Gloriavale Leavers Support Trust pleads for public's help for those leaving commune

There’s an urgent plea to support those leaving the West Coast commune of Gloriavale.

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With next to no money and few possessions, families are needing help to resettle. Source: 1 NEWS

The Gloriavale Leavers Support Trust has launched the Emergency Welfare Appeal to help people reintegrate into the outside world.

A video has been created featuring over 25 children whose families have been helped by the trust.

Spokeswoman Liz Gregory said members often leave the secretive Christian community with almost nothing.

“When families are coming out with nothing we find that around $45,000 to $50,000 is enough to resettle a family,” said Gregory.

Most of the items are donated like clothing and furniture, but $5000 cash is still needed for each family.

“There are lots of things that only money can buy.

“You need your drivers license, when you order a birth certificate, pay bond for a house to rent,” said Gregory.

Former Gloriavale members in their new home. Source: 1 NEWS

The demand is only growing, with more than 50 people leaving Gloriavale since September.

The Ministry of Social Development told 1 NEWS that Gloriavale leavers are entitled to benefits and grants like everyone else, but will only be eligible for a reestablishment grant if they’ve experienced family violence.

The Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said this is a unique situation in New Zealand's history and it demands a unique and tailored situation.

“What we don't want is people who have really been in just about in a bubble, a sealed bubble in their lives, having to negotiate those issues piece by piece,” said Becroft.

The trust is hoping to raise at least $50,000. Donations can be made here