Nelson fully allocates $ 200,000 to Covid-19 emergency fund


Nelson’s community groups say they are grateful for city council’s $ 200,000 Covid-19 emergency fund.

nelson town
Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Nelson City Council has now fully allocated the fund, which was established in April 2020 to help the local community cope with the loss of income due to the pandemic.

The council distributed the money to 27 different organizations through 32 grants.

To be eligible for funding, community groups also had to have applied for any government support to which they were eligible, such as the wage subsidy.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said it was great to get the funding into the community and “help keep arts organizations, community venues and support services operational.”

The Theater Royal was one of the recipients of the community venues, and director Elaine Polack said funding was essential.

“Without the council grants, alongside other government grants, we would not have survived,” Polack said.

“We’ve had two catastrophic years in a row for show cancellations,” she said.

“Only half of the community hires we planned and a third of the professional tours planned could take place in 2021.

“It had a huge impact on our revenue, but we still have significant fixed costs for our theater, which don’t go away when shows are canceled.

“Now that the shows are starting to return to the theater under the traffic light system, the performers and the audience are thankful that the theater is still there for the community to enjoy.”

The White House, a daytime mental health support service, also received grant funding.

Support manager Michelle Allwright said the organization knew it would need more funding during the pandemic.

“For many of the people we support, blockages are incredibly isolating. We knew we had to do more than our usual activities to draw people out of their homes and reconnect,” she said.

“We used emergency funding from the city council to create fun weekend activities and events, such as building raised vegetable gardens to help cook shared kai.

“It brought people together after the lockdown and reconnected them with a supportive and inclusive community of their peers, which is important for supporting people’s mental health and well-being. “

While the Emergency Fund is closed, the Council’s Community Investment Fund is still available, with the next round of funding being considered in May 2022.


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