A new charitable funding model is set to help address inequity across one of the country’s largest population centres.
Under the framework, significant new funding could be made available over the next five years to support hundreds of initiatives and organisations that can contribute towards positive long-term change in West Auckland.
The funding would be sourced from profits made in the retail and hospitality sectors by West Auckland-based social enterprise The Trusts and is contingent on the organisation meeting its current financial projections over the period.
Thousands of Māori and Pasifika, former refugee communities, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African migrants as well as those living in some of the region’s most socially deprived areas are among those identified as needing priority funding.
The development of the funding model has been based on new research that surveyed over 200 charities and community groups throughout West Auckland, as well as other supporting data from other sources.
Respondents were asked to identify the biggest issues or trends that will affect communities living in the region over the next 20 years.
Over a quarter of those surveyed (27%) saw social issues or trends having the biggest impact on the community in the future, followed by economic factors (21%) and the environment (17%).
CEO of The Trusts Allan Pollard says the research shows there was a genuine concern for rangatahi and a need to focus on fostering greater social connection within their community.
He says evidence shows that socio-economic deprivation and other inequities are experienced more by young people and by Māori, Pacific and diverse ethnic groups.
“Our community group leaders were almost unanimous in their feedback that more needs to be done to support rangatahi who are experiencing isolation and disconnection. There was particular concern about the number of fights in the area, gang recruitment and the high number of teenagers dropping out of school.
“Their view was that there was little to no support for those teenagers leaving school early without qualifications and a lack of pastoral care and opportunity. Respondents were eager to see investment in rangatahi through youth-led support programmes and the rejuvenation of areas with a high presence of youth along with greater dialogue with them,” he says.
Pollard says unsurprisingly respondents at the coal face of community need said economic factors would continue to be a significant issue for the area over the next two decades.
“Families are struggling and finding it hard to make ends meet and with living costs continuing to rise even middle-class families were reaching out for support.
“In addition to economic factors, climate change and kaitiakitanga (guardianship of the sky, land and sea) were key concerns for the majority of respondents,” he says.
Pollard says the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle had a devastating effect on many areas in West Auckland and the damage has had a lasting economic and environmental impact on the area.
“Respondents were eager for our organisation to support local initiatives to reduce emissions and waste, mitigate climate change and educate those in the community on how to live more sustainably.
“There was also a desire to see funding for community groups tasked with regeneration projects to help support ecosystems and restore biodiversity.
“We know the impact of climate change on The Trusts’ area will continue to be significant and we believe we have a role to play in helping our community adapt to the ongoing impact of climate change as well as investing in environmental programmes to reduce emissions.
“The unique natural environment of West Auckland is a huge asset that needs to be protected, restored and made more accessible for community benefit. We intend to do our very best to play a significant role in protecting this asset over the next twenty years and beyond,” he says.
Linda Cooper President of Waitākere Licensing Trust says the research findings show clearly there is significant social, economic and environmental need in the West Auckland area.
“The feedback also showed that community groups welcomed support from The Trusts and wanted to continue to build on the genuine relationships they shared based on whanaungatanga.
President of Portage Licensing Trust Leanne Taylor says the research provided valuable insights from community and advocacy organisations on how the Trusts could continue to support them in their work.
“The survey provided us with a clear picture of the priorities of need throughout the West Auckland area and how we can best support them in their work.
“The respondents also expressed their appreciation and gratitude for The Trusts model, and that there was this funding available to reinvest into the community,” she says.