Bruce Hopkins (aka 'Gamling' in LOTR) is walking the Te Araroa Trail raising funds for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ
Bruce Hopkins is set to take on the Te Araroa Trail [https://www.teararoa.org.nz/]; walking over 3,000 kilometres from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island with the goal to raise $50,000 for Kiwi charity Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ.
Setting off on October 14th, Bruce’s journey is estimated to take an impressive five months, seeing him averaging between 15 to 30 kilometres each day. Considering Bruce only completed his first overnight tramp just over a month ago, his mantra is quite fittingly “one foot in-front of the other”.
“I know I’m in for a huge challenge which will both physically and mentally push me to my limits. One thing I’m not lacking is motivation and commitment. Having the opportunity to support such a great charity like Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a true honour.”
A grandfather of three, Bruce treasures the time he gets to spend with them as a grandparent, and empathises with grandparents around New Zealand who are having to step back into the parental role often as the result of a traumatic family breakdown.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ provides support to over seven thousand grandparents and whanau caregivers who care for more than twelve thousand children across New Zealand, a figure that has nearly doubled over the last ten years. The Trust’s Chief Executive Kate Bundle explains,
“The top three reasons children end up with their grandparents are the parents’ drug addiction, domestic violence and family breakdown. Sadly, these three often come as a package, leaving children traumatised and needing some form of specialist support.”
Grandparents are needing to step back into the parental role, often with little notice and preparation. Kate continues,
“Getting financial support, good advice, professional help and support for the child's needs to stabilise and normalise their lives along with some respite are among the key challenges grandparents face as caregivers. Often a grandparent will need to give up work and care for the grandchild, with many having to turn to social security benefits. They also find it difficult to find a caregiver who can give them a break every now and then.”
“Families we support face a number of challenges when stepping back into the parental role. They often turn to us for advice and support on how to introduce traumatised children to a stable home-life and establish a sense of normality for them. Often a grandparent will need to give up work and care for the grandchild, with many having to turn to social security benefits. They also find it difficult to find a caregiver who can give them a break every now and then.”
Funds raised through Bruce’s Givealittle will go towards support programmes, the ‘trauma-informed’ caregiver education programme and direct one-on-one support.
“Despite many hardships, these grandparents would go to the ends of the earth for their grandchildren.”
"We are delighted to be working with Bruce to raise awareness of the needs of these families during his Long Walk Home and our members are looking forward to sharing some of their stories with Bruce during his journey, the length of New Zealand.
GRG Trust NZ looks forward to your support in helping Bruce raise awareness of the needs of grandparent care families and to achieve his goal of raising $50,000 to help grandparent care families nationwide.
Bruce will travel light with the bare essentials; a tent, sleeping bag, cooker, water filter and enough food to last until the next town where he can restock.
See Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ's website for more information about the Trust and it's work.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust (GRG) provides support services to full-time grandparent and whanau caregivers empowering them to provide a safe, secure and nurturing home that protects and promotes the well-being and development of the vulnerable children and grandchildren in their care.
Funds donated will be applied to GRG’s SALT (Simply Acquired and Learned Techniques) ‘trauma-informed’ caregiver education programme and outreach/advocacy services plus Te Araroa trail expenses and food costs up to a max of $6,000 with donations applied equally until $12,000 is raised, after which all funds will be used for GRG's SALT and outreach/advocacy services.
He did it! Bruce nails the Te Araroa Trail 31 May 2018
Earlier this month, Bruce took the final steps of the Te Araroa Trail to the famous sign at Stirling Point at Bluff, ate some yummy chocolate cake baked by trail founder Geoff Chappell’s wife Miriam and savoured some cool bubbles picked up en-route to meet Bruce, by our Southland Support Coordinator, Lynette Nielsen.
The enormity of his journey, the stories he’s told/been told, the people he has met (including a number of our grandparent care families along the way), the injuries and near death experiences he’s endured and the personal reflections on life after walking 3000 km in all extremes of weather; are all now sinking in for Bruce as he gets used to normal life again.
We are delighted and most grateful to see that donations continue to come into this Givealittle page, and to date over $24,000 has been raised for GRG via the page and our website. On behalf of us all, thank you Bruce—now get some much needed rest and relaxation. You deserve it!
Donations to this page expire today. But if you would like to make a donation to GRG, please go to our main Givealittle page at https://givealittle.co.nz/org/grg to make a donation or to our website at www.grg.org.nz.
To follow the last leg of Bruce’s journey raising awareness and funds for GRG along the way, or to listen to his podcasts on Radio NZ please go to:
Many thanks to you all from the GRG team!