We grant funds to support and strengthen community organisations which address social problems or improve health outcomes for the people in our region. This includes the advancement of religion.

Our Community Stories give an insight into our own grant-making decisions.  These stories show the people from our community that benefit from funding in this sector.  

If you have a great story to tell or want to know more contact our communications coordinator


Operational Grant

The Central Otago Friendship Network is a community- based initiative that promotes friendship for people in the region. It provides for those at risk of social exclusion, including frail elderly and people with a variety of disabilities. Two part-time co-ordinators seek to match up and support volunteers to engage in either one-to-one friendship or arrange inclusion in one of three groups held weekly.

The staff co-ordinate volunteers to visit individuals in their homes, work with families to provide carers with time-out, and organise gatherings for participants and families to meet. They also organise and provide transport for a range of activities.

Our funding supports the operational costs associated with the network to ensure it can continue to operate this important service in our community.


Reliable Power Source to the Mt Roy Radio Hut

High above Wanaka on Mt Roy is the Upper Clutha’s radio repeaters, used by local groups including Search & Rescue, Wanaka Coastguard, as well as local lake users, and private users. A vital service in the case of a civil emergency - it may well be the only operational communications facility to cover the Upper Clutha Basin. The radio repeater units have been housed at the top of Mt Roy for 40 years, and have been regularly upgraded over that time. But a reliable power source to the site has been a major problem to the group.

The original power cable regularly failed due to age and extreme environment factors, costing in the vicinity of $10,000 to repair each outage. Central Lakes Trust supported the group with funding towards an alternate power source, installing solar panels and a backup generator, similar to that used in other sites throughout New Zealand to provide the group with a reliable, and cost efficient power source for the community.


Alexandra, Cromwell and Queenstown Community Patrol’s all received funding over the past year towards vehicles to patrol their respective areas, assisting the police to keep the community safe.

We got out and about in the Alexandra Rural Community Patrol vehicle, with two volunteers showing us the ropes as we drove through Ophir and out to the tops of Poolburn.

They patrol regularly with guidance, training and tasking from the police. Since commencing patrol in July 2018, they have clocked over 15,000 kms, to ensure the safety of our community.


Twin Replacement Engines for Rescue Boat

Coastguard Wanaka Lakes is the on-call unit for rescue services on Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. They co- ordinate water-based search and rescue activities which may include issues such as swampings, groundings, engine failures or kayakers blown off course. They aid persons and vessels in distress, and ultimately save lives.

Over the last four years this volunteer group have attended 16 police search and rescue operations, 13 coastguard call outs, supported 24 community events and assisted 82 people.

The engines on the current 2013 Naiad boat had done over 2,800 hours operating time and were becoming difficult to start - not an ideal scenario for a rescue boat.

Both have since been replaced with reliable new 150hp engines, just in time for the busy 2018/19 summer season, to ensure they can continue to provide marine rescue services of the highest standard.


Queenstown and Dunstan

For those requiring diagnostic services of a CT scanner, travel to Dunedin or Invercargill is no longer necessary with both Dunstan Hospital and the Lakes District Hospital receiving funding to secure CT scanners. The addition of one scanner to the district and the upgrade of another significantly increases the health and wellbeing our residents.

Diagnostic services at Lakes District Hospital are enhanced with a 128-slice scanner, which comes with the overall upgrade to the Lakes District Hospital facility. This is the second scanner of its type to be installed in New Zealand and the first in a public hospital.

While Dunstan Hospital now has a 64-slice scanner enabling children to be scanned, where previously they would have to travel to Dunedin.

Slices indicate the amount of cross-sectional images taken on a patient’s body. As you might think the higher the number of slices the more detail the scan will show. This marks an important milestone in improved health services for the population of Central Otago and the Lakes District.


Wanaka Search & Rescue

Life-saving service run wholly by volunteers

Search & Rescue provide a vital service for the region helping the lost, missing and injured in our waters, hills and mountains in the Wanaka area. Wanaka LandSar are one of the busiest search and rescue groups in NZ. Approximately 90% of operations involve helicopters. Essential health and safety best practice training is provided annually to volunteers and responders.

“Keeping our 70-odd volunteers ‘current’ is essential, it’s a bit like being ‘match fit’ for search and rescue. This means manoeuvres for getting in and out of a hovering helicopter, extracting patients on a helicopter strop, keeping up to date with advanced first aid, and being properly equipped for the mountainous terrain and weather we operate in. Central Lakes Trust for years now has been our principle supporter.” Wanaka SAR Chair Bill Day says “Put simply, we couldn’t mount 50 or so rescues a year at the level we do, without CLT’s support.”


