Selwyn local heroes recognised

by Kent Caddick

Three Selwyn residents have been named as local heroes.

Prebbleton youth worker Chris Martin, Joshua Foundation founder Chris Allan of Rolleston and Burnham’s Heather Wilson all received their 2018 Kiwibank Local Hero Awards at a ceremony in Christchurch late last week. 

The Selwyn local heroes and others from around the Canterbury region received their awards from Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Ms Dalziel thanked the recipients for their achievements in the community, saying that the award ceremony is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of many in the region.

“This year’s recipients are selfless and dedicated people who have all had an impact on their community in unique ways,” she said. “The positive difference they have made to the lives of others cannot be overstated. It’s important we as a community take time to reflect and acknowledge the special contribution these people have made to so many lives.”

Chris Martin from Prebbleton, who was previously employed by Selwyn District Council as a youth worker, is the founder and lead consultant for 4YP (For Young People).

He has worked in the youth development sector for more than 30 years as a volunteer youth worker, local government youth adviser and an event manager.

According to the award he is a strong advocate for the youth sector in New Zealand and has a passion for engaging young people and giving them the support they need.

“He encourages them to take the lead in projects, and assists them with his extensive knowledge and experience. Chris plays an integral role in enriching the lives of many young people.”

Mr Martin is currently an active board member with the Canterbury Youth Workers’ Collective, Ara Taiohi, Selwyn Parenting Network, Generation House, Selwyn Creative Network and Selwyn Waiwera Youth Trust.

He is also a member of the inter-agency group that leads the ‘Strengthening the Youth Sector’ project for the greater Christchurch.

Rolleston’s Chris Allan has been helping at-risk youth in the Canterbury region for many years through his organisation The Joshua Foundation.

The foundation helps young people in the Canterbury region address self-destructive behaviours and negative attitudes, build self-esteem and encourage them to reach for their dreams. Mr Allan’s work includes mentoring young offenders at Paparua Prison’s Youth Offenders Unit, helping them to achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

He has also travelled to Vanuatu to work with villagers, setting up donated computers, painting local schools and developing a library for one of the local villages.

“Chris always goes beyond expectations to assist young people, drastically changing the lives of many for good,” the award said.

Heather Wilson from Burnham runs the local thrift store Twice as Nice, a place locals go to pick up bits and pieces or sell during various postings.

She also fundraises for many events in the community, recently holding several fundraisers to help a local family with the costs of going to the Invictus Games in Canada this year.