Special needs kids get help

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Buying resources for a specially-built classroom for autistic children will be funded by the SkyCity Queenstown Community Trust.

Through the trust, the Queenstown casino has donated 2.5 per cent of net profit, or $80,000, to 28 community groups this year – donations now total about $800,000 during the past seven years.

The $4177 grant to the Central & Southern Autism group will help kit out a specially-built classroom at Arrow Junction for about a dozen autistic children.

“Any decent resources are horrendously expensive,” says CSA secretary Jo Wright.

Another casino trust recipient is Wakatipu Victim Support, whose $2566 goes towards emergency accommodation and to sending its chairman to a volunteers training workshop in Wellington.

The Gibbston Community Association gets $6500 to help build a bridge over an historic goldmining tailrace, and $3590 goes to Queenstown Lakes Family Centre to train two support workers.

Other groups funded include Frankton and Queenstown Playcentres, Queenstown and Wakatipu Kindergartens, Queenstown JazzFest Trust, Wakatipu Abuse Prevention Network, Arrowtown Autumn Festival and Queenstown Citizens Advice Bureau.

Meanwhile, founding trust chair Mary Stamers-Smith has stepped down – lawyer Clark Pirie and pharmacist Kim Wilkinson have been appointed to join trustees Vicki Buckham and Jim Ryan.