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Six hundred student volunteers helped community groups landscape parts of the Red Zone in eastern Christchurch at the weekend – 10 years on from the devastating earthquakes.
The Big Give 2020 event was the largest student volunteer presence in the Red Zone since the earthquakes when the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) was formed and Citycare Group’s connection with the organisation began.
The volunteers weeded and mulched to restore a variety of community spaces along the Avon River, planted trees, built and painted raised garden beds and helped create a pump bike track around the site of a future adventure playground planned by pupils of Banks Ave Primary School.
All the students’ efforts added up to around 4,000 hours of community work in one day.
They were supported by Citycare’s contribution of wheelbarrows, shovels and other tools as well as logistical support and traffic management to keep everyone safe.
“The weather was looking really rough first thing in the morning, but, as a testament to the type of people who get involved in our projects, we had 600 students out and making a major impact in the Red Zone. The day really couldn't have happened without all the help and support that Citycare provided both on the day and in the weeks leading up to it,” said Isabella Fanselow, SVA Club President.
“Citycare’s sponsorship of SVA is a real partnership. We’re proud to be aligned with the ethos of volunteering and to champion the synergies between our business, the SVA and a shared commitment to building stronger communities,” said Onno Mulder, CEO of the Citycare Group.
“At the weekend the students were bringing the sponsorship to life in a practical way and demonstrating how when you care you can collaborate to deliver great projects in our communities. Together the two partners will continue to look for projects that deliver great benefits for the community,” he said.
SVA Executive Director Sam Johnson said: “SVA locally continues to mobilise hundreds of students to volunteer and now, thanks to Citycare’s support across all of our programmes, thousands of students around New Zealand are answering the call as well.”
Citycare Civil HR Manager Steve Kennedy said the garden revamp was a fantastic occasion, despite the early rain, and residents and volunteers he spoke to on the day were appreciative of Citycare’s sponsorship and community involvement over the four years of the SVA Big Give event.
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