As a councillor, there are certain buzzwords you hear again and again.
Last year, the buzzword was "unprecedented". We were thrown in the deep end, learning resilience alongside the rest of the world as we battled Covid-19.
We experienced our first national lockdown, learned how to Zoom, how to live without takeout, how to stop and smell the roses (albeit masked).
By contrast, this year the buzzword is "community". We are still battling Covid-19, but we now have a lot more data, and a vaccine to help protect ourselves and our community. A massive thank you to everyone who has stepped up and gotten the jab, including my fellow councillors.
In addition, our council has been active in supporting our most vulnerable citizens. We have recently partnered with Homes for People to build about 50 dwellings that will go to households that would otherwise struggle to get into a home.
And it's not just housing.
The council offers support to community groups by providing parcels of land, community halls, and purpose-built buildings such as Hancock Community House that accommodates not-for-profit organisations.
These venues provide stability for organisations while they work to support our community, with MaLGRA, Aotearoa's longest-running LGBTQ+ association recently signed up as Hancock House's newest tenant.
The council provides funding for a good many of Palmy's community groups and has now approved a draft Support and Funding Policy that will be consulted on in the coming weeks.
This policy not only shows the criteria for the different funds, but how those funding decisions are made. I look forward to hearing your thoughts around that process.
Then there's our Strategic Priority Grants, which provide multi-year funding for community-led projects, activities and services. Applications for the next three-year round close at 4pm on Monday, November 1.
Organisations that have been struggling with the latest coronavirus alert level restrictions are also welcome to apply for the council's Covid Relief Fund.
Artists and performers are another community in need of support. I sit on the Creative Communities Funding Panel alongside councillor Rachel Bowen.
The last round has just closed, and I'm super excited with the quality of applications we've received. There are so many fabulous, diverse and creative projects happening in our city.
So Palmy, as we make our way through yet another delayed AGM season, let me encourage you all to: get vaccinated, get involved in your community, get volunteering - and where you can, please support our struggling arts sector.
• Renee Dingwall is a Palmerston North city councillor.