$140K in community grants approved; streamlining of process discussed

Aerial photo of Alexandra. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Aerial photo of Alexandra. PHOTO: ODT FILES
District-wide community grants totalling more than $140,000 have been approved by the Central Otago District Council.

At a full meeting of council last week councillors were asked to consider applications totalling $142,506.

Streamlining of the grants process in line with the council’s updated grants policy was also discussed.

The applications consisted of $56,250 from the Central Otago Heritage Trust to continue employment of a heritage co-ordinator, $83,756 applied for by the Central Otago District Arts Trust to pay salary and operational costs, and an application from Alexandra and Districts Pipe Band Inc for $2500 to assist with the annual hire of the Alexandra Baptist Church Hall.

In her report, council community development adviser Rebecca Williams said annually there was $151,000 to distribute in the scheme, of which $18,895 was left to distribute in the 2021-22 financial year. The full amount would be distributed in the 2022-23 year.

The Alexandra and Districts Pipe Band fell into the former period, while the other two fell into the latter.

A review of the grants policy took place in August 2019 and again in June last year and in January, Ms Williams said.

The reviews were to streamline the policy process and improve the "community experience".

Both trusts applied for 15 months’ funding.

The staff assessment of the arts trust application had highlighted the alignment issue, Ms Williams said in her report.

In May, the council was asked to consider providing a hardship grant to the arts trust in recognition of the change in operational timelines for council funding rounds imposed by the new grants policy.

That request was granted, and the council allocated $8750 for that purpose.

That hardship grant amount was then deducted from the trust’s annual grant, meaning the operational timelines were not adjusted.

As a consequence, it was recommended a one-off additional adjustment of $13,334 be paid to both the arts and heritage trusts, which equated to four months’ funding for each organisation until November 1.

This was to ensure ongoing alignment with the council’s grants rounds.

Both trusts were then granted $40,000 each for the 2022-23 financial year.

The 2022-23 grants round is now open and will close on July 31, applicants vying for the $60,727 left to allocate.



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