tral Otago Vic­tim Sup­port co-or­di­na­tor Rachael Brown said the trained vol­un­teers work with peo­ple af­fected by crime or trauma to as­sist them through their or­deal.

‘‘We em­power – not res­cue. Be­ing a vol­un­teer is not about feel­ing good about your­self – it’s about giv­ing back to your com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

Robert­son is a vet­eran of 19 years with the or­gan­i­sa­tion in Queen­stown and has as­sisted in prac­ti­cal ways and giv­ing sup­port in many sad cases. She is ex­pect­ing work to in­crease as the busy win­ter months ap­proach.

Of­ten it was tourists who need help, or work­ers in town for the sea­son. Wakatipu and Cen­tral Otago Vic­tim Sup­port co-or­di­na­tor Rachael Brown and Wakatipu Vic­tim Sup­port chair­woman and vol­un­teer Fae Robert­son are seek­ing new vol­un­teers for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Photo: Deb­bie Jamieson/Fair­fax NZ

It was not un­usual to be as­sist­ing some­one with no close fam­ily or friends in town.

‘‘I’ve had flat­mates say ‘I don’t know her very well. She just has a room in our house’.’’

The re­ward was the feel­ing that you had helped some­one, she said.

Vol­un­teers came from all walks of life and were all ages.

‘‘It’s nice to have dif­fer­ent ages so they can meet dif­fer­ent needs.

‘‘You be­come al­most like a fam­ily. There’s an in­cred­i­bly good bond­ing of trust and care. We work very much as a unit.’’

Brown said vol­un­teers were po­lice vet­ted and had ini­tial train­ing over two, two-day cour­ses.

There was on­go­ing train­ing three times a year and an on-call ros­ter.

The min­i­mum com­mit­ment was four hours a week. ◗ Po­ten­tial Wakatipu Vic­tim Sup­port vol­un­teers should con­tact Rachael Brown on rachael.brown@vic­tim­sup­port. org.nz or 0274 510 276.

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