BayTrust will invest $276,000 in the Western Bay's social services sector over three years, for groups working to create stronger community organisations in the region.

The new funding has been split into annual operational grants for SocialLink ($50,000 per annum for three years) and $126,000 specifically for training programmes in 2018/19 which the organisation will co-ordinate and run to benefit social services and community organisations.

SocialLink general manager Liz Davies said a handful of social sector agencies were big players, like Plunket and St John, but the vast majority were small- to medium-sized groups which struggle with a lack of funding.

"Our aim is to help those groups improve the quality of the services they provide," Davies said.


"That's not to say they're not doing a good job now – they are – it's just about providing extra support where they need it," she said.

"We want to help ensure people have the necessary skills to run an efficient and effective organisation so they can do their best for our community. Research shows that by training social agencies, it does increase their capability and improve the outcomes for everyone."

The new funds will be used to deliver training workshops on key topics such as marketing and communications, digital infrastructure, management, governance, leadership and more. A new pilot project will also be run to help social agencies upgrade their digital technology.

A Social Link evaluation session in progress. Photo/Supplied
A Social Link evaluation session in progress. Photo/Supplied

Davies said knowing the organisation had funding for three years provided them with security and helped to attract staff.

"We're also thankful for our other funding partners such as TECT. With everyone's help, we can make a big impact, and we're excited to see the improvements we can make locally."

BayTrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes said stronger community organisations was a key priority for BayTrust to ensure "Bay of Plenty is the greatest place to be".

"We need strong community organisations and strong community leaders to deliver good quality programmes and activities that address community needs and aspirations," Rhodes said.

"Any activities which build the capacity and capability of community organisations or social enterprises is worthy of our support.

"We have great faith SocialLink will use this money to boost the performance of the Western Bay's entire social services sector and improve people's lives in the process."