Almost 300 community groups across New Zealand have recently received a share of more than $2 million in grants from The Southern Trust.

Releasing details of the grants for the first three months of 2019, The Southern Trust chief executive Karen Shea said they were vital to enable groups to support their communities by providing services across sports, community, health, education and youth and arts.

"Whether the funding is $300 to assist a Rotary group organise a community event, $2000 to help a school sports team attend a national tournament or a more significant amount to fund wages and salaries for programme co-ordinators or coaches, these grants are essential to ensure locally-led organisations across New Zealand can deliver support to their community.

"Without these funds many community initiatives would not happen," Shea said.

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A total of 294 community groups received a share of $2.422m including groups in Rotorua, Tauranga, Taupō, Ōpōtiki and Whakatāne.

Significant grants for the first quarter included $30,000 for Athletics New Zealand, $25,000 for the Returned and Services' Association of New Zealand and $20,000 to support the Christchurch Jazz Festival Trust.

The Southern Trust operates across the country with a policy of trying to ensure the funds it collects are returned to the community from which they came.

An interactive map showing where grants were distributed this quarter can be viewed here.

The grants for the first quarter of this year follow the 2018 year in which the trust was able to allocate $12,824,724 to more than 1500 community groups across New Zealand.

The Southern Trust was established in January 1998 and is licensed by the Department of Internal Affairs under the Gambling Act 2003 to return gaming machine proceeds to the community.

Shea said the first quarter included a milestone for the operation of The Southern Trust.

From the beginning of March all applications for Southern Trust funding were made online. She said this made filling in and tracking application easier for community groups.

However, she has assured those seeking grants that the trust's friendly grants team is still able to help and can be contacted with a call to 0800 4 CHARITY (0800 424 274).

Applications for grants from The Southern Trust should be made through www.tst.org.nz/funding.

The allocation of funds by region for January, February and March 2019 are:

Auckland and surrounds $158,746
Central Otago District $4200
Christchurch City $392,530
Dunedin City $117,800
Hamilton City $98,580
Horowhenua District $81,628
Invercargill City $155,150
Kaikoura District $30,413
Mackenzie District $2000

Nationwide Organisations $120,862

New Plymouth District $101,718
Ōpōtiki District $51,360
Queenstown-Lakes District $107,000
Rotorua District $342,282
South Taranaki District $500
South Waikato District $67,460
Southland District $19,425
Tararua District $21,900
Taupō District $5000
Tauranga City $43,700
Timaru District $66,450
Waikato District $93,180
Waimakariri District $79,940
Waitaki District $5000
Whakatāne District $165,349
Whangarei District $90,105

Total January, February, March 2019 $2,422,278