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New Sunshade Tents To Benefit Mackenzie District

Media Release for immediate use 1 April 2008

New Sunshade Tents To Benefit Mackenzie District

Community groups in the Mackenzie District will be safer in the sun thanks to an initiative by the Cancer Society’s Twizel Volunteer Support group, and funding from the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund.

The Twizel Volunteer Support Group was successful in securing funding for the purchase of two portable sunshades, supplied by local ‘Quikshade’ importer Graeme Thompson. The sunshades will be made available to community-based groups and clubs to use at outdoor events.

Kate McFarlane, Health Promoter for the South Canterbury branch of the Cancer Society, says the new sunshades will benefit the whole area.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand and our death rate is among the highest in the world. Research shows that childhood sunburn and excessive exposure to UV can increase the risk of skin cancer so limiting the amount of UV that people are exposed to can reduce the incidence of skin cancers in later life.”

Kate McFarlane adds that while it is widely accepted that skin cancer prevention requires a focus on personal protection, it is also important to create a sun-safe environment to reduce harmful exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

“Adequate shade provision is a critical component for protection from the sun. It is just as important as wearing hats, protective clothing and sunscreen. The sun is particularly harsh in the Mackenzie District so it is fantastic that funding has been secured to purchase the sunshades.”

Funding for the sunshades was obtained through a variety of grants. The major contributor was the Meridian Waitaki Community Fund.

Meridian External Relations Advisor Claire Shaw says they were delighted to be able to support the initiative.

“Sun safety is a very important issue in New Zealand. It is great that people can get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine but it is vital that everything is done to ensure that adequate protection is provided at community events.”

The Meridian Waitaki Community Fund contributed $3,000 towards the purchase of two sunshades. The Cancer Society’s Equipment Grant Fund and the Twizel Volunteer Support Group provided the remainder of the money.

The 3x3m portable sunshades are expected to be used at a variety of events in the Mackenzie District including sports events, festivals and children’s activities.

The Cancer society has been running its Shade Loan scheme in the Canterbury West Coast division since 2002.

(ENDS)

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