More than three years on from the Canterbury earthquakes, many community and social organisations remain stretched by additional demand for their services. The $2 million Need Help Now Fund was established as a fund to immediately support organisations at a grassroots level. The Fund aims to support groups on the frontline of community service dealing with earthquake related increases in demand, with all funds being allocated within a 12 month timeframe.
The funding will be distributed in two parts; the $1.85 million Need Help Now Fund and the $150,000 Building Communities, which will assist grass-roots initiatives that enhance community wellbeing. The aim is to assist Cantabrians in the building of strong, connected and resilient communities.
The 12 month allocation period creates a high-impact fund that targets organisations and groups who need our immediate help to continue their great work or execute a new initiative with real benefit to the community.
A small community garden in West Riccarton has become a meeting place in the community that crosses age and ethnic barriers.
It started as a project between the Neighbourhood Policing team, local university students, business, and the local community. It is a project which has been successful in breaking down social isolation barriers by bringing people together. The gardens get about 50 to 100 visitors a week and for the past two years local residents have volunteered on average about 10 hours a week.
At Christmas, and when there is a surplus of produce, the people involved with the garden, along with help from the Neighbourhood Policing team, are able to distribute vegetables from the garden to needy families within the community.
This was a great project for the “Need Help Now Fund” portion of the fund to support, and came endorsed by the local Community Board.
This project was funded $2,700 from The Need Help Fund- Building Communities.
Family Help Trust (FHT) is a fabulous organisation working with families to help break the intergenerational cycle of dysfunction and disadvantage. Issues generated by the series of earthquakes have further complicated the already difficult lives of many Cantabrians, particularly around employment, overcrowding and anxiety. The earthquakes have also pushed families previously functioning well and independently, into requiring assistance.
Social service groups supported by Rātā Foundation point to social issues compounding, and becoming more complicated post quakes for many families. Further, post the earthquakes, increased support for those who support others is a common theme in many requests for help.
FHT has a strong focus on ensuring that its work achieves its target, and has great systems to measure its effectiveness, having collected data on families it works with for well over a decade.
The Family Help Trust received $46,000 in funding through Need Help Now in recognition of an increase in demand for their services post earthquake.