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New community fund to support Southern Lakes connection and mental wellbeing

Got a great idea for a community activity that promotes the Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing? 

A new fund designed to support community mental wellbeing initiatives across the Southern Lakes region has been launched by the Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group today (10 November).

Called “Connecting Communities”, the fund is designed to support community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland that improve mental wellbeing and encourage people to come together and Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give.

Eligible not-for-profit organisations and groups can apply for up to $1,000 (GST inclusive) per round to assist with funding their activity or event. There are three funding rounds per year with the first opening tomorrow, 11 November, and closing on 22 November.

Broadly, Te Hau Toka is looking for activities and events to fund, or contribute to, that:

  • Engage positively with the local community
  • Support mental wellbeing
  • Align with one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Wha
  • Are delivered in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, or Te Anau/Fiordland.

Any events or activities will also be expected to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Te Hau Toka Group Chair, Adell Cox, says that the Connecting Communities fund will enable local communities to invest more in their mental wellbeing which will “hopefully boost our collective resilience now and for the future”.

“The continuing uncertainty and stress of COVID has taken a toll on our mental health so this fund is designed to encourage people to find ways to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun.

“We’d love to hear from all corners of the Southern Lakes communities about what people think would work best for them. It could be anything from games equipment for their community to an in-person or online event - or a component of a larger event - which connects people, supports mindfulness, encourages them to be active, enjoy nature, or learn a new skill.”

More details about the Connecting Communities fund, including how to apply, can be found online at



The Connecting Communities fund is part of a $3 million Government fund and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE)’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan.  It’s enabling Te Hau Toka to help support, promote and protect the social and mental wellbeing of people living in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell and Te Anau/Fiordland, and assist with addressing the ongoing negative effects of COVID-19.

Te Hau Toka is currently working through a process to evaluate and support more initiatives across the region in order to direct the MBIE funding to where it’s needed most.  A recent example was boosting Queenstown Lakes District Council’s new Get Active community grant to enable more local organisations to support health and wellbeing in the community. 

Te Hau Toka is also working with affected communities and mental health experts to co-design a plan by December 2021 that best suits local wellbeing needs. 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jen Andrews