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Community workshop projects in demand - funding sought

The Wānaka App

Staff Reporters

15 May 2024, 5:00 PM

Community workshop projects in demand - funding soughtWānaka Community Workshop founder Ben Acland (right) and workshop partner Gwilym Griffith-Jones.

Wānaka Community Workshop (WCW) is seeking a community grant from Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) for a paid staff member to help extend its hours.

The WCW undertakes community projects for groups such as Te Kākano, kindergartens, schools, Wānaka Backyard Trapping, and the like.

“All those little trusts struggling away on minimal funds - we do what we can to help,” WCW member Murray Gifford told the Wānaka App this week.

“The members get a kick out of doing it.”

Murray told the council’s grants hearing panel on Monday (May 13) that while the workshop operates for just six hours a week, members and volunteers spend many more hours a week helping with projects.

Currently, the demand for projects to be done at the workshop far exceeds its ability to achieve them quickly, he said. 

“It’s frustrating.”

Recent projects from the workshop include worm food boxes and rebuilding a shed for Wai Wānaka, building storage boxes for Te Kura O Take Kārara, and building Lilliput libraries for various sites including the Wānaka Community Hub.

The WCW has 100 paid members, a range of tools for members and others to use, and specialises in storing and recovering material from building sites. The workshop also works with MiNT Trust with hands-on experience, and provides a place for industrial/commercial sewing - the Fabricate workshop.

Murray said there was “a lot of synergy between us and Wastebusters”, such as collaborating over repair workshops, and “a lot more potential in that zone”.

He estimated there are about 72 hours of volunteering time in the workshop each week and the workshop has become too busy to just operate with volunteers and a part time supervisor.

The WCW Trust has applied to QLDC for a community grant of $100K for each of the next three years.

Murray said the funding was needed for wages for a permanent staff member operating approximately 20-30 hours a week, and would have to include administration, as well as the ability to draw up and plan projects. 

The WCW also needs funds to pay commercial rental fees for its current space on Gordon Road.

QLDC councillors will meet to further discuss the community grants’ submissions. Councillors will be asked to approve the recommended list of successful recipients at the full council meeting on June 27. 

PHOTO: Supplied