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Community Support Grant Supports 30 Community Wellbeing Initiatives

The Pasifika SCENE group in action. Each meeting includes exercise.

Thirty community groups and organisations have received funding from Horowhenua District Council’s new Community Support Grant so far this year.

The Community Support Grant aims to support community initiatives that enhance wellbeing and social connectedness in the wake of COVID-19. The grant is to enable non-profit organisations meeting grant criteria to assist with projects, events and costs associated with responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and support for community recovery.

Funding awarded totalled $56,672 of the $160,000 available. The remainder will be distributed in up to four grant application rounds planned for 2020/21 financial year. Funding awarded varies, with the average grant between $500 and $3000.

Among the recipients was Hāpai Te Hapori, which received $2,880 to help establish the Kai Hub store in Shannon.

Hāpai Te Hapori Community Innovation Manager, Sharon Williams, said the Kai Hub aims to reduce food insecurity, increase connectedness and provide a stepping stone into employment by operating a free food store and central hub for food rescue and distribution.

“The Kai Hub is a community collaboration to redistribute excess food and show manaakitanga in action, but it’s more than just community food distribution. We want the Hub to be a touchpoint for community services and support, collaboration with existing services, work experience, training, and connection for volunteers. We formed the Kai Hub team in May following lockdown to help the community work together to achieve more economic and social independence, and create a more secure community. Our team is made up of local volunteers, and we coordinate with 10 other local organisations and groups already operating in Shannon,” she said.

Ms Williams said the grant would be used to cover rent for premises for the first 18 weeks, while the Hub gets off the ground.

“Having certainty around rent costs for a set time period will help us plan for the future and increase capacity,” she said.

Another local group to benefit is Pasifika for Tomorrow, which received $4,000 for Pasifika SCENE (Pasifika Seniors Culture Events and Exercise). The programme provides outings and activities for seniors, cultural knowledge transfer, exercise, supports access to healthcare, healthy eating, improved connectedness with regular catch-ups, and help with using computers and the internet.

Pasifika for Tomorrow Coordinator Rasella Fuauli said the programme has been growing in popularity.

“We started with five people coming along to our weekly meetings, and now we typically have between 20 and 30 people every week,” she said.

Ms Fuauli said the Pasifika SCENE programme is shaped by the needs of the participants.

“When we started, one of the problems people had was accessing healthcare. They were missing appointments, feeling shy to go to the doctor, or not wanting to hear bad news. So we arranged for a Samoan nurse to come along to our meetings. She does health checks, helps people to manage conditions like diabetes, and makes referrals when needed,” she said.

“And some of our people are very good with music and creating their own songs in their native language, so we incorporated that into the programme. People write their songs and teach them to the group so we learn about other Pacific languages and cultures.”

Each meeting also includes exercise and morning tea.

“The grant funding means a lot and gives us the resources to do this for the people. We’ll use it to help provide transport to the programme for people who couldn’t get here otherwise, and to provide resources like paper, pens, guitars, ukuleles, and providing healthy food,” Ms Fuauli said.

For more information about the Community Support Grant, visit www.horowhenua.govt.nz/grants or contact Council on 06 366 0999 or enquiries@horowhenua.govt.nz.

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