A regional fund encouraging local people to become more connected with each other in their own neighbourhood is being promoted in Taranaki this month.
The Neighbourhood Match Fund was established by TSB Community Trust in 2017 in partnership with the Stratford, South Taranaki and New Plymouth District Councils.
Match Funding is a type of community grant made by a funder to match the effort put in by a group of individuals in a neighbourhood. The group do not need to be a formal community organisation. For example, locals organising an open event might give volunteer time and resources (such as food), while the funder matches it with a grant to cover other costs.
Match Funding schemes already exist in several other places in New Zealand. In Taranaki, TSB Community Trust provides the funding, while each Council administers it in their own area. To qualify, activities must take place within the Trust’s current boundaries.
Applications are considered by the Councils on a case by case basis. Most grants will be small. However, neighbourhood groups may also apply for larger projects which may take longer and may need to gain consents and approvals.
The Neighbourhood Match Fund has already proved effective for one Taranaki community.
In 2017, a group of Oaonui people organised the Oaonui Hall 'Tea 20'. Local Andy Whitehead said, “it was a fun evening with dancing and community interaction”. It all started with a Match Fund grant used to pay for a juke box and food. That led onto a monthly event Andy said, “has been an incredible success, bringing the whole community together”.
This year the Fund is being promoted ahead of Neighbours Day Aotearoa on 24-25 March. Maria Ramsay, TSB Community Trust Chief Executive said “this is a great opportunity for local people to get together, organise an activity and do something really positive for their local community”. Groups of neighbours with ideas for projects can contact their Council to find out more.