Trust to help with sudden medical needs

Hospitality NZ Central Otago vice president and The Gate general manager Glen Christiansen.

Fundraising for friends having unforeseen medical treatment inspired a group of Central Otago people to form a trust to benefit the whole district.

Central Otago Resilience Trust member Glen Christiansen said they realised there were people who needed help but didn’t have the public profile or knowledge of what was available to them.

People who had a high profile in the community had an advantage when fundraising that most people didn’t, he said.

“It broke my heart to know there were people missing out.’’

He and three friends — Becky Gibson, Derek Craig and John Cooper — got together and formed the trust, which was officially launched in Cromwell at the end of November. The trust would help people right across the region, he said.

‘‘I can’t stress enough that we are for all of Central Otago.’’

A prime concern for the trust was making it easy for people to make an application. In some cases they may also be able to point people in the right direction for assistance from other sources. They anticipated a simple form for costs such as fuel for hospital visits. People should not be shy about asking for help and it was important to realise that no-one really knew someone’s financial circumstances, he said.

If a partner had used up all their leave from work, they might not be getting paid for days spent caring for a sick family member.

Others may be living in a million-dollar house but be mortgaged to the hilt, he said.

While the trust couldn’t fund major costs such as drug therapy, it could help with things such as fuel, accommodating pets while out of town, parking costs and firewood.

Several events were planned to boost the coffers, Mr Christiansen said.

A dinner was already on the calendar for April, and a mountain bike race and a charity cricket match were all in the works.

Businesses were encouraged to contribute at the launch and the trust website allowed anyone to make a donation. A generous donation was recently received from someone who had benefited from community support in the past, he said.

‘‘We are looking for community and business buy-in. ‘‘We will give 100% back to the community. ‘‘We’re all volunteers. We’re not taking a clip.’’

Accountants, lawyers and their web designer had all done work for the trust for free. They also wanted to build a volunteer base, Mr Christiansen said.

‘‘It might be someone who says ‘I have a mower and will go and cut someone’s lawn’.’’