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Grants will go a long way

Masterton Samoan Assembly of God’s, ‘Siva with Vanz’, was given $10,000 by the Masterton Trust Lands Trust education grant. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Thirteen Masterton groups have received a boost in education funding after being granted $101,726 from the Masterton Trust Lands Trust.

The trust announced the education grants on Tuesday, saying the recipients were a diverse line-up of community organisations and education providers that would be boosted by opportunity and access to life-long learning.

The money supports programmes that strengthen Pasifika cultural identity through performing arts, improve mental health resilience through creative outlets, and empower people with learning disabilities.

Trust chairwoman Leanne Southey said she was pleased with the range of applications the trust initially received.

“We were delighted with the diversity of applications received this year. As such, we’re pleased to be supporting a variety of organisations, several of which are first-time recipients of a community education grant,” she said.

“It means we’re able to contribute funding to a wider range of education programmes through broadening the mix of organisations we assist.”

Southey said the trust was funding education programmes to address a digital divide for people with learning disabilities; arts programmes to help build mental health resilience; cultural programmes that strengthen cultural identity; and science programmes with Te Ao Maori and Pasifika elements.

The trust were also supporting young people to attend outdoor education programmes such as Outward Bound.

A photography workshop at King Street Artworks was given $3000.

Alongside learning tips about manual camera phone settings, light, composition and editing, participants would also learn about ‘clearing space’ for the creative process, self-compassion, and building resilience by recognising when things aren’t working and how to manage this.

The centre’s co-ordinator Ian Chapman welcomed the grant.

Despite King Street Artwork’s 25 years in Masterton, Chapman said the workshop’s creative space had had a significant increase in new artists affected by the pandemic through job losses, anxiety, stress, and depression.

“Building resilience through the creative process will be of huge benefit to our participants, now and in the future.”

Masterton Samoan Assembly of God were also recipients of the grant, given $10,000 to fund its cultural performance education programme – Siva with Vanz.

Siva with Vanz organiser Melnissa Faumui said she was “overwhelmed” by the trust’s support.

Faumui said the money would help remove financial barriers to children participating in the performance group.

It would also help pay for traditional costumes, music equipment and help with transport costs to enable the group to experience cultural performances outside Wairarapa.

Close to 30 Pasifika children, aged from 10 to 18, were involved with Siva with Vanz.

Faumui said the community education grant would allow Samoan and Pasifika children to come together in a single group to expose Pacific children to their culture and roots and strengthen their identity through dance, performance, and speaking.

Faumui’s ultimate vision was to host a Polyfest event in Wairarapa.

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