Anonymous donation sets up venture
A $3500 anonymous donation has taken the Palmerston North Our Voices Network Group by surprise.
The mysterious gift has left members reeling but profoundly grateful, group facilitator Sophie Gulliver said.
Formed in 2013 as the first of its kind in New Zealand, the Our Voices Network brought together a group of people with disabilities who all had artistic inclinations, to share their knowledge, passions and talents.
Gulliver said Our Voices is based on a model used in Scotland that helps people with disabilities become involved in their community.
This is not the first stroke of good fortune the group has experienced.
In 2015 they received a grant from Creative Communities NZ to co-ordinate their own exhibition at Square Edge.
‘‘They worked alongside local art students and created artwork for the exhibition, which was a great success. They’ve decided to use the donated money to start up a microbusiness to produce handmade cards incorporating their own artwork.’’
Gulliver said they really wanted to thank the donor whoever he or she was, with group member Pippa Brewer expressing everyone’s gratitude.
‘‘A very big thank you for your most kind donation that you have given us to make our card making microbusiness soar to new heights and we cannot wait for our card making microbusiness to start. This is very much appreciated by all the members of the Our Voices Network Group,’’ Brewer wrote.
The group now has to look at how they can best use the money.
‘‘There’s special gear and materials required for cardmaking. There are cutters and punches, and printing costs. They may have to hire a venue, design a logo, or set up a website.
‘‘The cool thing is they can take time to plan it out, research the idea and launch it when they’re ready,’’ Gulliver said.
Only two of the group have some form of paid employment, while the others either work parttime without compensation or volunteer in the community.
Creating and marketing their own artistic greeting cards was seen as a way of celebrating diversity and encouraging financial independence.
Members of the Our Voices Network Group, with facilitator Sophie Gulliver bottom right, celebrate an anonymous donation.