Mike King has teamed up with a local Hawke’s Bay business owner to launch the I Am Hope Wellness Centre for young people in Napier on Tuesday 28 February.
I Am Hope Wellness Centre is part of King and the Linden Estate Winery owner and I Am Hope supporter, Greg Miller’s flood-relief response to the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle in the East Coast.
The centre will house four counsellors and one GP who will be able available to children, teenagers, adults and families.
The medical and counsellor team is working on a volunteer basis and members have taken annual leave for two weeks to make themselves available to anyone who needs help in the area.
The founder of youth mental health charity, I Am Hope, and New Zealand’s leading free counselling service for young people, Gumboot Friday, says the real work for flood-ravaged communities hasn’t even begun yet.
“The mental health cost of this devastation is beyond what any of us can imagine. Once the TV cameras leave, isolation will set in. The rest of the country will move on, while communities here will face the real struggle; a profound sense of loss in the midst of rebuild and the recovery.
“It’s going to be hard times. We teamed up with local heroes, known and unknown, who have rolled up their sleeves and said let’s help how we can with what we got. We are absolutely floored by the support of Kiwis looking after Kiwis,” says King.
Miller, whose business has been devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle, has offered his restaurant premises for use by the centre.
“The destruction to our business on Linden Estate where we fundraised for I Am Hope last year is indescribable. We are badly flood-damaged and we are unable to use the onsite Valley d’Vine restaurant for business. But we can use it as a makeshift community wellness hub. A local logging company has donated a generator to keep the lights on.
“We don’t have a lot of information right now. We don’t know when we’ll have power back on. We are in the need-assessment phase of the devastation and the Wellness Centre will be doing that. Once we have a clearer picture of what our community needs, we will branch out to other areas as part of our flood-relief response,” he says.
Miller’s charity event at Linden Estate raised $200,000 for I Am Hope and Gumboot Friday in 2022.
“We’re talking to other counsellors and mental health professionals who are interested and willing to work with us, to ensure as many flood victims are able to get the help they need in these dire times,” says King.
- Text FLOOD to donate $3 to IAMHOPE’s flood-relief donation drive
- I Am Hope’s floor-relief donation website: https://store.iamhope.org.nz/flood-relief/?fbclid=PAAaYze32pm0HVcBHjEwe0yETbnIhxHvLqmApFpOmu2bUatE-Qrj0Ypw9MTXQ
Valley d’Vine website: https://www.valleydvine.co.nz/