St John Queenstown with Gen3 new ambulance

State-of-the-art Generation 3 Ambulance for the Wakatipu area

Vicci Lawrence our Grants Programme & Policy Manager was privileged to attend the dedication for the state-of-the-art Generation 3 ambulance; the first of its type for the Wakatipu area.

St John need to raise $57,000 a day to keep its service going across New Zealand, even with government funding. This Gen3 ambulance enables St John to provide a crucial and highly valued service, and a safe and reliable first response to our local community members. It improves the quality of the Wakatipu fleet and forms a part of an ambulance replacement plan which sees aging ambulances; those that have travelled over 400,000kms, or older than eight years replaced. 12 are being replaced per year across the South Island. Gen3 ambulances have a slimmer design for narrower streets, have secure 3-point belts for travelling officers, as well as a new modern Stryker stretcher holding up to 312kgs of weight.

"On behalf of St John, thank you very much for your grant towards the St John Wakatipu new ambulance. With the reduced funding available and the pressures trusts, and foundations are under when making funding decisions, we are especially grateful and feel privileged that the Central Lakes Trust has chosen to again support the work of St John."

- Charizabel Sapiandante, Fundraiser, South Island Region, St John New Zealand

Queenstown Lakes Baby box

Queenstown Baby Box first recipient

The first recipient of the Queenstown Baby Box receives their box of goodies, including a hand made quilt!

"Thank you for your letter and we are very excited with the outcome. This funding will allow us to start distributing the baby boxes once we receive the first of the sleeping sacks. Thank you to your team and the trustees for this funding support."

- Jan Maxwell, Trustee Queenstown Lakes Baby Box

Central Otago Search & Rescue

"Thanks to Central Lakes Trust's contribution Central Otago Search & Rescue is now able to provide a more efficient, safe and effective response to search and rescue in the Central Otago Community."

- Eric Schusser, Group Training Officer

happiness house - Queenstown community support centre

Happiness House

"Thank you for this. We very much appreciate your support and couldn’t operate without organisations such as yourselves."

- Robyn, Happiness House

UPPER CLUTHA RADIO telephone users association

Upper Clutha Radio Telephone Users Ass. Inc

Upper Clutha Radio Telephone Users Ass. Inc wish to offer our sincere thanks for the fantastic support you have given for the upgrade of the power supply to Mt Roy and in some cases for the emergency situation that arose.

Without this, the operation was in dire straits and could have closed, meaning that a community asset would have been lost – and more so, that the communications ability of many would have become non- existent in the Upper Clutha basin.

- Ian Brown, Chair, Upper Clutha Radio Telephone Users Association Incorporated


Abbeyfield Rest Home Aquarium

"Thank you so much for your continued funding for our pet fish at Abbeyfield. They bring our residents so much pleasure, and their visitors, and look fabulous in our dining room."

- Alison Beaumont, Manager, Abbeyfield Home


Queenstown Baby Memorial Site

"Please pass on our sincere thanks to the Trust for this funding [for the QLDC Baby Memorial], it is truly appreciated and is a wonderful outcome for the community."

- Maddy Dowman (Jones), Parks Officer (Projects), Community Services


Presbyterian Support Otago - Family Works

Our sincere thanks to Central Lakes Trust for their most generous grant... With your support we can provide the services people need, equipping parents with practical skills and addressing wider issues in the family unit, help children, from the early years and beyond, to enjoy the positive experiences in their home environment, and promoting their long-term wellbeing and success. Thank you for helping us to make a difference.

- Paul Hooper, Family Works Director, Presbyterian Support Otago


Hospice Southland

"Thank you very much for this support, it will help ensure we can continue to build the services provided to patients facing a terminal diagnosis in the Wakatipu Basin, as well as support their Whanau and the other health professionals involved in their care."

- Andrew Leys, Chief Executive, Hospice Southland


Lake Hayes Defibrillator

"On behalf of the Queenstown Lakes District Council, I would like to thank you very much for the grant towards the cost of a defibrillator to be located at Lakes Hayes Pavilion, it will be of great benefit to the community."

- Deb Husheer, Community Venues Team Leader, QLDC


Teviot Valley Rest Home Aquarium

"Thank you for agreeing to continue to fund the aquarium at the Teviot Valley Resthome... The enjoyment the residents and staff receive from having this aquarium is so appreciated by everyone and we value your continuing support..."

- Paula McGill, Secretary, Teviot Vally Rest Home Inc.


Central Otago Friendship Network

"I wish to express our sincere thanks to yourself and the Central Lakes Trust Board. Your grant enables our service to continue and where possible increase inclusion of the most vulnerable in our society. More and more researchers are pointing to the importance of friendship for positive health outcomes."

