$226,500 in COVID-19 Recovery Funding for Community Groups

House of Science students sit in classroom

House of Science were one of the successful recipients

The WBOP COVID-19 Recovery Fund has paid out its first round of grants, totalling $226,530 to nine community groups.

The successful recipients include Brain Injured Children Trust, Tauranga Community Foodbank, House of Science Tauranga, Complex Chronic Illness Support, AIMS Games Trust, Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services, St Peters Care & Counselling, Alzheimer's Society Tauranga and Graeme Dingle Foundation Bay of Plenty.

The Recovery Fund aims 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. The joint fund is phase two of the Covid-19 response by local funders TECT, Acorn Foundation, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council.

House of Science General Manager Pam Bassett says the $30,000 in funding they received has been a lifeline after experiencing a significant loss of income.

"We are so grateful to our local funders for this support – it will mean we can continue to ensure Western Bay children get all the education, encouragement and opportunities they need to foster a lifelong love of science and robotics.

"During Alert Levels 3 and 4, we were unable to operate, and while we are now back to running after-school programmes and providing our science kits to schools, things are not back to pre-Covid normal. We have experienced reduced funding from some gaming trusts, and lost income stream from international students returning home."

Miranda Whitwell, Operations Coordinator at Complex Chronic Illness Support, says the Recovery funding will allow them to provide full wages for their staff who have been working in overdrive since the lockdown.

"We support, connect, advocate and educate people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM) and related Dysautonomia conditions; helping them to improve the quality of their lives and empower them towards wellness.  During lockdown we moved all of our services such as our Towards Wellness Programme, support groups and one-on-one support online.

"Many of our clients are used to being isolated due to their conditions and being immuno-compromised, but the level of anxiety for them has increased significantly, even still after lockdown. Many have 'crashed', and this affects their physical and mental health significantly.

"The Recovery funding will truly help us recover. It will help us top up the wage subsidy so we can provide full pay for our three full-time staff members, including after the wage subsidy extension runs out, so we can keep supporting over 218 clients, their whanau and support networks."

St Peters House Manager Catherine Page says the charity has experienced increased demand, and increased urgency and severity of referrals.

"After the lockdown we saw an almost immediate increase in demand for our counselling services. Counselling requests in May were double what we received in April, and they further increased in June.

"We anticipate that the demand will remain high and we will continue working at capacity for the foreseeable future. Many people are likely to continue to experience higher anxiety and stress associated with the impacts of Covid-19 on themselves, their families and finances. The higher levels of stress and anxiety also trickle down to young people and children, which may have long term impacts.

"The $14,000 in funding we received through the COVID-19 Recovery Fund will help us increase our counselling service by extending contracts and the hours of some of our counsellors, to try and meet the increasing community need."

The COVID-19 Recovery Fund is open for applications, which can be made online here. There is no closing date of the fund. It is an open funding round and applications are considered fortnightly.

Community groups who received business as usual funding, and Rapid Response funding, may still be eligible to apply to the Recovery Fund.


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