Break offered to those affected by attacks

A group of Wanaka residents, including Mark Sinclair (pictured), are organising for those most...
A group of Wanaka residents, including Mark Sinclair (pictured), are organising for those most affected by the Christchurch terror attacks to come to the town for a break in the coming months. PHOTO: SEAN NUGENT
The Wanaka community is coming together to offer those most affected by last month's terror attacks in Christchurch the chance to escape and enjoy some time in the Upper Clutha.

Over 100 members of the community have pledged free accommodation, meals, transport and vouchers to the victims, their families and first responders as they continue to heal.

The idea was presented on Facebook by local resident Mark Sinclair. He said within days around 120 people had pledged their support in some form.

Mr Sinclair said the idea came from wanting to do more than just give some money, and he knew the community would get on board after "such a strong outpouring of support'' following the attacks.

Planning was still in the "very early stages'', and Mr Sinclair said a group of Wanaka residents would be contacting Muslim community groups and emergency services in Christchurch to organise the breaks for some time in the next few months until the end of the year.

"I'm not a psychologist and I don't really understand trauma, but I know if I had undergone trauma like this I'd want some time away from day-to-day life.

"We want to make a difference, whether it is five families, 50 families or a lot more would be fantastic.''

It was not the first time the Wanaka community had come together to offer support for Christchurch after a crisis.

Following the 2010 earthquake, a similar initiative offered victims a "break from the quake''.

As in this case, accommodation, free activities and free meals were offered.

Mr Sinclair invited those interested in adding to the pledges of support to get in touch at lakesidebreaks@gmail.com.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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