Anony­mous do­na­tion sets up ven­ture

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

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.

RICHARD MAYS

Mem­bers of the Our Voices Net­work Group, with fa­cil­i­ta­tor So­phie Gul­liver bot­tom right, cel­e­brate an anony­mous do­na­tion.

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