Hot drinks and yummy food was enjoyed as volunteering stories and journeys were celebrated at a special afternoon tea for St Chads Charitable Trust volunteers.

It is National Volunteer Week this week, running until June 22.

St Chads celebrated the week with its volunteers through an afternoon tea, which St Chads through a competition with Volunteering BOP and Coast radio.

St Chads manager Nicky Mayne says St Chads is contracted with the Government to do what it does, and only about 50 per cent of its expenses are covered.


She says St Chads has a great reputation in the Rotorua community because of what it delivers, but that is only because it delivers the services volunteers provide.

"Our volunteers are a treasure."

She says there are many different nationalities and age groups represented in St Chads' volunteers - "It represents that volunteering is for absolutely anyone".

Nicky says St Chads clients also spend about 80 hours a week taking part in volunteer services in the community.

"It's great that we are giving back to this community who gives so much to us. I just want to say thank you."

She also acknowledged the St Chads volunteer co-ordinator Jebraun Clifford and the hard work she puts in which is required to co-ordinate volunteers.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick says volunteers are the glue in our community and that volunteers are a special type of person.

At the afternoon tea, she thanked the St Chads volunteers for the time and work they gave.


"This [St Chads] is a very special place, a treasure, and has always been a treasure."

She says St Chads is not struggling as much as it used to 20 years ago for funding, but it is always a challenge, so the volunteers help with the funding gap that always exists.

At the gathering, Steve also acknowledged Rotorua Multicultural Council president Margriet Theron.

"She has been an incredible advocate, saying to new people in Rotorua to get involved in volunteering."

Steve says when people new to Rotorua volunteer they find they are valued, their skills are understood, for some their English improves remarkably, and then these help out with a job coming along.

Joan Lowry is a one-on-one volunteer at St Chads and has been for about seven years.

She takes St Chads client Sam to a community garden for volunteer work, and says Sam is the most delightful boy.

Joan says he is funny and tells amazing stories - "He's a delight to be with".

St Chads programme manager Donna Ross says it is a massive task to stock St Chads' Inspire art gallery, as well as everything else the organisation does, and so without volunteers, it would be hard to manage it all.

"If you don't provide that one-on-one assistance they won't achieve what their vision is. I'm always very appreciative in the art room."

Board member Ann-Elise Miles says she is loving being on the board, and thinks every human being should be entitled to reach their full potential.

"Being on the board is a privilege, and I'm grateful and proud."

Volunteering Bay of Plenty general manager Helen Stewart says there are 1.2 million volunteers in New Zealand which contribute about $3.4 billion to the New Zealand economy every year.

She says that $3.4b may seem like a lot but is just a drop in the ocean of the value of volunteers' time and contribution, "so we just wanted to acknowledge it and say thank you".

"Just helping someone can make a huge difference in their life on a day-to-day basis."