Otago Daily Times

Great­est Needs Fund raises more than $1m

QUEEN­STOWN

- TRACEY ROXBURGH tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz Society · Charity · Rotary International · Zoom Video Communications · Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology · Ministry of Human Resource Development · SkyCity · Queenstown

IN just over six months, more than $1 mil­lion has been raised for the Wakatipu Great­est Needs Fund.

Es­tab­lished by Queen­stown’s Kaye Parker dur­ing Alert Level 4 lockdown to pro­vide fi­nan­cial support to front­line char­i­ties in the Wakatipu, the fund — ad­min­is­tered by the Wakatipu Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion — has now raised, fa­cil­i­tated or pledged $1,161,951.

Start­ing with a $50,000 do­na­tion from the Hugo Char­i­ta­ble Trust, Mrs Parker said, to date, more than $812,000 had been given out in grants.

An­other $85,000 in grant applicatio­ns were in process and other funds have been tagged to a GP med­i­cal and men­tal health fund.

The over­rid­ing aim is to fund the gaps in govern­ment wel­fare as­sis­tance — that was what led to the launch of the GP and men­tal health fund, which pro­vided free GP con­sul­ta­tions, pre­scrip­tions and coun­selling to those who did not qual­ify and could not af­ford the fees, she said.

The Ro­tary Club of Queen­stown and Ro­tary District 9980 agreed to fund a pilot men­tal health sem­i­nar for Brazil­ian mi­grants, led by a Por­tuguese­speaking coun­sel­lor, who had since fol­lowed up with in­di­vid­ual Zoom ses­sions, she said.

‘‘The feed­back has been out­stand­ing and it may be rolled out to other mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties in the fu­ture who don’t speak English as a first lan­guage.’’

The fund had also en­abled the ap­point­ment of So­cial Worker in Schools (SWIS) Fiona Stephen­son, who was work­ing across all seven Wakatipu pri­mary schools.

While the Min­istry of Education funded the six­month ap­point­ment, Mrs Parker said the grant­ing com­mit­tee be­lieved it needed to be a longer­term role, so it com­mit­ted $165,160 on top of $55,000 from SkyCity Queen­stown Com­mu­nity Trust and $50,000 from the Cen­tral Lakes Trust, to en­able the SWIS role to re­main for more than three years.

Mrs Parker hoped the Govern­ment would see the value and fund it per­ma­nently in the fu­ture.

Along with the money, 1200kg of beef mince and ‘‘hun­dreds of kilo­grams of beau­ti­ful veni­son sausages’’ has been do­nated by farm­ers, which had gone to Bas­kets of Bless­ing.

‘‘It’s just been amaz­ing peo­ple have been amaz­ing.’’

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