The backbone of our community is the people that live here and strive to make it the best it can be. Volunteers and organisations work tirelessly, often with little recognition, on different projects to make our district a great place to live. Many pay out of their own pockets or put countless hours into fundraising and projects. So it is my pleasure to congratulate all of the recipients of Ashburton District Council’s Community Grants and Funding for the 2018/19 year.

​Every year, Council invites groups to apply for funding to provide everything from one-off events to ongoing projects that support the long-term goals for the district. This year, over $1.1 million was given to more than 70 community groups and organisations across the district to help them progress a variety of endeavours.

The funding is allocated across five categories including Arts and Culture; Community Development; Economic Development; Events; Sports and Recreation; and Natural and Built Environment.

It was a pleasure to hear about the many wonderful initiatives and collaborations that are taking place here and I would like to mention a couple of the successful applicants.

You may have been out for a stroll and noticed the beautiful blue plaque mounted on a plinth at the entrance to the historic railway footbridge on East Street.

It was installed to celebrate the footbridge’s 100th birthday through an initiative from Historic Places Mid Canterbury (HPMC). It is based on the heritage plaques installed at notable buildings and locations overseas but with a local twist. HPMC is the first heritage group to initiate a heritage plaque scheme here and the funding granted to them will help them produce several more plaques to mark our important sites.

Recently, HPMC won an award for “Outstanding Contribution to Heritage” for the project at the annual Canterbury Heritage Awards. The project has also been receiving a lot of attention from other branches of Historic Places Aotearoa.

While it is important to recognise and acknowledge the extensive history of our district, we also to look towards the future. Projects such as the skills park improvement being done at the River Trail Loop by the Mid Canterbury Mountain Bike Club help to achieve this. The track is used by more than 500 people every week. By the end of this year, the skills park will have a newly formed track for beginners, signage, and a new drinking fountain installed, among other things.

The Mountain Bike Club’s project is a fantastic way to address growing demand and ensure the park can be enjoyed by more users at varying levels.

If your project doesn’t fit into any of the criteria in the Council funding categories, you might want to consider looking at the givUS database provided by Generosity New Zealand. It’s a wonderful tool that provides access to more than 1200 grants for community organisations and individuals, covering a wide variety of project types. Council provides free access to the database through the library page on its website. All you need is your library card to access it. There is also more general information about the community grants and funding process on the Council’s website, where you can also view the full list of this year’s successful funding applicants.

On behalf of Creative New Zealand, Ashburton District Council also administers the Creative Communities Scheme grant, which supports artistic and cultural projects. There are two funding rounds each year for this grant with the second round opening shortly for applications. The scheme sets priorities for its funding, such as youth involvement, so it is important to look at how your creative project can align with these.

There is also currently funding available from The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). It is offering grants through the Sustainable Farming Fund which invests in applied research and projects led by farmers, growers, or foresters that aim to deliver economic, environmental, and social benefits for the country. Applications for this fund close on 17 August. More information and the application forms are available on the MPI website.

Well done to all of the groups that received funding from this year’s grants. I look forward to following your progress over the next year and wish you all the very best.

Page reviewed: 16 Aug 2018 2:22pm