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Whanganui volunteers prepare to represent their region

For immediate release, March 26, 2015


Whanganui volunteers prepare to represent their region at national awards

Representatives from Whangaui will converge on Wellington this weekend, (March 27-29), to go head to head with the country’s best and brightest volunteers at the Trustpower National Community Awards.

The 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards, run over three days, recognises last year’s top volunteer groups and organisations from 27 districts across New Zealand. The Stone Soup Community will represent your district on this national stage.

Joining them at the Wellington event will be representatives from 24 other voluntary groups or organisations from around the country, each of whom were also Supreme Winners at their own regional Trustpower Community Awards.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says the Stone Soup Community emerged as a clear winner in the 2014 regional awards, because its inception showed an ability to turn the tragic death of a child into a positive legacy.

“The tragedy that shook this region could easily have fractured the already fragile networks in the area. Instead, for the past seven years the Stone Soup Community has improved the community, and a lot of people believe that actually restricted the expansion of gang activity at the time.

“Te Ora Hou worked with Housing New Zealand after the devastation to curb the physical, and also probably emotional, exodus from the community around Puriri St. To see such a great initiative still operating proves grass roots community work is often self-driven by the communities themselves, not external players,” Miss Somerville says.

The group got its name from the medieval fable of the same title; a weary traveller gained small ingredients from villagers, which resulted in a large and tasty soup. Greg Tichbon, from founding organisation Te Ora Hou, says this analogy relates to the community members’ ability to put something into the meetings, and take something away. Operating with the mantra “With your basket, and my basket, the people will live”, the Stone Soup Community gained a playground last year for the area (which encompasses 18 streets, and about 600 people). The community group has also focused on addressing social issues like keeping children safe, and reducing family violence.

While in Wellington this weekend, each group will present for eight minutes on their achievements, also outlining why they deserve to win the top prize of $2,500. Presentations take place on Saturday (March 28) at the Memorial Lecture Theatre at Victoria University, followed by an awards dinner at Te Papa.

Along with representatives from the Stone Soup Community, Mayor Annette Main from the Whanganui District Council will also be in attendance.

And local groups can start thinking about this years Trustpower Energy Direct Whanganui District Community Awards. Anyone can enter a group, and all voluntary groups and non-profit organisations are eligible. Entries open in June.

© Scoop Media

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