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Corrections Minister Louise Upston is thanking the more than 2000 volunteers who give their time to help prisoners and offenders turn their lives around.

Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week, when the work of more than one million volunteers in New Zealand is recognised and celebrated.

“Volunteers are an essential part of Corrections’ work to support people to change their lives,” Ms Upston says.

“Whether it is helping to improve prisoners’ reading or writing, teaching an art class, sharing life skills such as cooking and budgeting or providing cultural and religious services, volunteers are vital to Corrections’ work.

“Helping offenders to move towards a crime-free future requires the support of many. It isn’t something Corrections can do alone. Volunteers bring diversity, community perspective and connection. They also support our goal of reducing reoffending by assisting offenders rehabilitate and transition back into the community.”

Ms Upston will be presenting awards to some of the volunteers who have won Corrections Volunteer Awards at Arohata Prison on Friday.

“These are committed Kiwis who give up their time and share their skills to make a positive impact on the lives of offenders,” Ms Upston says.

“National Volunteer Week is a great time to say a big thank you to the thousands of selfless people who volunteer for Corrections and recognise their commitment.”

More information on Corrections Volunteer Awards:

 

Brian Alexander

Howard League

Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility, Northern Region

 

Brian has 40 years’ experience as a commercial beekeeper and ran his own apiary/honey-making business for 35 years. Brian volunteers twice a week at Auckland Prison and Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility. Prisoners involved in beekeeping are completing level 3 NCEA papers by correspondence with Lincoln University, with Brian offering practical guidance, classroom tuition and supervision.

Charlotte Millar

Howard League

Mt Eden Corrections Facility, Northern Region

Charlotte started volunteering at Mt Eden Corrections Facility in March 2014 as assistant librarian. Involved in all aspects of the operating mobile library across 10 units. She played a key role in trialling a new library system and inducted and trained a new volunteer in the system.

Caroline Keddie

Spring Hill Corrections Facility, Central Region

Caroline has volunteered at Spring Hill Corrections Facility since 2013, assisting prisoners with literacy. She has many years’ experience teaching people with learning difficulties and English as a second language. She has been working with one particular prisoner for an extended period of time. He had a very low level of literacy but can now read a book and has written his own booklet.

Charlie Van De Graaf

Spring Hill Corrections Facility, Central Region

Charlie has volunteered at Spring Hill Corrections Facility since 2013 teaching men how to knit, crochet and do origami. The knitted and crocheted items included booties, hats, blankets and mittens which were donated to Plunket for families in need.

Te Maari Gardiner

Yoga in Prisons Trust

Tongariro Prison, Central Region

Te Maari teaches two yoga classes a week at Tongariro Prison. Between six and 12 prisoners attend each class.

Kerryn Palmer, Perry Piercy, Liz Langham and Ryan Knighton

 

Arohata Prison, Lower North Region

The group runs a programme called Bedtime Stories which aims to strengthen the bond between mothers and children, but also aunties, grandmothers and others who want to record a story and send to a child on CD. Members visit the prison each month with books and recording equipment. The programme enables women to practise their storytelling and reading and assists their relationship with their children while they are in prison.

Martin Bosley

Rimutaka Prison, Lower North Region

Martin has been involved in the Rimutaka Prison Gate to Plate event at Rimutaka Prison since it began in 2013. Prisoners are trained by Martin and other chefs to produce a multi-course gourmet meal which they then serve to paying guests.

Karina Fraser

Rimutaka Prison, Lower North Region

Karina teaches weekly art classes in the Drug Treatment Unit, including sketching, painting, card-making and origami. Karina has sourced resources and materials from her church and through a grant from Upper Hutt City Council.

Beverly Iremonger

Howard League

Christchurch Men’s and Women’s prisons, Southern Region

Beverly supports two prisoners twice a week in the youth unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison. She works with some very difficult prisoners in challenging situations and builds up their confidence, encouraging them to want to learn.

Vanessa Clements

Christchurch Women’s Prison, Southern Region

A coffee machine was donated by Zonta Ashburton and Vanessa trains and delivers two NZQA unit standards and is a qualified assessor for the two unit standards. Eight prisoners have completed the two unit standards so far.

Teau Aiturau

Time to Thrive to Stay Alive, Community (Northern Region)

Teau Aiturau has set up the Time To Thrive Charitable Trust which encourages people to get active thought the Mangere BikeFit programme. At Te Whare Koa Mangere Community House he helps people learn to ride, maintain and own a donated bike.

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