From our Chair: New fund supporting community groups

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Regular readers of my column will know just how much I value an engaged community and how I’m always encouraging people to get more involved.

Whether having a say in council’s plans or proposals, or being actively involved in environmental work through community groups, it’s democracy in action when the public is invested in the region and making a difference.

Great things also happen when councils and community work together.

Waitaha Action to Impact Fund 

To that end, I’m excited to tell you about a new fund that we’ve launched that supports community organisations and their environmental projects.

The Waitaha Action to Impact Fund in itself is a product of community engagement. From focus groups and discussions, we saw the value in supporting and tapping into the expertise of community groups and organisations who are improving their corner of Canterbury.

Under the fund, community groups can apply for between $5,000 and $30,000 a year to go towards work that will have a positive impact on the environment – either by helping to solve an environmental problem or finding new ways to make things better.

What we're looking for

To qualify, it’s important that the work is aligned to the environmental goals of the council. For instance, it might be about improving the health of our waterways or land and coastal ecosystems.

It could be about helping communities to be better prepared for changes to the natural environment or about fostering relationships to improve environmental leadership.

We do ask that the community group contributes 30% of the project budget, but this could come from funding or equivalent in-kind contributions, such as volunteer hours or through goods such as plants or building materials.

Find out more about how to qualify for the Waitaha Action to Impact Fund.

The value of working together

Great things can happen when like-minded organisations come together. Collaboration is not just about sharing the load – it’s about expanding the skill set and getting greater expertise focused on an issue or goal.

In so doing, it’s possible to achieve far more than either party could through working alone. More resources and expertise can mean bigger and better results.

I’m confident that the Waitaha Action to Impact Fund will prove to be a great initiative for accelerating environment change and shaping a thriving and resilient Canterbury. I’m excited by the thought of what we will be able to achieve together.

How to apply

If you’re part of a community group or organisation doing great environmental work, you should consider applying for support through the Waitaha Action to Impact Fund.