Girls’ outdoor programme gains $25K boost

A programme aimed at empowering Central Otago girls via outdoor adventure has had its "girl power" objective boosted by a $25,000 grant.

Thirty Central Otago girls will hit mountain bike trails weekly before the end of October courtesy of the grant to the Journeys Charitable Trust from the Cromwell-based Central Lakes Trust (CLT).

The 18-month grant is for the Journeys Central Otago programme for girls aged 12 to 15.

Developed in 2018 by three Alexandra women, the programme was selected last year as part of the Sport NZ Innovations for Young Women fund and associated funding helped develop the programme from the initial pilot.

Journeys co-founder Megan Longman said her personal experience motivated her and friend Kim Froggatt to create the programme.

"We see less females in the outdoors, yet speaking from experience, getting out amongst nature is a powerful tool for growth and self-confidence."

The group hoped the programme, offered in Alexandra, Clyde, and Omakau at present, would be extended to wider Central Otago in the coming year.

Thirty year 8-10 girls were enrolled and five spaces were available on the programme, which involved weekly two-hour mountain-biking sessions, spread over four groups, and transitions into on-foot navigation activities in autumn.

"We used lockdown as a chance for programme development, evaluation and training, and now have 12 wahine to run groups for the upcoming programme," Ms Longman said.

CLT grants manager Mat Begg said Journeys Central Otago was a great example of a group that had identified a need for girls to "connect and develop self-confidence, resilience and outdoor skills".

Further CLT grants awarded in the September round included a grant of $425,000 towards earthquake strengthening of the Lakes District Museum’s former Bank of New Zealand building in Arrowtown.

Museum director David Clarke said the funding had got the project across the line.

"Two million [dollars] was approved from the ‘shovel ready’ fund in July 2020, and just over $1million from QLDC [Queenstown Lakes District Council] prior to that.

"With Central Lakes Trust coming to the party for $425,000 and the museum stumping up the rest, work is commencing this month."

The Alexandra Baptist Church received $50,000 towards renovating its west wing to provide further meeting rooms and spaces for community groups use.

The CLT approved $625,000 of grants at its September grants meeting.

Also to receive funds were:

■ Alexandra Community House Covid-19 emergency grant: $14,000.

■ Alexandra Squash Racquets Club plumbing and bathroom upgrade: $13,700.

■ Lake County A&P Society, Lake Hayes A&P Show 2021: $15,000.

■ Anglican Family Care Centre Covid-19 emergency grant: $9750.

■ Millers Flat School Resurfacing school tennis/netball courts: $10,000

■ Wanaka Community House Covid-19 emergency grant: $14,165.

■ Graeme Dingle Foundation STARS programme at Wakatipu High 2021: $20,000.


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