$16,000 for Elliott Foundation

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Support for safety .. Members of Dunedin's Essence Trust meet with Lesley Elliott and Bill O'Brien of the Sophie Elliott Foundation to hand over funds. Standing (from left): Shelly Gilchrist, Anita Greene, Ange Copson, Bill O'Brien, Carolyn Northover. Front: Lesley Elliott, Sandra Spence, and Annie Simpson-King. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The work of the Sophie Elliott Foundation has received a major boost, with the donation of $16,000 from Dunedin’s Essence Trust.

The trust, which comprises a group of Dunedin business women who are passionate about supporting the community, raised the funds through the inaugural Inspire Dunedin event at Forsyth Barr Stadium in May.

Receiving the funds on Friday, foundation trustee Lesley Elliott was “thrilled” with the $16,000 donation.

“We have been talking about exciting new plans for what we would like to do if we had the money, so this is absolutely wonderful,” she said.

Essence Trust spokeswoman Ange Copson said the group was pleased with how well the Inspire Dunedin events had been received, and they were happy to help raise the profile of the foundation.

“It is great to know that the money we raised will do so much good,” Mrs Copson said.

Sophie Elliott Foundation trustee Bill O’Brien, who is in charge of developing the Loves-Me-Not programme, said the response to the sessions had been overwhelmingly positive.

The Loves-Me-Not programme, in which police lead one-day workshops for year 12 pupils on how to keep relationships safe, had run in every Dunedin secondary school in the past couple of years, Mr O’Brien said.

As at June 30, Loves-Me-Not workshops were run in 78 schools across New Zealand, reaching about 10,000 young people.

“Those numbers are very encouraging,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mrs Elliott and Mr O’Brien also wrote the book Loves Me Not – How to keep relationships safe, which was given away to pupils.

One of the aims of the Essence Trust is to help support women to return to the workforce, including helping to boost their skills and resources.

For more information about the support available, email essence.dunedin@gmail.com.