An award for one is an award for all.
At least that was how Helen Algar felt after being recognised with a Safe Community Award last week by the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand at its annual hui in Wellington.
The award recognised her leadership, and contribution to and support for the foundation at a regional level.
Having gone to attend its conference, Mrs Algar did not expect to be celebrated.
“I was really pleasantly surprised.
“It’s lovely to be recognised as a community for the work we have done [here], and beyond.”
As the Waitaki District Council community development manager, Mrs Algar played a lead role in Safer Waitaki since initiating it.
Using the Safe Communities Foundation New Zealand model, Safer Waitaki was established to foster community development in which “everyone had equal value and equal opportunity to get involved”.
The network was made up of a collective of 160 community organisations, social services and local and central government – gaining its first accreditation in 2013.
To Mrs Algar, the award reflected the effectiveness of that network.
“Whilst I was handed the award, it actually belongs to everyone who contributes to that Safer Waitaki network.
“It’s not my award, it’s everyone’s, and a great recognition of how well everyone works together.
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher thanked Mrs Algar for her “leadership, collaboration and innovation”.
“[She has] supported numerous initiatives and contributed to increasing community safety, wellbeing and resilience in Waitaki.
“Increasingly, local government is helping fill gaps in the services that we would usually expect from central government ministries.”
Mrs Algar said she was driven by a passion for and commitment to her community
“You don’t do what you do for accolades, you do it because you want to make a difference.
“I intend on living here for the rest of my life, and I want it to be the place to be.”