Giving care, not scare, aim of online groups

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Spreading happiness in a time of uncertainty is the aim of online groups emerging on social media.
Group pages including Cromwell Caremongering, Wanaka Caremongering and CareMongering Covid-19 Central Otago NZ are helping maintain community connection during the current crisis.
Cromwell Caremongering was set up by Fusee Rouge Cafe owner Nicola Brockie to ‘‘pull the community together,’’ she said.
‘‘If we all help each other we can all get through this.’’
As a business owner she had ‘‘a sense of helplessness’’ but wanted to help others by providing an online space where people could feel supported.
Caremongering was a movement that began in Canada as an alternative to scaremongering, she said.
The group aimed to spread messages of support, help for those in need, whether it was moral support, shopping for the elderly, even offering to walk a dog for people in quarantine.
She aimed to spread happiness by focusing on positive posts, sharing local information, and ‘‘shout outs’’ about people doing ‘‘amazing things’’ for others.
As the lockdown progressed, she hoped the group would provide a central place for local people to stay connected.
‘‘There can never be too much kindness.’’ She closed the doors of her cafe in the Cromwell Mall on Tuesday, following the Government’s announcement that New Zealand was moving to Covid-19 Alert Level 4.
Nine staff were affected but if all went well she hoped to ‘‘come back strong’’ and was committed to doing everything she could to keep her staff employed.
Wanaka Caremongering was set up by Jay Simon just over a week ago and he was ‘‘blown away’’ at how rapidly it had grown to more than 1000 members.
People had beenvery generous, offering land for travellers to park and holiday homes for people who needed to self-isolate, he said.
The aim was to create a ‘‘fun place’’ for people to find information, advice and humour.
Mr Simon was home with three children and said people were posting fun ideas for teaching and home-based activities.
The site had heartwarming stories from around the world, and he was aiming to keep the page non-political and uplifting.
The group was working in conjunction with Volunteering Central to ensure people who wanted to help were also keeping themselves safe.
He was proud of the local community.
Just over two months ago he was behind a fundraising concert for Australian firefighters that raised more than $46,000, and he could see the same concern for others during this crisis.
‘‘I’m quite taken with people’s generosity,’’ he said.

SIMON.HENDERSON
@thenews.co.nz