2017 Volunteer Awards recipients

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Health Volunteer of the Year

Overall winner – Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service

Group image of the Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service: Health Volunteer of the Year and winners of the Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman with members of the Wellington Hospital Volunteer Service, the Health Volunteers of the year for 2017 and winners of the Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers.

The recipients of the Health Volunteer of the Year award for 2017 are the Wellington Hospitals Volunteer Service, established in 2005. This team of around 450 volunteers does an amazing job of making the hospital experience a more pleasant one across 20 different areas at the Wellington Hospital, Kenepuru and Kapiti Coast sites. Last year alone Capital and Coast DHB patients and visitors benefitted from around 12,000 volunteer hours. Here are some of last year’s highlights:

  • Around 30,000 meet and greets, helping patients and providing general assistance.
  • From 9 am until midnight, seven days a week, volunteers helped patients and staff in ED.
  • Last year alone, knitters, sewers and quilters provided over 9,000 garments for babies, children and older patients.
  • Volunteers raised $35,000 through the annual street appeal and Christmas parade.

The team is also the recipient of the Health Care Provider Service Team award.

Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers

Runner-up – Rainbow Volunteers

Image of a representative of the Rainbow Volunteers, runner up Health Care Provider Service Team Volunteers

Rainbow Volunteers across Middlemore Hospital, Kidz First and Franklin Memorial Hospital help with a variety of tasks to make the patient and visitor experience more comfortable and enjoyable. The region’s multilingual community fully appreciate having volunteers who speak many different languages. During 2016, the 150 Rainbow Volunteers contributed over 9,350 volunteer hours.

A feature of the volunteer programme is the number of participating students from local schools who are keen on a career in health. Many go on to enrol in health-related degree courses once they have finished their volunteer work.

Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners

Winner – Roy Gardiner

Image of Roy Gardiner, winner in the Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners category.

Roy’s wife Gloria moved into Somervale Metlifecare care, Mount Maunganui, in 2014. Since then Roy has visited twice a day every day. Not only does he help Gloria with everyday tasks, but he also helps the other residents too. He checks they are safe, helps with cooking and dishes, provides treats for residents’ birthdays and other celebrations, and assists with fundraising.

Roy’s efforts aren’t just restricted to the residents. Last year, he brought in a chef so the staff who normally cook breakfast could relax and enjoy it, too.

Runner-up – Betty Murray

Betty joined the North Shore Hospital volunteer team in 2005 so she could help people who are in need. As a ‘Green Coat’ hospital quide, Betty supports patients and visitors to find their way around the hospital and takes them to their destination.

Since joining the Green Coat team, she has been volunteering over 20 hours a week, role modelling Waitemata District Health Board values of working with compassion and everyone matters every day.

Image of Betty Murray and Lynn Butler, runners up in the Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners category.
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman with Betty Murray and Lynn Butler, runners up in the Health Care Provider Service Individual Winners

Runner up – Lynn Butler

Lynn joined the Waitakere Hospital volunteer team 12 years ago. As a Green Coat, she welcomes patients and visitors and takes them to their destination within the hospital.

As well as her role as a Green Coat, Lynn is also a shop volunteer. She assists with the day-to-day running of the shop and assists patients and visitors in choosing and buying items. She also donates extra time to assist with the training of new volunteers and has facilitated a connection with a local women’s group to increase volunteer numbers.

Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers

Winner – Knox Home Companions

Image of Knox Home Companions, winners in the Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers category.

The Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital community is home to residents of all ages and abilities, including hospital-level care for older people and young adults living with physical disabilities. The residents said they did not want to be buddied up to reduce loneliness but instead wanted a friend and they wanted this to be organic.

This led to the creation of the Companion role in 2013. There are now approximately 800 Companion volunteers, making more than 700 visits to residents each month. Volunteers at Knox include individuals of all ages (from 13 to 90 years) and backgrounds. Around three-quarters of the volunteers are migrants to New Zealand, with about 65 different nationalities, adding to the diverse environment of the home.

Companion volunteers create independence by supporting residents to reach their personal goals and provide the extra support that may be needed to get out to do their personal shopping, to Skype family or to go out to a café. It’s also an opportunity for residents to give care and advice to them, for example, teaching volunteers English or helping with homework.

