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CEG Supports Community growth

CEG Supports Community growth

A huge number of community-building activities that lead to regional employment opportunities and community enterprise are assisted by advice, project planning, support and funding from the Department of Labour’s Community Employment Group (CEG).

Charlie Moore, General Manager of CEG, says that more than 3000 community organisations are supported every year to create employment and community enterprise opportunities in their regions. 1334 projects received funding in the 02/03 year.

“CEG works with communities and groups on the margins,” he says.

“Our support is not just about funding. Although we have a budget of $22.2million to support community enterprise every year, we also provide specialist advice and project support to groups via 70 local fieldworkers throughout New Zealand. These fieldworkers use their expertise and networks to help communities and community groups take an idea and make it grow.

“We often work with groups over a number of years. They start from behind – we don’t expect 100% success immediately or in all cases. A series of steps over several years can lead to new and ongoing jobs in that community.

“Some examples of groups and projects CEG has worked with include fossil tourism in Otago, the Maori Treasures initiative in the Lower Hutt, and an arts marketing project in Nelson. They have all resulted in significant community growth and development” says Charlie Moore.

Mr Moore also makes a distinction between funding for Social Entrepreneur applicants and other projects supported by CEG.

“By far the majority of our funding is a process where a group which has an idea or plan for developing community employment opportunities and meets with a fieldworker to develop actions around that idea. This may result in an application for a grant to progress the project. If so, that’s drawn up with assistance from the fieldworker, looked at by a Regional Manager, and a recommendation is then made to national office, where details of the application are re-examined and a final decision made.

“Once an agreement is made with a group, we expect the project to meet the outcomes, objectives and milestones identified. CEG receives reports during the life of the project, and our fieldworkers monitor the progress of the project against these reports.

“The Social Entrepreneur Fund has wider aims and is managed differently. The Fund is intended to improve the social and economic wellbeing of communities by funding innovators who work for change in their area. The $750,000 annual fund is the only part of CEG funding granted to individual applicants” says Mr Moore.

To be eligible, a proven social entrepreneur provides a comprehensive CV and information about their role as a social entrepreneur, project details and references. A national panel of government officials and non-government representatives then assess all applications against the Fund’s criteria. The successful applicants usually have a time frame for their project and a final report is requested.

“This process was followed with the application submitted by the Tamati’s,” says Mr Moore, “I have decided to review the information we had in regards to the grant made to the Tamati’s to ensure the objectives were achieved and the funding appropriately spent.”

In August 2003, the government requested CEG to undertake a review of the Social Entrepreneur Fund. The review has been completed and has recommended that the grants criteria focus more closely on supporting key people who are making a positive difference in their communities. These recommendations are due to be considered by Ministers shortly.

Charlie Moore listed several groups which are examples of proactive CEG support to help communities develop opportunities for positive employment and self-sufficiency.

Wellington Fashion HQ offers young designers business mentoring and premises to work from and soon retail space. Funded $20,000 (2003/04).

Film South New Zealand Trust links together South Island screen production companies and markets the ‘film friendly’ and location rich region to national and international film industries. Funded $91,807 (2002/04)

Innovative Waste Kaikoura This successful community-based resource recovery centre has developed a range of initiatives generating employment and environmental enhancements in Kaikoura. It has also used its extensive experience in the field to set up an academy training people in resource recovery centre management. Another of its initiatives involves setting up the 'Trees for Travellers' project which encourages visitors to Kaikoura to buy and plant a tree as a means of giving something back to the environment. The project uses green waste from local households, and profits go back into reducing waste projects in the community. The Community Employment Group has provided Innovative Waste with support and advice over a number of years.

John Ransley, (Innovative Waste Kaikoura Ltd manager), Phone 03 319 7148 or cell 0274 600 255

Financial support since December 2000 amounts to $94,584.50, which includes $11,900 for a Social Entrepreneur grant for John Ransley in 2002.

Massive Company This charitable trust runs a theatre company providing training to young actors, running productions and enhancing the development of employment opportunities in the performing arts. Support and advice from the Community Employment Group has enabled the group to develop the infrastructure and systems it needs to develop plays such as the recently successful Sons of Charlie Paora. As a result seven, young Aucklanders are presently performing the play in London's prestigious Royal Court. Massive Company is believed to be the first New Zealand theatre company to receive an invitation to perform at the Royal Court Theatre.

Marg Mellsop (Massive Company chairperson) Phone 027 296 1118

Financial support since September 2002 amounts to $32,000

Nelson Bays Arts Advocacy and Marketing Network This network has worked extensively with artists and craftspeople in the region providing support, advice and training. Its innovations include the successful guidebook Art in its Own Place -- which was first produced in 1994. The book, now in its fourth edition, has led to an estimated $20 million of international publicity for the region. The network's latest initiative -- Communication Kawatiri -- has involved a comprehensive survey of artists in the upper South Island. Results from the survey are being used to further enhance the arts sector in the region. Ongoing support and advice has been supplied by CEG.

Ali Boswijk, (Nelson Bays Arts Advocacy and Marketing Network chief executive), Phone 03 546 6744 or 021 040 3724

Financial support since August 1994 amounts to $269,603

Golden Bay Organic Employment and Education Trust This trust has set up a successful organics shop that is providing healthy food choices and local employment to shop workers and local growers. Demand for organic food in Golden Bay has increased dramatically in recent years and the trust has worked hard to manage the growth in its service. The shop has grown from a base of volunteer workers to employing staff and a manager.

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