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Top volunteer award won by group teaching English to migrants and refugees

News from Wellington City Council
English Language Partners – an organisation providing resettlement support and English language teaching for migrants and refugees – won the Supreme Winner of the 2013 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards for Wellington City tonight.

The awards, presented at a ceremony hosted by Mayor Celia Wade-Brown in the Council Chamber, acknowledge the inspirational contribution of voluntary and non-profit organisations to Wellington. The awards are sponsored by Wellington International Airport in partnership with the Wellington Community Trust.

English Language Partners has been operating for almost 40 years. Each year they help hundreds of adult learners with tuition and social support at home, in the community and in workplaces.

Volunteers with English Language Partners continue to play a huge role in tutoring English and mentoring for migrant job seekers. More than 320 volunteer home tutors and 50 job mentors help migrants to develop confidence and learn about life in New Zealand, and to prepare them for education or employment.

Mayor Wade-Brown said the event celebrates Wellington’s vibrant volunteer sector.

“The awards recognise the great work of our community sector, our volunteers, and our people who make a difference in the lives of fellow Wellingtonians. Some of the organisations are run by volunteers, some are staffed by professionals; all of which makes Wellington a better place to live.

“Wellington City Council is committed to growing our volunteer and community sector, and recently we launched Our Volunteer Capital, an initiative to grow partnerships with businesses, voluntary organisations, employers and the wider community.”

Jo Maxwell, Community Awards Manager, Wellington Airport, says the hard work put in by these dedicated groups plays an invaluable role in the community.

“Congratulations to English Language Partners and the work they do with migrants and refugees in our community. There is a high demand for these services in Wellington and they have been doing it successfully for many years. We want to make sure that they are recognised and celebrated for their dedication and hard work.”

Other category winners, runners-up and commended, were:

Arts and Culture category

Winner – Youthdance Education Trust
Runner-up – Binge Collective

Education Child/Youth Development category

Winner – English Language Partners
Runner-up – Wellington Boys and Girls Institute

Health and Wellbeing category

Winner – Chinese Senior Community
Runner-up – Bellyfull Karori
Commended – Wellington City Menzshed Trust
Commended – Timebank
Commended – Can Survive Dragon Boat Team
Commended – Kiwi Community Assistance

Heritage and Environment category

Winner – Nga Hau e wha o Paparangi
Runner-up – Wellington Marine Education Trust

Sport and Leisure category

Winner – Adventure Wellington
Runner-up – North Wellington Junior Football
Commended – Hataitai Amateur Swimming

Each category winner received $1000 and runners-up $250 and the chance to go through to the regional finals next month, when they will compete against category winners selected by other councils in the region. The Wellington awards attracted over 60 nominations from a wide range of local groups.

Press Release – English Language Partners New Zealand
This dynamic organisation scooped the ‘Supreme Winner’ award for the Wellington City region at the 2013 Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown hosted the event and spoke of the enormous contribution voluntary, non-profit organisations, such as this year’s winner, make to Wellington. “The awards recognise the great work of our community sector, our volunteers, and our people who make a difference in the lives of fellow Wellingtonians.”

“We’re very happy and delighted to receive the supreme award,” says Zlata Sosa, English Language Partner’ centre manager. “I’m also quite humbled, as there were more than 70 organisations nominated. And we all do a great job in the community.”

Ms Sosa adds: “We’re thrilled our local City Council, the Wellington Community Trust and the Wellington Airport acknowledge and celebrate the work our volunteers, job mentors, teachers, staff and committee do with and for refugee and migrant communities in Wellington.”

Nicola Sutton, Chief Executive of English Language Partners, is delighted for the centre. “Our volunteers do a tremendous job to make Wellington a truly welcoming city,” she says.

“To take out the award in the Education and Child Youth Development category and then follow up with the award of Supreme Winner is a fantastic achievement. A great acknowledgment of the work the centre does across sectors of the community.”

The 320 volunteers and 50 job mentors play a huge part in helping refugees and migrants find their feet in their new country. “Not only by teaching English,” says Ms Sutton. “By sharing their ‘insider knowledge’ of New Zealand, our volunteers help people ‘claim their place’ and feel they really belong here. They build confidence to take the next step, often into education or employment.”

Jo Maxwell, Community Awards Manager, also congratulates the winners. “There is a high demand for these services in Wellington, and English Language Partners have been doing it successfully for many years. We want to make sure they are recognised and celebrated for their dedication and hard work.”

The centre will be attending the awards gala dinner on Thursday 31 October at The Rock, Wellington Airport.

www.englishlanguage.org.nz

Read Welllington City Council’s news item

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