Otago support boosts charity hospital

25 August 2020
Otago support boosts charity hospital

Just over 12 months ago, Otago-based The Southern Trust national grants manager Steve Bennett contacted Melissa Vining, having followed her husband Blair’s journey with bowel cancer and mission to see better cancer care for New Zealanders in the media. 

At the time, Blair was undergoing treatment and the charity hospital was barely an idea.  

Conscious of the challenges various regions faced in terms of accessing specific healthcare, and aware of the very public work Blair and Melissa were doing to address that, Bennett reached out, to see when and how the trust might be able to help.   

A year later, and that much-needed help has come in the form of a $150,000 grant.  

For The Southern Trust, it was simply a great fit. With a focus on health and community outcomes, the Southland Charity Hospital ticked several boxes when it came to funding criteria. Bennett says knowing how passionate the community is about the initiative also made a big difference. 

“We engage with organisations on a professional level, but having somebody like Melissa there, putting her heart and soul into it, that really makes a difference in the success of a lot of organisations,” he says.  

“That it will support people from Otago and Southland is fantastic, but really there is such tremendous support for the charity hospital from far and wide across the community.”  

Vining says the grant from The Southern Trust was invaluable. 

“Steve has kept in touch with us from day one, when the hospital was barely an idea, and the trust was so willing to help and support this cause,” she says. 

“To receive a grant of this value is incredible. We are so grateful. It brings us another step closer to getting it built and providing the services people need and deserve.” 

Part of the legacy Blair left when he passed away, the charity hospital will provide free health services to those in Southland and Otago who are unable to access care through the public or private health systems.  

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