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Businesses on board with volunteering

Businesses on board with volunteering

A number of innovative programmes, projects and partnerships were recognised this week at Volunteer Wellington’s inaugural Employee Volunteering Awards.

The event, which coincided with National Volunteer Week, also celebrated the Nikau Foundation Corporate Challenge 2014 - an annual initiative which sees volunteers from businesses and government departments give a day to complete a project in their local community.

Volunteer Wellington’s Employees in the Community Coordinator, Judy Kerr, explained, “The Nikau Foundation Corporate Challenge is a great initiative - not only do local community groups benefit from the expertise and goodwill of the business volunteers, but businesses also benefit from team building experiences, learning new skills, and extending overall knowledge about their communities.

We were keen to build on the success of this event and we established the Volunteer Wellington Employee Volunteering Awards to recognise and promote excellence in this area. We hope that the awards will encourage even deeper collaborations between business and community by providing an opportunity to share stories of the impact employee volunteering can have for all involved, and to learn and be inspired by others’ experiences and approaches.”

The Volunteer Wellington Employee Volunteering Awards celebrated outstanding contributions from businesses, community groups and individuals across several aspects of employee volunteering that are key to its success:

• The Standout Project award recognised a project that is particularly well designed, managed and implemented in a spirit of enthusiasm, and clearly demonstrates a positive impact on the community. Woodridge Planters and Nga Hau e Wha o Papararangi took the prize in this section for a novel initiative involving two community groups working collaboratively to engage employee volunteers. The project focuses on sustainability, with planting in the Northern Rata Forest as well as the establishment of a garden to grow traditional Maori vegetables at the marae.

• The Employee Volunteering Programme award showcases a business whose strong commitment to volunteering enables an Employee Volunteering Programme that encourages employees to make a difference through volunteering. PwC won this category and was praised for its programme flexibility, which offers staff multiple ways to engage in volunteering initiatives, including through skills-based volunteering.

• The Business and Community Partnership award celebrates how business and community can come together in a spirit of partnership and find ways to work together collaboratively to deliver ongoing and evolving benefits to both the partners and the community involved. This category was won by media intelligence company iSentia and MCLaSS, a not-for-profit organisation which offers free education and support for adult refugees and migrants. Judges were impressed with their joint long-term commitment to a project, which sees iSentia staff assisting with conversational English classes for new migrants.

• The Employee Volunteering Champions awards recognise outstanding contributions from two individuals - an employee volunteer and a community organisation employee. Transpower’s Helen Whitcombe received employee volunteer award for going above and beyond to motivate others and demonstrating her dedication to making a difference. Asert – Tatou Development Trust Coordinator Steve Wilson was recognised as a community organisation employee committed to involving employee volunteers and providing a great experience for all involved.

Ms Kerr said, “For our inaugural awards, we were delighted to receive so many high quality entries from across the Wellington region. Our congratulations go to our worthy winners and we’d like to thank all who participated, including our expert judges.”

Volunteer Wellington currently has around 35 Business Friends. The Employees in the Community programme runs throughout the year and companies can place volunteer teams at any time. If your business would like to get involved, please call Judy Kerr on 04 499 7572 or email eitc@volunteerwellington.org.nz.


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