Latest Rata Foundation grants keep community groups afloat

Rata Foundation chairman Roger Bridge and chief executive Louise Edwards.
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Rata Foundation chairman Roger Bridge and chief executive Louise Edwards.

The latest funding from the Rata Foundation has saved some cash-strapped groups in Marlborough from shutting up shop.

The Christchurch-based philanthropic organisation has approved $242,000 worth of grants to Marlborough groups between April and June.

The largest grant has gone to the Marlborough Family Budgeting Service, which struggled after a long-standing contract with the Ministry of Social Development ended last year.

Marlborough Family Budgeting Service co-ordinator Denise Best says most of the $25,000 grant will be spent on operating costs, securing the service's short-term future.

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"It's going to go towards our wages. It means we can keep our part-time staff employed. And we will use some of it to keep looking for more funding. It's an ongoing challenge for us," Denise says.

"We are very grateful to the Rata Foundation. There's more and more people needing help with money, but there's also more and more groups looking for funding."

Rata Foundation chief executive Louise Edwards says the grants are aimed at supporting people who participate in their communities, which has wide benefits for health and community wellbeing.

The Marlborough region has been through a tough period since the November earthquakes, Louise says.

"It's great to see some of the fantastic projects coming through aimed at rebuilding the fabric of this diverse community."

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The Bread of Life Trust, Marlborough Youth Development Trust and Blenheim Riverside Railway Society received $20,000 each.

Bread of Life manager Brian Gull says the funding will be used to keep providing free programmes for the community.

The organisation runs support groups for survivors of abuse and trauma and people with depression, social clubs such as Something Crafty and Weekly Connections, as well as post-quake support.

"We are totally reliant on grants, gifts, sponsors and fundraisers for providing much-needed help to around 1500 people and families per year," Brian says.

"Bottom line is that there is not enough money being put into social welfare and NGOs are having to pick up the slack. Without organisations like Rata, Lotteries, and philanthropic trusts, we would not be in a position to help those in need, and there are many of them."

Other groups receiving large amounts include the Marlborough Playcentre Association which received $15,000, and the Awatere Community Trust which received $18,000.

Four sports clubs have each gained $10,000, the Awatere Rugby Football Club, Hockey Marlborough, the Marlborough Tennis Association, and the Waitohi Rugby Football Club.

 - The Marlborough Express

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