Grief and party are not usually words that go hand-in-hand, but next Tuesday a virtual fundraiser will show it can.

Lounges are set to become party central on Tuesday night as the Greerton-based non-profit, Grief Support Services (GSS) hosts a virtual gala, open to everyone across the nation.

It is called "Thanks for Not Coming" and the goal is to raise money for the organisation and awareness for the mental health services it provides.

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GSS offers subsidised counselling to children, families and whānau suffering grief and loss, whether it's the loss of a loved one, relationship or a job.


Its funding, much of which was through foundation grants, was expected to fall between 30 and 50 per cent as a result of their usual sponsors halting their financial support amid the pandemic.

Chairwoman Bronwyn Jackson said those receiving counselling paid what they could, "which was often nothing" and GSS would cover the remaining costs.

Each session with the qualified counsellors cost the organisation $120.

Grief Support Services chairwoman Bronwyn Jackson. Photo / George Novak
Grief Support Services chairwoman Bronwyn Jackson. Photo / George Novak

The crisis had put extra stress on the lives of New Zealanders and Jackson said they expected an increase in the support they would need to provide in level 2.

So to help the service help others, either dress to the nines or your pyjamas, Zoom in with your favourite nibbles and drinks and mingle with others at the fundraising event, with a live performance by Waihī-based singer-songwriter Sarah Spicer.

The "ticket" to the gala is purchased by donating any amount to Grief Support Services through on a Givealittle page that has been set up.

Donors who include "virtual gala" in the comments will be emailed a link to the Zoom meeting, which will start at 7pm on Tuesday and run for around an hour.

Participants will also automatically be entered in a draw for prizes from local sponsors including a gift basket from FreshChoice Pāpāmoa, a voucher from Essential Beauty Therapy, and $100 cash from anonymous donors.

Service manager and senior counsellor Janet Baird said they had continued to deliver support throughout lockdown.


She said they now had new ways to work with people, "potentially making GSS even more accessible for those who find transport or mobility a problem".

About the fundraiser

When: Tuesday, May 12 from 7pm to 8pm.
Tickets: Make a donation though the Givealittle page and include "virtual gala". A link to the event will be emailed to you.