First recipients of Christchurch 'resilience' fund decided this week

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman launch the Community Resilience Partnership Fund ...
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFF

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman launch the Community Resilience Partnership Fund in February. It is yet to distribute money more than a year after it was agreed upon.

The Christchurch City Council has decided behind closed doors what groups will be the first to receive money from an earthquake resilience fund.

Mental health advocates last month criticised the council for not distributing the money sooner.

The $6 million Community Resilience Partnership Fund was launched by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel in February. The Government and the council decided more than a year ago to contribute $1m each to the fund per financial year over three years. The fund has $4m in the kitty so far.

Council citizens and community general manager Mary Richardson said the council made decisions this week on the level of investment it wanted to make to projects. 

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A report on the issue was discussed in the public excluded section of Tuesday's council meeting.

Richardson said it was expected the recipients would be released once the decisions were made and the organisations had been notified.

Last month, Richardson said the reason for the delay in distributing the money was because it took longer than expected to negotiate a contract with the Ministry of Health. The council did not receive a signed copy of the contract until April this year.

"Both the council and the Government realise this is really important and we're working with some urgency to get the money out."

Mental health advocates and those working in the field were upset by the delay and criticised the "lack of transparency" about how the money was being distributed.

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No-one could apply for the money. Projects would instead be identified by council staff in conjunction with the Psychosocial Governance Group, which was set up after the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes. The group oversees various programmes including the All Right? campaign. 

Group members include the Canterbury District Health Board, Ngai Tahu, police, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Greater Christchurch Group, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development and the Selwyn and Waimakariri district councils.

Richardson said in September the fund would support projects that strengthened communities by increasing community participation, connectedness and resilience.

The intention was the fund would focus on projects that would make a measurable difference within communities.

 - Stuff

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