Last chance for community wellbeing fund

Cromwell Community House Working Well tradies breakfasts were supported by the Connecting...
Cromwell Community House Working Well tradies breakfasts were supported by the Connecting Communities microfund. The final funding round opens on April 8. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It has helped fund wellbeing initiatives across the Central Lakes and Fiordland, but microfund Connecting Communities is coming to an end.

The fund, run by Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, supports community-led activities and events which encourage people to connect, look after themselves — and each other — and have fun.

However the government’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery, and Re-Set Plan funding from 2021, which has supported the fund comes to an end on June 30, leaving one final application round for groups.

Te Hau Toka chairwoman Adell Cox said her team was focused on spreading as much value as possible in the final Connecting Communities round to help keep people of all ages and stages well over the winter months and build ongoing social resilience.

“We’re mindful that this is our last big opportunity to help communities set themselves up to keep prioritising mental health and wellbeing and looking after each other beyond the end of our funding.

“While we’re through the Covid pandemic, we know that our communities are still recovering and battling challenges like burnout, cost of living, loneliness and isolation which continue to impact on their wellbeing.’’

Each community across the region was different and they were best placed to know what works for them, she said.

"We really want to hear their ideas, whether they’re new or carrying on with ones that are going really well."

Ms Cox said since Te Hau Toka launched the Connecting Communities microfunding model in November 2021 it had become one of its most successful initiatives.

It was sad to see it come to the end, she said.

“It shows the power of supporting people to find their own solutions."

“We’ve seen how providing a little bit of money across a lot of people every few months has enabled communities to come up with their own innovative ways to combat the different mental health and wellbeing challenges they’re experiencing.’’

Other organisations recognised the success of the community-led microfunding model and were looking to replicating it.

Te Hau Toka was sharing its learnings with them, Ms Cox said.

"We strongly believe that this model works and want to do everything we can to bridge the gap our funding will leave when it finishes."

The final Connecting Communities funding round opens on April 8 and closes on April 18.

Eligible not-for-profit organisations and groups can apply for up to $1000 to assist with funding their activity or event.

The previous funding round in November 2023 saw a record $91,500 distributed across 110 initiatives in Queenstown, Wānaka, Te Anau/Fiordland and Cromwell.

Funding criteria includes positively engaging with the local community; supporting mental wellbeing; aligning with one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Whā; and being locally delivered in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell or Te Anau/Fiordland.

More details, including how to apply, can be found at