Trust operating cost grant help migrants thrive

English Language Partners Rotorua manager Anna Hayes entices superette owner Rajmesh (Raj) Kumar-Dahya to speak for Neighbours in our Community at the Arts Village. 20 February 2015 Daily Post photograph by Stephen Parker. RGP 27Feb15 - NEIGHBOURS: English Language Partners Rotorua manager Anna Hayes entices superette owner Rajmesh (Raj) Kumar-Dahya to speak for Neighbours in our Community at the Arts Village. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

On a mission to help migrants and refugees settle into their new home and contribute to the local community, the work of English Language Partners Rotorua is supported by the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust (the Trust), with a $3,000 annual grant for the next three years.

Each year, over 120 migrants from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe participate in tailored English Language Partners Rotorua programmes, including helping individuals find employment, improving their workplace or daily life English, and sharing the ‘Kiwi’ way of communication.

The not-for-profit charity education programmes are run by nine tutors and 30 volunteers, who dedicate their time to group classes and in-home lessons.

English Language Partners Rotorua manager, Anna Hayes, believes communication is the most important skill to instil confidence in migrants and allow them to fully immerse themselves into their new community.

“Migrants and refugees should have the opportunity to learn English, pursue aspirations for themselves and their families, and participate in all aspects of Rotorua life – our role is to help these learners and their whole whanau reach their full potential.

“It takes a lot of courage for someone with little-to-no English skills to approach us – I’ve had people in the past who were too scared to even leave the house. But through our classes, their confidence begins to grow and they flourish into a whole new person.”

The Trust started supporting Rotorua English Language Partners in 2007 and has continued to contribute to the group’s operating costs every year since.

Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust chairman, Grahame Hall, says the Trust actively seeks to support organisations who positively impact Rotorua, and English Language Partners is certainly one of them.

“The Trust’s operating costs grants provide organisations with funding certainty for up to three years. It’s just one way the Trust helps the Rotorua community thrive.

“We’ve been awarding these grants since 1998, and each year the number of recipients continues to grow. So far this year, 116 local groups have been awarded funding for operational costs, totalling $520,000.”

Ms Hayes says the grant allows English Language Partners Rotorua to provide additional services alongside its Tertiary Education Commission funding, and to also think more strategically about where the money could benefit the community most.

“We’re funded by the Commission for eight weeks of the school term, so we use the Trust’s grant to continue classes for the remaining weeks. It is also used to help pay tutor wages, purchase resources, teach those on a working visa, pay for office space, power, and deliver new programmes.

“We’re so grateful for the flexibility of the grant. It means we can continue to provide language classes for migrants and refugees who have chosen Rotorua as their home, upskilling the workforce and encouraging social, economic and cultural participation.”

In 2015, the Trust awarded 112 groups with an operating costs grant, totalling $512,400. . Any group which has been operating for two or more years and is registered with the Charities Commission can apply.

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