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Cromwell residents are being encouraged to offer odd jobs to horticulture workers between harvests this year, through an ongoing campaign geared at encouraging them to stay.
Operation Cromwell Harvest was launched last year as a joint effort between Cromwell Community House, Summerfruit NZ, Sport Otago, The Workforce Accommodation Network and Connect Cromwell, to encourage workers to come to Cromwell, find accommodation, stay longer and integrate with the community.
In a survey last month, orchard owners unanimously agreed it was important for harvesters to feel part of the community and the project should continue next season.
Workers often left during or after the main fruit harvest for jobs in the North Island, leaving vineyards short when their harvests began in early autumn.
Cromwell Community House manager Karen Palmer said the community had been very generous in donating food for workers, some whom had been disadvantaged due to the pandemic.
Workers had also enjoyed sports events the group organised for them and appreciated being invited to community gatherings.
"We’d like to involve them more in the community.
"Survey respondents suggested we seek out their talents to showcase at events and ask people for odd jobs, like gardening, to help keep the workforce here and feeling like they belong, are wanted and supported."