Detailed Funding Guidelines

Kā Tohutohu Tahua Pūtea

The information below provides detailed information on specific grant policies adopted by the Otago Community Trust.
If you have any questions regarding the below policies, please feel free to contact the Trust on 0800 10 12 40 or email: 


Assistance may be provided for the upgrades, extensions or refurbishment of community facilities, including community halls.  Where new community facilities are anticipated the Trust will not consider an application until resource consent for the building has been applied for and received. Where a building is an Historic Places Trust, Category I or II listed building then the Trust will require a copy of the approved conservation plan.

The Trust will expect the applicant to be able to demonstrate that the facility will have significant community use and that alternative facilities are unsuitable or are not available or building is of significant historical significance. 

Where upgrades, extensions or refurbishments are planned for buildings which are leased and/or are on leased land then the Trust will require that the lease has at least a 20-year term to run.

Where buildings have been constructed prior to 2004, the Trust will require a copy of the building’s structural performance assessment undertaken by a qualified structural engineer.

If the building has been assessed by a qualified structural engineer and is below the 34%, of New Building Standard (NBS) then the Trust will require details of what provision is being made to bring it up to minimum requirements. (If no plans are in place the application will not be considered).

The Trust does not accept applications solely for earthquake strengthening.

If you are applying to the Otago Community Trust for a capital project grant. We strongly advise you read our advice around Capital Projects


Assistance is offered for community halls principally on the basis that they are an important centre of community activity.  The Trust recognises the need for care in ensuring assistance is not incompatible with local authority policy as it relates to the future usefulness of particular halls. 

In considering assistance to halls, trustees will take account of:

  • Who owns the hall;
  • How its management and funding operate, and the role of the local authority in that process;
  • The nature of the work involved.

Assistance may be provided to assist community organisations build skills, knowledge and confidence of staff and volunteers by supporting national and international conferences that are hosted locally.

The Trust recognises the benefits and opportunities of conferences held in Otago including:

  • Exposure to speakers, information and knowledge not otherwise locally available;
  • Networking and sharing of knowledge between attendees;
  • Economic benefits to the broader community including accommodation, meals and entertainment.

The Trust’s contribution will be towards the direct costs of hosting a conference, for example venue hire, speakers, expenses etc. The conference should have relevance for the not for profit sector.

Assistance will not generally be provided for:

  • Individuals to attend conferences;
  • Conferences held outside Otago;
  • Commercial or business purposes.

From time to time community organisations will be invited to apply to a contestable fund which the Trust may establish to contribute towards the cost of sending staff and volunteers to conferences that the Trust has identified are of benefit to the wider community. 

Early Childhood Education Centres 

Applicants must either be a registered Charity or an Incorporated Society and be licensed or certificated by the Ministry of Education.

Assistance may be provided for the following purposes:

  • Entity establishment costs
  • Building extensions or upgrading
  • Playground improvements
  • Education resources
  • Furniture and fittings
  • Technology for teaching (not administration)


All Schools must be registered as a state or integrated school.

Assistance may be provided for the following purposes:

  • Playground developments, including courts;
  • Sports equipment;
  • Technology hardware for teaching (not administration);
  • Musical equipment;
  • Buildings, including extensions or refurbishment, where there is significant community benefit, e.g. halls, libraries, meeting rooms, gymnasiums;
  • Swimming pools and associated facilities (including repairs) where there is a significant level of community use;
  • Resources for cultural or multi-cultural activities;
  • Equipment for special needs students.
  • School camps within the Otago region

The following purposes will not generally be considered:

  • Travel, accommodation and associated expenses unless relating to school camps within the Otago region
  • Maintaining library book collections;
  • Administration costs or facilities;
  • Operational costs;
  • Basic school equipment. 

Tertiary Institutes 

Assistance may be offered to support:

  • Medical research (through the Otago Medical Research Foundation)
  • Projects that can demonstrate a benefit to the wider or local community.

