$1,000 grants available for local non-profits

Mar 22, 2024

The final round of funding for mental wellbeing initiatives to boost Southern Lakes communities opens in early April.

Run by Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, the Connecting Communities microfund supports community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland which encourage people to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun.

With its Government funding coming to a close on 30 June, Te Hau Toka Chair Adell Cox says her team is focused on spreading as much value as possible in the final Connecting Communities round to help keep people of all ages and stages well over the winter months and build ongoing social resilience.

“We’re mindful that this is our last big opportunity to help communities set themselves up to keep prioritising mental health and wellbeing and looking after each other beyond the end of our funding.

“While we’re through the COVID pandemic, we know that our communities are still recovering and battling challenges like burnout, cost of living, loneliness and isolation which continue to impact on their wellbeing. 

“Every community across the region is different and they’re best placed to know what works for them.  We really want to hear their ideas, whether they’re new or carrying on with ones that are going really well.”

Ms Cox is sad to see the end of Connecting Communities and says that since Te Hau Toka launched the microfunding model in November 2021 it’s become one of its most successful initiatives.

“It shows the power of supporting people to find their own solutions,” she said.  “We’ve seen how providing a little bit of money across a lot of people every few months has enabled communities to come up with their own innovative ways to combat the different mental health and wellbeing challenges they’re experiencing.

“Other organisations have recognised the success of our community-led microfunding model and are interested in replicating it so we’ve been sharing our learnings with them. We strongly believe that this model works and want to do everything we can to bridge the gap our funding will leave when it finishes.” 

The final Connecting Communities funding round (#8) opens on 8 April and closes on 18 April. Eligible not-for-profit organisations and groups can apply for up to $1,000 to assist with funding their activity or event.

The previous funding round in November 2023 saw a record $91,500 distributed across 110 initiatives in Queenstown, Wānaka, Te Anau/Fiordland and Cromwell.

Recipients included international community cooking workshops at Queenstown’s Happiness House; shared equipment for Manapouri Community Pool; carer get-togethers in Queenstown and Cromwell; youth-led weekly Pickleball sessions for youth and parents at Wānaka's new Paetara Aspiring Central; ‘Make it MINT’ upcycling workshops for individuals with disabilities by MINT Trust and Wānaka Community Workshop; Fiordland Multicultural Community Holi (Colour) Party in Te Anau;  Milford’s Got Talent and Milford Movie Nights; ‘Netwalking’ run by the Queenstown Business Chamber; a Queenstown Lakes Clued Up Kids programme; volunteer welfare resources for St John’s Central Otago Major Incident Support Team; and a range of community Christmas activities.  A full list is available online.

Broadly, the Connecting Communities funding criteria includes positively engaging with the local community; supporting mental wellbeing; aligning with one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Whā; and being locally delivered in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell or Te Anau/Fiordland.

More details, including how to apply, can be found at www.southernhealth.nz/tehautoka.

Main Image: Cromwell Community House Working Well Tradies Breakfast

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