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Two-thirds of community grant still up for grabs

Feb 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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Nearly two-thirds of a $100,000 Wellington City Council grant aimed at bringing communities together is still up for grabs.

ABOUT PEOPLE: The Compassion Centre is one of the successful applicants. Image Antony Kitchener

The Community Preparedness Grant was established in 2011 on a trial basis and allocates funds twice during the year.

The money has been allotted for community events and activities that bring people together and encourage them to get to know their neighbours.

A community choir and earthquake preparation programme are among the first recipients.

The October 2011 pool of recipients received just over $34,000 in grants, with more than $65,000 remaining for the next round of applicants.

However, the grant may not see a second year if it does not receive positive feedback from the community.

Grants subcommittee chair councillor Stephanie Cook says the grant is being trialled, with the final say depending on the feedback from Wellington communities.

“We’re trialling it for a year,” she says.

“Then we’ll talk to communities and see if it’s worth it to keep it going.”

The idea for the grant came from Cook witnessing the importance of neighbours following the Christchurch quakes.

“It’s for communities to get together, to build a community resilience, to find out who might be vulnerable, who has what to use,” she says.

“It’s all about people looking after each other.”

Recipients of the grant vary, from the Breaker Bay & Moa Point Progressive Association holding community choir sessions, to the Hiropi Village Apartments preparing residents for earthquake and disaster recovery.

The Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre in Tory Street was also given funding from the grant to hold a Neighbours Day on March 24.

Based on Neighbours Day Aotearoa, which began in 2008 as a national campaign to ‘turn streets into neighbourhoods,’ the centre aims to hold a community event that neighbours are encouraged to attend.

An exhibition featuring Wellington-based photographer Antony Kitchener has been planned, as well as various art work from people who use the centre.

Manager Philippa Meachen says the event has several advantages for the community.

It provides a chance for the neighbours to come together and learn more about the Compassion Centre, while also making people aware that the centre is available to the public during an emergency.

“If there’s an emergency, we are a resource,” she says.

“It’s also an opportunity for people to come and have a look, to feel comfortable here.”

Located on Tory Street, the Compassion Centre has over 200 volunteers and operates as a soup kitchen, providing meals at breakfast and dinner for those in need.

Applications for the next round of grants close March 30.

To find out more visit www.wellington.govt.nz

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