A story covering the earthquake disaster in Christchurch from Volunteering New Zealand and published by SCOOP.
The extraordinary contribution by the many teams of volunteers in the Canterbury earthquake is attributable to the preparation, training and good management of those teams said Tim Burns, Executive Director of Volunteering New Zealand.
“Volunteers, both those who are members of formal emergency response teams and those who have spontaneously helped in their local neighbourhoods, must be thanked for all they have done to support and care for those who have lost homes and so much more,” said Tim Burns.
The work of the civil defence personnel and the emergency response teams from Red Cross, Salvation Army and other community agencies did not just happen by chance.
That they were able to swing into gear so quickly and so well was the result of preparation by those who manage the volunteer teams and the many training hours they put in to ensure they were ready when they were needed.
“This highlights the need for effective management of any volunteer programme – good volunteer programmes just do not fall out of the sky,” said Mr Burns
More volunteers from the Canterbury region, especially those with building and related skills and social support abilities will be needed now and in the weeks and months to come in the immediate clean up, making premises safe, longer term repair work and providing support to those worst affected by the earthquake.
Helping neighbours with their needs is also very much needed.
Volunteering Canterbury, the local volunteer centre, is playing an important role in connecting requests for volunteers with those willing and able to help.
“This is despite not being able to use their offices in central Christchurch. They are using Facebook as a posting place and can be contacted by phone,” he said.
Anyone needing volunteer support or willing to offer their service as a volunteer should visit the Volunteering Canterbury page on Facebook. Ruth Gardner, Manager of Volunteering Canterbury can also be reached by leaving a message on 03 3662442.