21 Jun 2020

New Plymouth boosts funding for volunteer groups by nearly $500k

1:09 pm on 21 June 2020

Grassroots volunteer groups have been thrown a nearly $500,000 lifeline by the New Plymouth District Council to help them recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Volunteering New Plymouth’s Wendy Richards, left, and Marie Riordan.

Volunteering New Plymouth’s Wendy Richards, left, and Marie Riordan. Photo: Supplied / New Plymouth District Council

Councillors this week voted to to boost the community funding pot by $453,00, bringing it to a total of $760,000.

The funding will be open to groups delivering essential services which had a spike in demand or costs during the Covid-19 response; or those who will help in the post-Covid recovery; or are struggling to survive amid the response to the pandemic.

Mayor Neil Holdom said while most of people stayed in their bubbles during the lockdown, many vulnerable people found themselves exposed.

"Without friends or family to rely on or left behind in the Internet era, the elderly and those in poor health found a helping hand in Volunteering New Plymouth and other groups," he said.

Holdom said volunteer groups were the cornerstone of the community and would be vital to the district's recovery.

"Many of our households and businesses are having a tough time coming through the Covid-19 economic storm and our grassroots groups can make the difference between sinking or swimming. But they need help too, and this NPDC funding top up worth nearly half a million dollars will help them get back on their feet."

Volunteering New Plymouth manager Marie Riordan, who welcomed the funding boost, said the service had been run off its feet since the virus struck.

"A huge amount of our work was just buying groceries for people who couldn't get out themselves and they had nobody to call on," she said

"Covid-19 has changed our world in so many ways and not-for-profit services, such as Taranaki Computer Access Centre Trust's tutoring on digital devices and the Internet, will need to adapt."

The funding will be issued in two rounds, with applications for the first round closing on 9 July.

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