Free events: support others with right tools

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Craig 'Wiggy' Wiggins is running two free events tomorrow giving people tools to help others in hard times.
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Strong communities create strong people, and strong people create strong communities, wellness advocate Craig Wiggins says.

The Ashburton-based rural advocate is running two free events – Agri Connect and Sports Connect – this week to give Mid Canterbury people the tools to help others in hard times. Anyone can attend.

Agri Connect was about looking after the rural service industries, while Sports Connect was to reach the coaches, administrators and players, he said

‘‘Agri Connect is definitely about connecting local services with local issues,’’ he said.

In the rural sector clients and colleagues are under a lot of pressure at the moment, he said.

‘‘We are finding that the rural service industries are the focal point, or the fulcrum, in that pressure and they’re having to have conversations with their clients and colleagues they aren’t really geared up for – or perhaps haven’t had training in.’’

Wiggins and fellow mental health advocates Slade McFarland and Kate Tomlinson, will share information about connecting and mental health, as well as showcase support services in the district such as Rural Support Trust and available medical services.

Agri Connect and Sports Connect events at the Ashburton Club and MSA on Wednesday. Agri Connect from 10am to 3pm, and Sports Connect from 7pm to 9pm.

‘‘We will have an HR specialist talk about employment during busy times when you can’t focus on those sorts of things but a staff member’s left, we will have Pup Chamberlain talk about his work (with Lives Worth Living).

‘‘We will have a local GP talk about what mental health looks like now.

‘‘We will have a member of the police talk about what to do in a mental health emergency and of course a lot of cross pollination between the different industries that attend on the day.’’

The Carr Family Foundation will also be running health checks on the day.

People can just turn up, he said. Doors open at 9.30am.

In the evening Sports Connect is a condensed version of the day time session, he said.

‘‘It talks to the coaches, administrators, players and everybody about how the community hub – that sports are – can help people in need from the youngest player to the oldest administrator.

‘‘We want to try and get as many sports as we can,’’ he said, as the information was also valid for work places too.

‘‘We are really focusing on how to support team members … and Slade is really the start of the show with that one with (his involvement through) Super Rugby and Mates in Construction.’’

‘‘If you can’t make it to one, come to the other,’’ he said.

All welcome:

The Agri Connect and Sports Connect free events will be at the Ashburton Club and MSA on May 8. Agri Connect runs from 10am to 3pm, with a break for lunch, and Sports Connect from 7pm to 9pm. People can just turn up on the day.