Otago Community Trust has funded over $1.6 million in support of a wide range of community projects in the Trust’s first funding round for the new financial year.

For Trades Apprenticeship Training Trust received a $48,000 grant to assist with the costs of supporting an additional 18 to 20 young people into a variety of business operations in the Dunedin and South Otago region.

Developed over 15 years ago, the For Trades Apprenticeship Training Trust is focused on supporting practical-minded young people pursue their vocational ambitions.

Grant Harrex, Director of Workforce & Business Development for Business South said the For Trades Apprenticeship programme has experienced strong demand and growth over the last few years.

“It is predicted that 61 young apprentices will be engaged by August 2022, we are thrilled with this number, but it does put pressure on how we successfully manage and fund the apprenticeship programme.”

The grant from Otago Community Trust will go a long way towards keeping apprentices connected to work, connected to training, and successfully gaining qualifications and confidence, within a supported environment, said Harrex.

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said the Otago Community Trust has supported the For Trade programme for several years but was pleased to be able to increase funding this year.

“The For Trades Apprenticeship grant aligns well with the Trust’s new strategic focus of increased access to opportunities and gave rise to a strong case for support.”

A $4,100 grant to the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust was also awarded in April. This grant will support the cost purchasing trees and shrubs to donate to the Lake Ōhau community to assist in making a start on the beautification and revegetation of Lake Ōhau after the devastation of the October 2020 wildfire. 

Otago Community Trust grants manager, Sue Stewart said it was pleasing to be able to support new groups like the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust apply for funding support.

“A key strength of the Otago Community Trust is the wide variety of projects we fund. This is a very deserving project and one which will see our funding go a small way in enhancing the social well-being of the community after the traumatic wildfire.

The April funding round also saw Otago Community Trust continue its commitment to providing multi-year funding to several well-established social service providers.

Trust chair Diccon Sim explains that Otago Community Trust first approved multi-year funding to a small number of established social service agencies in 2019

These initial three-year grants represented a significant shift for the Trust at the time

Of course, multi-year funding has ongoing cost implications, and it is important to think carefully before tying Trustees’ hands for the future, said Sim.

“For this reason, Otago Community Trust remains cautious in its approach to multi-year funding – with such funding only looked at after very careful consideration of the longer-term implications including other likely financial commitments of the Trust.”

“At the same time, taking a longer-term funding approach gives additional certainty for providers and enhances their ability to focus on service delivery to those that need it most,” said Sim.

Anglican Family Care, Methodist Mission Southern, Otago Youth Wellness Trust and Presbyterian Support Otago will receive multiyear funding for a further three years to support the services and programmes that they implement across Otago.

In total Otago Community Trust gave $1,625,202 to 31 community organisations in April 2022.