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School children and the vulnerable benefit from grants

School children and the vulnerable benefit from grants

From taking opera to schools to feeding Wellington’s most vulnerable people, the last Nikau Foundation awards ceremony for the year distributed more than $170,000 to nearly 40 causes in the Wellington region on Monday night (Nov 30).

The event was hosted at the old harbour board room at the Wellington Museum by Wellington Mayor Celia Wade- Brown, who is also a Nikau Foundation board member.

The Mayor praised the generosity of the region’s people making it possible to support such varied causes such as children’s enjoyment of the city to health outcomes. She said the grant recipients had also shown that they could take the smallest of grants and make it into a great success.

In addressing the audience, Robbie Ross from the Wellington City Mission said that the mission had been giving meals to Wellingtons’ most vulnerable people since 1904. Last year they had served 17,978 meals and the first seven months of this year they has served 13,579.

He said the drop in centre was about much more than food as sometimes it was the only companionship the users had during their days. A community advocate could also help them with other issues they may have.

The money from the Nikau Foundation (through the Francis and Dianne Small Endowment Fund) would be used for kitchen equipment for the mission.

Alexandra Granville, Development Manager at New Zealand Opera, said their grant (through the Richard & Doreen Evans Charitable Trust) would be used for their Opera in Schools programme. Currently in its third season, the innovative programme brings professional opera singers to school halls around the Wellington region. Designed as an introduction to the genre, Opera in Schools presents adaptations of popular works in an entertaining and educational way.

Feedback from the children was extremely positive and opera had been made more accessible to them by questions and answer session and supporting notes for the teacher.

This year they will perform the Italian comic opera The Elixir of Love, sung in English to make it more accessible.

Amber Proudfoot, from the Mary Potter Hospice, said the grant would be used for much needed upgrade of patient rooms at their In-Patient Unit in Newtown. She said while the hospice had an 18 bed In-Patient facility, their community hospice programme was by far their largest part of their service, with around 240-260 people directly receiving care at any one time.

The Nikau Foundation is a charity in the community foundation model – which is the fastest growing form of philanthropy in the world. It embodies the concept of: “give where you live” and encourages local people to leave a gift to their community.

Last night’s recipients came from the arts, health and science, the environment, and those who support the vulnerable in our society and many other causes.

Earlier events this year to make awards for Nikau Foundation’s Tindall grants and a Kapiti Coast function have seen the Foundation distribute more than $300,000 in the Wellington region in 2015.


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