Our Neighbourhood Champion award winners this year are truly inspiring.
The two winners have instigated projects which have had a far-reaching impact on their neighbourhood and the people in it.
Trevor James has driven a project to plant thousands of native trees in Bolwell Reserve in Stoke. Trevor and his wife Myffie, pictured above, live close to the reserve and had the vision of bringing nature to the city when they started planting more than 10 years ago. At that stage the reserve was infested with gorse, so the Nelson City Council was keen on the idea. Since then about 8000 trees have been planted and are now flourishing. Trevor and Myffie grew about half the trees from seed in their own backyard nursery and the rest were bought or donated. Trevor has spent countless hours planting, watering and weeding seedlings, and his enthusiasm has inspired neighbours, friends and community groups to get involved too. This has provided many people with a sense of community, and the satisfaction of giving back to their community.
Darcy and Sue Hogue, pictured above, took the initiative to install a defibrillator in their neighbourhood and organised training sessions on how to use it. The couple, who are the co-ordinators of a Neighbourhood Support group, donated the defibrillator because they thought it would be useful to have if someone had a sudden cardiac arrest. They did a letterbox drop to 140 households to tell people how to access it, and organised two training sessions for the neighbourhood. They’re now planning a third session. The Hogues were also chosen for the champion award because of their efforts in helping neighbours connect. They make newcomers feel welcome, and regularly organise neighbourhood get-togethers.
We’d also like to recognise these people who were highly commended:
Kelly Walker – for her dedication to keeping her neighbourhood clean and tidy. Every weekend Kelly picks up rubbish alongside Marsden Valley Road, and usually ends up with handfuls of bags of rubbish. She has done this for about 6 years.
Marcel Stutz – for generously giving his time and skills to help neighbours with practical jobs. Marcel has spent many Saturdays building fences and decks, and lending tools, expertise and muscle to neighbours in Marsden Park.
Merv Campbell – for his thoughtfulness in helping out his neighbours, particularly the elderly, with odd jobs, gardening and cleaning. Merv has also taken on the job of closing the local Monaco Reserve at nights.