Runner-up – Volunteer Drivers, Cancer Society of New Zealand

Image of the Volunteer Drivers, Cancer Society of New Zealand, runners up in the Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers category.

For 50 years, Cancer Society volunteer drivers throughout New Zealand have made sure cancer patients with limited or no transport available are able to reach, in many cases, lifesaving cancer treatment. Over 1,000 volunteers provide the service free of charge and cover around 1 million kilometres each year. Last year 18,700 trips were made, providing transport to around 2,400 patients.

The volunteers give up their own time and cars to provide a free service to those in need. They deal with long travel times, sometimes away from home for up to 10 hours. Many drivers have been volunteering for 10 years and some for as long as 20.

They are friendly, caring and supportive and offer a listening ear. Some have had personal experiences with cancer and can offer advice to patients going through treatment.

Runner up – iMOKO Kaituao/Digital Health Aides

Members of iMOKO Kaituao/Digital Health Aides, runners up in the Community or NGO Health Service Team Volunteers category.

iMOKO offers free health checks for children, which take place at kōhanga reo, day care or schools around New Zealand, to help prevent the complications caused by untreated health problems such as skin, dental or strep throat infections, head lice and other common health problems.

The iMOKO Kaituao/digital health aides do throat swabbing and log the child’s weight and sore throat details into the iMOKO app. They also provide important health promotion messages. In addition volunteers deliver swabs and other information to the iMOKO office base in Kaitaia, and Auckland-based volunteers regularly pick up medicines for the children and deliver them to school or home.

Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners

Winner – Arron Schroder

Image of Arron Schroder, winner in the Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners category.

Arron is the WanderSearch Administrator for Alzheimers Society Manawatu. WanderSearch is a tracking system for people living with conditions that cause the ability of the person to find their way home to be impaired, through conditions such as dementia, autism or memory impairment.

Working with New Zealand Police, LandSAR (Search and Rescue New Zealand) and Alzheimers Manawatu, Arron offers his specialist search and rescue skills free to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every pendant issued is regularly checked by Arron, and he changes all the batteries every five to six months. He works tirelessly covering the full MidCentral District Health Board region and contributes his time, vehicle and petrol.

Runner up – Eleanor Ranstead

Image of Eleanor Ranstead, runner up in the Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners category.

Eleanor champions many mental health initiatives, but she is especially passionate about suicide prevention and support. Invercargill-based, she makes herself available to support families or individuals at any time. She has self-funded most of her training. This includes gaining qualifications to help others provide support for those who need it.

Runner up – Jacqui Wight-Jago

Image of Jacqui Wight-Jago, runner up in the Community or NGO Health Service Individual Winners category.

Jacqui is the Branch Coordinator and Recipient Coordinator for Bellyful Karori. Bellyful is a charitable trust that provides meals for families with newborn babies and families with young children who are struggling with serious illness.

In this role, Jacqui coordinates and supervises all branch activities and other volunteers. This includes monthly ‘cookathons’, where up to 120 meals are cooked with ingredients that have been fundraised.

Māori/Pacific Health Team Volunteers

Winner – Te Angitu (Leadership Roopu)

Members of Te Angitu (Leadership Roopu), winners in the Māori/Pacific Health Team Volunteers category.

South Auckland’s Te Angitu Leadership Programme was established in 2014 by Te Kaha o Te Rangatahi Trust to help ensure rangatahi or youth could make better informed choices about their health and wellbeing. The focus was on creating positive events within the community, raising awareness around issues and promoting positive messages.

As part of their activities, eight leaders from 16–20 years were encouraged to design a social media campaign, with support from Counties Manukau District Health Board. This lead to the co-design of YouMeNZ, which is a youth-led wellness movement using social media.

Māori/Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Winners

Winner – Luisa Masalo

Image of Luisa Masalo, winner in the Māori/Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Winners category.

Luisa, from South Auckland, has been a Samoan Older People’s Group volunteer for the past five years. In this role, she helps prepare, cook and serve healthy food to the group participants. Each week, she sets up the group venue and tidies up afterwards, and if there is food left over, she sends it home with those attending. Sometimes she prepares meals from home, using her own resources, She also helps with the older people’s weekly craft group, sharing her talent for creating traditional crafts, such as woven fans, flower arrangements, embroidery and stencilling. She creates a warm environment for older people to enjoy.

