The winner of the Diversity and Inclusion category in the TECT Community Awards has been announced as The Search Party Charitable Trust.
The Te Puke-based charity works to bring communities together to socialise, educate, collaborate, and maintain properties and gardens.
The hub that feeds the operations of the charity is the Daily café. Run with a not-for-profit ethos, it is a community asset that not only produces delicious food and coffee, but does so to fund the many community initiatives The Search Party Charitable Trust run.
One of their many initiatives is free pizza night, which sees a diversity of locals eating and sharing stories. Once a month, the café also becomes a communal kitchen, with cottage pies made by lots of helping hands and donated ingredients, which are then distributed to the needy in the community.
The Search Party Trustee Jo Reha says their team are proud to win the award.
“Being acknowledged for the work we do is such a huge honour. We are a small community believing in the power of change when we all work together, so to have the larger community of the Western Bay of Plenty notice us and get excited about what we are achieving is so very humbling!
“At the heart of our organisation is a drive to be inclusive and connected to all people and organisations, working together for the greater good. We deeply believe that if all people are connected, they have the opportunity to thrive. We love to collaborate with others, provide social connection opportunities, and support our community to have their basic needs met – whether it be a warm healthy home, a hot meal or lunch, or safe and available transportation.
“Our collaborative initiatives with local schools around transportation issues, connection events like our pizza night, demand for our emergency meals that are growing rapidly, maintenance projects with our homeless and mental health family, and partnership with our local community crew COLAB, have been the heartbeat sustaining us and breathing into our growing dream.
“It is such an honour to be in amongst so many other great finalists making incredible change in our region. We couldn’t be prouder.”
TECT Community Awards judge Paul Geoghegan says the judging panel was impressed by the work being done in our region to ensure everyone has access to opportunities in life.
“Whether supporting disadvantaged young people, those with disabilities, or those facing financial hardship, there is so much great work being done by hardworking volunteers and community groups in our region, and the finalists are a reflection of that.
“The Search Party Charitable Trust came through as the winner due to their collaboration with so many other groups in Te Puke, and a model that is truly unique – feeding patrons through the café, and the community through their many initiatives.
“It’s fantastic to see such initiatives bringing people from all backgrounds together to share food and stories – that type of connection and support is so valuable.”
The other finalists recognised in the Diversity and Inclusion category included Blue Light, Recreate NZ, Wish 4 Fish, and Youth Encounter Ministries Trust.
There are seven award categories: Event Excellence, Sustainable Future, Diversity and Inclusion, Rising Star, Youth Spirit, Volunteer of the Year, and Lifetime Service. STEMFest was announced as the winner of the Event Excellence Award, and Good Neighbour won the Sustainable Future Award.
Next week’s award category is the Rising Star Award. Finalists are Bay Originals, RRR – Rescue, Revive, Rehome, Gender Dynamix, and TCSC Creative Group.