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Council backs community projects with funding

Thirty five community groups from across the Western Bay of Plenty have been granted a share of $140,000 from Council’s Community Matching Fund. To be eligible for funding applicants must ‘match’ Council’s financial contribution, but unlike many other funds, the Council’s fund values volunteer hours and in-kind support equally with cash donations.

Council’s Community Manager David Pearce says, “Community groups are vital to our way of life in the Western Bay.

These groups do incredible things for our people and our environment and don’t make a fuss about it.” The current Covid response is a great example. Groups like the Pacific Island Community Trust and the Katikati Community Centre, have become the frontline of support for those in need. “We’re proud to support them to do what they do best, and spread the benefits of this fund as far and wide as possible,” says David.

Each year $40,000 is dedicated to environmentally focused projects. This year includes the Wai Kokopu community group, who will use their cash grant to purchase native plants for Te Waihi estuary to enhance the riparian margin.

Other funded projects include assisting the Waihī Beach Events and Promotions group to install accessibility mats and improve beach access for all. The Te Puke Gymsport will be funded to run another year of their coaching education programme, and the Pukehina Residents and Ratepayers Association will also receive funding to install mara kai (vegetable gardens) and orchards, improving their overall resilience.

This is the fifth year of the community-matching fund and it remains popular, with demand from community groups exceeding available funding. A panel of staff and Council members consider each application according to a set of criteria to ensure fair and objective results.

Read: A new way forward for the Western Bay of Plenty

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