Southland Charity Hospital calls for support from Otago

27 July 2020
Southland Charity Hospital calls for support from Otago

Otago, we need you.

The Southland Charity Hospital is calling on members of Otago communities to lend their support to its cause. While it is named after the region in which its idea formed – the hospital is part of the legacy left by Winton man Blair Vining, who lost his epic battle with bowel cancer in late 2019 – the Southland Charity Hospital will serve the people of both Southland and Otago.

Southland Charity Hospital board member and wife of Mr Vining, Melissa Vining, says once operational the hospital will provide healthcare for those living throughout the Southern District Health Board Zone.

“The Southland Charity Hospital will be available for everybody south of the Waitaki River. We desperately need the help of our Otago-based brothers and sisters to get behind the Southland Charity Hospital. Our hospital is going to benefit all of us,” she says.

The Southland Charity Hospital is in the midst of a fundraising drive, encouraging the public to ‘Buy A Brick’ with proceeds donated to the hospital. The Buy A Brick campaign – which will culminate in Buy A Brick Day on 31 July – asks the public to purchase an engraved supporter’s brick, which will form the pathway from the hospital’s carpark to its building, or a commemorative plaque, which will be placed in Blair’s Garden on-site.

However, about 75 percent of supporter’s brick sales so far had come from people identified as living in the Southland region – while less than 10 percent so far had been purchased by people living in Otago, Vining says.

“Whether somebody hails from Dunedin, Oamaru, Alexandra, Stewart Island Rakiura, or Owaka, they will be able to call on the Southland Charity Hospital to meet the gaps in healthcare access that impact all of our communities.”

The Southland Charity Hospital is initially aiming to reach the $1 million mark in donations. If it achieves this goal, it could begin physical work on the hospital as soon as 1 August.

“We’ve reached the halfway point so far – and we’re hoping that, if the people of Otago jump on board, we can begin work on our hospital sooner rather than later. The sooner we reach that $1 million mark, the sooner we can start helping the people of the Otago and Southland communities,” Vining says.

Founded by the community, for the community, the Southland Charity Hospital is entirely reliant on the generosity of the public – and the call for additional support from the Otago region has now been issued.

“We will not receive any Government funding,” Vining says. “That means it is absolutely crucial our communities support our cause. Without that community support, we will be unable to fulfil our goal of providing diagnosis and treatment to the members of our community who are currently unable to access healthcare through either the public or private health systems.”

Fortunately, it is not too late to register for Buy A Brick Day. The event encourages schools, workplaces and organisations around New Zealand to hold a Casual Friday event on 31 July, with participants asked to dress in the Blair Vining Sports Foundation colours of red, white and black in exchange for a donation. Proceeds are then to be collected by each organisation, which is then asked to purchase a supporter’s brick.

To register and find out more, visit the Southland Charity Hospital Facebook page here.

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