Ngongotahā community programme receives $15k funding boost


Atua Awhi, a community programme that fosters a sense of ‘soul, belonging and purpose’ has received a grant of $15,000 from Rotorua Trust to help it continue to provide services to low-income families in Ngongotahā village.

Established in 2015 to address the growing needs of the community, Atua Awhi Charitable Trust operates out of the Trinity Community Centre in Ngongotahā. The trust offers a subsidised food pantry and community cafe, access to affordable clothing, a community garden and pre-school caregiver respite.

The Trinity Community Centre is administered by Community Facing Ministries, which runs a number of programmes to help people in need.

Christian Pilaar, funding coordinator for Community Facing Ministries says Atua Awhi was initially built out of a desire to help the community, but their volunteers also benefit enormously from the sense of soul, belonging and purpose it provides.

“Due to the influx of unemployment from COVID-19, we have reached a point where we need extra support to help us continue to meet the needs of our community,” he says.

“The funding boost from Rotorua Trust is so warmly received and will enable us to support a coordinator and administrator for the centre as well as providing mentorship to staff.”

The Trinity Community Centre buzzes with activity almost every day of the week. Wednesday is food prep day, and Thursday is the busiest day, with around 70 and 80 families making use of the community pantry.

Pilaar says the centre benefits a wide cross-section of the Ngongotahā community. 

“Children have better access to good food, affordable clothing and a nurturing environment. Volunteers develop skills and self-confidence as they engage with the community and the elderly benefit from having a welcoming and warm environment to come to on a regular basis, where affordable food is provided, along with regular community meals.”

Rotorua Trust Chairman, Stewart Edward says a place where community helps community is vital in these turbulent times and aligns with their priority target to strengthen communities.

“Not only does Atua Awhi provide much needed services to the community, it also gives people the tools to make them self-sufficient, overall benefitting the Ngongotahā community,” he says.

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