- Jan Pessione, Secretary, Central Otago Friendship Network


Plunket Otago

"On behalf of Plunket Otago, thank you for your support ... of Plunket Community Services delivered in the Central Lakes region. Your support is important to us, as it helps us support families and connect them to community resources."

- Sherry Thornbury, Plunket Otago


Pippins Wanaka

"We send our sincere thanks for your continued support of Volunteering Central. Volunteers are the heart of our communities and it is great to be able to support organisations that involve volunteers and to provide a connection service for people looking to volunteer and organisation involving volunteers in the Central Otago Lakes District."

Andrew Whiley, Chair - Volunteering Otago Trust

Anglican Family Care

Anglican Family Care

Anglican Family Care (AFC) Home-based Family Support is currently working with a mother who heard about their service through word of mouth.

She self-referred to them for budgeting support and to find suitable housing for her and her new born baby as they are currently living in a garage in a region that has a severe shortage of rental accommodation and social housing.

This first time mum was also interested in learning more about her baby’s development and her role in this. She has experienced depression in the past, but has been able to maintain her wellness following the birth of her baby. AFC has worked together with other local social services to help this family into their own home before winter.

AFC are known for their work with families; being able to work with a variety of issues that may be impacting on the safety and wellbeing of children and their parents. They are able to work at the brief intervention level, for example with behaviour management tools for parents, through to the more complex situations which take time for trust and a working relationship to develop with parents. They received 78 new referrals for the period 1 July 2017-30 June 2018, more than their contracted volume. This includes the contract extension into the Upper Clutha area.

“We are deeply grateful for Central Lakes Trust’s ongoing assistance – it means we can work alongside Central Otago families to ensure their children are safe, healthy and happy.”

- Lucy Summers, Anglican Family Care

Dunedin community care trust

Dunedin Community Care Trust

Supporting the Needs of Disabled People in Central Lakes District

Dunedin Community Care Trust supports disabled people to live in their own homes, in their own communities, under their own terms. The Trust has been responding to requests from families in Central Lakes district who cannot access disability support here, and are either considering moving their families, struggling on their own, or needing to pay for private services.

Already, within one month of the Service Manager for the district being appointed, two people are now able to return to their homes in the district, having previously shifted away to receive support.

Expanding the DCCT programme into the Central Lakes will better meet the needs of disabled people within the region and provide the opportunity to understand demand which will in turn provide better service to our community in the future.

The service has referrals from throughout the district and demand is growing as people become aware of the support they can offer.

"Just wanted to acknowledge that we have received your letter and say a huge thank you for your help in making this a reality. We are really excited about the opportunity and already the place is beginning to buzz."

- Michael Brummitt, Chief Executive, Dunedin Community Care Trust

Otago Multiple sclerosis society

Otago Multiple Sclerosis Society

Ronnie Bell - MS Hero

Ronnie had experienced symptoms for many years but was finally diagnosed at 40 years old by a neurologist at Dunedin hospital.

“Initially I did not notice changes, or they were not apparent, but I did realise early on that it was important to tell people that I had MS and talk about it openly. Then things gradually got worse and my new reality hit.

The support and guidance I received from health professionals was fantastic they helped me to remain positive. I feel I am extremely lucky during my MS journey to have had the support of my husband our two children their respective families and our three grandchildren.

As my walking becomes slower and more challenging my sense of humour is often put to the test! I have learned to say thank you I would love some help when having a tough day and then move on, not dwell on what I can’t do.

The MS society has been a fantastic support to me. The MS Otago support group has exceeded all expectations. The meetings are something I look forward to and the support and guidance is great. I love pottering in the garden at the MS Society and enjoying the flowers. It is important to remember others are much worse off than me. At our meetings we share positive stories and initiatives helping people with MS, to boost us all and keep us positive. I feel MS has made me a better person there are always ways I can give back to my community and I can offer support to others.

To give an online donation

"...Thank you for the much-needed grant we received from you... towards operating costs in Central Otago of the Society.... The role of the Society is pivotal in providing services to clients, members, their families, health professionals, allied services and the community at large. Receiving your Grant gave us the confidence in our ability to maintain this important service in a difficult financial environment."

- Serena Cox, Office Administrator Otago Multiple Sclerosis Society

parent to parent southland

Parent to Parent Southland

"On behalf of Parent to Parent Southland, I gratefully accept and thank the Central Lakes Trust for its grant made towards our Sibling Support Camp... This will help ensure we provide ongoing support for our programmes, training and services offered to parents who have children with special needs/ health impairments throughout the Central Lakes region."

- Izel Becker, Executive Assistant, Parent to Parent