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Connecting Communities fund seeks wellbeing initiatives for penultimate round

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The penultimate round of funding for mental wellbeing initiatives to boost Southern Lakes communities opens in two weeks.

Run by Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, the Connecting Communities fund supports community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland which encourage people to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun.

The next funding round opens on 6 November and closes on 16 November. Eligible not-for-profit organisations and groups can apply for up to $1,000 to assist with funding their activity or event.

Broadly, the criteria includes positively engaging with the local community; supporting mental wellbeing; aligning with one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Wha; and being locally delivered in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell or Te Anau/Fiordland.

More details, including how to apply, can be found at southern

The Government funding is coming to a close, and Te Hau Toka Group Chair Adell Cox says the team is particularly keen to hear some ideas from communities that have not yet applied.

“After this, we only have one more round in April next year. We would like to think the funding has supported social connections, mental wellbeing and resilience right across our local communities in the Southern Lakes region.”

Adell said the team also appreciated the vast range of innovative ideas put forward throughout the funding rounds and welcomed previous applicants and recipients to reapply.

“Our communities face different challenges at different times of the year. The lead-up to Christmas is often a very stressful time. There's the extra expenses; it can be busy, and it can be lonely. Each community is best placed to know what they need and how they can support each other,” said Adell.

The previous Connecting Communities funding round in June 2023 saw a record $87,000 distributed across 92 initiatives in Queenstown, Wānaka, Te Anau/Fiordland and Cromwell.

Recipients included the St John Health Shuttle establishing a new Friendship Drive in Cromwell; an Open Day and tribute benches at Arrowtown’s Bush Creek community ice rink; Curious Conversations guided art tours in Queenstown for communities with accessibility needs; an all abilities staircase to access the Manapouri community swimming pool; Wānaka Community Workshop training events for men; a Blue Light Te Anau Life Skills course for youth aged 14-17; a Pride flag mural at Mt Aspiring College; a Latinos for NZ La Festa Junina event in Queenstown; a new community noticeboard for Te Anau; and a range of Matariki activities across the region. A full list is available online.