Council & City

Upskilling offered to fill funding void

Monday May 18 2020

Like for many organisations nation-wide, Covid-19 has presented a range of challenges for Palmerston North’s community groups – the least of which is the loss of community sector funding.

Palmerston North City Council has been working with the sector to provide learning initiatives, additional funding, and tailored support and advice to empower groups in new ways.

Innovation has been a recurring theme throughout this Covid-19 experience, and everyone is being encouraged to think differently around how they can stay connected, says Chief Customer Officer, Chris Dyhrberg.

“Our community development team have been working hard to understand how the situation is affecting our community groups and what is the most effective means of supporting them right now,” said Mr Dyhrberg.

A survey of 136 community groups conducted in April, revealed that the groups relied on almost $3.5 million annually in external funding, including grant and trust funding and donations.

The respondents operate in areas including arts and events, the environment, heritage and cultural, social services, and sport and recreation, with environmental groups reporting the most reliance on external funding at 83% of their total annual income.

“Understandably, there is a lot of anxiety in the sector that funding will become scarce, and competition for available funds will be high.

“Council currently has funding opportunities, but we’re also using these survey results to inform a welfare recovery framework that explores potentially untapped methods of support.”

The Palmerston North Community Services Council is offering tailored one-on-one support for organisations through its Te Tauteka programme. The programme helps groups access knowledge and advice on topics including legal issues, organisational structuring, governance, human resources and understanding your obligations.

Palmerston North City Council has partnered with the Community Services Council throughout the Covid-19 response to offer groups free webinars, the next of which, Scenario planning and responding to a crisis is scheduled for 19 May. Interested groups can register and access a range of free resources for adapting and recovery on the community services council website.

The Palmerston North Community Services Council also administers Council’s Community Development Small Grants Fund. This fund is available to support not-for-profit Community Groups, who work in Palmerston North, with ongoing administrative costs. Applications for this fund close on 31 May 2020.

Palmerston North City Council continues to offer a range of funding opportunities for arts groups and wider community organisations. Our Arts Event Fund and Celebrating Communities Fund are open for applications until 30 June 2020.

Council is also working alongside Creative New Zealand in its work to provide the Creative New Zealand Covid-19 Emergency Response Package.

“Council’s Community Development team can link groups up to a question and answer session led by Creative New Zealand and provide support with the application process.”

Interested groups can email PNCC Community Funding Coordinator Brooke Carter at Applications for this package close on 30 June 2020.

Ministry of Social Development Funding is also available to support community groups and individuals who have been doing critical work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Community Awareness and Preparedness Grant fund is available to community groups providing essential community-led solutions that support local resilience and community wellbeing during COVID-19 restrictions.

More information on funding and support opportunities can be found on the Community Funding pages of the Palmerston North City Council website.