Up to $100,000 is available to help community groups in the Western Bay of Plenty.

Applications for the Western Bay of Plenty District Council's Community Matching Fund close on Thursday, July 20. The pool for money is aimed at helping community groups help themselves.

The $100,000 available includes $40,000 for environmental projects and $60,000 for general projects. Grants will be matched on a 50/50 basis.

Last year the council granted funding to 13 community groups - among these was the Te Puke Toy Library.

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Toy Library president Monique Lints said the Matching Fund grant enabled the library to get tools and resources for more than 22 families with special circumstances.

"An unexpected outcome has been the increased awareness of the library by the Te Puke community and a rise in our other membership," she said.

"Our membership has risen to its highest since the library was formed in 1998 and we look forward to continuing our initiatives into our twentieth year and into the next 20 years."

The council's Community Committee chairman Peter Mackay said the Matching Fund was unique as it helped support not-for-profit groups that were already working for the benefit of the community but needed some financial support to achieve their goals.

Application guidelines and forms are available on the council's website:
www.westernbay.govt.nz. Decisions on application funding will be made on August 31 and groups will be notified within two weeks.

Last year's Matching Fund recipients included: Katikati Disaster Relief; Katikati Maori Wardens; Katikati Men's Shed; Katikati Mpowa Programme; Uretara Estuary Managers; Waihi Beach Volunteer Coastguard; Western Bay Community Archives; Omokoroa Fire Brigade; Te Puna Memorial Hall; Whakamarama Community History Group; Whakamarama Community newsletter; Te Ara Kahikatea; and the Te Puke Toy Library.