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WBOP Recovery Fund reaches funding milestone

Te Aranui Youth Trust Holiday group enjoying the Canopy Tours in Rotorua. Supplied photo.

The WBOP Covid-19 Recovery Fund has funded 16 community groups in the past eight months with over $360,000 in funding. It brings the total funded since its inception to over $770,000.

The successful recipients include Brave Hearts, Life Education Trust Western Bay of Plenty, Youth Encounter Ministries, Tipu Skills for Life, Tauranga Riding for the Disabled, Bay of Plenty Multiple Sclerosis Society, RRR Rescue Revive Rehome, Ngamuwahine Lodge Trust, SociaLink, Wise Group, Merivale Community Centre, Papamoa Surf Club, EmpowermentNZ, Te Aranui Youth Trust, BOP Therapy Foundation and Hanmer Clinic.

The fund, established by local funders TECT, Acorn Foundation, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council in June last year, has now closed with all funding allocated.

The aim of the fund has been to support key Western Bay NFPs and NGOs to survive the medium-term impact of Covid-19, to ensure continued service delivery, capability to deliver and ability to meet financial commitments.

Paula Hudson is the Operations and Grants Manager at TECT and has been managing the fund’s process on behalf of the four funders.

This has involved dealing with enquiries, processing applications, and putting these forward to the decision-making panel.

She says the fund has achieved all the outcomes that it set out to.

"I’ve really enjoyed being part of this collaborative funding initiative and learning about how Covid has affected so many community groups and their clients. It’s been truly heartening to hear about just how resilient and adaptable they are in the face of such adversity.

"Feedback from community groups on how they found the Recovery Fund process was overwhelmingly positive. They noted having a single application to multiple funders helped save time and money, which ultimately could be streamed back into frontline work.

"They also rated the turnaround time, communication, and online application form highly. It’s exactly what we set out to achieve, and it’s great to receive such feedback."

During the lockdown, RRR Rescue, Revive, Rehome was the only animal rescue open. The charity saw a significant increase in felines that needed rescuing – a trend they continue to see today.

Liz Proudlock, RRR Feline Team Leader and Secretary, says the $5,000 in Recovery funding was invaluable, helping them bring down some of their vet bills.

Liz Proudlock, RRR Feline Team Leader and Secretary.

"The ongoing effect of Covid-19 has been dumped kittens and people moving houses, leaving animals behind to fend for themselves in increasing numbers," says Liz.

"This causes distress and misery to a defenceless animal. Often, they are not spayed or neutered, which has the risk of an unmanaged population increase and, in turn, a risk of harm to conservation efforts.

"With people staying at home, they were noticing the stray, neglected animals roaming around their property, so the phone was constantly going.

"We also had a lot of people under strain from losing jobs, so people were asking us to take their pets as they couldn’t afford to keep them anymore. It was a stressful time for everyone, and caught up in that were the animals.

"That’s why we remained open and were an essential worker during the lockdown period as the only animal rescue operating.

"We found our vet costs literally doubled over lockdown, so alongside the worry of all these animals we were trying to care for, there was also the worry about this hefty vet bill. So to receive the Recovery funding was incredible – it alleviated the stress for us as we were able to bring that vet bill down."

Te Aranui Youth Trust is a local charity that empowers young people to engage with their community and make conscientious life choices.

They were unable to run their programmes due to Covid-19, and once they could return to full delivery, they were faced with an increase in demand – particularly for their one-on-one mentoring support.

To help meet this demand, Te Aranui Youth Trust are looking to employ a part-time Junior Youth Development Officer, made possible by $13,450 in Recovery funding.

Tanya Grimstone, Funding and Administration Manager for Te Aranui Youth Trust, says Covid-19 will have a lasting effect on the youth they support.

"Covid-19 saw a high percentage of rangatahi in the Western Bay of Plenty leave school without any NCEA qualifications.

"Our Youth Development Officer is spending approximately 15 hours a week supporting students so that we can get them back onto a positive education pathway. The new Junior Youth Development Officer role will allow us to provide another 15 hours.

"We will see Covid-19 having a lasting effect on the rangatahi that we work with and their whanau, as most of them are affected by unemployment, domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse in the home. All of these issues have increased in our community over the past 12 months and are likely to increase over the next 12 months.

"We are incredibly grateful for the Recovery Funding, which will enable us to provide more of our programmes across Tauranga. We will be able to increase the number of attendees within our programmes and will also be able to provide more hours supporting our youth one-on-one."

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