Kiwis looking to give back to their community by broadening their horizons through international travel and study will get a chance to apply for funding to do so, says Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Alfred Ngaro.
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT) Fellowship and partner Fellowship – the Winston Churchill McNeish Writer’s Fellowship, open today for funding applications.
“The WCMT Fellowship gives ordinary kiwis the opportunity to travel and bring back learnings that have an extraordinary impact on their communities and industries,” says Mr Ngaro.
“The 17 fellows that received fellowships last year each brought back inspiration, new networks and knowledge that are making an impact.
“From animal welfare, and prisoner rehabilitation to primary industry production and youth economic development, the fields of study of our fellows are incredibly diverse.
“With the addition of the Winston Churchill McNeish Writer’s Fellowship, which has been offered only twice before – in 2013 and 2015, we’re also encouraging emerging writers to immerse themselves in another culture, so their horizons can shift and expand and, on returning, look at their homeland with fresh eyes.”
Applications close on 2 August and decisions will be made by 20 October 2017 at the latest. Around $100,000 is distributed each year.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or call 0800 824 824 for further assistance.
With Student Volunteer Week celebrations kicking off, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Alfred Ngaro says young people have an opportunity to learn new skills, contribute to the causes they value and be part of a national movement this week.
Student Volunteer Week is in its third year in New Zealand and runs from 1-7 May.
“Student Volunteer Week celebrates those students already making a difference in their communities and encourages others to give it a go,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Schools, universities and volunteer organisations take part in the celebrations and there are special events and opportunities available for us all to look into.
“Volunteering does so much for New Zealand. Every year volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour. But what’s also important is the impact that volunteering has on those who volunteer.
“Whether it’s a general feeling of satisfaction at making a difference, the social nature of many opportunities or the new skills you may acquire, volunteering has as much to offer volunteers as it does to communities more generally.
“I’d encourage all our students to look up the opportunities and events in their area and to give volunteering a go.”
More information about Student Volunteer Week, including events, is available at www.studentvolunteerweek.nz
Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro has confirmed plans for 117 more social and transitional houses in Rotorua.
"We’re aiming to have 37 transitional houses available by the end of the year and 80 new social housing properties over the next three years,” Mr Ngaro says.
“The properties will likely be a mixture of new builds and existing properties and we’re encouraging community housing providers to partner with the Ministry of Social Development to help us reach this ambitious goal.”
“This is a statement of intent that we take the issue of housing in Rotorua seriously and that we have a plan to address the need. We are working hard to address the current and future demands on social housing.”
Mr Ngaro inspected some of the 37 new transitional homes in a visit to the area with local MP Todd McClay today.
“These new properties will be a welcome addition to Rotorua’s social infrastructure and the plan for 80 new social housing places represents an almost 13 per cent increase on the number we currently have,” says Mr Ngaro.
This year, the Government will spend $2.3 billion to support more than 310,000 kiwi households with their housing costs.
Volunteering is one of the best ways we can honour the ANZAC spirt, says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
‘Serve for New Zealand’, an initiative run by Christchurch’s Student Volunteer Army (SVA), in partnership with the RSA and the University of Canterbury, invites New Zealanders to pledge an hour or more of their time to give back to the community.
“Anzac Day gives us all an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice and service our veterans and those currently serving in our armed forces have made to New Zealand,” says Mr Ngaro.
“One way we can honour that service is by giving back to our communities.
“Whether it’s spending some time with residents at a local resthome, helping a neighbour or taking part in a community project, even the smallest of gestures can make a big difference in someone’s life.
“Kiwis are an incredibly generous bunch, every year our volunteers contribute about $3.5 billion in labour. That’s a huge number and it’s something we should all encourage more of.”
To pledge to Serve for New Zealand on Anzac Day, people can register online at www.servefor.nz.
Nine of New Zealand’s brightest and most inspiring young Pacific students have just received Government scholarships to pursue their dreams says Pacific Peoples Minister Alfred Ngaro.
This is the second year that the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships have been available.
The scholarships of up to $25,000 each are paid over three years and awarded to Pacific students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at a tertiary level.
“There were 53 applicants for the scholarships this year and I know that the selection panel had a really tough time narrowing it down to this select group,” says Mr Ngaro.
“These really are our best and brightest. These are students who are not only stepping up to embrace the opportunities available to them in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sectors but also showing leadership in their communities.
“One of our students is a science mentor in South Auckland primary schools, another volunteers his time at an afterschool homework centre for Tongan youth. We’ve even got one student who has taken the things she’s learned through her study and has built three reef monitoring structures to monitor coral ecosytems in her village of Saoluafata (in Samoa).
“I’m so pleased that these scholarships are encouraging our young people to consider a career in STEM”.
Further details about the winners can be found at www.mpp.govt.nz/young-people/toloa/scholarships/2017-toloa-tertiary-scholarship-winners/
Months of hard work has put Government in a good position to house those most in need in Auckland during a busy period says Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro.
“Over the last few months I’ve been getting out and about and visiting those on the ground,” says Mr Ngaro.
“I’ve been consistently impressed with the speed and commitment of both providers and public servants. Dedication which has meant that on a couple of occasions I’ve even had meetings cancelled so they can concentrate all their efforts on delivering housing for our most vulnerable kiwi families.
“In the buildup to the World Masters Games we’ve seen a lot of concern that more people would find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“It’s true that the Games create a pinch point but proactive work means 281 families have already secured housing for the period of the games and we’ve got further options being worked through for others who might find themselves with nowhere to stay.
“These are in addition to the transitional housing places we’ve already got people living in.
“It’s a sign of how much effort goes on every day to support vulnerable kiwis that we’ve been able to support so many Aucklanders.
