The Search is on for Your Volunteers
For immediate release, March 3 2016
The Search is on for Your
Volunteers - Old, New Or up And
Entries for the Trustpower Waitaki District Community Awards opened last week
Moeraki, Oamaru, Duntroon and locals from other surrounding areas should get their thinking caps on from this week, to consider what’s been happening with help from volunteers in their town.
Because from today, anyone in the district can nominate those volunteers to be considered for the 2016 Trustpower Waitaki District Community Awards. This programme, annually run by Trustpower in partnership with the Waitaki District Council, attracted 106 nominations in 2015.
Last year’s Supreme Winner, the Duntroon and District Development Association (DDDA), advise volunteer groups to get in quick and be a part of the supportive awards programme, whether they’ve been operating for 20 years or 20 days.
The winning package included a cheque for $1,500 and an all-inclusive trip for two DDDA representatives to the 2015 Trustpower National Community Awards later this month in Dunedin - a valuable networking event which will also see DDDA’s Mike Gray and Owen King give a presentation alongside Mayor Gary Kircher.
Trustpower Community Relations representative Arielle Monk will be in the area over the next month, visiting communities and neighbourhoods in Waitaki, to hunt out other volunteers of the same calibre as the dedicated bunch behind the DDDA.
“I’ll be in Oamaru and about the district to find some of those groups and people myself; we all know how humble and unassuming volunteers can be,” Monk said.
Since 2003, the Waitaki District Council and Trustpower and have worked together to donate $67,300 to volunteer groups in the Waihemo and wider Waitaki area - and this year more than $5,000 in cash prizes is up for grabs again. Over the next two months, Arielle will be out to reconnect with dozens of the groups who came to the party in 2015.
“In a district like Waitaki, it’s so good to know that there are over a hundred groups of people doing their bit in some small way. A lot of those groups will be supported by the same individuals over and over, but with a slightly growing population, hopefully there’s scope for more volunteers to share the load for those who’ve been around for years.
“These awards are just one small way we can say to those volunteers: ‘cheers for that’, and make these local heroes feel a bit special with an evening of drinks, nibbles and story-telling,” Monk said.
Anyone can enter a group - even the volunteers themselves! Locals have until 5pm on Friday, 22 April to get entries in. Entry forms are available at Waitaki District Council offices or service centres, or online at www.trustpower.co.nz/communityawards or on our Facebook page, ‘Trustpower Community’.
The Trustpower Community Awards are run over approximately 14 weeks. Entries are accepted over a 9 or 10 week period, and nominated groups are asked to provide further information on their community work. That information is then judged by a panel made up of district councillors and community representatives. Finally, the carefully selected awards are announced at a presentation ceremony run by Trustpower and the council after nibbles and drinks.
The awards cover five categories: Heritage and Environment, Health and Wellbeing, Arts and Culture, Sport and Leisure, and Education and Child/Youth Development. Historically, Waitaki has been very strong with Health and Wellbeing entries, but slow to get nominations up in Sport and Leisure; of the 106 entries, 74 were completed with information forms last year and offered up the most balanced pool across the categories for the entire South Island.