Des to concentrate on Whanganui's Matipo trust

By Laurel Stowell

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Des Warahi was working with youth in this 2010 photograph. PHOTO/ FILE
Des Warahi was working with youth in this 2010 photograph. PHOTO/ FILE

Veteran community worker Des Warahi is very excited about his next job.

He's been given a year and $100,000 to work with the Matipo Community Development Charitable Trust in the Vodafone World of Difference Programme.

He was one of five recipients of the award at a function in Auckland on Thursday night. The money is for his salary, expenses and agreed project costs. It will allow him to work full-time for the trust, to mentor leaders and help deliver training.

Mr Warahi has been working for not for profit groups for 18 years. He's been a community developer for the Castlecliff Community Charitable Trust, but also helped out Neighbourhood Support and Castlecliff School, done voluntary work and served on boards.

Being able to concentrate on just one group was the exciting part, he said.

"If you focus on one group for a 12 months period you can go hard, and build, and support."

He's had a full-on year and needs a rest. After a summer break in "sandals, shorts and T-shirt" he'll begin the new role in late January or February next year.

He's cleared it with the board of his Castlecliff trust. It will find other people for administration and projects.

Mr Warahi first got involved with the Matipo trust in 2014, helping with governance training and getting it charitable status. He continued to mentor it last year.

It has been offering education to Whanganui families and whanau affiliated with the Black Power gang.

It was a winner in the Trustpower community awards in October last year, for its work to improve the lives of people in the Matipo St area of Castlecliff-Gonville.

One of the prime movers was Craig "Rip" Rippon, who was murdered on November 8. After his death the work continued, with the help of Rotary, the YMCA, the Wai Ora Christian Community Trust and Whanganui UCOL.

Mr Warahi has been blown away by the successes achieved - qualifications in literacy, numeracy, horticulture and carpentry. The trust's current chairwoman is Rosemary Rippon.

Both the foundation and Mr Warahi want whatever is achieved to be long-term. He's envisaging reverting to a mentoring role with the Matipo trust in 2018.

The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation has been funding community organisations since 2007. It has given out $20 million in grants so far, all aimed a helping youth.

Award recipients receive ongoing mentoring and attend hui both during the year of the award and afterward.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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