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The whole of the Waitaki district is now part of the TrustPower community awards, with the programme being extended this year.
In past years, the awards have been restricted to the Palmerston-Waihemo and Oamaru areas but, for the first time, will apply to the whole of the Waitaki district from Palmerston to the Waitaki Valley.
Run in conjunction with the Waitaki District Council, entries for the awards opened yesterday to all voluntary groups and organisations working to make Waitaki a better place to live.
Anyone can enter a group or organisation for the awards, and voluntary groups and organisations can even enter themselves.
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton is looking forward to learning about the voluntary-based projects in the 2012 awards.
"The new TrustPower Waitaki district community awards will now bring the entire district together to celebrate the success of its volunteer groups, while giving some special recognition to the Waihemo region, which initiated the awards in the district," Mr Familton said.
TrustPower community relations manager Graeme Purches believed the new awards would prove a great outcome for everybody.
The Waitaki district had an impressive volunteering culture and the awards would be an enormous boost for the groups nominated, Mr Purches said.
The awards cover five categories - heritage and environment, health and wellbeing, arts and culture, sport and leisure and educational and child/youth development.
The awards will be presented at a function at the Opera House in Oamaru on June 11.
TrustPower will provide return transport by a bus from the Waihemo region.
Entries close on Friday, April 20.