Runner-up – Joseph Fa’afiu

Image of Joseph Fa’afiu, runner up in the Māori/Pacific Health Volunteer Individual Winners category.

Joseph is the founder of the not-for-profit HopeWalk Suicide Prevention Trust & Movement. He founded HopeWalk in 2015 and has created 30 HopeWalks all over the world, from Papakura to Invercargill to Sydney to Canada and is now moving into the Pacific. In 2016 alone, approximately 10,000 people participated in a HopeWalk event in three countries.

Youth Health Volunteer Individual awards

Winner – Eilish Wilkes

Image of Eilish Wilkes, winner in the Youth Health Volunteer Individual awards category.

When Eilish was two years old she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour, which she still lives with today. It has resulted in her being legally blind, and she lives with stroke-like migraine attacks due to radiation therapy and has chronic fatigue and pain. Despite this, she has constantly given back to others.

Along with her parents Pat and Kathie, Eilish, who is 20 years old, has volunteered at her local Child Cancer Foundation branch since 2005. She makes and donates blankets for Child Cancer Foundation’s essential care kits, which are distributed to newly diagnosed families. For about eight year, Eilish and her father delivered food to parents on the ward at Starship Child Health every Tuesday, thanks to donations from a North Shore bakery.

She has spoken publicly about her experiences to help raise awareness of the long-term effects of cancer treatment and the work of organisations that have provided support to her and her family. She has held a leadership role in the CanTeen Auckland branch and is a representative for the CanTeen national advocacy group ListenUp!

She is also a talented writer. Her book Hospital Happenings walks a child through the daunting experience of going to hospital in a way that’s not scary.

Runner up – Johann Go

Image of Johann Go, runner up in the Youth Health Volunteer Individual awards category.

Twenty-one-year-old Johann Go is currently the Divisional Youth Manager for St John’s Howick/Pakuranga Youth Division. In his role, he manages the day-to-day administrative tasks, through to wider strategic planning and engaging with parents and stakeholders. This division now has over 120 youth members, making it one of St John’s largest and up from 30 when Johann started.

Johann promotes diversity and inclusion within the Division as well as more widely in St John. He promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and his division has over 20 different ethnicities.

Long Service awards

Winner – Elizabeth Swift

Image of Elizabeth Swift, winner in the Long Service awards category.

Elizabeth has provided support for the people of Northland with Parkinson’s and their families/whānau and carers over the last 25 years. Along with her husband Don, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1987, they became foundation members of the Parkinsonism Society Northland Incorporated in 1992. After Don passed away in 2014, Elizabeth decided to remain with the Parkinson’s support group in Whangarei and volunteer her time to visit people with Parkinson’s in rest homes on their birthday with a card and sometimes flowers.

She has organised events, been an active fundraiser and also set up a support group for carers, recognising that they don’t often have a chance to unwind in a supportive environment. Her work for Parkinson’s Northland has been recognised by the society in making her a life member. In 2013, she was awarded the Andrew Dunn Award from Parkinson’s New Zealand for volunteer services.

Runner up – Pat Wilkes

Image of Pat Wilkes, runner up in the Long Service awards category.

Pat has been associated with Child Cancer Foundation for 16 years, becoming a volunteer in 2001, when his daughter Eilish was diagnosed with cancer. He joined the local branch in 2005, first as a member and then as branch chair. After a few years, he became the Northern Region representative with a seat on the national board in 2009. He has served as Deputy Chair of the Child Cancer Foundation board since 2011 and holds the Parent Voice portfolio.

In addition to working full time, Pat gives hours of his time each week to support children with cancer and their families. He delivers aid across Auckland, whether it is a mattress, a TV or food. He has sourced and delivered approximately 500 new beds to families, after being told that immune-compromised children were sharing beds or didn’t have one.

Runner up – Anne Howard

Image of Anne Howard, runner up in the Long Service awards category.

Anne has been with Alzheimers Tauranga since May 2003, volunteering 70 plus hours each year as a Befriender and Companion volunteer and helping with fundraising and other activities. She works hard to create dementia-friendly communities, putting her background in nursing and working with older people to good use.

Anne’s impact can best be summed up in the words of a client’s daughter who said: ‘I love it that at least on Thursdays Mum will be herself again. For that hour, my mum has a friend, and I can relax hearing her laugh.’

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