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This programme is clever on so many levels.
Jess Somervillle, Trustpower Community Relations Representative
The Awards were announced and presented last night (Monday, May 15) at the Energy Events Centre in front of almost 170 spectators, the majority of whom are also volunteers.

Representatives of Youth in Emergency Services received, on behalf of the dozens of other volunteers involved, a framed certificate, a trophy and $1,500 in prize money. These folks also will have the opportunity to represent the district at the 2015 Trustpower National Community Awards, being held in Dunedin next March.

Trustpower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says what started as a great idea within the Youth in Emergency Services working group has grown into a very successful pilot programme being rolled out in other communities.

“It’s giving youth an insight into the importance of our emergency services, the value of volunteering for the greater good of the community and it is helping to bridge many of these youth into the work force too. The volunteers who have poured hours of energy into getting this programme off the ground, on top of their regular volunteer emergency services work, are seriously committed to inspiring the next generation of volunteers.

“Rotorua residents can be proud in knowing that this programme started in Rotorua thanks to some very driven volunteers and this is a real testament to the value people put on community here”, she said.

Run over five weeks, the 15 youth attending the course are exposed to five different emergency services including fire brigades, ambulance and search and rescue. The programme culminates in a combined weekend camp where the young people respond to a series of emergency scenarios. They are then supported to become volunteers in a service of their choice.

The competition for this year’s Awards was strong with a record 62 entries received.

Category Winners:

Heritage and Environment
Runner-Up: Rotoehu Ecological Trust
Winner: Progress Ngongotaha-Kokiri Ngongotaha Inc.

Health and Well Being
Runner-Up: Aroha Mai, Cancer Support Services
Winner: Linton Park Community Trust
Commendation: New Zealand Brain Injury Support Network
Commendation: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Rotorua Support Group

Sport and Leisure
Runner Up: Crankworx Rotorua
Winner: Rotorua Community Menz Shed

Education and Child/Youth Development
Commendation: English Language Partners Rotorua
Runner Up: Ko Te Tuara Totara o Fordlands
Winner: Te Waiariki Purea Trust

Supreme Winner
Youth in Emergency Services

Youth Spirit
Winner: Pearlina Taliauli, John Paul College
Runner-up: Jessica Gordon, Rotorua Lakes High School
Finalist: Ashleigh Whitmore, Western Heights High School
Finalist: Victoria Thompson, Rotorua Girls High School
Finalist: Cody Broad, Rotorua Boys' High School