COVID-19 Response Fund responding to growing need

  • 06-May-20
  • News Media Release

Otago Community Trust has had a steady flow of applications to its dedicated COVID-19 Response Fund with nearly $400,000 of grants awarded to date. 

Trust chief executive, Barbara Bridger said the trust has had a range of applications come in, a number are to assist with technology, whereas others are related to increased demand for essential services and the increased costs associated with this.

We have had to decline a number of applications as they did not meet the criteria of the Response Fund. The Fund was not established to compensate for loss of income due to COVID-19, we have had to reiterate that at times, Bridger said.

“We know that these are particularly challenging times, the fund is very much focused on supporting community organisations meet the additional costs of delivering services, projects or activities to members of the community ‘most in need’ as a result of COVID-19.”

We are also providing funding support to those community organisations who are incurring or have incurred additional costs related to expansion of services as a result of COVID-19, said Bridger

Beth Stitely from Servants Health Centre said the ability to be able to secure funding support quickly has allowed us to continue to provide much needed services to our community’s most vulnerable.

Having the ability to quickly apply for funding to cover the additional costs for more highly skilled staff and thereby ensuring our services continue has been a big relief, Stitely said.

“Because of the restrictions of Alert Levels 4 and 3, we’ve had to change the way we provide care, moving away from direct patient contact to mostly phone consultations.”

One of our concerns was for the mental health of our patients and how they would cope under the lock-down restrictions. We made extra efforts to maintain contact by making regular phone calls to check on patients’ well-being and other needs, this has come at an additional cost but one we can cover with the support of Otago Community Trust.”

Brian Lowe from Youthline Otago said with support from the COVID-19 Response Fund we have been able to employ a second dedicated triage staff member to support the Helpline Counselling team during peak times.  In April, our client interactions increased 105% above usual levels and support for mental distress increased 68%.

“This allows us to safely manage the increased volume of work that has resulted from COVID-19, we anticipate a reasonable period  of ongoing distress related to various issues including schooling, financial pressures, job loss, domestic issues including domestic violence and mental health issues such as increased anxiety and depression.” 

We know we are making a difference when we receive notes of thanks that simply say “thank you for talking to me, you make me feel worth something to the world” Lowe said.

Otago Community Trust has also granted $25,000 to each of our five territorial local authorities who reside within the Trust’s funding area.

Trust chair Ross McRobie said this is in recognition of the fact that while much of the costs of the Civil Defence and Welfare efforts are being met by Central Government at this time, councils faced extra costs as they respond to the immediate welfare needs of their individual communities.”

Overall, we are pleased with how the Response Fund is tracking and we encourage community organisations to contact the trust is they have any questions around funding support.” 

To date, the Otago Community Trust have awarded $397,434 to 29 community organisations since the dedicated COVID-19 Response Fund was opened in early April.

 

Otago Community Trust COVID-19 Response Fund Grants – at 5 May 2020

Alexandra

Central Otago District Council

$25,000

Balclutha

Clutha District Council

$25,000

Dunedin

Otago Youth Wellness

$10,000

 

Stopping Violence Dunedin

$10,424.36

 

Dunedin City Council

$25,000

 

Servants Health Centre

$5,000

 

Dunedin Community Care Trust

$16,474

 

Moana House

$3,563

 

Connections Education & Development Centre

$2,042

 

Te Hou Ora Whanau Services

$12,000

 

Dunedin Community Mediation

$252

 

Dunedin Budget Advisory Service

$7,636

 

Mornington School

$14,260

 

Work Opportunities Trust

$2,280

Oamaru

Waitaki District Council

$25,000

 

CCS Disability Action Waitaki

$10,570

 

Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group Inc

$10,000

Otago

Cancer Society NZ

$13,036

 

Aroha Ki Te Tamariki Trust

$29,141

 

Youthline

$14,560

 

Able Charitable Trust

$12,000

 

Youthline

$10,440

 

Pillars

$15,000

 

Ronald McDonald House

$25,000

 

Brain Injury Assn

$3,000

 

Methodist Mission

$15,856

 

IHC

$25,000

 

Cystic Fibrosis NZ

$1,000

 

CCS Disability Otago

$3,900

Queenstown

Queenstown Lakes District Council

$25,000

 

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