“Solutions will be found for anyone who finds themselves with nowhere to stay but in this pinch point period I’d strongly encourage anyone planning on coming to the area to make sure they’ve got somewhere to stay already lined up.”
Last year, the Government provided $354 million in new funding for transitional housing – the first time the sector has received ongoing, direct funding from the Government. This will support 8600 kiwis and their families every year.
“It’s really satisfying to see how Government funding and efforts are helping people in need.”
The 2016 Public Trust and Confidence in Charities survey serves as a reminder of the regulator role of Charity Services and the transparency of the Charities Register says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The survey has been run every two years since 2008 and the results are relatively similar to previous years.
The results show that New Zealanders trust and confidence in the sector is moderate with an average rating of 5.9 out of 10.
“What really jumps out when reading the report is how much value people place on the role of a regulator of the sector and in transparency however many respondents weren’t actually aware that these services are already in place,” says Mr Ngaro.
Just over half of those who took part in the survey felt it was essential to have a group doing the work, including regulation, that Charities Services does but 37% had never heard of the team.
All registered charities are required to report about how they get their money and how they spend it. These reports are publicly available on the online Charities Register.
“Kiwis are an incredibly generous bunch so it’s reassuring to see that the things that we consider important are exactly the services that are in place and it’s a great opportunity to promote those services.”
The survey is published here https://www.charities.govt.nz/charities-in-new-zealand/public-trust-and-confidence-in-charities/
From today communities will be able to apply for $12.5 million of grant funding for the projects and organisations that matter to them most says Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Alfred Ngaro.
The Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) opens today.
“The COGS funding is unique in that it’s decided on and distributed by local distribution committees. That means we have locals deciding what matters most to them and what will have the most impact on their own communities,” says Mr Ngaro.
The 37 local COGS committees will make decisions on what projects, events and organisations will receive funding by 28 July 2017 at the latest.
Last year 4,223 organisations received funding under the scheme. Some of the recipients included:$3,000 to Sumner Senior Citizens for bus trips and speakers to provide opportunities for the seniors in Sumner to get out and about and socialize. $2,450 to Sailability Hawkes Bay Trust which helps people with disabilities to build confidence in themselves while learning to sail. The fund helped pay for storage and maintenance of the boats. $3,000 to Access Radio Wairarapa which provides broadcasting services to the local community. Roughly 40 groups use the service and programmes reflect the diversity of the community. $14,645 to King Street Artworks which provides free art workshops and encourages mental health.
More information can be found on www.communitymatters.govt.nz or 0800 824 824.
Minister for Children Anne Tolley and Associate Minister for Children Alfred Ngaro welcome today’s official launch of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai - the independent advocacy service for children and young people in state care.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is an important part of the Government’s overhaul of our care and protection system,” says Mrs Tolley.
“Yesterday the Prime Minister Bill English and I launched the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki which will put children and young people’s needs first, and ensure they have a say in decisions that affect them.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is the first of its kind in New Zealand. There has never been an advocacy service for children and young people who are or have been in care.”
Minister Ngaro is attending today’s launch in Auckland, along with a number of children and young people, caregivers and supporters.
“Young people have expressed a desire for a service like this for many years, and it was a recommendation of the expert panel which advised the Government on the overhaul of care and protection,” says Mr Ngaro.
“Set up in partnership with young people who have experienced care, the government, NGOs and philanthropic sector, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, will provide a strong independent voice from children and young people.
“It will also connect children and young people in care with each other, and help build a positive identity and sense of community.
“VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai is working closely with the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki. The service will expand over time, from a website and a team focused on arranging connection events, to phone and online advocacy by late 2017, and a service in the regions from 2018.”
The Government has funded $1.2 million to help set up VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai, in addition to funding from its philanthropic partners. Over the next four years the Government will contribute an extra $6.9 million to build and expand the service.
The Government’s plan to develop 12 old houses into 44 new social housing is moving at pace in Auckland.
Social Housing Minster Amy Adams and Associate Social Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro were onsite in Mt Wellington to see first-hand four Housing New Zealand developments on the go in Auckland.
Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road. Across the four Mount Wellington sites, there will soon be 44 modern homes, where old 12 houses once stood. In total the four developments will have the capacity to house around 240 people.
“These high-quality developments show the work this Government is leading to help get more social homes built in Auckland,” says Ms Adams.
“Over the next three years, we aim to grow the number of social houses from 66,000 today to 72,000 across the country.”
Mr Ngaro says, “The Government is aware of the demand for more social housing in Auckland. We’ve seen an increase in the number of people needing a social house and emergency accommodation in our biggest city.
“The transformation of these four sites is typical of the work Housing New Zealand is doing throughout Auckland to make more efficient use of its land and transform older housing stock to provide greater numbers of warm, dry homes in areas of high demand.
“There are a number of redevelopments on the go, with more on their way.”
The new homes are all designed and built to modern standards, and include double-glazing, insulation, thermal curtains, carpet, and low-maintenance plantings.
The Ministers also officially opened a new laneway at the redevelopment. They were joined by local primary school pupil Kahalia Marinoto, who won a competition to name the laneway Ātaahua Lane (ātaahua means beautiful in Māori).
About the four Housing New Zealand redevelopments:
· Ten new two, three and four-bedroom homes have replaced three old 1960s houses at 24-26 Bernard St and 1 Kealy Road.
Due for completion soon:
· 13 new homes - 7 are two bedroom, 2 are three bedroom and 4 are four bedroom at 19-21 Kealy Road / 257-259 Panama Road. They replace four old houses.
· 1 & 3 Ryburn Road, 596 Mt Wellington Highway – 13 new homes will replace three old homes on a 2423 sqm site.
· 216-218 Panama Road – where eight new homes are replacing two old houses.