A powerful new initiative by two kiwi women aims to empower people to help each other in their time of need.
Best friends Kelly Banks and Janine Williams founded the Support Crew website after doctors diagnosed Banks’ partner with cancer. Suddenly, life was far more complicated for Banks as her partner’s main support person, with no warning of what this might entail or how it would change her life.
Banks says she needed help, but didn’t know where to begin asking for it. “Kiwis are caring and helpful but often when we find ourselves flooded with offers of help it becomes too difficult to navigate, accept or coordinate these kind offers. How do we say yes? Where do we start?”
She says even when people do want to help someone, they’re not sure how to offer and how to follow through on their offer.
“Offering help and accepting it can be quite awkward, especially for kiwis who still very much adopt the ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude, or quite simply, are too embarrassed to accept help,” says Banks.
Support Crew solves this fundamental problem by recognising that people need help but do not like to ask for it, and for those who want to help do not know how to actually do it. The online platform creates a virtual village and empowers people by creating an easy, step by step guide in a task schedule created for a person in need.
From cooking meals, school drop offs, cleaning and other errands, to financial help for treatment costs, house modifications or day to day expenses, or even leaving positive messages for emotional support, you can now organise it all online. The best part is, everybody can log in and look at the shared schedule, making it easy to follow and well organised for everyone involved. The goal is to help another thousand people by Christmas.
Williams says their idea needed backing, and that support came from AMP Financial Services, specialists in insurance and KiwiSaver. AMP have teamed up with Support Crew to help spread the word to more New Zealanders, while at the same time offering Support Crew to their customers at claim time, when they often need a lot of support around them.
“One of the biggest challenges as a brand new social enterprise in a totally new and unique space is reaching out to people who need us. Having the opportunity to partner with AMP and to support their customers is fantastic, and it’s already helping to make a big difference in the lives Kiwis when they really need it,” says Williams.
If you would like to help someone, or if you know someone who could use some help visit supportcrew.co