Final round of Christchurch quake grants announced

 The final round of grants from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, set up in the dark days following the deadly February 2011 quake, have been announced.

Grants worth $8 million have been shared between 20 new local recovery projects: from quake-damaged libraries, a school pool and scholarship scheme, to sports, music and art organisations.

Since its inception just days after 185 people died in the devastating February 22 quake, almost $99m of donations has been received or pledged.

Trustees wanted to focus on communities and not individuals, while avoiding duplication of the work of government and other funders. They wanted to fund the projects that would otherwise take many years of local fundraising to address.

In the three years since the quake, the trust has helped more than 300 community projects in Christchurch and Canterbury.

"Every single dollar donated to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal has counted," Dr Rod Carr, Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trustee.

"Every dollar went directly to a community project in Christchurch or Canterbury and on behalf of the Trustees I thank everyone who made a donation. It is thanks to your generosity that so many great local initiatives could be funded quickly."

Trustees along with many grant recipients, donors and dignitaries gathered for today's grant announcement at the Court Theatre in Addington, Christchurch and to celebrate the impact of the appeal donations across the quake-ravaged region.

The Trust is no longer receiving funding requests but the trustees will continue to meet as required to make funding decisions concerning projects that directly benefit people still struggling, and on any other matters.

The $98.4m has benefited projects across six portfolios: large permanent projects; heritage and culture; sport and recreation; hardship/spiritual and faith; economic revitalisation; and education and youth projects.

Last month, the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust granted $2.5m, including $1.25m from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, to reconstruct the Armagh and Durham Streets stone towers of the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings, which collapsed during the earthquakes.

The money will be used to repair wooden buildings so that the complex can be reopened for public use.

While the work of the trust's advisory board has officially ended, the Department of Internal Affairs will continue to monitor and administer the grants for the 10-year life time of the trust.

In the three years since the quake, the trust has helped more than 300 community projects in Christchurch and Canterbury, including:

* community centres for Aranui, Mt Pleasant, Belfast and Opawa;

* St John emergency equipment;

* rebuild and restoration of the Clock Tower and the Great Hall at the Christchurch Arts Centre;

* supporting Canterbury's 200 youth workers;

* repair and rebuild of Plunket facilities;

* more than 60 neighbourhood events to foster community connectedness;

* $15 million "Connecting the City to the Sea" through eastern Christchurch;

* the Re:START mall; and

* repairing sports fields and netball/tennis courts.


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