Whanganui's deputy mayor got arty and the health board boss got horse poo on his shoes - and both had big smiles as they interacted with participants in two community organisations.

Several prominent locals are giving a few hours of their time to various organisations this week to promote volunteering as part of Volunteer Whanganui's I Dare You campaign.

Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson spent a few hours yesterday helping at Riding for the Disabled.

"I've been leading horses around but there's been no mucking out or anything like that," Simpson said.

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"I know quite a lot about Riding for the Disabled because my dad has volunteered with RDA in Wellington for years. They do so much with very little money. It's great to see the riders' smiles."

Simpson helped lead 22-year-old Chester, RDA's Appaloosa, while rider Slade Orr giggled and asked for another circuit.

Volunteers Amy Vivian (front left), Russell Simpson (front right) and Matthew Johnson (back) with rider Slade Orr on Chester.
Volunteers Amy Vivian (front left), Russell Simpson (front right) and Matthew Johnson (back) with rider Slade Orr on Chester.

RDA manager Wendy Sellars said the organisation was looking for another Appaloosa because some of the children only wanted to ride Chester.

Regular volunteers with the organisation include some former RDA riders who want to remain involved, Sellars said.

Simpson said his previous voluntary commitments included caring for a person with cerebral palsy on a Jubilee Sailing Trust trip to Fiji and in May he and some friends raised more than $250,000 for Heart Kids by completing the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon in Nepal.

Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan works on Christmas tree decorations with Michelle Kennedy (left) and Susan Hills (right).
Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan works on Christmas tree decorations with Michelle Kennedy (left) and Susan Hills (right).

Whanganui deputy mayor Jenny Duncan has participated in the I Dare You campaign for the past two years and this time found herself being an art tutor assistant at Whanganui Creative Space in Dublin St.

"It's the first time I've been here and I was amazed when I walked in," Duncan said.

"It's a lovely opportunity to participate with a different part of the community that we don't often engage with."

Duncan helped participants who were sewing Christmas tree decorations.

Creative Space art tutor Karen Calcott said about 70 people a week used the space.

"We're open on Wednesdays and Thursdays and now we also open every weekend, alternating between Saturdays and Sundays, so there's definitely a need," Calcott said.

"Our focus is on health and mental wellbeing. It's amazing watching people on their art journey. Seeing them building confidence and self-esteem is amazing and they take that out into the community."

Calcott became involved with Creative Space as a volunteer then when the previous art tutor left, she stepped into the role.

Creative Space is a free community art space which operates under the umbrella of Arts Access Aotearoa and welcomes people from all walks of life.

Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan gives Susan Hills some sewing tips at Whanganui Creative Space.
Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan gives Susan Hills some sewing tips at Whanganui Creative Space.