At the 15 September meeting of the two Support and Stimulus committees, the Economic Resilience Fund agreed to fund a number of projects which would support the visitor sector in the district. Most projects are being co-funded by the applicants. The Fund agreed to make a donation of $ 34, 500 to the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust to aid the trust's recovery from Covid-19; and to grant Presence on Harbour $ 3, 450 to install two new signs to inform people of the businesses operating in Oamaru's Victorian precinct. The design of the signs will be in keeping with the historic surrounds, with the main new sign sited on the side of the Connell & Clowes Building.
A grant of up to $16,387 was made to Cucina and Inc. Design to raise the profile of Oamaru and Waitaki by pulling together a consortium of businesses which will be profiled Neat Places, a contemporary social media platform highlighting the coolest places in New Zealand to visit.
Virtual Reality also got the green light at an earlier meeting, with Golding Arts being awarded $34,500 for a project called Virtual Waitaki, which aims to build a collection of immersive data (360 degree photos) to providing a database of imagery that can be accessed by a broad spectrum of users via multiple platforms. This Virtual Reality (VR) product will give local tourism operators and accommodation providers an edge when compared with other districts and also be an educational asset for schools.
Waitaki's Economic Development and Recovery Manager Gerard Quinn said, "these projects target a sector hard hit by the pandemic and will keep us at the forefront of people's minds when deciding where to visit in New Zealand".
Also at the 15 September meeting:
From the Community Resilience Fund the Waitaki Tongan Community Trust was allocated $4,600 to support youth wellbeing and cultural connections as the community responds to the impacts of Covid-19. Youth are impacted in numerous by the COVID-19 environment and this will be a great way of providing some tools and strategies to support wellbeing.
The Panel agreed to a grant of $1500 in support of 'Our Hub' Oamaru Creative Arts Space to provide resources for community workshops which are integral to the provision of the community focused, creative arts space the group facilitates. This is an engaging and community-based project.
Also supported was a grant of $5,000 for the Oamaru Steam and Rail Society Inc. COVID-19 impacted Oamaru Steam and Rails ability to operate the train for a period of four months. The grant will be an enabler as the volunteers reinstate the regular Sunday operations which have become such an iconic part of our community. Councillor Jeremy Holding, Chair of the Community Resilience Fund said, "It's encouraging to see our Waitaki Community groups and volunteers haven't let a disruptive year hamper their efforts in contributing to the vibrancy of our district, great that we are able assist through the Community Resilience Fund."
Other grants funded from previous meetings were:
North Otago Riding for the Disabled received $5,000 to assist this not for profit, volunteer-based organisation to respond to the impacts of COVID, particularly to support children with disabilities who benefit from the interaction with the ponies and volunteers.
A Creative Wellbeing Pilot based in the Waitaki District was successful with the Creative Arts Trust, 'Artsenta', being awarded $20,000 to undertake a pilot project that will build on work already undertaken in the Waitaki district. The purpose is to provide Creative Wellbeing Sessions for people in three Waitaki townships who are struggling with mental wellbeing and isolation. The focus on bringing people together in this creative space will build connections and provide peer to peer support in a fun, safe and supportive way.
In a bid to build local resilience and sustainability in a post COVID-19 community, Filmmakers in Schools received $6,500 to support the development of a series of 15 short videos enhancing community knowledge and skills in relation to growing our own food. This is one phase of a larger project that will build community resilience across several areas.
The Midwinter Night's Dream party (rescheduled to this Friday) also received $4,835.
Community Development Manager Helen Algar said, "It is a privilege to be involved in a process that supports the community to rise to the COVID-19 challenges in such a range of innovative and creative ways. The projects that are coming through are quite diverse and represent different sectors and approaches that will support and enhance community resilience during a time when we need it the most."