'I'll walk with you' campaign for New Brighton

Kirsty McMillan has launched a campaign offering support to those afraid to go out on their own.

Kirsty McMillan has launched a campaign offering support to those afraid to go out on their own.

A show of support for Australia's Muslim community that went viral after the Sydney siege has inspired a Christchurch woman to start a similar campaign in her community.

Kirsty McMillan started the #illwalkwithyouNB campaign on Facebook following a similar move in Australia after the Martin Place siege last week. 

Australia's #illridewithyou hashtag amassed more than 12,000 tweets during last Monday evening alone.

McMillan said she wanted to start a similar campaign in New Brighton to support elderly or anxious residents who felt unsafe walking alone in the seaside suburb.

New Brighton was "generally a fantastic place with a fantastic community", but McMillan said she had heard of incidents where elderly people had been "targeted" recently.

She started the #illwalkwithyouNB hashtag on Thursday after a 37-year-old woman was the victim of an attempted kidnapping on Marine Pde. 

"There's been a few little muggings and that nasty little attempted kidnapping the other day . . . People shouldn't be afraid to go out and about." 

McMillan told the victim, who lived near her, that she would walk with her if she felt unsafe to go out following the incident.

"The woman who was attacked the other day, she's not elderly, but she's still feeling anxious, so I offered to walk with her.

"It was a very spur of the moment thing and it's just grown from there." 

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McMillan said a group of other New Brighton women had since offered their support for the campaign by agreeing to walk with people in need. 

Some of the women had also offered to drive people around if they needed help with transport. 

"They wanted to support others in their community."

McMillan said no one had asked to use the service yet, but she suspected many of those who needed the support did not use Facebook.

She visited community groups today to let them know of the campaign and to ensure the message was passed on to those who might benefit from it.

"I think it probably will have some legs. If people don't need the service though then that's even better." 

Anyone who wanted someone to "walk with them" in New Brighton could connect with the volunteers on Facebook by using the #illwalkwithyouNB hashtag.

They could also email illwalkwithyouNB@gmail.com or phone 03 382 5795. 

 - The Press

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