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Young readers are big winners

South Wairarapa’s young readers are among the big winners of the council’s latest funding grants.

Featherston Booktown’s young reader’s programme has been allocated just over $25,500 of this year’s first tranche of South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] grants worth $75,000.

Featherston Booktown operations manager Mary Biggs said the money allows the programme to help young readers in schools in 2024.

“Featherston Booktown is incredibly grateful and proud of SWDC for granting us money from the community and youth fund,” she said.

“The council has fully backed this initiative since we first started the programme in 2022.”

She said the support will enable 20 writers, poets, and illustrators to come to the region to engage with more than 1000 Wairarapa students – from preschoolers to senior secondary students.

“There will be 25 events in this programme, the majority of which will be held in South Wairarapa. They are all designed to empower our tamariki and rangatahi to read more, write more, and debate ideas,” she said.

“Together with the other worthy recipients of this fund, we are working hard to make the South Wairarapa the Wellington region’s most desirable place to live and grow successful children.”

Biggs also expressed her thanks in te reo Māori. “Whangaia te hinengaro me te wairua mā te kupu [feed the mind and spirit with words], which is our Kaupapa,” she said.

Other successful applicants included Wellington Free Ambulance [$11,750], and Greytown’s Festival of Christmas [$5000]. Martinborough WaiWaste and Foodbox Charitable Company was allocated $15,000 for food boxes for Martinborough, Greytown, and the rural communities of South Wairarapa.

The grants committee had 31 applications for available funds of $120,000. About $45,000 of unallocated funding remains, with more information requested from some applicants. These are due to be reviewed at the council’s next finance committee meeting.

Martin Bosley, acting chair of the grants committee, said it had been difficult to make decisions with an impressive pool of applications.

“We’re confident in the decisions we made and I’m looking forward to seeing these initiatives come to life in the community.”

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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