Love Soup founder leav­ing

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Nearly three years of strug­gling to help feed Toko­roa’s most vul­ner­a­ble has fi­nally taken a toll on the town’s iconic vol­un­teer.

Love Soup’s Julie King has de­cided to throw the towel in say­ing the stress is mak­ing her sick.

King said re­cent ac­cu­sa­tions that she was spend­ing the re­lo­ca­tion money in Whanga­paraoa was the last straw.

‘‘I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed in Toko­roa. Peo­ple just want to at­tack. I’ve been re­ally trans­par­ent.

‘‘I don’t even see the re­lo­ca­tion money, the fun­ders haven’t paid it yet and I don’t have ac­cess to it.’’

She said the land money re­mains with the lawyer and the rest needed to move the Love Soup build­ing is still with the South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil.

The lack of con­stant sup­port, stress and a raft of ac­cu­sa­tions has driven her to go where she said the help is ap­pre­ci­ated.

In less than two months King said Love Soup has a free build­ing and gar­dens to help the home­less of Whanga­paraoa.

‘‘They be­lieve in what we’re do­ing and they ap­pre­ci­ate it. Ev­ery­thing has gone the way it should.’’

July 1 marks three years Love Soup was formed in Toko­roa.

The jour­ney to find a per­ma­nent lo­ca­tion has been an up­hill bat­tle.

Now King is faced with the re­al­ity that it’s over.

An­gry at how much time, money and re­sources have been wasted King blames the coun­cil.

‘‘We should be back in that build­ing. We’ve had it taken from us and they’re only wor­ried about the eyesore.

‘‘We can’t func­tion to full ca­pac­ity with­out a build­ing. We work from our own homes in our own time.’’

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs said Love Soup have un­til the end of the month to re­lo­cate the build­ing or it will be up for ten­der.

A ti­tle dis­pute over land des­ig­nated for the group in Cur­rie St is hold­ing up the move.

The of­fer ear­lier in the year from coun­cil to sup­port the move to Mau­reen Seipolt Re­serve has ex­pired, leav­ing King with no op­tions. ‘‘We’ve worked our butts off. ‘‘No­body has a clue how hard it’s been and how much my fam­ily has sac­ri­ficed.’’ A neg­a­tive news story on TV3 has prompted a may­oral can­di­date to stand up for Toko­roa.

Alan Blair was so con­cerned about Toko­roa be­ing por­trayed as a drug town on cur­rent af­fairs show, Story, he de­cided to set the record straight.

Ring­ing up Ra­di­o­live the next day he asked to be in­ter­viewed by the tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter who is a host on the sta­tion.

Blair was booked to air his views with Dun­can Garner but changes in the pro­gramme sched­ul­ing have de­layed the in­ter­view.

‘‘Be­cause it was a na­tion­wide story why come to Toko­roa and fo­cus on one town to talk to some­one who is in­co­her­ent and not bal­ance that.’’

Blair said he is aware peo­ple have a neg­a­tive view of Toko­roa and the news story did noth­ing but re­in­force that stereo­type.

‘‘Drugs is a na­tion­wide is­sue. I was go­ing to talk to him about the pos­i­tive things that hap­pen.’’

Se­nior sergeant Hen­der­son said Toko­roa is no dif­fer­ent to any other com­mu­nity in the coun­try deal­ing with drug prob­lems.

‘‘All towns and cities have an el­e­ment within them that look to ben­e­fit from the mis­ery that comes with drugs.’’

Hen­der­son said there has been a 5.8 per­cent re­duc­tion in to­tal crime from July 2015 to April 2016 which in­cludes drug re­lated of­fend­ing.

Julie King, front left, has been busy or­gan­is­ing Love Soup Whanga­paraoa which of­fi­cially opens on June 18.

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