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Ten Waitaki Groups To Share $172K In Funding

Ten Waitaki groups to share $172,850 in community funding

Hard-working Waitaki volunteers were all smiles this week when they learned $172,850 worth of community funding support will give their projects a boost.

In its third round, the Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund selection panel has chosen 10 projects which will receive funding in recognition of the special contribution they make.

The chosen projects include the Twizel Area School Crèche, Omarama Golf Club, Kurow sub-branch of Plunket, the Otematata Residents' Association, Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade, Otematata Golf Club, Omarama Golf Club, Kurow Squash Club, the St John Twizel/Mt Cook Area Committee and MacKenzie-Waitaki Search and Rescue.

Mark Allen, chairman of the Mackenzie-Waitaki Search and Rescue, whose team received $10,200 from the fund, said he was delighted that the Rapid Response Kits they had been fund-raising for were now in reach. The kits contain everything a skilled rescuer could need and cost $1,700 each.

"We have a team of between six and eight volunteers who offer their services and skills year-round," said Mr Allen.

"We've been in desperate need of these kits for some time and we've been relying on our volunteers using their personal equipment for the rescues - which isn't ideal."

"We were on our way with the fund-raising for these kits," he added "but it is always so difficult to rely on the same people who already willingly give so much of their time to keep the sausage sizzles going. This funding really has taken the pressure off."

The Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund is managed by a panel of key community members and Meridian Energy staff, who work in partnership to help people have their say on what local initiatives are supported and to make things happen.

Rick Ramsey, a Waitaki salmon farmer and a member of the Community Funds panel, said: "The Waitaki Community Fund is a great system that is really doing its job for the Waitaki. The cash we allocate provides an enormous boost to a good mix of people and projects in the area. It rewards people who are working hard to make their community and environmental projects work."

Now in its third round, Mr Ramsey feels that the Community Fund project is providing a valuable resource. He said: "The aim of the fund was to provide a fund that focuses on locally-based projects that benefit the community and the environment - and I think we can see this really is happening. It's a success story. I am pleased that Meridian can play a pivotal role in this. "

The cash support given by the fund can be large or small, depending on the project; the advisory panel may give all the money required to make a small project work, or it can part-fund a bigger project, to give the recipients the help they need to get moving to the next stage.

The fund covers the communities from Lake Tekapo down to the Waitaki Dam, including Kurow, worth $1 million over three years.

The closing date for the next round is 2nd October 2007.

Meridian Energy Waitaki Community Fund recipients June 2007

MacKenzie-Waitaki Search and Rescue group - $10,200
The new kits will provide this expert team with the best gear to deal with rescue situations. The new Rapid Response Kits will improve the speed and efficiency of the response and will help SAR make equipment available to new volunteers and build the skill base of the team.

High Country Health Ltd - $15,000
The money will go towards the purchase of a reliable motor vehicle to enable staff working for this community-based primary health care provider to attend emergencies quickly and safely.

Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade - $15,000
This funding will go towards a project that has already received great support. St John and New Zealand Fire Service are backing the Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade's proposal to retain their local unit, which depends on the unit purchasing a suitable First Response vehicle. The group of fund-raisers have already raised half of their $45k target. The funding will pay for a vehicle, canopy and fit-out to NZFS and St John standards.

Twizel Area School Crèche - $18,000
Twizel Area School Crèche will spend their funding on upgrading their outdoor facilities and play equipment. This will ensure the crèche can grow provide a fun, safe educational experience for all the pre-schoolers - and move the crèche towards its aim of supporting more families in the area.

Otematata Residents' Association - $50,000
The Residents' Association is helping design a fit-out for the new community hall for the benefit of residents and holidaymakers. The cash will go towards the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to complete this major refurbishment. The aim is to provide a centre that brings people together, providing a venue for school, sport and social events.

Otematata Golf Club - $23,500
This funding will help the club install a major automated irrigation system, helping it become a quality golfing venue for its growing local members and vistors. The club has relied heavily on the help of volunteers to make this project happen.

Kurow Plunket - $6,000
The money will help volunteer mums complete 'stage one' of their renovation plans for the Plunket rooms. The renovations will provide a more positive, social environment for the children and a hygienic environment for the Plunket nurse to visit. The group will now be able to start working on the next phase of their renovation plans - the outside play area

Omarama Golf Club - $13,500
This will help the club replace two of its major pieces of mowing equipment. The club wants to promote the use of its facilities for all the community, as well as a golf course the facilities these include a picnic area, a cricket pitch, a walking area and other clubs.

Kurow Squash Club - $1,650
The club can now upgrade the balustrade above the courts to foster a safe, user-friendly environment. The club is trying to make the environment more pleasant for its members and safe for young visitors to the courts.

St John Twizel/Mt Cook Area Committee - $20,000
This money will go towards the ambulance bay extension and upgrade. The new-look housing and storage facilities will enhance the service St John provides to the community.


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