27 July 2020
Government funding is going unspent, and support unrealised, while community groups are struggling to keep their heads above water says Hui E! Community Aotearoa, a peak body who supports the community sector.
“Funding doesn’t always get to those groups who need it most,” says Hui E! General Manager Rochelle Stewart-Allen. “During the Covid-19 lockdown Government funding was available for community groups, but many of the smaller groups only received it because we stepped in to help them apply.”
During the lockdown Hui E! reached out to community groups across New Zealand and matched them with experienced grant writers who could help them apply for funding. The 55 groups they worked with over the lockdown received $175,000 dollars in total.
“If we hadn’t made these groups aware they were eligible for funding, then stepped in to help them apply for the funding, they wouldn’t have received the money,” says Ms Stewart-Allen. “They were in overdrive. Many had pivoted from their regular activities and were supporting their community out of their own pocket.
“They were unable to get their heads above water long enough to understand what help was available, navigate the funding criteria, and then complete the often lengthy application documents.
“These were groups in survival mode. They were helping isolated and marginalised New Zealanders – people without jobs, food, electricity or community connections. Local groups directly supported many who were without income or family support.
“We need a conversation about the way funding is delivered to the community sector, and in particular the small and rural groups who are often unaware of funding and what it may cover.”
Mrs Stewart-Allen says the work hasn’t lessened since lockdown lifted last month. “For many of these groups this is business as usual, for others they see themselves continuing much of this work for another six months or more.”