Growing our communities

Small change is helping big work to be done by nine local community groups.

180 Degrees Trust, Birthright Canterbury Trust, Christchurch Cathedral Choir, City Parks Community Patrol, DrugARM Trust, Halswell Hall Inc, Listen! Our Voices Count, Oak Development Trust and Papanui-Merivale Plunket all recently received grants from the Christchurch Airport Community Fund.

The fund starts with airport visitors dropping coins and notes into collections boxes around the airport terminal.

"We collect the money, convert the foreign currencies - usually around a dozen at any time - then add a sizable donation of our own. We recently increased our donation to the fund, to be able to offer more groups more money more often," says the airport's Chief Aeronautical and Commercial Officer Justin Watson.

Mr Watson said the latest nine recipients include a radio programme for disabled citizens, a group running a community hall, and volunteers who act as eyes and ears for local police.

Jeremy Nurse of 180 Degrees Trust says his group's grant will help Christchurch's at-risk youth.

"Young people come to us through the Youth Justice System and we offer weekly activities which give them confidence, social skills, and show them a side of life we have found to be pivotal in initiating a turnaround in their lives. The grant will pay for many of those activities."

Korean migrants to the city will benefit from a grant to Oak Development Trust's Korean Welfare Support Team.

Manager Carol Renouf says the trust has two volunteer social workers, themselves Korean migrants, who help fellow migrants negotiate the health and welfare system. She is pleased the grant will mean those volunteers can have some of their costs covered now.

Trustee Michele Hider says Birthright Canterbury supports Canterbury children in single parent families.

"Most of the families we work with face financial difficulties and need parenting support. Many are coping with mental and physical health issues and we focus on strengthening families to help them grow nurtured, inspired and resilient children. This generous donation will be used for our home visit service."

Lis Rate-Smith says the donation to Drug-ARM Christchurch will buy easels and art supplies for the organisation's Therapeutic Art Group.

"Our clients with drug and/or alcohol issues sincerely want to make or maintain changes in their lives," she says. "We find the time they spend together working on art projects, leads to abstinence, harm reduction strategies, relapse prevention, lifestyle balance and core beliefs and values."

The next allocation from the Community Fund will be 12 donations of $1,000 to each of the "12 Schools of Christmas" which will perform in the terminal on December 12, 13, 14 and 15.