Out of the office and into the community — council staff were eager to offer a helping hand

Volunteering brings rewards

by Mike Isle

Selwyn District Council staff have been out and about in the community, volunteering their time and skills. They say volunteering gives something back to the district, but it can also be personally rewarding.

About 30 staff took part in the programme, and another 10 are ready to offer their services over the coming month when work commitments permit.

Projects they have worked on include native planting at Lincoln Wetland, restoration work at Southbridge Pool, and lending a hand at the Salvation Army second-hand store.

The volunteers are part of a broader volunteer campaign run by the council’s economic development team.

The council’s community relations manager Denise Kidd said the council had a role to play in encouraging volunteer involvement and participation in Selwyn.

“Selwyn is now home to a very large number of new residents; at the council, we recognise that volunteering is important, not only because positive volunteering efforts play an important role in building community, but because it also brings rewards to individuals who volunteer.

“Rewards can include improving individual wellbeing and social connections, broadening experiences and growing friendships.

“Many council staff do already volunteer in a range of ways for Selwyn. I am proud of the staff who took part in this initiative and the positive ripple this has caused across the organisation.

One of those to benefit from the staff initiative is Tracey Beardsley, manager of the Salvation Army store who said the extra volunteer assistance was greatly appreciated.“It really made a difference as this time of the year is always very busy for us,” she said.

Andy Spanton, the council biodiversity coordinator, said the help from the volunteers helped to maintain the Lincoln Wetland as a pleasant spot for the community to visit and explore.

“It was great to have our corporate volunteers assist with managing the native restoration sites at Lincoln Wetland. Those who attended put in some hard work on a hot afternoon to release the native plants and distribute mulch around the sites,” he said.

For Denise Kidd, it is developing into a win-win situation, and one likely to be repeated. “Staff are continually providing ideas of how we can voluntarily contribute collectively to our community. I am hoping this will become a regular effort by staff,” she said.