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Overwhelming Support for New Community Initiative

Media Release, for immediate release, Monday 25 September

Overwhelming Support for New Community Initiative

More than 500 voluntary groups have taken advantage of a new website designed to support and promote New Zealand's voluntary sector.

TrustPower Community Connect – www.communityconnect.co.nz – was launched six months ago. The website is an extension of TrustPower's Community Awards programme, which is run around the country to recognise and reward the work of voluntary groups and organisations.

TrustPower Community Connect is an online, searchable database of voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations working around New Zealand. The website offers voluntary groups the chance to publicise their group for free and promote their events through the site's Community Calendar. The site also offers volunteers additional training and support through the publishing of monthly articles and advice from experts in the voluntary sector and regular news items of interest to volunteers.

TrustPower Community Relations Manager Graeme Purches says TrustPower Community Connect was born out of feedback from TrustPower's Community Awards, where participants talked about the value of being able to network with other similar groups in their community.

"Volunteers make our communities tick and without the thousands of voluntary groups and organisations operating around the country our communities would not be able to access many services that we take for granted today.

"Through TrustPower Community Connect we can give something back to those volunteers by providing consistent, year-round support and a much needed networking resource," says Graeme Purches.

TrustPower spent more than a year developing the site and researching voluntary groups' needs before the website went live in March this year. Since then, more than 500 voluntary groups have registered on the site and many events and activities have been promoted through the site's Community Calendar.

Graeme Purches says they are delighted with the great response they have had to the site.

"As well as being used by voluntary groups and organisations, many individuals are also using the TrustPower Community Connect website to find out about voluntary groups operating in their area.

"Many people have emailed or phoned us to say how wonderful it is to have such a resource at the touch of their fingertips!" says Graeme Purches.

Any voluntary group or not-for-profit organisation is able to register on TrustPower Community Connect and the site is completely free to use. Voluntary groups can register on the site by logging onto www.communityconnect.co.nz or by calling 0800 87 11 11 to have a registration form sent out.

ENDS

www.communityconnect.co.nz

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