Nominee says he's the wrong man

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2013
scott gilmour
LOCAL HERO: I Have A Dream New Zealand founder Scott Gilmour with some of the youngsters involved in the Mt Roskill-based programme. Mr Gilmour is a semifinalist in the 2013 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Local Hero Awards.

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A decade after setting up the New Zealand branch of the I Have A Dream youth trust Scott Gilmour is up for an honour in a nationwide award.

But the Mt Roskill businessman and patron says his nomination as a local hero in the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Award is a source of "extreme annoyance" for him.

I Have A Dream has spent the last decade working closely to help a group of Mt Roskill youngsters through school and while Mr Gilmour is happy the trust is getting some deflected recognition as a result of his nomination he insists the real plaudits should go to the staff and volunteers who keep the organisation running.

Mr Gilmour was nominated by I Have A Dream project co-ordinator Ant Backhouse and is the semifinalist in the category.

"It's Ant who should be getting the recognition," Mr Gilmour says.

"I brought the idea home from the States but for the last 10 years Ant has been shoulder-to-shoulder with me.

"The kids have all got cellphones and get in touch with him at all hours. He just does so much and puts in so much heart, love and time. The idea is one thing, but the time is another thing."

The I Have A Dream programme aims to help youngsters from the decile one Wesley Primary School in Mt Roskill to stay in school before offering them assistance through higher education.

Mentors may find themselves knocking on doors to make sure their charges are getting to school, or leading a party on a tramping expedition.

Each project selects one entire year level from the school, not just the talented kids or the troubled kids, and works with that same group of children for several years.

Ten years in the first group is turning 18 and doing well, Mr Gilmour says, but the milestone is not one the team is dwelling on.

"We had a momentary pause to reflect on it.

"We've been quite successful and the kids are doing quite well so we are happy with our achievement.

"But we've only been working with a small group and there might be hundreds if not thousands who could use the programme."

Indeed the trust is in the process of developing a business plan to make it more "broadly impactful".

"We've got some ideas on how to scale this out," Mr Gilmour says.

"Part of it is resourcing. We need money and it is out there, but it's more the people like Ant that can dedicate that much time and energy. The big thing is consistency."

Finalists for the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Local Hero award will be announced on Friday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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