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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
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
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.