Volunteer organisations worried about government funding changes

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    Community Organisation Grants Scheme from the Departmant of Internal Affairs provided more than $400,000 in funding to Southland volunteer organisations in 2018, but now these organisations are concerned that a new formula may result in a cut to funding for the region.

    VOLUNTEER organisations in Southland are concerned that changes to the funding model to the government’s Community Organisation Grants Scheme (COGS) will severely impact the region.

    At a meeting on Tuesday of Southland’s local distribution committee at the Nga Hau e Wha Marae in Invercargill representatives of several volunteer organisations questioned Department of Internal Affairs officials over changes to COGS funding.

    Martin Schievink, the department’s Manager of Regional Services for Otago and Southland, said no decision had been made on how COGS funding would continue.

    Mr Daniel Tawaroa, the chair of the Southland local distribution committee, said it had never been consulted over proposed funding changes.

    He said that the committee had last year received requests for more than $1 million in funding, but only received $434,492 from COGS, which it could then distribute.

    Mr Schievink said the review of the funding model was being undertaken following complaints received from some of the 37 local distribution committees, but said that no complaints had been received from Southland.

    Mr Neville Corkery, the manager of Southland Beneficiaries & Community Rights, told the meeting that he had been informed that cuts of up to 44% were going to be made to COGS funding for the Southland region.

    This could not be confirmed or denied by Mr Schievink or another department official at the meeting.

    Government provides annual funding of $12.5 million dollars to 37 local distribution committees nationally.

    Earlier this year the Gisborne Herald reported funding for 13 metropolitan centres will increase with Auckland’s allocation rising by 61 percent and Manukau’s by 91 percent.

    In Southland, organisations that benefit from COGS funding include the likes of Rape and Abuse Support Centre Southland, Southland Multiple Sclerosis Society, Tuatapere Senior Citizens Association, Youthline Southland and Coastguard Bluff.

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