From putting food on the table to building marae resilience, Rotorua Lakes Council has provided $80,000 in funding grants to support initiatives that build stronger and healthier communities.
Established eight years ago, the council’s Neighbourhood Matching Fund (NMF) works with local groups to build neighbourhoods and connections through community-led volunteer based projects and initiatives.
Six organisations received a share of Council’s large Neighbourhood Matching Fund during 2023, financially supporting projects that link to Council’s priorities – Economy, Infrastructure, Community and Housing.
Rotorua Lakes Council Councillor and selection panel member, Don Paterson says due to the quality of the applications, the selection panel had their work cut out.
“Those submitters that were successful, we’re aligned with the new Council priorities, and also demonstrated they would deliver measurable benefits for our Community,” Cr Paterson says.
“Together with the privilege of working with the passionate and dedicated individuals who made up the panel, it was inspiring for me to meet the people behind the applications that contribute so much to making Rotorua a better place for today, and the future.”
Groups do not need to be legal entities to qualify and are expected to match the funding they get with volunteer labour, donated materials and professional services or cash.
Nine applications for the large funding round were received, four more than 2022. One of the six successful applicants, Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea from Kai Rotorua, says that alongside volunteer mahi, the funding will help support the establishment of a Kai Forest at Kaharoa Primary School.
“The Food Forest will consist of a mix of fruit trees and vegetables, planted and nurtured by students and volunteers for the Kaharoa community to enjoy,” he explains.
“We appreciate Council supporting this kaupapa that will support our community with kai, while also teaching our tamariki to be sustainable and resilient, quite literally reaping the rewards they sow.”
Other projects funded to date include the establishment of community gardens, working bees, tree plantings, street and waterway clean-ups, free community events and the creation or improvement of communal spaces like picnic areas.
Five iwi and community representatives provided their time and voice to choose the successful grant recipients.
Small grants of up to $5000 are allocated throughout the year and large grants from $5000 to $20,000 are allocated twice a year. To find out more and to apply, head to rotorualakescouncil.nz/neighbourhoodmatchingfund.