$20m to be allocated this year

NICOLE MATHEWSON AND MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 21/01/2013

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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More than $20 million of earthquake-relief funding will be allocated by next year as millions more dollars donated to charities wait to be spent.

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has given out nearly $52m in grants to more than 125 projects related to Christchurch's rebuild and recovery since it was set up by Prime Minister John Key after the February 2011 quake.

Donations are still coming in. About $24.7m has still to be given away in six project categories, and a further $20m will be allocated later.

Trustee Rod Carr said yesterday that the trust had a 10-year life, but it intended to "substantially allocate" the remaining funds by early next year.

"People gave funds for the support of the recovery and the longer the time passes, the greater the disconnection between the recovery and the spending and allocation of funds," he said.

It was now apparent that some significant community projects would not be covered by insurance, the city council or central government.

"They are the kinds of projects which either get done with support or they don't get done at all."

Of the money given so far, sport and recreation projects have received about $15.2m of an allocated $20m, $8.3m has been given to hardship, spiritual and faith-based projects, and $3.3m to education and youth-focused projects.

Sport and recreation grants included $5m to help build a temporary sports stadium in Addington, $3.5m to help restore Christchurch's parks, reserves and gardens, and $1.4m to repair the Wilding Park Tennis Centre in Linwood.

The Christchurch Earthquake Mayoral Relief Fund has given just over $4.8m to projects helping to rebuild Christchurch's social and physical infrastructure.

As of January 12, about $7.3m had been donated to the fund. The fund was oversubscribed, but several applications were still under review.

Mayor Bob Parker said most of the donors had specific requests for how the funds should be spent.

"We've tried to always match up that funding with something we think was the intention of the people that gave it."

Three projects were granted funds last month, including the Sumner Surf Life Saving Club, which received $100,000 to help rebuild its club building and tower. The Kahikatea Adventure Education Trust got $40,000 to help rebuild its ropes course at The Groynes.

The Salvation Army Canterbury Earthquake Appeal has allocated all of $18.78m. About $11m had already been distributed, while the remaining $7.8m had been allocated, but not yet spent.

The Red Cross Earthquake Appeal, which closed to new donations in November, had distributed $77m to 90,585 people by December 1. The appeal received $125m.

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About $27m is still available, and about $10m has been spent on recovery programmes, including winter warmer packs, an outreach programme and a torch radio prepardness scheme.

A further $11m has yet to be allocated, including $8m from the Japanese Red Cross.

- The Press

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