“By showcasing the range of volunteering across the region there was an opportunity to share the impact which community engagement is having – whether it be improving safety on the roads, helping people feel safe in our cities, reducing isolation, supporting reintegration to our community, supporting our newcomers, welcoming visitors – and very much fits within the domains and indicators of wellbeing which we will know more about after the announcement of the Budget at the end of this month”, Glenda Martin, Outreach and Marketing Manager at Volunteering Canterbury said.

At a meeting on Friday 3 May, with the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Peeni Henare MP, and Dr Duncan Webb, MP for Christchurch Central, facilitated by Volunteering Canterbury and held at Christchurch Community House, eleven organisations presented on the impact of their ongoing activity in the community.  There was an acknowledgment that while there is real social capital in Christchurch – Volunteering Canterbury alone receives around 200 registrations each month from people wishing to gift back time to the community – there are some real challenges.

“Community is about people, not buildings”, Martin said, “and in Christchurch although we have been working hard, there is still much to be done post-quake as we re-build our city.  And we have been hit again … with the abhorrent attacks on our Muslim community on 15 March.”

“The perpetrator of those attacks could not have anticipated”, Martin said, “the spontaneous outpouring and gifting of time and goods to those directly affected, our Muslim community.”

Volunteering Canterbury has a membership of 290 not-for-profits in the region, although its training and resources are accessed by a number considerably larger than that.  “Supporting organisations to support their volunteers is essential; supporting organisations to identify their impact and tell their story is also essential.  We are here to do that.”

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For more information on Volunteering Canterbury or organisations involved in the meeting with the Minister of the Community and Voluntary Sector on Friday 3 May 2019, please contact Glenda Martin, Outreach and Marketing Manager, outreach@volcan.org.nz, Ph 03 366 2442