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Appeal launched to send concert organists on contactless tour of rest homes across the country

Two trucks fitted out with enough equipment to get the crowds going at major music festivals are ready to roll up at rest homes right around the country.

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A group in Nelson is helping the elderly to enjoy their new freedoms like everyone else. Source: 1 NEWS

The From Us with Aroha appeal has launched in Nelson, raising funds to send two concert organists on a contactless tour to aged care facilities next month.

Project manager Sarah Waterman says they’re hoping residents "are really going to enjoy connecting for with the outside world", many of them for the first time since lockdown.

Age Concern says this is just the time for older people to be catching up on life's simple pleasures.

Chief executive Stephanie Clare says some have been hesitant to leave their homes, out of a concern that "people will maybe say something, maybe not allow older people to come back into the community as they should be able to."

Ms Clare says there’s still confusion around what they can and can't do, but advises that people who want to get out, "who want to get back to the bowls club, who want to get back to shopping for themselves, should be able to… and it's the rest of New Zealand's role to make it comfortable for us all to get back to normal and be together."

While those aged 70 or older have a higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19, at Level 2, the Ministry of Health’s advice is to take extra precautions while still living a more normal life.

Ms Gray says the music offered by the From Us with Aroha team will be sure to lift spirits following a difficult period of time.

Gear has already been donated by businesses in the event and the entertainment industry, including those currently out of work in the wake of Covid-19.

Event audio director Andrew Shellock told 1 NEWS that "sitting at home for six weeks hasn't been so thrilling so it's really great to be able to do what we should be doing."

Ewing Poultry general manager Paul Ewing has donated a truck and diesel for the South Island leg of the tour. Mr Shellock says it’s been set up with a rig used at festivals like Marchfest.

"It all goes into the rugby games, you know, we might have six or 7,000 people so it's a big PA," Mr Ewing said.

The campaigners are still looking for a truck sponsor for the North Island and need to raise $200,000 to get the project on the road.

Sarah Waterman says they want to perform to "thousands of people in care homes" and “say thank you to their care workers".

To donate to their Givealittle page, click here.