Tertiary volunteers a boon

Otago Neighbourhood Support regional co-ordinator Joy Davis. PHOTO: THE STAR FILES
Otago Neighbourhood Support regional co-ordinator Joy Davis. PHOTO: THE STAR FILES
Otago Neighbourhood Support has some new volunteers after seeking help from the University of Otago’s Ignite Consultants.

Ignite is a charitable organisation started by university students which builds strategic partnerships with not-for-profit organisations that need help the students can provide.

Neighbourhood Support regional co-ordinator Joy Davis saw one of the group’s presentations last year and asked if Ignite would create a marketing plan for the organisation.

Ignite agreed and consultants spent about eight weeks doing research and interviewing staff.

They created a report which was ‘‘beautifully presented’’ and included some recommendations to make the organisation more efficient and effective, Mrs Davis said.

One was to recruit a marketing intern and an administrative intern.

The group suggested Mrs Davis advertise via the university and Volunteer South.

‘‘I put it out there and I got an excellent response,’’ she said.

She got an ‘‘abundance’’ of applications and eventually landed ‘‘two lovely people’’, Izzy McLeay as the marketing volunteer and Portia Sutherland as the administrative volunteer. Both are third-year university students.

Katrina Robatimani, an Otago Polytechnic student, is also completing an internship with the organisation this semester.

Mrs Davis was thrilled to have all three students on board.

‘‘Here are young people that are available who have already got polytechnic studies or university studies and commitments, and they’re prepared to give up their skills and their time to help a not-for-profit like ours. I think we’re very, very fortunate.’’

They started at Neighbourhood Support only about four weeks ago, shortly before lockdown, but were already making improvements.

‘‘These girls are self-starters.

‘‘It’s a win-win.’’

It helped the students gain work experience, while benefiting the organisation, Mrs Davis said.

Over the years, she had worked with many students and found them to be ‘‘highly motivated and very community minded’’.

‘‘We’re just so blessed with the resource that we’ve got with the polytech and university.’’

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