Press Release – Keep Community Funding
Community development is about long-term benefit for all communities. Hamilton City Council currently spends $967,000 in grants and contracts for service for community development in the city. It is currently proposed that this funding be reduced by …
KEEP COMMUNITY FUNDING
Community development is about long-term benefit for all communities. Hamilton City Council currently spends $967,000 in grants and contracts for service for community development in the city. It is currently proposed that this funding be reduced by approximately 50%, plus further reductions in funding for its own Community Development Unit staff. The impact of these proposed changes will mean that access to essential services in neighbourhoods across the city are reduced, and work on strengthening communities will be sidelined.
A collaborative group comprised of representatives from Community Houses and community organisations has been formed. The Keep Community Funding group is very concerned about the proposed changes, and will be attending the HCC meeting next week to silently and visibly oppose the spending cuts. Neil Tolan, Manager at Western Community Centre states “the loss of these tools for our community will mean that we are less able to respond and support issues that affect our neighbourhoods. This includes initiatives such as reducing crime, supporting young people to be actively involved in our community, and supporting our neighbourhoods to be great places in which to live. Our centre currently runs and supports a range of progammes that provide opportunities for people such as Children’s Day, youth events, holiday programmes and general activities and programmes” he said.
Jane Wood, manager at Pukete Neighbourhood House agrees. “We currently run a large after-school and school holiday care programme. The proposed cuts will have a big impact on our ability to continue with these. This will affect children, families and employers” she said.
Jane Landman, manager at Waimare Hamilton East Community House states “a strong and healthy community is imperative to the well -being of Hamilton City” and that “almost all Community Houses and community organisations in Hamilton will be affected by these proposed cuts. This will mean that in many cases, already stretched household finances will have to further absorb increased costs for things like after school and holiday care for children, or, a complete loss of local access to these services” she said Community Waikato Advisor Jenny Patching has been working to support the Keep Community Funding group, and is passionate about ensuring that valuable services such as vege co-ops, budgeting, counselling and foodbanks are well supported in the community. “These services are often considered as non-essential, particularly when funding levels are reviewed, when in fact they are critical to the wellbeing of many families” she said. “Current research tells us that for every dollar invested in a community organisation, $14.30 – $39 of value is generated over time. This includes volunteers investment, employment and savings in public costs” she said.
People living in Hamilton’s neighbourhoods currently need access to these services, which benefits the city in the long term. Neighbourhoods that are well resourced and supported are more connected, have less crime, and provide more opportunities for wellbeing for families. All of Hamilton and its communities need this support to continue, now and in the future.