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They have seen how serving others generously has made such a difference in their lives
Jess Somerville, Trustpower Community Relations Representative

Over 140 people gathered at Baypark this evening for the Trustpower Tauranga Community Awards which were presented by Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby and Trustpower Chief Executive Vince Hawksworth.

For winning the Supreme Award, Good Neighbour received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 prize money. Good Neighbour now has the opportunity to represent the region at the 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards, which are being held in the Wellington region in March 2015.

In total, Trustpower has given away over $5,000 to various community groups through tonight’s Awards.

Keen to make a difference in their own community through simple generosity and kindness, Good Neighbour works around the idea of neighbours building neighbourhoods and there are three strands to this organisation.

The first strand sees a group of around 40 volunteers meeting the practical needs of people who have hit a bump in life’s road, such as illness. This could see the team helping with anything from mowing lawns to delivering free firewood.

Then there is the Food Rescue strand of the organisation which draws on common sense and sees useable food from supermarkets and cafes, that’s good enough to eat but not good enough to sell, rescued from the landfill and redistributed to some of their 12 partner agencies such as Women’s Refuge. This simple yet incredibly successful programme is growing rapidly and in just four months they had given away 5000kgs of food (or 15,000 meals) worth around $30,000.

Lastly there is the “Let’s get growing” Community Gardens strand of the organisation which already exists but now comes under the Good Neighbour umbrella. Community Gardens are a proven formula as a great way for people to learn new skills around growing food, connect with new people and make friends whilst getting their hands dirty.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby says it’s exciting to see what’s possible when a group of likeminded people get together for the good of the community.

“It’s been an amazing journey for this team who not long after being set up are already helping dozens of local charities continue the valuable work they doing the community,” says Mayor Crosby.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative says that Good Neighbour is an exciting concept that is generating a heap of community spirit.

“Two projects that have especially stood out to the volunteers include organising a pirate themed birthday party for a son who’s dad was terminally ill and the transformation of a backyard for a couple where the husband ‘to be’ had recently lost his job through no fault of his own.

“The three strands of the organisation are simple no brainers, which is keeping food and waste out of the landfill and feeding hungry mouths at the same time. They have seen how serving others generously has made such a difference in their lives and we can’t wait for them to share their journey at the 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards in March next year,” says Miss Somerville.

The competition for this year’s Trustpower Tauranga Community Awards was solid with 51 groups entered for the Awards.

Other award recipients at tonight’s Trustpower Tauranga Community Awards were:

Heritage and Environment
Runner-Up: ARRC Wildlife Trust
Winner: Pukehinahina Charitable Trust

Health and Well Being
Commendation: Shakti Womens Council
Joint Runner-Up: Breast Cancer Support Service Tauranga Trust
Joint Runner-Up: Tauranga RDA
Winner: Bellyful Tauranga

Arts and Culture
Commendation: The Incubator
Runner-Up: Mauao Performing Arts Centre Charitable Trust
Winner: National Jazz Festival

Sport and Leisure
Runner- up: Special Olympics Tauranga Club
Winner: Bellevue Athletics Club

Education and Child/Youth Development
Commendation: Mount Maunganui Music School Charitable Trust
Runner-Up: Kidz Need Dadz Charitable Trust Inc
Winner: Citizens Advice Bureau

Supreme Winner
Good Neighbour

Youth Spirit
Winner: Adam Leeuwen
Runner-up: Emily McCarthy
Finalist: Ben Richards
Finalist: Deborah Paine
Finalist: Paula Smith
Finalist: Spencer Voorend