Some of Western Bay of Plenty's largest organisations have come together to establish a new Rapid Response Fund to support community groups who are experiencing increased demand or a funding shortfall as a result of Covid-19.

The funders have committed to pool from their current granting reserves a total of $600,000 in funding. They include TECT, BayTrust, Acorn Foundation and Tauranga City Council.

Lori Luke from the Acorn Foundation. Photo / File
Lori Luke from the Acorn Foundation. Photo / File

TECT general manager Wayne Werder said this funding would support those community groups protecting and caring for the most vulnerable.

"As we are all individually taking steps to protect ourselves, families and colleagues from the effects of the virus, let's not forget the impact this will have on our neighbours; those unwell, unsafe, with no shelter and lack of access to food and essential supplies. These are realities that many in our region are facing and will continue to face in the coming weeks."

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Funds granted under the Rapid Response Fund would be in addition to any business as usual operating funding, ensuring community groups are sustainable in the long run as well as able to meet current unexpected demand.

Acorn Foundation general mangaer Lori Luke said they were committed to working together to get this funding where it was needed most; "To pay grants quickly and upfront, and to adapt to evolving community needs in order to support gaps not covered by government funding."

Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell said it was vitally important to support community groups which were working with those who were not able to meet all of their own needs during the pandemic lockdown.

"This collective commitment of funders is a testament to our dedication to our region and a recognition that we can amplify our impact by working together.

"It is crucial that we give our region's community groups the resources they need to help our more vulnerable people deal with the Covid-19 emergency, while we continue to work on longer-term mechanisms to counteract the economic and social implications."

A single online application process will be hosted by TECT with all funders contributing to the approval process.

Groups who are providing essential services as defined by the Government will be invited to make the first applications to the fund before it is opened up to the wider not-for-profit sector. Others eligible to apply will include groups that face a significant funding shortfall, see an increase in demand or face additional costs in enabling them to adapt their service delivery to meet the restrictions of the Government's alert level system.

Identified essential service groups will be contacted by TECT in the coming days, with a notification to all others going out when the fund opens to the wider not-for-profit sector.

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For those interested in helping with the Covid-19 response in the Western Bay of Plenty, the Acorn Foundation has established an online portal for locals who want to contribute to this cause at www.acornfoundation.org.nz/ways-to-give/donate/donate-now.


Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website