Tommy’s is about to launch a new campaign that has nothing to do with real estate and everything to do with celebrating Wellington’s local heroes.

From now until the first week of December (nominations end on 1st of December), Tommy’s is encouraging the public to nominate people in the community deserving of recognition for their voluntary work. Called the Tommy’s Local Heroes campaign, there will be five winners from throughout the Wellington region who will receive $2000 each.

“We want to find our silent heroes – it could be someone who helps out at a sports club, a volunteer who works for the SPCA, anyone who gives up their time to help in the community,” says Tommy’s marketing manager Henry Bong.

The two-week campaign is a first for Tommy’s, but one that heavily aligns with the firm’s values, says Henry.

“We are big on building relationships, we believe in teamwork, it’s all about togetherness and helping each other out,” he says. “And without the support of our community we wouldn’t be here.”

Now, it’s Tommy’s turn to thank the Wellington community for its support over the last two decades.

“At the end of the day we’ve been part of this community for 20 years, and the community has supported us,” says Tommy’s managing director Mark Hamilton. “It’s a wonderful feeling for us to be able to give back to the community in perhaps a way that is unexpected.

“These champions of the community aren’t expecting anything, but this campaign is our way of thanking them on behalf of the community for all that they do. “A lot of these people fly under the radar and perhaps don’t want recognition, but it’s nice to be able to smile and say ‘well done, thank you, good on you, you’re a good bugger’.”

The only criteria is that the nominees must be over 18 years old and their work must be voluntary.

Mark knows all about volunteering himself – he was involved in the IHC Gateway programme some years ago.

“We would help reintegrate young people with Down Syndrome back into the community through trips, dances, events, things that would give them a normal routine,” explains Mark.

As a family man with three boys, he’s also been involved with volunteer-run organisations as they’ve grown up.

“We’ve been involved in a lot of kids’ sport, and while it’s not 24/7, it is almost 365 days of the year that people put in behind the scenes, it’s huge. “Without these people these organisations wouldn’t exist, it’s what makes and shapes a community.”

The Local Heroes campaign is yet another initiative that adds strength to Tommy’s reputation for giving back.

From November 30, the company is giving away thousands of produce bags as part of its “go green” campaign to encourage the public to reuse and recycle.

“It’s part of our catch-phrase ‘more green than just our branding’ and it’s about making a positive impact on the environment,” says Henry.

The produce bags will be available at Wellington’s Newtown and Chaffers markets, Tommy’s open homes and from its head office. Last year alone Tommy’s gave out more than 35,000 heavy duty reusable shopping bags over a six-week period to help eliminate plastic from the city.

The community-minded nature of Tommy’s has also seen it back numerous charities and non-profit organisations over the years. This year’s major beneficiary is Wellington Free Ambulance. By the end of August next year, the Tommy’s network will have donated more than $150,000 to Wellington Free Ambulance.

“We have chosen to support Wellington Free Ambulance because it is the only free emergency paramedic service in New Zealand,” says Mark. “We believe that in the case of an emergency, first response care should be available to everyone, and no-one should be excluded because of cost.”

Tommy’s is also a big supporter of Given For You, a Wellington-based charity that sources and distributes care packages to families lacking the simplest of materials needed for managing everyday life.

In fact, the charity was founded by Tommy’s own sales director Nicki Cruickshank and six other like-minded peers who have recognised there’s an acute need to be addressed within the Wellington community.

And each year Tommy’s organises a charity golf day, last year raising more than $14,000 and this year raising more than $20,000 for the cause.

“That money helps the many families who are living below the poverty line and are severely under-resourced in terms of the obtaining the basic means for survival,” says Nicki.

“The last lot of money, for instance, will supply swimming lessons, togs, towels and goggles to decile one school children across the Wellington region.”

Tommy’s backed the Given For You pop-up shop too, which helped to raise an additional $23,000.

Meanwhile, for the very first time Tommy’s took part in the Wellington International Pride Parade in March.

“The parade brings awareness to Wellington’s amazing sense of colour and vibrancy, it is a sophisticated showcase of the Pride community while celebrating our city’s diversity and talent,” says Henry.

With Christmas now upon us, Tommy’s agents will come together to donate food and supplies to the Wellington City Mission.

“We want to help make for a better Christmas for those in need – Christmas is a time of joy for most, but for those less fortunate something as small as a food donation can make all the difference,” says Henry. Year-round Tommy’s supports a number of other organisations as well, including KidsCan, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities’, Poneke Football Club, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Autism New Zealand and Wellington Kindergartens.

“We may be a successful real estate company, but we wear our hearts on our sleeve – we wouldn’t be here without a supportive community behind us,” says Mark.

Now a household name in real estate, Tommy’s has its head office in Wellington city and seven franchised offices in Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Eastbourne, Mana, Kapiti, Tawa and Whitby. The number of salespeople in the city office has grown from three initially, including founders Tommy Heptinstall and David Platt, to more than 43 today.

In that time Tommy’s salespeople have sold about 16,500 homes between Khandallah and Seatoun, representing about a third of all homes with the Wellington city head office area alone. But it isn’t Tommy’s distinctive green colours nor the signs that have earned Tommy’s its position as a market leader – it’s the staff, the culture and supportive Wellingtonians.

“We have a wonderful following – as a company we owe a deep debt of gratitude to the thousands of clients who have listed their home for sale with Tommy’s and to the equal number of home buyers who have taken a step into home ownership or property investment through us,” says Mark.

“We really are the perfect example of a cliché, we’ve created a big family, and Wellingtonians have become an offshoot of our family.”

To nominate your Local Hero – CLICK HERE

The article is published on the Dominion Post, 23rd of November 2019.

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