Edgecumbe volunteers take on national awards

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Volunteers and representatives from Edgecumbe's Development and Improvement Team have had the chance to showcase their work on a national stage.

The team has attended the Trustpower National Community Awards in Tauranga over the weekend.

EDIT team member Helen Morris says while they've brought no prizes home, they already had a lot to be proud of before they headed to the competition.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of, especially since the April 2017 flooding.

“When you think of the last two years, what the town has been through and how it’s recovered, there’s lots to be proud of,” she says.

Helen Morris and Lee Heappey represented the group, with Mayor Tony Bonne also on hand to support the team over the weekend.

The representatives took their community project head to head with the country’s best and brightest volunteer groups and projects on a national stage, full of friendly competition.

EDIT came out on top at the Trustpower Community Awards in Whakatāne last year, which earnt them their spot at the Trustpower National Community Awards.

Trustpower Community and Communications Advisor, Alice Boyd, says although the group didn’t come away as award recipients, what they’re doing for their community is a massive achievement in itself.

"EDIT volunteers undertake projects that not only enhance the town aesthetically, but more importantly promote healing and well-being through engagement with the community.

"While they’ve had to overcome a few tricky obstacles, they’ve demonstrated their strength and unity as the Edgecumbe community has pulled together to move forward."

The national competition brought together 26 groups from across 27 regions - all who were named Supreme Winners of last year’s Trustpower Community Awards, a programme run in partnership with local Councils.

The award winners were announced on Saturday evening at an Awards Dinner, held at Mills Reef Winery.

Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust, representing Whanganui District, were named Supreme Winner, and South Catlins Charitable Trust, a group representing Invercargill City and Southland District, was named Runner-Up. The Whetū Mātaiata Award winner (the rising star award for an up-and-coming group), was Under the Stars from Tauranga, and the winner of the inaugural Trustpower Award was USO Bike Ride from Porirua representing the Wellington Region.

In between a weekend of sight-seeing and networking, the EDIT volunteers gave an eight-minute presentation on what the group has achieved.

The groups were judged on their presentations, along with a 1,000 word summary of the organisation, by their peers and a panel of independent judges including Rhodes Scholar and 2017 runner-up in the NZ Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards, Johann Go, co-founder of Good Neighbour, Cam Hill, GM of Tauranga Women’s Refuge, Hazel Hape, previous National Supreme Winner, Bruce Knight from the Edgecumbe Volunteer Fire Brigade, Chief Executive of Volunteering NZ, Dr Katie Bruce, General Manager of Exult, Rosie Julou, Trustpower GM of Customer Operations, Fiona Smith, and Trustpower Independent Director, Richard Aitken.

Sam Gardner