When BNZ staff arrived at Plunket in Featherston this morning to volunteer for the day, they were tasked with a tall order – make our playground magical.
Through BNZ’s annual ‘Closed for Good’ programme, which this year sees almost 4000 staff volunteer for the day at over 460 community projects nationwide, Plunket asked staff from the local BNZ branch to create an inspiring, creative, safe and fun play space for local children.
“It’s amazing. The before and after is just incredible. It was just a bare space, and now we’ve got a beautiful playground – it’s got an obstacle course, a dinosaur garden, stepping logs dug into the ground, a new sandpit, a music wall,” said Karyn Wilkins, Playgroup Coordinator at Plunket Featherston. The music wall has pots, pans and grills fixed to it and a bucket of different kitchen utensils that kids can use, creating a wall of sound.
And if this sounds like the product of a vivid imagination, it is: “I had a vision for how the space would look, I spent many breastfeeding hours on Pinterest making boards,” said Karyn, a Plunket volunteer. But turning her vision into reality demanded a team effort: “We were so delighted to have the team of BNZ volunteers arrive, and they’ve got so much done today, along with three Plunket volunteers. I’m really pleased to see it actually happen and I can’t wait for the first playgroup tomorrow.”
It’s already met with local approval. At first, Lulu North, 4, couldn’t decide which bit she liked the best, but on balance felt the slide was her favourite.
Lisa Hoswell, BNZ Customer Service Consultant, was one of eight staff from the Featherston branch who volunteered: “It’s been fun – I think all of us enjoyed that this was a blank canvas, and you can really see the difference.”
Featherston is one of over 20 Plunket groups across the country to get a helping hand from BNZ staff today. From Auckland in the North to Dunedin in the South, BNZ volunteered at Plunket branches painting fences, brightening up and cleaning toy rooms, and providing financial management and fundraising advice.
“The projects are as diverse as the communities Plunket serves, but they have one thing in common – they help our teams be good with money. The BNZ volunteers step in and do a huge amount of work that may otherwise have to be paid for,” said Claire Rumble, Plunket’s National Community Development Manager.
BNZ’s chief executive Anthony Healy said: “Volunteer service is one of the many ways the company shows its commitment to the communities we have a presence in. We acknowledge that every employee in the bank has a role to play in supporting their communities and environment. That’s why we’re proud to be able to share the skills and expertise of our people with their neighbourhoods for a day.”
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