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Eleanor Ranstead

Supporting her community has led to Eleanor Ranstead being a Kiwibank local hero recipient this year.

The award recognised the enormous contribution, sacrifice and dedication of New Zealanders who selflessly work to make their communities a better place.

Mrs Ranstead said the recognition was hard to describe.

“I was really surprised that someone nominated me.”

While the acknowledgement was a privilege, she was aware there were lots of people in the community working to make it a better place.

“There’s people who do fantastic work out in the community who are deserving,” she said.

Mrs Ranstead was a volunteer suicide prevention and postvention facilitator and provided support for people in those situations and after.

She was the Mind Matters facilitator, where she worked on a 12-step programme regarding mental and emotional wellness.

The programme started six years ago and was the only such group in New Zealand, she said.

Volunteering in the community was important.

“We live in communities with lots of issues. There’s a lot of help but people don’t realise it,” she said.

“It’s important we have people with education in those roles to help.

“If we don’t care for those around us society breaks down.

“It’s important to care and help people coping with things going on in their lives.”

Two years ago she received a Ministry of Health volunteer award for her work with suicide prevention and mental health.

She worked as the Mataura community development co-ordinator, where she was further involved in the community.

She has a strong connection with the youth in Eastern Southland through her role as the Gore District Youth Council co-ordinator.

The local hero award would be presented on December 10, in Invercargill.