Supporting communities  |  8 Jun 2020

A financial boost to help community organisations cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis is proposed in Christchurch City Council’s Draft Annual Plan.

The one-off $360,000 boost to the Strengthening Communities Fund would be available to community groups working to promote wellbeing across the sporting, arts, social, health and environmental sectors.

The 5 per cent increase has been suggested as a way to acknowledge the difficulties that community-focused organisations could face following the recent COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown, says Council Head of Community Support and Governance John Filsell.

“The purpose of the Strengthening Communities Fund is to support organisations that help make Christchurch a more caring and enjoyable place to live. Last year, for example, the fund received 951 applications from community organisations, and 763 received a grant.

“We recognise the importance of their role and the challenges they are likely to face in the coming months, and that’s why we’re proposing some extra funding to help ensure they’re equipped to deal with those demands.”

Many of the traditional sources of funding for community groups, such as Gaming Trust grants, have been affected by COVID-19.

If the one-off $360,000 boost goes ahead it would have a 0.07 per cent impact on rates.

Public consultation on the Draft Annual Plan opens on Friday and continues until 29 June.

The Strengthening Communities Fund, which was set up in 2008, is a $7.2 million fund distributed by Community Boards and the Council each year.

The annual funding round opens in March/April and decisions on which groups are successful are usually made in August.