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Safer Communities searching for new avenues of finance

The Timaru Herald
3 March 2011


Timaru's Safer Communities and Neighbourhood Support groups are lining up for financial help from the district council as their traditional funding sources dry up.

The level of funding each should receive is likely to be one of many decisions councillors have to make at the budget round later this month.

A change in Ministry of Justice funding means extra funding has been needed to get Safer Communities through to the end of its June financial year. It can continue through to then as the council has agreed to it using $30,000 from the Safer Communities Crime Prevention Fund.

Initially all its funding applications for the 2010-11 financial year were turned down by the Ministry of Justice as it has effectively opted to fund projects rather than the administration of them, which has been carried out by Safer Communities' project manager in the past.

The intervention of mayor Janie Annear and Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew resulted in another application being submitted and the ministry making a $36,000 grant for the pilot project "intoxicated youth and assaults on bar staff".

Safer Communities has an annual budget of $69,000 with $15,000 coming from the district council, and $53,900 from the Ministry of Justice.

Only a portion of the Safer Communities role is service delivery, meaning the $30,000 from the crime prevention fund was needed to fund the project manager's position.

Mrs Annear has discussed the issue with other provincial mayors but at the same time she told the council the new criteria suited some providers.

The question of increasing the council share of funding Safer Communities co-ordination has been referred to the budget meetings.

The council has also sent a strongly worded letter to the Government on future funding for Safer Communities.

Also looking for cash to fund its part-time co-ordinator's role will be Neighbourhood Support.

Chairman Lionel Wilson saw the irony in the group looking for funding at this particular time, adding the organisation would have been critical if the earthquake had occurred here rather than Christchurch.

The importance of its neighbourhood support networks became evident after the big snow fall in 2006. "It was a crucial cog in the wheel," Mr Wilson said.

The council agreed, and since 2006 has given it $5000 from the civil defence budget.

Mr Wilson said the organisation's resources ebbed and flowed. The group was discussing its financial situation with a number of organisations in an attempt to improve its situation.

"It is a crucial cog in the structure to ensure a safe environment," he said, adding the neighbourhood support co-ordinator also worked with the Safer Communities project manager on a number of projects. Ad Feedback

"Sometimes you do not know what you have lost until it has gone," he said of the reason his group wanted to discuss funding options with councillors.

Timaru's Community Watch group, which patrols the town a couple of nights a week, has lost one of its main sources of funding.

The group receives some vehicle running costs, but is generally self funding, president Gary Foster said.

In the past fundraising had centred on selling sausages. That option ceased about two months ago.


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