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Big Buddy Wins Excellence In Community Contribution At The 2020 Westpac Business Awards

Big Buddy, a not for profit organisation that supports boys without fathers in their lives, has won Excellence in Community Contribution at the Westpac Business Awards last night, held in Auckland. The award coincides with a Big Buddy appeal for volunteers so as to reduce its waiting list of Little Buddies.

Big Buddy CEO Paul Burns is delighted away by the win. He considers it a reflection of the Big Buddies themselves saying, "We are so proud to be acknowledged for the contribution we make to the community, it is our Big Buddy community itself that has enabled this win. Big Buddy is based on the simple idea of a great guy showing up, spending time and coming back for a boy who doesn't have his dad around. We have a great team at Big Buddy and, it is about the great men, our “Buddies”, who volunteer their time and generously be there for that little boy. Our mums and caregivers speak so highly of the impact this has. We credit this acknowledgement with the selfless contributions of those within the Big Buddy community. We call it our village, because it does take a village to raise a child, and ours is made up of some incredible people”.

There are many reasons why a boy might not have his father in his life. Some have never met their fathers, some have lost their fathers at an early age. Little Buddies are aged between 7-14 and the organisation operates in Auckland, Wellington, Waikato and Tauranga, as of very recently. More than 800 boys have been matched by the organisation so far.

As is the case for many organisations, 2020 has been a challenging year for Big Buddy, both from a funding perspective but also in regard to the nature of the organisation, it relies on regular visits and contact between buddies. Says Paul, "We have been blown away by the efforts our buddies have gone to to stay in touch through lockdowns and so on - video calls, letter writing - somehow our buddies found ways to ensure their Little Buddies felt connected despite the physical distance. This speaks to the types of buddies we have on board".

Within the Big Buddy community there are many different types of volunteers - from businessmen to sportsmen and filmmakers. They are very humble about their efforts. Says Paul, “We actually are constantly having to encourage them to step forward and tell their story so as to inspire others. To give their time in this way, it is certainly something to be proud of”.

The win is well timed as it provides an opportunity to draw attention to Big Buddy - and the need for volunteers. There is currently a waiting list of Little Buddies and Big Buddy is inviting kind hearted men to apply to become a Big Buddy in 2021.

Potential buddies can apply at www.bigbuddy.org.nz

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