Donating presents to the Women’s Refuge this year is Riverside Pool staff and customers. Pictured from left is Trudie Brand and Fraye Bruce-Martin of the Women’s Refuge and Dave McKenzie and Lisa Bergman from Riverside Pool. Photo: Andrew Board.

Riverside jumps in to help women’s refuge


A push by the women’s refuge to make Christmas a bit better for dozens of Nelson families has been met with enthusiasm from a number of local businesses, including Riverside Pool.

Each year the refuge sends out around 40 letters to businesses to see if they can help provide food or gifts for their hampers which are delivered to around 60 families who have been clients of the refuge over the past year.

Refuge manager Trudie Brand says they usually get a good response from churches and businesses with some like CrackerJack Toys making special parcels each year and supermarkets and butchers donating food.

Riverside says when it got a letter from the refuge it decided to go all out and attempt to really get in behind the cause.

“We thought we’d do the tree as well so people could see what it’s actually about and it’s a great opportunity to get behind them,” says Lisa Bergman.

Regular swimmers to the pool and parents of children in the swim school have been donating presents to go under the Christmas tree and the children have been writing Christmas wishes to help decorate the tree. Swim Magic swim school has also donated a ‘gift of life’, or a school term’s worth of swimming lessons.

Centre manager Dave McKenzie says anyone is welcome to come and donate a non-perishable food item or gift to put under the tree. “It would be great to get a really good response from the people of Nelson for this. Hopefully it will help make Christmas special for some families.”