The loss of community sector funding has presented a range of challenges for Palmerston North's community groups.
Palmerston North City Council is working with the sector to provide learning initiatives, additional funding, and tailored support and advice to empower groups in new ways.
Council's chief customer officer Chris Dyhrberg says innovation has been a recurring theme throughout the Covid-19 experience and everyone is being encouraged to think differently around how they can stay connected.
"Our Community Development team have been working hard to understand how the situation is affecting our community groups and what is the most effective means of supporting them right now."
A survey of 136 community groups conducted in April revealed that the groups relied on almost $3.5 million annually in external funding, including grant and trust funding and donations.
Arts and events, the environment, heritage and cultural, social services, and sport and recreation responded, with environmental groups reporting the most reliance on external funding to be 83 per cent of their total annual income.
"Understandably, there is a lot of anxiety in the sector that funding will become scarce, and competition for available funds will be high," says Dyhrberg.
"Council currently has funding opportunities, but we're also using these survey results to inform a welfare recovery framework that explores potentially untapped methods of support."
The Palmerston North Community Services Council is offering tailored one-on-one support for organisations through its Te Tauteka programme.
The programme helps groups access knowledge and advice on topics including legal issues, organisational structuring, governance, human resources and understanding your obligations.
PNCC has partnered with the Community Services Council throughout the Covid-19 response to offer groups free webinars.
Tomorrow, May 19, the council is offering free webinar Scenario planning and responding to a crisis.
Interested groups can register and access a range of free resources for adapting and recovery on the PNCSC website.
PNCSC also administers council's Community Development Small Grants Fund and is available to support not-for-profit community groups who work in Palmerston North, with ongoing administrative costs.
Applications for this fund close May 31.
The council continues to offer a range of funding opportunities for arts groups and wider community organisations.
The Arts Event Fund and Celebrating Communities Fund are open for applications until June 30.
Council is also working alongside Creative New Zealand to provide the Creative New Zealand Covid-19 Emergency Response Package.
"Council's Community Development team can link groups up to a question and answer session led by Creative New Zealand and provide support with the application process."
Interested groups can email PNCC Community Funding coordinator Brooke Carter at email@example.com
Applications close on June 30.
Ministry of Social Development Funding is also available to support community groups and individuals who have been doing critical work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Community Awareness and Preparedness Grant Fund is available to community groups providing essential community-led solutions that support local resilience and community wellbeing during Covid-19 restrictions.
More information on funding and support opportunities can be found on the community funding page of the Palmerston North City Council website.