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South Catlins Charitable Trust has taken top honours at Invercargill’s biggest annual celebration of volunteers, the Trustpower Community Awards.

Voluntary groups from Invercargill and the Southland District gathered with representatives from Trustpower, Invercargill City Council, Southland District Council, and the community at Bill Richardson Transport World to hear how six groups and three young people are making an impact in their communities.

Trustpower Community and Communications Advisor Alice Boyd says the South Catlins Charitable Trust is a group of volunteers protecting, celebrating and sharing the stories of their special part of the world.  

“The South Catlins Charitable Trust was formed in 2002 to preserve the area’s incredible natural environment while catering to a growing number of visitors.”

“Since its inception, the Trust has worked on key projects within Curio Bay including the reforestation of the Living Forest, development of walkways, and the restoration of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin habitat.”

“‘Tumu Toka Curioscape’ is the recently-opened visitor centre. Volunteers researched all of the stories for the project, did all of the financial planning and secured a staggering $3.5 million worth of funding for the project.”

Boyd said the dedication and passion of the Trust’s volunteers is what really stood out.

For winning the Supreme Award, the South Catlins Charitable Trust received a framed certificate, a trophy, and $2,000 prize money.

The group will go on to represent Invercargill/Southland at the 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 Invercargill/Southland were:

Youth Community Spirit
Finalist – Kristina Grumball
Finalist – Hamish Muhl
Winner – Molly Haywood

Trustpower Community Awards Finalists
Free Haircuts & Other Services for those in Need
Oreti Surf Life Saving Club
Southland Rural Support Trust
Tuatapere Playcentre Playgroup 

Trustpower Community Awards Winners
Bluff Hill Motupōhue Environment Trust (BHMET)
Fiordland Trails Trust
Loss and Grief Support Trust Southland
Southland Multicultural Council
Stewart Island / Rakiura Community and Environment Trust

Supreme Winner
South Catlins Charitable Trust