In recognition of their size and diversity the Trust’s general rule of only one donation each year may be relaxed at the discretion of the Trustees. Each application will require the support of the Trust’s Tertiary liaison at the Institution concerned. 

Assistance may be offered to:

  • Support a local community to run a festival celebrating a region or theme;
  • Bring a national or an international performance to Otago as part of a festival;
  • Stage a national or international sporting event attracting large numbers of participants into the Otago region;
  • An event that showcases local talent and builds the skills of volunteers.

The Event should offer some of the following:

  • Be held in our region;
  • Present a significant opportunity for the local population;
  • Attract people into the region;
  • Offer significant economic benefits;
  • In respect of subject or topic be of unique quality, excellence or technical innovation.

Please Note: Applications for Events should reach the Trust at least three months prior to commencement or opening. Applications received later than three months may not be considered.  Consideration also needs to be made of the Trusts close down period over December and January each year.

Assistance may be offered towards general maintenance and care of Cemeteries and Urupâ where control is vested in a properly constituted Trust established in terms of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964, or Te Ture Whenua Act 1993.

Assistance may only be offered to Cemeteries and Urupâ under the control a local authority towards the restoration or maintenance of graves, headstones, vaults etcwhich have historical or community significance. 

Assistance may be offered to cover travel costs where travel forms an integral part of providing a service or activity, especially related to volunteers. 

Assistance may be offered to organisations for the purchase of a passenger vehicle or a specially modified vehicle where a community need for such a purchase can be demonstrated.

The application would need to show that:

  • The annual usage was high enough to make ownership the most economical option, versus rental, taxis, reimbursing members use of private vehicles, leasing etc;
  • The vehicle was required for service delivery, e.g. transporting clients rather than for core administrative purposes.

Ownership of the vehicle should be registered in the name of the applicant organisation.

Assistance may be provided to projects where there is a significant community of interest and the focus of the history relates to a locality or organisation within the Trust’s specified area.

Trustees will consider:

  • The extent to which the project is likely to be viable without funding support;
  • The hours of volunteer input and associated expenses;
  • The degree of volunteer input can be an indicator of commitment to the project by the community of interest.

Otago Community Trust aims to be a broad community funder; however, we recognise we cannot meet all demands for funding.  The Aged Care / Rest Home landscape is complex, with almost 50% of the facilities being operated by Charitable Organisations.  The Trust does not have the resources to support these facilities with grant funding in competition with commercial finance and commercial activities.

As a general policy, the Trust will not consider applications from Aged Care / Rest Home Facilities, Rural Hospitals or a Rural Health facilities for:

  • operational costs as these are considered to be the responsibility of central government or
  • capital projects unless the applicant meets the eligibility criteria below.


Otago Community Trust has identified that some groups within the community are more likely to confront barriers of access to equitable funding. Trustees therefore may prioritise funding to priority communities with the aim to address the inequities they experience, this includes but is not limited to people living rurally or in isolation, and those facing hardship.

The priority for Trust’s funding of Aged Care / Rest Home Facilities, Rural Hospitals or a Rural Health Care Facilities is to minimise the inequities rural Otago communities are facing in gaining access to health and aged residential care services.

Eligibility Criteria

Applications for funding will be accepted by Aged Care / Rest Home Facilities, Rural Hospitals or a Rural Health Care Facilities who:

  • reside within the funding boundary of Otago Community Trust.
  • are an Incorporated Society or a Charitable Trust.
  • are rurally isolated, as per the Geographic Classification for Health (GCH). This means that they reside within the Rural 2 or Rural 3 band of the GCH. Rural 2 meaning they are greater than 60 minutes from a major urban population, Rural 3 band meaning they are greater than 90 minutes from an Urban 1 - major urban population (Urban 1 in Otago is only Dunedin).

Applications for funding will be accepted for:

  • the construction or fit out of spaces that would be available for wider community use or benefit or
  • the purchase of equipment or other capital items.


