The Koha Kai Charitable Trust has been granted significant funding of $300,000 from the Community Trust of Southland (CTOS) Innovation Fund.
The $1 million Fund aims to support organisations that offer new solutions, creative ideas and fresh approaches to address community issues and opportunities.
CTOS chairwoman, Margot Hishon said Koha Kai was an excellent example of how a community group can create transformational change and positively impact our community.
“The programme is making some remarkable differences in individuals’ lives as the young people learn new skills and self-value in a workplace environment. The Community Trust is happy to be able to support the programme as a funding partner, to enable Janice and her team to continue their great work,” she said.
For the past two years Koha Kai has been working with people who have been marginalised and isolated in the community due to living with the challenges of disability. The Koha Kai programme teaches people how to cook nutritious food, become more self-sufficient by growing their own vegetables and provide lunches to vulnerable children in low decile schools and has seen a positive flow-on effect of the programme, with children taking the lead in enabling integration of people with disabilities into the wider community.
Koha Kai project lead Janice Lee said receiving the funding had been like a huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.
“We are so excited – we have just started three new trainees this week. This investment from CTOS has given us the confidence to take them on, secure in the knowledge that we can follow through with our promise to the guys. It just means so much,” she said tonight (May 3).
“Everybody who works for Koha Kai has been doing so on a volunteer basis, but lack of funds has proven to be the greatest threat to the success of our programme. This is significant funding, and it will ensure continuity and stability for Team Leaders and staff, especially those people who are struggling financially, but committed to supporting the work that we do.
”It’s just amazing to see how people’s lives have been transformed and the confidence they have developed as they understand how much the community values the service they are providing. Now, thanks to this partnership with CTOS we can keep our focus on developing our programme rather than wondering how we will manage to pay the next bill.”
“The funding is a win, win situation,” says Lee “and now we have secured our place, we can look forward to extending our range to other schools, confident that we will be able to maintain our programme.”
The Community Trust’s funding will support the operating costs of the programme for the next 16 months.