WHEN Women’s Refuge services co-ordinator Cathy Robertson got a phone call to say a local business wanted to donate $100,000 to the organisation, she was stunned.
“I’m sitting on the phone, thinking, have I got that wrong?’.
“I was totally blown away.”
But she had heard right, and on Monday New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter chief executive Stew Hamilton and his colleagues visited the organisation’s head office in Invercargill to make it official.
It was the biggest donation the organisation had received from a business and it would be used to replace the garage used for storage, so now clothing and goods could be accessed quickly for women and their families when they fleed from domestic abuse situations with very little.
“It will mean we get to spend more time with the family when they need us, rather than rifling through bags and boxes to try and find them clothes and toothbrushes,” she said.
The relocation of goods would free up more space at the organisation’s head office.
Mr Hamilton said the donation was part of Rio Tinto’s global programme to support communities as they responded and recovered from Covid-19.
The allegiance to the organisation was also evident in the smelter’s own culture as it had set up “champions” in the workplace to help alleviate domestic violence.
This wouldn’t be the only donation the company would make, he said.
“There will be more donations to the community to help with the response in Southland.”
Ms Robertson said there had been an increase in women seeking assistance since Covid-19 but the service which was most in demand was counselling for couples.