Introducing our 2019 Tommy’s Local heroes
Bridget Cheeseman is the founder of Cake It Forward. Part business, part social enterprise, Bridget works tirelessly to donate cakes on a regular basis to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access them. She regularly donates birthday cakes via Angel Tree to children who have a parent in prison on their birthday. Bridget is a beautiful soul who does this to continue her own mother’s legacy of kindness. Bridget’s Mum was that person in the community who did everything for everyone and was loved enormously by all who knew her for her generous spirit.
Bridget’s mum passed away not too long ago, Bridget misses her hugely every day. Through Cake It Forward, Bridget is also teaching her daughter that their life is rich because of the love they share and what they can do for others. Bridget is opening up a new store in Petone at 212 Jackson Street, pop in for a visit and some cakes or coffee.
For more info on Bridget and Cake It Forward, visit facebook.com/cakeitforwardnz/
Chad O’Hara is a volunteer for 2 very important organizations within the Wellington region. He devotes hundreds of hours to them a year. Chad is also a volunteer Station Officer for the Newlands Volunteer Fire Brigade, he spends hours training, doing community fire safety, and attending emergency calls each week. He has volunteered for just under 14, years starting when he was only 16 years old.
Chad is a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician with Wellington Free Ambulance. This sees him completing 12 – 13 hour shifts a week, plus when they get busy he drops everything to go and help out. He has volunteered for the Wellington Free Ambulance for 5 years, with an average of 20 hours contributed per week.
He does all the above while working full time without any real recognition. He never complains and always puts the community first above his own needs. Dedicating hundreds of hours to our community whilst working a full time job is no small contribution. It’s people like Chad who keep the emergency services we all rely on, free and running.
Sophie Denman runs a 24/7 taxi service called Sophie’s Angels. The idea is that it is a taxi service that is a safe and dependable for clients who would otherwise feel vulnerable or unsafe catching regular services, or find themselves in an emergency. Sophie is the only driver and she goes above and beyond, truely embodying the company’s slogan, ‘the taxi service that cares. She has purchased groceries for her passengers when they are unwell, answered calls for rides at all hours at night for female passengers so they can have a safe and comfortable ride home, picked up school girls from after school activities, she takes people to hospital and even picks up their medication.
Sophie has even implemented a system among Wellington bars to give free rides to help young girls get home and have a place to stay. Sophie truly deserves recognition for all the amazing work she does and the people she has helped. Sophie wants to fully fund her Angel Rides; a service for any at risk member of public, for getting them home safely in emergencies. Sophie wants to help, and she needs your help to do it.
Visit Sophie’s Angel to learn more about her cause.
Bryce Keith is an all round great guy and does so much for the local community. Bryce is the Community Support Liaison for Kapura Group in Wellington. Bryce had worked in this group for many years. They created this role for him as he is inspirational, he loves to give back and help any and all charities in need.
He gives up and spends his weekends volunteering at events, cooking BBQ’s, and giving his hospitality to help raise money for any Wellington charity he can find. Not only does he dedicate his free time to charity events, but during his work time he strives to create safe spaces where people of our community can catch up, have some food, drink, and support each other. Bryce believes that as a community, we become stronger together. In true local hero style – Bryce was awarded the $2,000 and immediately asked if he could give it away to St Vincent de Paul, a Wellington charity who work in a caring and practical manner to promote justice through personal contact with those in need. Bryce said they would need it over Christmas.
David Yee tirelessly works in the local Newtown community with youth groups and migrant children. He welcomes, includes, and goes out of his way to make sure people are looked after. He has run the local community kids club for the last couple of years, operating out of the social housing complex, ensuring inclusiveness for all and providing Kaibosh donated food for families in need. Everyone and anyone can come. Sometimes it’s the only opportunity a mother might have to get a break. Along with the local food repurpose group, David has organised to get a donation of food to help feed the kids who turn up.
He’s spent countless hours applying for funding, organising extra hands to help, planning fun afternoons, and giving these kids an opportunity to be just that, kids. Every term, David holds a dinner at his house as well- everyone welcome. He really is one in a million. The people in Newtown appreciate all the work he has done and continues to do for our community. David is really a good sort who deserves this. He dedicates himself to helping others and thoroughly deserves to be recognised for it, not that he’d say so himself.