Thu, Oct 14, 2021 12:58 PM

Charity auction dinner cancelled

Big Brothers Big Sisters Nelson Tasman Board chair Richard Kempthorne and communications coordinator Cushla Vass with just a handful of the goodies that are available for auction online. Photo: Erin Bradnock.

Erin Bradnock

Nelson’s annual Big Brother Big Sisters fundraising auction has had to cancel for the second year in a row.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Nelson Tasman Board chair Richard Kempthorne says the board made the difficult decision to move the auction online after last week's Alert Level announcement.

“We all had a zoom together. By the time the announcement finished we were quite unclear about what the rules meant and decided it was the best option considering numbers and spacing concerns,” says Richard.

Pre-covid, BBBS annual auctions would raise upwards of $50,000 says communications coordinator Cushla Vass.

“The online auction last year didn’t do as well the dinners usually do. We managed to raise $40,000,” says Cusha.

“At least we’re a bit more prepared this time around, last year it was a bit of a scramble to get things online.”

Richard says the online auction will help raise crucial funds for the BBBS programme.

Proceeds from the auction will go directly towards matching some of these young people in Nelson-Tasman on their waiting list, as well as recruiting, training, supervising and supporting over 200 active matches from Hira to Golden Bay.

He says the funds would help the team attend to the approximate 55 kids sitting on their waitlist for a mentor.

Cushla estimates that around 50 of that number are boys.

“A lack of male mentors has always been an issue for us and there’s a constant stream of referrals coming forward,” she says.

Both Cushla and Richard have been blown away by the support they’ve received already including the Nelson Airport as the fundraisers dinner sponsor.

“I’m genuinely so surprised by people’s generosity each day,” says Cushla.

Some of the goods donated by generous artists and business owners across the region include handcrafted jewellery from Benjamin Black, a Deadly Ponies handbag, a stand-up paddleboard as well as luxury accommodation and experiences in Eagles Nest, Hanmer Springs and a Marlborough winery tour.

“It’s our biggest auction list so far,” says Cushla.

The online auction closes soon on 15 Friday October at 9pm and be found here