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Forward Thinking Trust Takes Out Rotorua Top Award

Media Release, Monday 23 June 2014
Strictly embargoed until 8:00pm

Forward Thinking Trust Takes Out Top Award

A group of volunteers in Rotorua behind a screening programme that is changing children’s lives were tonight recognised at the Trustpower Rotorua District Community Awards as the Supreme Winner.

Over 180 people gathered at the Rotorua Convention Centre this evening for the Trustpower Rotorua District Community Awards which were presented by Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick and Trustpower Community Relations Manager Graeme Purches.

In total, Trustpower has given away over $5,000 to various community groups through tonight’s Awards.
For winning the Supreme Award, the Empowered Learning Trust received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money. The Empowered Learning Trust now has the opportunity to represent the district at the 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards, which are being held in the Wellington region in March 2015.

The Empowered Learning Trust was born out of a firm belief by a group of motivated rural mothers that all children have the right to be equipped for the best level of education and opportunities possible. Through an Irlen and Vision screening programme of all year 4 students in areas across rural Rotorua they aim to remove barriers to learning.

Rotorua District Mayor Steve Chadwick says it’s incredible what a group of inspired, passionate and caring people can achieve.

“The Empowered Learning Trust and their screening programme is reaching children and families in rural Rotorua and ensuring they are best equipped to make the most of educational opportunities. It’s an exciting model with a lot of potential to be replicated in other areas of New Zealand”, says Mayor Chadwick.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says it’s amazing the lengths they go to, to ensure every child is well equipped to access these education opportunities.

“The trained members of the Trust not only perform the screening, but if families are not able to get to the appointments then they ensure transport is provided too. All children are helped regardless if they can afford to pay for glasses or not. Since starting out more than 1050 children have been screened and 200 children have been fitted with corrective lenses.

“This year the Trust is keen to support those with hearing loss and this year is extending its vision support to Murupara and Kiangaroa”, says Miss Somerville.


The competition for this year’s Trustpower Rotorua District Community Awards was strong with thirty-eight groups entered for the Awards.

Other award recipients at tonight’s Trustpower Rotorua District Community Awards were:

Heritage and Environment
Commendation: Friends of Rotorua Museum
Runner-Up: Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust
Winner: Rotorua Museum

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Rotorua Community Kai
Runner-Up: St Chads Centre
Winner: Citizens Advise Bureau Rotorua


Arts and Culture
Commendation: Tutor Group of the Rotorua Highland Pipe Band
Runner-Up: Rotorua North Rotary Club
Winner: Rotorua Friends of the Library

Sport and Leisure
Commendation: Sailability Rotorua
Runner- up: Rotorua Mountain Bike Club
Winner: Rotorua Anglers Association

Education and Child/Youth Development
Runner-Up: Youth in Emergency Services
Winner: Rerewhakaaitu Playcentre

Supreme Winner
Empower Learning Trust

Youth Spirit
Winner: Kimberley Burr
Runner-up: Pragnesh Moraji
Finalist: Jazmin Henare
Finalist: Stephen Wright
Finalist: Alexandra Hill
Finalist: Hannah Bailey

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