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Cold snap reinforces need for volunteers

Tuesday 4 July 2006

Cold snap reinforces need for volunteers

Today’s cold snap across Canterbury has reinforced the need for volunteers to offer assistance to households and farmers still struggling with the mid-June snowfall.

Rural support offices in Ashburton, Timaru, Fairlie and Waimate set up last week to co-ordinate assistance are receiving offers of support, but more are needed, said MAF regional team leader John Greer.

“Our local facilitators are keen to hear from any volunteers with home and family experience or with farm skills and a rural background,” he said.

“We want people with good listening ability who can respond with sensible advice and report back to rural facilitators if specialist social support or farm assistance is needed.”

He said the facilitators were aware that many rural families badly affected by the snow storm had not asked for help, even when their circumstances justified it.

“What we are saying is they are not obliged to struggle against the odds and deal with serious term issues on their own, when assistance is available.

“It is also important that neighbours, friends and stock and station agents let us know if they think any family or farmer is having trouble coping.”

He said volunteers can call the toll-free number, 0800 2DEFROST (0800 233 376) to register their names. Or they can phone one of the rural support offices at Ashburton 308 6247, Fairlie 686 6873, Timaru 688 8141 or Waimate 689 2252.

Volunteers accepted will be allocated to a region and fully briefed before undertaking any assignments, Mr Greer said. Any volunteers from outside the affected areas will be eligible for mileage and accommodation expenses.


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