Trust supports spectrum of education initiatives


For Angela Gunn, one of the hardest things is seeing children who struggle with literacy and numeracy, yet their parents can’t afford extra tuition.

It’s what led her to set up the Spirit of Excellence Education Trust, aimed at helping school children access the educational assistance they need to succeed at school.

Now, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, she’ll be able to run literacy and numeracy programmes to help another 20 children next year.

Mrs Gunn says a pilot programme in 2016 showed the success of the programme, helping 20 students improve literacy and numeracy levels and, just as importantly, grow their self-esteem and self-worth.

The Rotorua Trust funding awarded last month will let them take 20 kids on for two terms each, with programmes tailored to suit the student, their needs, and the best way of learning for them.

The funding subsidises the programme, with parents paying $10 a week. The programme caters for kids between Year 2 and Year 13 and Mrs Gunn says there’s already a list of students who could benefit from next year’s programme.

The Rotorua Trust also gave $25,000 to the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education in the latest round of grants. The funding will help continue the MindPlus specialist programme for  gifted children in Rotorua for another year.

The centre’s chief executive Deb Walker says the programme allows children to attend the MindPlus programme one day a week, making a positive addition to their learning and often a real change in kids’ lives.

About 50 kids a year go through the programme in Rotorua, most staying two to three years depending on the age they start. As well as extending the children’s curriculum learning, MindPlus works on developing social and emotional skills.

“MindPlus just adds another layer to their amazingness. We’ve been able to run the programme in Rotorua since 2003, and that’s partly due to the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust being brave enough to stand up for talent.”

Ms Walker says often it is difficult to compete for funding, but gifted children should have the same right to be challenged in their learning and to develop their abilities as their age peers and it is great the Trust has the vision to support such a positive cause.

“To have a Trust that believes in us and is openly willing to invest in talent, that’s fantastic.”

Rotorua Trust chairman Stewart Edward says the $40,000 in education grants highlighted the wide spectrum of programmes the Trust supports.

“There are gaps that exist in our education system, and by supporting these organisations we are doing what we can to ensure local kids get the best education possible – whether they sit at the top of the academic spectrum or need extra help.

“All students, regardless of their background, should have access to the literacy and numeracy programmes they need.”

It is also important that gifted kids are engaged to extend themselves, and given support to reach their potential, Mr Edward says.

The Trust approved 12 grants in September, worth a total of $141,285.

Grants Approved – September 2017                        

Rotorua Arts Village – $13,500

Rotorua Municipal Band – $4,785

Kimiora Community Trust – $ 14,000

Te Kotahitanga o Te Arawa Waka Fisheries Trust $5,000

The Gifted Children’s Advancement Charitable Trust – $25,000

Spirit of Excellence Education Trust – $15,000

Parua Marae -$10,000

Tarimano Marae – $25,000

Aratiki Cancer Trust – $12,000

Rotorua Area Asthma Society – $5,000

Rotorua Touch Association – $6,000

Weetbix Tryathlon – $6,000

Back to top