We recently had our AgeConnect Champions Awards which celebrated and recognised the many wonderful people, businesses and organisations who help to keep our older community members feeling connected. They help to provide older people with the opportunity to feel part of our communities which contributes to their wellbeing. These awards often reveal acts of generosity and kindness that sometimes the wider public do not know about.
Marnie Brown, AgeConnect Coordinator, was delighted with the success of the awards. ‘It was great to come together and celebrate,’ she says. The awards provided the opportunity to people from numerous organisations and businesses across the region to meet, learn about each other and network. One of the highlights for Marnie was seeing the joy on the face of finalists. There were five different categories in the awards with up to three finalist named, one category winner and an overall winner.
The Overall Winner was the Brightwater Senior Exercise Group which was nominated in two of the five categories. This group stated in July 2020 to encourage movement, mobility, and social interaction amongst Seniors in Brightwater, and it has been a wonderful success. Led by Wanderers Community Sports club, previously Wanderers Rugby club and under the excellent instruction of Jaimee Macdonald it has expanded to three classes per week with over 80 members participating in light movement exercises, catering to a range of older adults and abilities. Improvements in stability and confidence have been outstanding and friendships formed. This group started out small but with the guidance of a great committee and the drive to have an exercise group like no other it has transformed into a vibrant dynamic group making a huge differences to the lives of those involved.
The Awards will run again in the latter part of 2022 so if you see an individual, organisation or business doing amazing things in the community to keep older people connected please let Marnie know on 5447624 ext 5 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Category Winners were:
Community Connections Champion: Stoke Companions
One Person Makes a Difference Champion: Leigh Dalzell
Intergenerational Champion: Nelson College for Girls
Age-Friendly Environment Champion: Coffee on Queen
60+ Employer Champion: Sharon Kenning
Brightwater Senior Exercise Group
The Tasman District Library – Housebound Book Delivery Servicewon the Outstanding Elder-friendly Customer Service at the 2019 Champions Awards. For years the Housebound book delivery service has delivered outstanding Elder-friendly Customer Service whilst delivering books to those who cannot leave their own homes. Can you imagine what a lifeline of brain stimulation and human contact these visits are for the people who receive them. Although administered by the Tasman District Library this service is run by very dedicated volunteers whose deep caring for their clients is reflected in their customer service. Kath Bartlett, Annette Gill and Judy Beaumont have all been voluntarily delivering books with this service for TEN years.
NB: Nominations for AgeConnect Champions is ongoing so if you would like to nominate someone click on this link.
Magic FM People’s Choice Champion : These are the champions that you, the public, left us in no doubt add value to the lives of older people in our community. This year the nominations came in thick and fast, so thank you MediaWorks Nelson for helping to spread the word.
The Winner of this Category was:
One nomination said “Anna keeps us all fit with her exercise classes. She selects exercise music very carefully so that us oldies really enjoy. Anna also organizes regular outings to places of interest in the region.”
Other speak of Mary-Ann’s effervescent personality and caring nature. Her determination to adapt the exercises or equipment so as to encourage disabled people to be able join too.
Mary Ann manages the facility and between them, Mary- Ann and Anne run fitness classes for the 65+ groups, movies, all kids of activites and social outings with Club 60+.
To quote a nominator again “They are great, friendly people who make for a great day out and help me make new friends.”
60+ Employer of the Year – This is an award for a business who has been acknowledged as recognizing the desire of many to continue to work past retirement age, to see value in an older employees experience and work ethics. These businesses willingly not only retain but employ staff who are over the age of 60.
The winner of this Category was Fulton Hogan LTD
Many men who retire will tell you, they miss the sense of purpose that employment gave them and the comradery of their workmates. AgeConnect first noticed the healthy age of some of the Fulton Hogan team, who were working on the Nelson Airport redevelopment.
After meeting with Paul O’Meara, the area manager, AgeConnect discovered that a number of their staff were celebrating significant milestones of employment with Fulton Hogan. In fact one was a 43th anniversary and a large party had been held to mark it as that employee stepped from fulltime to casual employment. Fulton Hogan’s recognition and support of staff retention into retirement is great but we also heard of men who had approached them post retirement “looking for something to do” with their days. Fulton Hogan’s willingness to not let age be any barrier to employment was a wonderful thing to hear. AgeConnect looks forward to more employers in the region starting to appreciate and aging workforce and think as they do.
Intergenerational Champions – these champions are examples of people in our community who do things that bring the generations together and encourage them to spend time together for mutual benefit.
The winner of this category was Waimea College.
Waimea College have brought joy and knowledge to older people through the AgeConnect Tea & Tech programme. Prinicpal Scott Haines was keen for Waimea College to be involved. On first meeting, Deputy Principal Tony Enoka was hugely supportive and committed to allowing his 100 or so Junior Leaders to participate in Tea & Tech in two retirement villages every month. Tea & Tech only uses 10 students at a time but after seeing it in action, Tony has offered to help out more saying this is one of his young leaders favourite activities. The feedback from the older people they help is that his students are polite, respectful, interested, helpful and fun. To see the different age groups problem solving together is something else. We would like every school in the region to commit to a Tea & Tech programme as Waimea College has done. They saw a need and put their hand up to help. AgeConnect Intergenerational Champions Waimea College .
The One Person Makes a Difference Champion category- recognises how one person’s actions can make a big difference to the life of an older person.
The winner of this category was:
Sally Curtis & Tyson the horse –PetConnect is proving to be a very popular initiative from AgeConnect. Usually it is dogs which visit retirement villages and resthomes, however since November last year Tyson, the Clydesdale horse has visited many resthomes and care facilities, often more than once. For those who come from rural or animal loving backgrounds, the mere sight, the clip clop sounds or smell of a horse can bring a rush of memories and emotions to the fore. It can be a spine tingling, tear inducing experience to share in those moments when Tyson and his owner Sally Curtis of Motueka make their way along a line of chairs, wheelchairs and hospital beds.
Sally Curtis would tell you it’s all Tyson and how SHE is so lucky to have him in her life BUT …. Sally is just as magic to be around as Tyson and it is not only the horse who brings joy to older people in our region ….it is the woman who leads him, who gives her time and her conversation, her heart AND her horse …so freely.
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