We grant funds to support projects that facilitate improved educational outcomes for people in our region by adding value to the sector, with a focus on innovative projects and lifelong learning.

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

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


Trades Academy Tools & Equipment

Otago Polytechnic Central Campus last year developed a new secondary-tertiary college trades academy facility, for use by trades academy students and those attending Level 3 auto mechanics and carpentry programmes. The facility, funded by the polytechnic is now in full use. We checked it out with a visit to see the students in action utilising the new tools and equipment the trust funded to enable the course to commence.

The opportunity for students to train in the trades locally has had a significant impact on where and what the students future career path is to be.

“I would not have had the opportunity to get into automotive training had it not been for the OSTC course. I want to gain an auto apprenticeship when I leave school, and would rather stay in the region.” - Hunter Stevenson

“I am intending on joining the army to be a mechanic when I leave school and I would not have had the opportunity if the facilities were not in Cromwell to give me the pre-trade skills for entry into the army” - Aonghus Anderson


Omakau Playcentre Facility Extension and Redevelopment

The Omakau Playcentre is enjoying the extension to their facility. It has seen the centre almost double in numbers, offering a playcentre that is ‘like new’.

The extension off the back of the facility adds an upgraded kitchen and bathroom and the addition of an office and a sleep room for the children, where previously children had to return home for naps. This creates the dedicated areas necessary for quality education.

With the closest alternate preschool located in Alexandra or Ranfurly, in many cases this centre shortens the distance families need to travel to attend a playcentre.


Adult Literacy – Choices Programme

REAP Central Otago provide a diverse and extensive educational resource to our communities, implementing a life-long learning approach.

They offer a range of programmes for early childhood through to adults. Their Adult Literacy programme provides free one-to-one and group tutoring for reading, writing, numeracy, and communication skills. Between 25-40 students are participating throughout 2019.

The course provides the students with more employment opportunities and builds confidence and self-belief, having a positive impact on their everyday lives, and their families lives.


Central Otago Youth Employment Programme Initiative

Successful Start to Youth Employment Programme Initiative

“As we know, school isn’t for everyone”, Melanie Mills, the Employment Project’s Programme Manager says. “This programme is for any young person who has become disengaged from their learning, for whatever reason, to help them find out what they are passionate about and might like to ‘do’ and then help them get there.” Both students currently enrolled in the programme, have already determined their career path and are passionate about what they want to do with their future. It’s success so far is encouraging for the programme to continue beyond the 18 month pilot.

The programme has an education focus, with a structured and supported pathway into local employment and focuses on students aged between 13-16. Melanie says the aim is to personalise a vocational pathway for these students.

“I have been working as a building labourer. Me being able to do the project has changed my life a lot. I used to just sit in class muck around and wouldn’t learn anything cos I wouldn’t be allowed in class but when I’m on site its good cos the guys I work with are really helpful, they are always giving me heaps of information and their methods and little tricks.” - Youth Programme Student


Central Lakes Scholarship recipients 2017

"Young minds rewarded for efforts

Fifty students from nine secondary schools were presented Central Lakes Trust tertiary education scholarships in 2017, each valued at $2,500. Over the years 384 young people have received the benefit of a CLT scholarship, a total amount of $926,500.

The scholarships aim to assist students from our region to study at a tertiary institution.

A grateful recipient says, “...The Central Lakes Trust Scholarship Programme is a great scholarship programme that gives a large number of students from the Central District a reward for the efforts they have put in through their years of school along with a financial aid to begin tertiary study.... Once again thank you to the Central Lakes Trust for this scholarship.”

Applicants must be between 16 - 19 years of age and have lived in the Central Lakes Trust region for a minimum of two years at the time of application. The selection criteria consider various factors including the applicant’s academic record, all-round qualities and achievements.

Saturday Lifeskills- CO REAP

Cromwell Saturday Lifeskills

"Cromwell's Saturday Lifeskills class is going really well. 10 are attending and really engaged with new learning, including cooking, as the photo shows. Thanks again to CLT for the funding for this programme." - Bernice Lepper Manager CO REAP


Wanaka Students in Star Programme

Pictured above is a Wanaka class with their self-made neurons transmitting electrical pulses through synapses

"On behalf of Central Otago REAP, I wish to thank you for the grant. This will be a valuable contribution towards the costs of the STAR one day school for gifted and talented children as well as the Adult Literacy courses. These programmes do make a difference, and many students' lives have been enhanced through access to these education opportunities."

- Dr. Roger Browne, Chair, CO REAP


Goldfields Primary Bibles in Schools

"I would like to express our gratitude of the recent grant from your Trust. Your generosity will allow the Bible In Schools programme to continue for the 2018 year at Goldfields School."

- Noeline Watson - Combined Churches Cromwell

Wanaka Toy Library

Wanaka Toy Library

"The Wanaka Toy Library would like to say a huge thank you to The Central Lakes Trust for approving our grant for more toys for the Libraries collection.... The items that were purchased have already given many families such great enjoyment."


Cromwell Kindergarten

"The Cromwell Kindergarten Committee is incredibly proud of the wonderful new spaces we have been able to create with the Central Lakes Trust's support. The transformation of our new Whanau room and Front Play Areas are amazing and will be enjoyed by our kindergarten whanau and tamariki for many years to come."

- Jo Ridder, President, Kidsfirst Cromwell Kindergarten Committee


Shotover Primary School

"The challenge of raising funds for a playground, on top of opening an entirely new school, seemed almost too big to contemplate. To receive such a generous grant from the Trust has been a phenomenal boost for our school and community. Our goal is to teach the whole child - cognitive, physical, emotional, social - and the playground is an essential component of our curriculum as well as an incredibly valuable resource for our whole community. We are hugely appreciative of the work of the Central Lakes Trust and the opportunities that you bring to the district."

- Sarah Jones, Board Chair, Shotover Primary School


Central Campus Trades Academy

"I would like to thank the Central Lakes Trust for its recent decision to contribute $170,000 to our Cromwell Campus trades academy development. We are very committed to enhancing secondary- tertiary pathways and the trades academy is an important part of our commitment to Central Otago youth."

- Phil Ker, Chief Executive, Otago Polytechnic