A $15,000 grant that makes the difference between lights on and lights off has been welcomed as fantastic news by Merivale's Community Centre.
The centre, which opened in 1996 in response to youth crime concerns, is one of the biggest recipients in BayTrust's latest funding round.
Sixteen Western Bay of Plenty community organisations have received grants totalling $137,000 - ranging from a community policing group at Omokoroa to a guarantee against losses for the organisers of Tauranga's 50th Jazz Festival.
Merivale Community Centre's services manager Graham Cameron said it was fantastic to receive the $15,000 grant. "I can't speak highly enough of BayTrust. It's the difference between having the lights on and the lights off."
Not-for-profit community organisations were finding it really tough in the recession, particularly trying to fund their day-to-day running costs, he said. This was where BayTrust was so important because the grant was tagged specifically for operating costs. BayTrust has supported the centre's work since the early 1990s when youth crime prompted the police to seek community-based answers in Merivale.
A series of public meetings highlighted the link between crime and the kids having nothing to do. Mr Cameron said this led to the first holiday programmes after which the momentum built until the organisation found a home in Kesteven Ave.
The programmes had grown hugely since the early days to encompass youth work, family support, community events and linking people with other social service providers.
Another community support house on the other side of Tauranga, Anglican Care's Beachaven Community House in Papamoa, received $8000 towards operating costs. Manager Gale Gordon said the grant will cover most of the rent for the next 12 months. "It's just wonderful, because it keeps a roof over our head."
Other organisations to receive grants this week included: Age Concern $15,000, Child Matters $5000, Epilepsy New Zealand Western Bay branch $5000, Headway Brain Injury Association $5000, NZ Response Team Trust $9700, Omokoroa Community Policing Group Charitable Trust $1500, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust $7500, Parent to Parent $10,000, St Peters Care and Counselling Charitable Trust $15,000, Tauranga Citizens Advice Bureau $8576, Tauranga Jazz Society $10,000, Urban Dance Youth Trust $5000, Volunteer Western Bay of Plenty $9000, Youth Search and Rescue Tauranga Trust $8000.