The Featherston community celebrates its new government partnership, which will see many projects come to fruition in the town over the next five years. PHOTO/SUPPLIED.

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
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Featherston may have hit the fast-forward button on achieving its dreams.

A hard-working volunteer group has won the town a government partnership that will provide support for Featherston-based projects for the next five years.

Last week, Fab Feathy was officially accepted into the Department of Internal Affairs’ Community-led Development Programme.

Featherston is one of 12 locations in New Zealand to become involved in the programme since it launched last year.

Carterton has also been accepted, with a two-year partnership, following a submission by Resilient Carterton.

Fab Feathy member Mark Shepherd said the initiative would focus on five specific areas, which had come out of community consultation – beautification of the main street, community youth involvement, business development, cycle and walking trails, and swimming pool complex improvements.

Founded in 2016 by its six members, Fab Feathy will now identify projects that community members will drive.

Mr Shepherd said it would be up to Featherston residents to be proactive with fundraising and executing the activities, but the partnership would enable support through guidance, as well as the possibility of grants to top up funding shortfalls.

“So rather than just sitting there with your hand out, the DIA wants us to go out there and do the work.”

The agreement was signed at Featherston’s February First Friday event last week, which celebrated with a circus theme and a ribbon-cutting ceremony sealing the deal.

Mr Shepherd said the exciting new partnership would further unite an already close-knit community.

DIA community advisor Winifred Mahowa said the programme would support Featherston in identifying and achieving its goals, while encouraging community ownership.

“Under this programme we recognise what a community can achieve making the most of its local resources,” she said.

“As a department, we support them and advise them through training, referring them to other agencies, and assist with funding.”

DIA manager regional services of greater Wellington, Leannne Campbell said applications for financial assistance were considered by the department on a monthly basis.

“They can put in a request for something that has been driven out of the local community.”