Dunedin social agencies are delighted the Otago Community Trust has increased funding for Otago social agencies by 50%.
In its latest funding round, announced late last week, the trust approved grants of more than $3.4million, in support of initiatives across the region.
In what was one of the largest funding rounds of recent times, the trust approved large grants to the Taieri Community Facilities Trust Mosgiel pool project ($1.5million), Wanaka Watersports Facility Trust ($400,000) and the University of Otago Music, Theatre & Performing Arts Department ($450,000).
It also significantly increased its funding for Otago social service agencies, from $405,000 in 2017 to $600,000 this year – up about 50%.
Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said the trust saw social service agencies as a key contributor to the region, “not only providing essential services for our community but also employing more than 200 people and spending an estimated $15million across the region”.
“What the trust consistently hears from our applicants is that they are encountering clients with more complex needs, requiring more comprehensive responses and unfortunately many service providers are struggling financially with the increased demand for these type of services,” Ms Bridger said.
The funding increase also reflected the improved performance of the trust’s investment portfolio, which allowed it to significantly increase its grants budget.
“Last year, we were able to give out about $9million, and it is looking like this year will be similar,” she said.
As part of the trust’s five-year strategic plan, it was looking at opportunities to provide multi-year funding to organisations.
“Trustees believe that one of the ways we can make a real difference is by moving towards a long-term funding approach for those organisations that are well-established service providers and are consistently able to demonstrate that they have best practice delivery, robust governance and leadership, alongside sound financial management.”
This would give certainty for providers and support them to employ and retain skilled staff and focus on service delivery, rather than funding applications.
Methodist Mission Southern director Laura Black said the organisation “very much appreciated the lift in funding granted this year”.
“It is always something to secure additional support in the midst of increasing demand on funders, and we are grateful for the morale boost that comes from the recognition too,” she said.
The mission was “excited and pleased” to be invited to apply for multi-year funding, as it would help considerably with longer-term planning.
Anglican Family Care director Nicola Taylor said the trust’s decision was “very significant” and “a tremendous acknowledgement of the work we do throughout Otago”.
“We are thrilled with the significant increase to our donation, which allows us to continue to be sustainable,” she said.
The prospect of a multi-year contract would also alleviate the burden of continued fundraising each year “when demand continues to outstrip our ability to meet the needs of our community”.
“We are truly grateful for the support of the Otago Community Trust”.
Presbyterian Support Otago acting chief executive Andrew Borthwick said PSO was grateful for the community assistance it received as funding for the Family Works programmes.
The additional funding would help the organisation continue to focus on areas most affecting its clients in Otago, including emergency and affordable housing and accommodation, financial advice and access to a food bank, a range of programmes providing support to children and families, and reducing the social isolation of parents, he said.
“We continue to support a range of needs that we see being presented more frequently across the region, using our resources and through collaboration and partnerships with other like-minded organisations.
“Grants such as the one we received from Otago Community Trust are very generous and really appreciated.”
WHERE THE MONEY WENT
Otago Community Trust Social Services Grants to Dunedin agencies, May 2018:
Catholic Social Services – $40,000
Presbyterian Support Otago – $75,000
Stopping Violence Dunedin Inc – $45,000
Methodist Mission Southern – $75,000
Aroha Ki Te Tamariki – $55,000
Malcam Charitable Trust – $75,000
Able – Southern Families Support – $50,000
Anglican Family Care – $75,000
Otago Youth Wellness Trust – $75,000
Otago Salvation Army New Zealand Trust – $35,000