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Connecting the Community

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25 July 2019

On Saturday 27 July, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) returns to the community where their work started. SVA’s Connect the Community programme began in 2013 after the earthquakes when the community came together to work on shared improvement projects. SVA realised the importance of, and strength in, working together on a longer-term basis to bolster the sense of responsibility and pride in our communities. Connect the Community aims to bring students and the wider community together and, on Saturday they will commence a new project in New Brighton.

 “New Brighton was chosen this year because it’s a great place that has a lot of potential and a lot of passion and community involvement. It is also amazing for SVA to come back to the East of Christchurch where we started during the earthquakes. We expect over 300 volunteers and they will be working on a range of sites including Rawhiti Domain, the Old School and South Brighton Reserve,” said Lydia Dudson of SVA.

Connect the Community volunteers will undertake weeding, mulching, and general gardening, painting murals and clearing a section of Rawhiti domain to make way for a ‘Wilderness Playground’.

As an SVA Foundation sponsor since its inception, Citycare Group has consistently supported and complemented the SVA people power with technical expertise and a wide range of resources including plant and machinery, as well as shovels, paintbrushes, gumboots and other tools the students might need to complete their work.

Citycare’s relationship with SVA Foundation and its founder, Sam Johnson, has recently extended, with the establishment of a new Community Guardians platform to further enable community mentoring and volunteering and help people with mental health and other challenges find a way back into the workplace.

“Connect the Community builds stronger social capital and communities that care. The programme fits well with the work Citycare undertakes in the wider Christchurch area while aligning with our values and over-arching brand vision enabling Better people. Better places. Better communities,” said Nige Cottingham, Executive General Manager – Strategy and Growth

Volunteers who want to be part of Connect the Community should meet at the Old School, Te Kura Tawhito at 9.15am and wear appropriate clothing and footwear for physical work. There will also be a barbecue for all volunteers at the end of the work.  For more info email

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