SPCA names Volunteer of the Year
From local SPCA volunteer of the month to national volunteer of the year, Palmerston North’s Yvette Craven was dumbfounded when told she was the organisation’s top unpaid supporter.
The annual award was presented at a special morning tea last week by acting SPCA New Zealand CEO Andrea Midgen.
Midgen praised Craven for having ‘‘all the attributes of a great volunteer who just fits in and does an amazing job’’.
‘‘She has gone away above and beyond - here, and at the op-shop, so that [other members of staff] have a slightly less stressed day.’’
Craven has volunteered there for at least the past 12 years.
Considering the work carried out by hundreds of SPCA volunteers nationwide, Craven said she was surprised enough when she made the shortlist of seven in the Purina pet food sponsored acknowledgement.
Surprise turned to ‘‘shock’’ when she heard herself named the country’s leading volunteer.
‘‘I enjoy it. I’m a major animal lover. But there are so many people [who volunteer] here [in Palmerston North] who absolutely deserve this. They all do such a good job. [Nationally] I’m just one of hundreds and hundreds.’’
Manawatu SPCA manager Katie Pedersen had only instigated a volunteer of the month award at the centre three months ago, with Craven its first recipient.
‘‘She comes in Monday and Friday afternoons and at other times when we’re short-staffed. During the busy season when we have kittens everywhere, she turns up and gets stuck in,’’ Pedersen said.
Craven, who has two cats of her own, said her favourite area of the refurbished SPCA was the cattery where people could come and see the cats moving around.
The enlarged renovated space, opened in November 2015, had made a big difference to the way the SPCA was perceived, and to the retention of volunteers.
‘‘Thank goodness she stuck around for all these years,’’ Pedersen said.
‘‘Our staff are so grateful to have her around because she helps take the pressure off. To have a volunteer who can be left to help get the job done has a huge impact on the workload.’’
Craven received a year’s supply of Purina cat food and a $1000 prezzie card.
Yvette Craven, with Molly, acquired from SPCA about 10 years ago, is the SPCA’s national Volunteer of the year.