Recipient praises team

Lifekeepers . . . Connected Eastern Southland staff (back from left) Jane Orr, Gwen Gullick and Winston Turipa and (front from left) manager Robyn Morris, Kelly Young and Sue Heanue celebrate The Lifekeepers Recognition Award Mrs Morris received on behalf of the group. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The LifeKeepers Recognition Award she has received is a team effort, Robyn Morris says.

The Community Networking Trust manager received the award at a ceremony in Auckland last week.

The annual awards recognise the often unacknowledged efforts of individuals and organisations that work to prevent suicide.

While it was presented to her, she was part of the Connected Eastern Southland team, Mrs Morris said.

It was good for the team to get recognition for the work they did supporting people who needed help, she said.

‘‘They just get on with their day-to-day work, but it’s actually nice when somebody says ‘you are doing a great job’.

‘‘It just gives everyone a boost.’’

It was also important to celebrate success.

The team’s work was two-pronged, she said.

It supported initiatives to prevent suicide, but also if there was a suspected suicide, Mrs Morris co›ordinated the different agencies to support those affected.

Some of the prevention initiatives the team were involved in were Pink Shirt Day and promoting the 1737 programme, where people could text or telephone if they needed to talk to someone.

During the first lockdown, team members gathered information for The Southerly, an online resource to help people cope with being isolated in their homes.

‘‘We are about information-sharing and supporting people with anything that they need.’’

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the organisation worked hard to keep community members supported and connected.

‘‘To see recognition coming this way is a cherry on the top.

‘‘It is work done very much outside the spotlight.’’

Many people would drive past the organisation’s building and have no idea of the good work it undertook in the district, he said.

Society had changed in the past decade and the organisation had a valuable role to help people navigate through those changes, he said.

He believed Eastern Southland led the rest of New Zealand when it came to agencies working together, and Connected Eastern Southland played an important part in this.