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Youth Entrepreneurship Programme Receives Major Boost

Otago Community Trust has funded over $950,000 in support of a wide range of community projects in the Trust’s final funding round for 2021, one of the largest grants being awarded to support the youth entrepreneurship programme Mana Rangatahi.

A $300,000 grant was awarded to the Transition to Work Trust to support a new partnership with INNOV8HQ to continue the ongoing delivery of the Mana Rangatahi programme, a programme which is dedicated to supporting new pathways for youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds aged between 18-24 years.

Developed in January 2020 by Heidi Renata, funding for the programme was initially provided by the Ministry of Youth via Start-up Dunedin. Further trials of the programme have produced exceptional results with more than 75% of graduates progressing to full time, entrepreneurial or part time employment.

Trust chair, Diccon Sim said Otago Community Trust trustees were particularly impressed with the success of the Mana Rangatahi programme to date and it’s close alignment with the Trust’s strategic priority of raising resilience and capacity of youth in Otago gave rise to a strong case for support.

Transition to Work Trust chair, Dr John Guthrie, said the significant grant from Otago Community Trust will allow the Transition to Work team to support Heidi and INNOV8HQ further expand and develop the programme over the next two years.

“INNOV8HQ have a programme that can be expanded to other regions, working together we believe that we can better respond to the increase in demand we are seeing due to the disruption caused by COVID-19.”

It really is a dream partnership for all parties and one that will transform the lives and build the capacity of youth in Otago, said Dr Guthrie.

Heidi Renata, founder of Innov8HQ and the Mana Rangatahi programme, said it was simply “the best news before Christmas”.

"Connecting, resourcing and empowering young people is hugely rewarding, knowing we have funding to continue to do what we love with our Mana Rangatahi programme is just awesome.”

A $200,000 grant to Catholic Social Services was also awarded in December to support with the construction of a new Family Support Centre adjacent to existing offices in Macandrew Road, South Dunedin.

Mike Tonks, director of Catholic Social Services said the social service agency was very excited to be advancing this new build.

“The project is particularly focused on providing better spaces for family focused services.”

The Family Support Centre will make a huge difference in so many ways, it will help us expand our direct caring services to the community, it will help us deliver more targeted support to vulnerable families and their children, it will ensure we have a child friendly space catering to those with disabilities and it will free up space in our current location to help deliver counselling services to those in our community with low to moderate mental health issues, said Mr Tonks.

Other organisations benefiting from grants in December included the Southland Charity Hospital who received a $64,500 grant to assist with the cost of establishing the new charity hospital, the grant specifically being earmarked to support the purchase of a Soluscope Drying Cabinet. A $20,000 grant was awarded to Waitaki Community Recreation Centre Trust which will assist with the cost of a flooring and lighting upgrade.

In total 54 community organisations were supported in the Trust’s final funding round for the year with a total of $954,677 approved.

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