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Funding a Christmas bonus for Ashhurst volunteers

13 December 2007

Community Funding a Christmas bonus for Ashhurst volunteers

Christmas came early for two local groups when they were picked by the Meridian Energy Te Apiti Community Fund panel as great initiatives to support in the community.

Ashhurst Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Ashhurst Pohangina Football Club were chosen from all the applicants and received a total of $14,000 between them to help run their organisations.

A vital service, the Volunteer Fire Brigade not only attends fires and road accidents, but also helps with other emergencies as a rapid response vehicle, transporting people and medical equipment around the community.

The Brigade will purchase a new van and equipment to respond with the main appliance to fires, road accidents and other emergencies. The Te Apiti Community Fund panel provided $10,000 for the van and pledged a further $2,500 to ensure the van got the paint job and lights to make it complete.

Chief Fire Officer Stuart Hart said the funding made sure that the volunteers were safe, as well as improving the service to help people in the area.

"We only have one vehicle, so once the main crew has gone out to the emergency within our four minute response time, the other volunteers have to follow in their private cars. This new vehicle will provide a safe way of getting around, painted in Fire Service colours; it will also help the volunteers to get more personnel and equipment to the scene," said Mr Hart.

"We have talked about getting a vehicle for some time, but there's always a lot of essential equipment to spend our money on ­ we recently got a new defibrillator, for example. We get lots of support from the community, but it takes a long time to do the fundraising. The money from the Community Fund has made life lots easier and this will benefit the whole community," Mr. Hart added.

Ashhurst Pohangina Football Club chairman Richard Tankersley was delighted with the support for his club and said the $1,500 would go towards buying some equipment to keep the club running well.

The club is large with 91 members and is run by energetic volunteer parents. The gear the club needs includes nets, balls, gloves goalie jerseys ­all the essentials to set the club up for the new season that starts in March next year.

The Community Fund's decision to support the club is in line with its objectives to consider applications from local sporting and recreational groups that have no other sustainable source of funding and that focus on junior levels and long lasting infrastructure.

"At the club I feel like we're a community in ourselves, we have real ownership and many people benefit from all the activities that go on here. Getting people on board who recognise the good work we are doing and who support us, like the Meridian Community Fund, really makes sense. We know we're doing a good job," said Mr Tankersley.

More than 20 mums and dads give up lots of their time to keep the Saturday morning sessions going, not to mention helping with the practice nights and all the administration that goes with running such a large club.

"The club can only function with the input from these volunteers, but the time they put in brings huge returns in they see their kids grappling with new skills, enjoying sport and keeping fit ­ and all this translates in to good life skills. It's just a great thing to be involved in," added Mr Tankersley.

If you would like to know more about the Meridian Energy Te Apiti Community Fund, who it supports and how you can apply, you can log on to www.meridianenergy.co.nz and click on Community Funds, or email community.fund@meridianenergy.co.nz . You can also call 03 357 9732 for more information.


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