Woodcote residents and staff have donated handbags full of toiletries, treats and other items to honour murdered British backpacker Grace Millane.
The donations are a response to the international ‘Love Grace’ handbag charity appeal.
Village Manager Liz Hampton said the residents and staff wanted to support women dealing with situations of domestic violence.
Liz delivered 30 bags to the Hornby branch of BNZ. The bank will take the handbags and items onto Women’s Refuge NZ. The handbags are filled with toothbrushes, soap, face cloths, smellies, shampoo and chocolate.
‘Love Grace’ is a charitable campaign set up in the UK by Grace’s family, combining her love of handbags with a legacy carried out in her name to end violence towards women. In New Zealand TV3’s The Project is supporting the campaign. Grace was a British tourist, whose disappearance in Auckland in 2018 drew international attention. Her body was found in the Waitakere Ranges in December 2018.
Liz said the ladies of Woodcote had recently talked about domestic violence and discussed the fact that “it has always been around”.
In their younger days some women of their generation had “just put up with it”. In those days many couldn’t drive, felt isolated and had no-one to turn to.
One of the residents remembered a case of domestic violence, and said that while people knew it was going on, no-one wanted to interfere.
The discussion table, including a collective 800 years of female wisdom, showed that the women still cared a lot about their surrounding community, and wanted an input into that community. “They follow current events and feel strongly about things. We discussed the (Millane) case at newspaper reading, and that sort of thing, so they certainly have opinions and experiences (to reflect on).”
Liz said a staff member printed some quotes about being strong and new beginnings which were put in the bags. The special items, including toiletries, were donated from local businesses. Those businesses asked, including Court Florist, Mary Gray chocolates, Linden Leaves and local pharmacies, had all without hesitation given goods.
Residents, staff and relatives donated the handbags.
The bags will be given to women who are fleeing from domestic violence situations.
The women had also been inspired by Ryman’s culture of kindness, that has long been emphasised by Ryman leaders and more recently reinforced by Ryman Chief Operations Officer Cheyne Chalmers, Liz said.
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