Clutha rallies behind Millane charity

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The Clutha community and sports clubs have donated 100 handbags to Women’s Refuge.

Inspired by the national Love Grace campaign, supporters in the Clutha district banded together to do something to ensure their local community benefited and was supported in times of need.

The appeal is named after Grace Millane, who was murdered while travelling in New Zealand in 2018.

Love Grace is a charitable campaign set up in the United Kingdom by Grace Millane’s family, and draws on her love of handbags to create a legacy carried in her name to end violence towards women.

More than 100 handbags collected by Balclutha police, the Clutha Rugby Football Club and the Ken Milne Classic event, the Ministry of Social Development and the Clutha District Council have been given to the Gore and Clutha Women’s Refuge to help support women in need of safety from violence.

Women’s refuge manager Sam Munroe said the bags would be filled with basic care products to allow women who had been forced to leave a relationship with nothing to have something that was their own.

‘‘It is awesome the way the people of the Clutha district have responded to the appeal when they are asked for specific things,’’ Ms Munroe said.

‘‘The quality of the bags donated are amazing and we are so lucky to have them all.

‘‘It is very important for any woman coming to us who may have had to walk away from everything and now has nothing to call her own, to receive a personal handbag filled with care products, they can start feeling that they are special and valued once again.’’

Rugby football club secretary Keely Hurring said the handbags had been filled with basic care items bought with funds raised by the rugby club and at the Ken Milne Classic held last month.

‘‘The proceeds of the classic allowed us to purchase products to fill the handbags with, including those donated by Lyndy Cleverley, it is good to see they are staying in the district so all donations are contributing directly to women in need in our community,’’ Mr Hurring said.

Handbags can be dropped off at the district council offices at 1 Rosebank Terrace, Balclutha.