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Lions Club of Hokitika has taken top honours for Westland District at the West Coast’s biggest annual celebration of volunteers, the Trustpower Community Awards.

Voluntary groups from Buller, Grey and Westland Districts, together with representatives from Trustpower, Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils, and the community, gathered at Greymouth’s Regent Theatre to hear how 24 groups and 10 young people are making an impact in their community.

Trustpower Community and Communications Advisor Abbie Siely says Lions Club of Hokitika’s had a positive influence on the community that could be felt far and wide.

“A focus on youth is an integral part of the Lions’ philosophy. With this is mind, the group assists sporting groups with funding and administers an annual scholarship of $2,000 for tertiary education. But it is the group’s commitment to organising and hosting the annual Children’s Day Carnival that made them stand out to our judges.

“This event, now in its eighth year, allows children to experience new activities, learn skills and participate in their community at no cost to their parents or caregivers. It’s something Lions has achieved consistently over the event’s eight year history, and while long-term favourite activities are revived each year, the group ensures there’s always something new and fresh. The event has grown from around 1,500 participants in the first year to over 4,500 this year.

“To bring this event to town every Children’s Day requires tremendous volunteer commitment. From the early stages of planning and fundraising, to getting other local community groups and businesses on board, to setting up and packing down and running events on the day. It truly is a feat of volunteering might,” Siely said.

For winning the Supreme Award, Lions Club of Hokitika received a framed certificate, a trophy, and $2,000 prize money.

The group will go on to represent Westland District at the 2018 Trustpower National Community Awards, when volunteers from 26 regions from around New Zealand gather in Tauranga next March.

Other winners at tonight’s Trustpower Community Awards for Buller, Grey and Westland Districts were:

Youth Community Spirit Finalists
Roisin Blundell
Jayshri Ratnam
Janae Fitzgerald
Sam Wallis
Annie Molloy
Kaitlin Keenan
Alex Foster

Youth Community Spirit Award Winners
Bridie Kitchin – Buller
Jake Lacey – Grey
Joe Glancy – Westland

Trustpower Community Awards Finalists
CommuniTea Northern Buller
Reefton Siedo Karate Club
Homebuilders West Coast Trust
Foster Hope West Coast
West Coast Stroke Support
SPCA Greymouth
Hokitika Community Patrol
Kaniere Playcentre
All Saints Church

Trustpower Community Awards Recipients
Westport Menz Shed
Little Wanganui Recreation and Reserve Board
West Coast Adult Learning Services Inc
Buller Women's Health Fund
Victim Support Grey District
St John Youth Greymouth
Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race Committee
The Shed
Westland Community Centre
Franz Josef Community Council
MS West Coast Incorporated
South Westland Netball Association

Supreme Winner – Buller District
Reefton Returned and Services Association

Supreme Winner – Grey District
Community Promotions Group

Supreme Winner – Westland District
Lions Club of Hokitika