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Council allocates grants

Masterton SPCA and the balloon festival were among a wide range of winners in this year’s community grant allocation by Masterton District Council [MDC].

In a year where cost constraints saw grant funding cut back by almost $90 thousand, the SPCA was successful in its application for $7,500 for animal welfare services in the district, including desexing feral cats.

MDC’s community wellbeing fund had just over $98,000 available this year, and the event fund $14,000.

The SPCA was joined by a number of sports, health and other organisations getting help from MDC in the coming year. Other successful applicants included Access Radio Wairarapa for community programmes [$3,000], the Wairarapa Road Safety Council for its driver mentor programme [$10,000] and Shear History Trust to help fund the Wool Shed [$12,000].

SPCA centre manager Rebecca Johnston was pleased with the decision.

“We may be a small centre, but we have a big heart and together we can achieve great things. This money will help us to continue our vital work in the Wairarapa community,” she said.

MDC also allocated $1,200 to the Wairarapa Balloon Society towards the annual festival. Peter Amyes has been coordinator of the Wairarapa Balloon Festival for the past three years. He estimated more than 10,000 attended this year’s event across the region, with between two and three thousand at each morning launch alone.

“The Balloon Society is very grateful for the financial support MDC has continued to provide over a number of years,” he said.

Amyes said he had expected less funding and was grateful the council saw continued value in supporting the event.

“The balloon festival is clearly something MDC see as an important part of the Wairarapa events calendar.

“We are looking forward to putting on the balloon festival again at Easter next year and are expecting good attendance.”

Other winners were Living Streets Aotearoa for the Wairarapa walking festival [$1,000], Masterton Motorplex for this year’s drag racing [$1,200], and Mahi Tahi Tatou Charitable to help increase Op Shop open days.

MDC grants committee chair councillor Tim Nelson said assessing the applications had been challenging but rewarding.

“We had a lot of excellent applications and the committee had to make some difficult decisions given the limited funding available,” he said.

“The aim was to provide support for as many groups as possible, with priority given to those that had a Masterton focus, and perhaps a proven track record, and were aiming to reach as broad a range of people as possible. I’m pleased we have been able to support some great projects and initiatives.

Nelson appreciated some would be disappointed but said the committee gave all applications careful consideration. – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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