  • applications for Aged Care / Rest Home Facilities, Rural Hospitals or a Rural Health Care Facilities projects can be submitted under the Community Response Grants or Capital Grants programmes.
  • top-ups on over-expenditure on projects already funded will NOT be considered.
  • the assessment process would remain robust, with staff taking into consideration an organisation’s financial situation, the need for the project, the ability to raise all of the funding required for the project, and previous funding provided by Otago Community Trust to the organisation.
  • each application will be assessed on its own merits.


Assistance may be provided to projects undertaken by service clubs where the project:

  • lacks a sponsor or promoter and
  • there is a clear community benefit

Where the project benefits an organisation able to apply to the Trust, then the Trust would expect that organisation to apply directly for funding. 

Assistance may be offered to support the purchase of:

  • Junior sports playing strip;
  • Band uniforms;
  • Marching uniforms;
  • Arts and Culture costumes/clothing.

Note – These items should belong to the club or band, not to individuals.

The Trust will not generally support:

  • Senior team playing strip.
  • Off field uniforms, e.g. tracksuits, wet weather gear;
  • Sports bags
  • School uniforms

In recognition of their size and diversity the Trust’s general rule of only one grant each year may be relaxed at the discretion of the Trustees. 

Assistance may be provided towards regionally significant tracks/trails projects. All applications must include:

1. Written acknowledgement/information from the Department of Conservation (DOC) or the relevant Territorial Local Authority (TLA) that:

  • They recognise the applicant group as having the expertise, management skills to complete the project and all safety aspects of the project have been signed off;
  • They approve the Project Manager for the project, i.e. DOC, TLA or the applicant, or they will act as Project Manager;
  • The relevant staff of DOC or the TLA have had input into details of costing for the construction of the track/trail.

2. Confirmation that all legal easements have been obtained.

3. Confirmation that the appropriate local authorities have provided all necessary consents and approvals.

4. Written confirmation of who would be responsible for ongoing maintenance and repair and that there will be a written agreement in place.

5. Details of accessibility of the track/trail to the public

6. Details that show the track will meet or exceed the standards as specified in SNZ HP 8630:2004 Tracks and Outdoor Visitor Structures.

7. A scoping report on the project should be provided and include:

  • Details of the planning/investigation that has taken place;
  • Project costing (quotes should be included);
  • Consents required;
  • Ownership of the completed track;
  • Project management (who will be undertaking this role);
  • Timeframes for the project from start to completion;
  • Details of other funding
  • Economic impact report

The following types of travel may qualify for a donation:

  • Groups, who because of their rural location encounter greater travelling costs to participate in regular local activities;
  • Travel costs by volunteers whose principal service requires regular travel within the region;
  • Travel costs within the area or within New Zealand that is for the principle purpose of training or coaching;

The following examples of travel would not generally qualify:

  • Travel costs to reunions;
  • Travel costs to conferences or seminars unless there is a major element that relates to training or coaching
  • International travel
  • Travel costs to attend sports events.

Assistance may be offered for projects which provide:

  • buildings or extensions that are not fully funded by Fire and Emergency New Zealand;
  • plant, equipment, gear and special protective clothing that is principally required not for firefighting, but for special emergencies such as vehicle accidents, flooding, natural disasters, search & rescue and the like.

The Trust may over ride exclusions to its Grants policies and may assist organisations working with and supporting members of our community who are considered vulnerable through geographic location, disadvantage, crisis, or disability.

Each situation will be assessed on its own merits and the Trust would encourage organisations working with vulnerable communities to contact the Trust to discuss their proposed project.

Waste disposal activities are considered the responsibility of local authorities.

Local authorities often promote community based organisations to develop programmes aimed at zero waste generation which extend the life of landfills and generally promote our ideal for a “clean and green” image and such programmes could become self-sustaining from revenues generated.

Assistance may be offered for the following purposes:

  • The project is relating to the cost of facilities/equipment rather than operational costs;
  • Improves facilities for volunteers
  • Provides employment opportunities.