Funding the future

Trust chair Karen Summerhays looks at the plans for Stage 2 of the Te Puke Centre Project. Photo: Daniel Hines.

The Te Puke Centre Charitable Trust is now pressing ahead with the second stage of its grand vision and is aiming to raise a minimum of $100,000 in just one month.

After setting up the NZ Post postal and bill paying service in the town, the Te Puke Centre Charitable Trust is now applying itself to stage two – the information and visitors centre including meetings rooms and shared working space.

Over the last four months the Trust has been focused on the setup of the postal and bill paying service and is now happy with the operation and staffing levels.

“We now have to quickly set our work programme to raise a substantial amount of working capital.

“There are funders whose assistance depends on us raising that money,” says Trust chair Karen Summerhays.

“Ideally we want to raise $200,000 for stage two – $100,000 for the refurbishment and $100,000 to activate it, get it up and running. But we have set a minimum of $100,000 for us to continue with stage two of the project.” Should the target not be met the Trust will refund the donations if requested.

“We have the added challenge of activating the centre because we haven’t been able to negotiate an agreement with the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to provide information services,” says Karen.

“We are told the current information service at the library doesn’t have a budget that can be transferred to us. The Council has suggested that we wait until 2022 and the long term plan process to test the community for a targeted rate to provide these and other community services not presently available in Te Puke.”

But the trust doesn’t believe the town can wait that long and is asking for interim community support to fund management and administration to activate stage two of the centre.

The trust says it’s vitally important funders and the council see this community-led initiative has the committed support of the Te Puke community.

“If just 40 people or businesses donated $5000 each we would reach our target by the end of February,” says Trustee Nicola Cooke.

“Of course we will happily accept lesser amounts as we know from our campaign to retain the Post Office services, it was the small contributions that got us across the line.”

Karen says it’s the development of the whole vision that will enable the trust to achieve a reasonable level of financial sustainability and create a vibrant community asset. The trust will be distributing a mailbox flyer over the next week to provide information on how people can further support the development of what the trust considers to be an important community asset.

The trust is also in collaboration with Tauranga-based organisations like Citizens Advice Bureau that don’t have a presence in Te Puke to consider using stage two once it’s up and running.

The Trust also wants to hear from people with business acumen and an interest in social enterprise to join the Trust, and for people to register for future voluntary roles within the Centre including undertaking volunteer training or work experience. 

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