Well-known Whanganui community figures have been getting their hands dirty this week, helping local community groups to shine the light on National Volunteer Week.
Between Monday and Friday this week, Whanganui people such as MP Steph Lewis, mayor Hamish McDouall and deputy mayor Jenny Duncan, disability advocate Sir Robert Martin, Whanganui District Health Board chief executive Russell Simpson, and Whanganui Midweek editor Paul Brooks will experience volunteering first-hand with a local organisation.
On Tuesday morning McDouall pulled up a seat in Trafalgar Square to sell raffle tickets alongside the Volunteer Whanganui raffle team.
Volunteer Whanganui has a dedicated team of volunteers whose sole job is to sell raffle tickets for community groups who enlist their help.
Joining McDouall were seasoned volunteers Janet Worfolk and Chrissie Bensman, who work alongside each other selling raffle tickets for about 20 community groups a year.
"I've been volunteering for about 35 years. I got into it because it gives me something to do," Bensman said.
"I started volunteering when I was 16, so it's been a lifelong thing for me," Worfolk said.
McDouall said sitting down and seeing the work of people like Bensman and Worfolk really gave him an insight into the importance of volunteering.
"It's absolutely vital to the community. Actually, we were just talking about someone who volunteers for nine or 10 organisations.
"Whanganui is a really community-focused place, and volunteering is important here. This here is just another example of members of our community getting out and lending a hand."
Meanwhile, over at the Riding for the Disabled centre in Purnell St, disability advocate Sir Robert Martin was having a go at guiding riders along the course.
The organisation receives no government funding and relies on its team of around 35 volunteers to keep operating. Tasks range from picking up manure to making sure the horses are exercised.
Martin said as someone with a disability, it was pleasing to be able to see the work an organisation like RDA did.
"It's quite special to be able to help. Volunteers here do a great job, and the riders take a lot from it."
Volunteer Whanganui manager Sandra Rickey said this week was about recognising the efforts of volunteers but also talking up the benefits of helping out your community.
"Whanganui has the highest number of volunteers per capita, and the work they do here in the region is just huge. I guess this week is just about shining a light on that and the great work that our volunteers do.
"I'd say to anyone wanting to get involved to do it. It's incredibly rewarding."
For more information on volunteering or to see listings for vacant volunteer roles, visit volunteerwhanganui.org.nz.