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Free sunscreen dispensers have hit Christchurch parks.

Lydia Clarke
Sunscreen Dispensers

Last week SkinCan launched an initiative which will see free sunscreen at two popular playgrounds.

As summer is fast approaching the need to ‘slip, slop and wrap’ is becoming vital.

Margaret Mahy playground and the Botanic Garden playground are the first to benefit from the trial initiative.

The idea came from the group, SkinCan, which believes that prevention is better than a cure.

SkinCan is a local group that is passionate about reducing New Zealand’s high rates of skin cancer. This group was founded by Leeann Marriott after she lost her brother to skin cancer when he was only 48 years old.  

Dr Victoria Scott-Lang, a member of SkinCan, said “Leeann really felt passionate after his death about improving the access for patients to get treatment but also to prevent melanoma in the first place.”

Victoria Scott-Lang felt having the dispensers at parks would help families that forget sunscreen or can’t afford it.

“It means parents and children can still enjoy being outside and in the sun but they are also being protected and sun-smart.

“We thought if we could do something small for the community, even a small step to improve the community's sun-smart behaviour then perhaps we could make a bit of a difference,” Scott-Lang said.

Leeann Marriott said she was overwhelmed with the amount of support she received from the Christchurch City Council and local businesses that were willing to help.

The idea to put sunscreen dispensers in playgrounds came from the United States.

“We discovered that in the United States many local authorities provide sunscreen dispensers at local parks and beaches, so we approached the Christchurch City Council to see if they were interested in a similar scheme here,” Marriott said.

The sunscreen dispensers are fully sponsored by local businesses and SkinCan is  hoping to get more sponsorship so it can take the dispensers to more parks around the city.

City Councillor, Anne Galloway, feels this is a great way to involve the community in such a great cause.

“It’s a way for a business to be actively involved in the community and sponsor another dispenser in another park. So, I can see this being a wonderful initiative,” Galloway said.

“Given that skin cancer is the leading cancer in New Zealand I’m so glad we are doing something about it.

“This is just another way to reinforce that message to look after our skin."