While the Upper Clutha region shows many visible signs of wealth and well-being, it is also home to many people who struggle to meet the high costs of living here because of poor health or shortfalls in income, or who run into other difficulties. Often successful people can fall on unexpectedly hard times and need somewhere to turn to for basic necessities.
Fortunately there are many enlightened organisations and individuals in the Wanaka area who recognise this and carry out excellent work to support those in need. Community Networks provides a focus for many of these activities, and serves as a conduit to link those in need with those able to help.
Corporate social responsibility is becoming recognised as an important part of the activities of companies both large and small, who need vibrant and healthy community engagement in order to ensure their businesses can thrive. This is not simply a PR exercise — businesses need happy and healthy customers and staff to be successful. Some examples of this kind of approach include Ray White’s ‘A Little Ray of Giving’ campaign, BNZ’s ‘Closed for Good’ activities and Harcourt’s sponsorship this year of the annual Wānaka Christmas hamper and foodbank drive, which runs to several thousand dollars.
Meanwhile the Community Networks team could not do what it does without the logistical and professional support provided by the likes of Radio Wānaka, Print-It, the IT Centre, the Wānaka Sun, the Wānaka App, Wunderbaa, and other local businesses that respond positively to specific requests for help. Jana Reulecke, owner of local marketing company Wunderbaa, enjoys the voluntary work she does supporting Community Networks (she oversees and manages its marketing activities) and says; ‘It’s important for us all to do what we can to connect our community and create social change.’
Since its inception three years ago, the Fit Collective, which was recently voted the people’s choice at the Wānaka Ignite Business Awards, has been a great supporter of the Mental Health Foundation. Trainer Andrew King says its fund-raising activities have been fun, aligned with mission values (healthy bodies in healthy minds — or as manager Kim Parry likes to say ‘Some days it’s not about speed or distance — it’s just therapy’) and staggeringly successful. So far the Fit Collective has managed to raise over $10,000 in support of mental health in Wānaka.
If you think your business can contribute to social engagement in the Upper Clutha region (or even if you can’t immediately think of any ways in which it can), give Kate Murray at Community Networks a call on 03 443 7799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.