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Grants to give boost to worthy Masterton initiatives

Stuart Miller and Luke Tiller of fatherhood education and support charity Kidz Need Dadz. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

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From helping Wairarapa dads to sheltering the region’s homeless, Masterton District Council heard from several applicants on Wednesday who pleaded their case for grants from the fund allocated to community well-being and events.

The money would be decided privately, with applicants finding out by the end of September.

Amounts varied from $250 to $40,000, and a whole host of community stakeholders were given seven minutes each to detail their work and funding requirements.

One such charity was Kidz Need Dadz, represented by Stuart Miller and Luke Tiller, who asked for $3016.50. They detailed how they provided meetings, support, and activities to fathers at all stages of fatherhood.

Tiller talked about the coffee mornings, support meetings – and activities such as group bushwalks – that dads in Wairarapa could take part in to support one another and receive mentorship from men more experienced with fatherhood.

Tiller said many men were worried about passing down the trauma they had experienced during childhood, and that Kidz Need Dadz was doing important work to teach men new skills and coping strategies to prevent this.

“We want this valley to showcase supporting new families, new dads, from different cultural backgrounds,” Tiller said.

Jude Clark and Shirley Milligan, representatives from Alzheimer’s Wairarapa, were looking for $8000 for a used Toyota van to take Alzheimer’s patients on outings.

Named the Out and About programme, Alzheimer’s Wairarapa takes clients to the beach, or gives them an experience they can draw back on and refresh, and hopefully hold on to for as long as they can.

“This will help keep cognitive awareness going,” Milligan said.

“If they don’t visit the beach, they forget about the beach.

“We have to keep these memories alive for as long as we possibly can.”

Tom Gibson and Lyn Tankersley, representatives from Shelter Masterton, asked for $15,000 towards the annual operating expenses of a new transitional home for homeless people.

This would house eight homeless people, who would have to adhere to certain house rules, and be given a place to live and amenities in exchange.

The goal would be to reintegrate the homeless people into society.

“Homelessness is a fact of our community, we’re aware of at least 12 homeless people, and a significant number of others that come and go,” Tankersley said.

Shelter Masterton’s vision was to have staff members employed at the house to provide a level of supervision and support, and to work with clients.

Catering for eight homeless people, the centre would hopefully be open by the end of October, with some building work still to be completed.

“It might take a few years to get them orientated back into the community, it will be their home with no deadline as to move out.”

Wendy Lowe and Tracey van der Raaij, representatives from Autism Wairarapa, asked for $3500 towards the running costs for the three activity programmes; Ausome Kids, the highly popular Lego Club, and The Spectrum Group, for young people who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Van der Raaij highlighted the importance of the word ‘Spectrum’ in the club’s name, as it was inclusive of all people, including those not diagnosed with ASD.

She said this was a big problem, with many children progressing into later childhood and young adulthood with undiagnosed ASD, which also excluded them from accessing some essential support services.

Lowe said a lot of people were “excluded” in the community because of their disability.

“We want them to be self-confident, we want them to have a purpose. It’s vital that we get this funding and support,” she said.

Fifty-six applications were made to MDC.

The council will deliberate on whom to award funding privately and come back with their answers at the end of the month.

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