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Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Jo Goodhew is encouraging New Zealanders to celebrate the contribution volunteers make in their communities.
Volunteer Awareness Week is 17-23 June and celebrates all those people who make their communities better and stronger. The theme for Volunteer Awareness Week this year is ‘Building communities through volunteering’.
“Nearly a third of all New Zealanders collectively volunteer about 270 million hours every year. The Government recognises the vital role volunteering plays in building stronger communities and is working to overcome barriers in policy, practice and legislation so that more people can be volunteers. I’m also looking for innovative ways to help community organisations, such as investigating the government’s role in social enterprise and social finance,” says Mrs Goodhew.
“New Zealanders are traditionally good at volunteering – we are among the very best in the world. When there was such great need in Christchurch after the earthquakes lots of people, especially the young, inspired us all with their commitment and endurance in helping others.
Mrs Goodhew presented the Volunteering Canterbury Volunteer Recognition Awards at an event in Christchurch today, where she told event attendees that connection is the heart of volunteering.
“As a short-cut for describing the outcomes achieved by the volunteering sector, we often use descriptions like ‘improving social cohesion’ and ‘strengthening communities’. What that really means at a personal level is that volunteers are creating relationships and enriching people’s lives, including their own, as they contribute their time and effort to making New Zealand a better place.”