$690,000 Impact Fund grant awarded to address gaps in services to North Dunedin youth

12 Jul 2022

Media Release

Otago Community Trust’s Impact for Tamariki and Rangatahi Fund has awarded its first grant. A $690,000 grant was approved to He Ao Hou i Ōtepoti ki te Raki Charitable Trust. The Trust represents several groups and organisations within the North Dunedin Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning).

Otago Community Trust launched its new Impact for Tamariki and Rangatahi Fund on the 28 March 2022 with the aim to provide a small number of high investment grants over the next five years to support projects deliver long term intergenerational change. The Impact Fund is the first of the three new funds that fall under the Trust’s $10 million Tamariki and Rangatahi Strategy.

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said since its inception in late March the Trust has had conversations with several groups with potential Impact Fund projects in the pipeline.

“Our team, having worked closely with the North Dunedin Kāhui Ako are excited about the impact the He Ao Hou project will have.”

We believe that this project has the potential to bring funders, rūnaka, researchers, government departments, and decision-makers closer together to address critical challenges occurring in the wider community, Bridger said.

John McKenzie, principal of North East Valley Normal School is the lead principal of the North Dunedin Community of Learning, Otepoti ki Te Raki Kahui Ako.

Schools and early childhood centres in North Dunedin belong to this group, as does the Otago Polytechnic and Puketeraki Rūnaka, McKenzie said.  

“I lead a small but dedicated team of teachers who aim to improve the lives of children and young people by addressing gaps in education, health, and social support.”

“We asked our school and early childhood leaders what would improve the lives of our tamariki and rangatahi. They told us that it’s the health and well-being of children and their whanau. So, we have focused on developing a plan to address the health and well-being of our children and their community.”

“We consulted with a whole lot of folk involved in education, health and social services. We made links with mana whenua, industry leaders, local and central government. We have taken advice from researchers especially Professor Richie Poulton from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at the University to ensure our prevention-focused approach is sound.”

The funding from Otago Community will be for a three-year period and will support over 2000 families within the current catchment of twelve schools and eight early learning centres in North Dunedin. It will see the employment of two dedicated personnel.

“We will employ a strategic leader to map services for children and young people, identifying gaps and then finding appropriate services to fill these gaps. This role will also involve working with partners to identifying how current services could be better coordinated or delivered.”

“The second role we will create will effectively be a triage position - someone who will work with schools and ECEs helping them to access the most appropriate service to meet the needs of tamariki and rangatahi.”

McKenzie explains that this project builds upon work that our schools and ECEs are already doing in this space but what we are currently doing is mostly reactive.

We want to be proactive and get that ambulance to the top of the cliff, not waiting at the bottom. This grant will allow us to address today’s needs better but more importantly, to focus on finding and delivering long term solutions, McKenzie said. 

Otago Community Trust chair Diccon Sim said trustees believe the funding will provide the right blend of hands-on resources and new ideas to make a genuine impact for tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau.

“We know that similar models are already operating successfully in schools so it is pleasing that we can support this programme in Dunedin”, Sim said.

“It is the trustees hope that over the next three year this programme will become a catalyst for change and ensure improved outcomes are sustained for our most vulnerable tamariki and rangatahi.”


Further Information

Information on the Otago Community Trust - Impact for Tamariki and Rangatahi Fund


Information on Otepoti ki Te Raki Kahui Ako (North Dunedin Kāhui Ako)