Grant Recipient Stories


Waikato Environment Centre's Vision is for healthy environments supported by thriving communities. They strive to be a voice for the environment, a centre for learning and a catalyst for change, raising awareness of environmental issues and solutions, and providing information and opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses to live and act with lower environmental impact, building stronger and more resilient communities in the process.

"With WEL Energy Trust's help our Centre is open 30 hours a week, with staff providing sustainable living information and advice. We've supported dozens of smaller environmental groups and promoted hundreds of environmental events online and in our weekly newsletter to 800+ people. We've diverted 29 tonnes of e-waste from landfill and redistributed more than 180 tonnes of food to people in need." - Sonia Fursden, General Manager, Waikato Environment Centre

In November 2016, Kaivolution celebrated the 200 tonne milestone for food rescued since the service began. Their Chairperson, Pamela Storey was a speaker at the 2016 TEDx Ruakura event, sharing the story behind Kaivolution. She reprised her talk at the inaugural Kaivolution fundraising dinner in November 2016.

What they say about it...

"...great place full of enthusiasm, energy, knowledge and inspiration for everybody and any kind of environmental project!" - Zamla Ekinereb

"Thank you Tania, Simon and the rest of the Kaivolution team for the eggs and bread today. It makes so much difference for those that have very little. The Koha Shed Huntly thanks you all for the awesome work you all do."

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $45,000 ($25,000 towards Environment Centre Operations, $20,000 towards Kaivolution Food Rescue Service)

SMART WAIKATO TRUST – Secondary School Employer Partnerships

Vital Signs research confirms that developing better education and development pathways for our youth is a top community priority for action. Smart Waikato does just that through its Secondary School Employer Partnerships (SSEPs).

The goal of SSEPs, supported by Waikato Means Business, Ministry of Education and WEL Energy Trust, is to improve student retention, achievement and education-to-employment transitions, beginning with younger secondary school students and progressing to senior students, empowering Waikato youth through education to employment pathways. This will ultimately contribute to addressing future workforce gaps and skills issued in the Waikato.

"WEL Energy Trust funding has helped us get the initiative underway in five pilot schools, develop resources, measure outcomes and contribute to the continuation of the programme into the second year with seven new schools involved." - Mary Jensen, CEO of Smart Waikato

What they say about it...

"I think this will encourage me to do better in school." - Fairfield College student

"The science experiences were all an amazing opportunity for us students to learn how science is applied in companies on a daily basis. I really enjoyed it." - Morrinsville College student

"I very much enjoyed visiting the business. Physically seeing many of the activities that they did rather than them coming into our school was a greater experience and I was able to learn heaps from looking." - HBHS IT student

"It helps me keep up-to-date with what is going on in industry." - HBHS Metal Tech teacher

"Greater connection to what is being taught in schools and how this could impact students coming through into our industry. Building a stronger partnership with the school and its staff leading to other activities to help support the students." - Employer Partner

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $32,000


Zeal Hamilton aims to enable young people to discover, develop and express their unique creativity by providing communities of belonging and access to creative education programmes.

Zeal provides Hamilton's young people with communities of belonging through an after-school drop-in, regular all-ages events, street-based youth work, creative courses and mentoring.

"Funding from WEL Energy Trust has been integral in enabling us to do what we do. They have provided the foundations of our fundamental programmes and responses to the wants and needs of young people in Hamilton. WEL Energy Trust has further helped us to partner with the Great Potentials Foundation to launch MATES, the Mentoring and Training Education Education Scheme, in the Waikato. We partner Year 13 students from low-decile schools with high-achieving university-student mentors, aiming to empower these young people to see the potential they have in achieving educational success at school and in further education or training." - Lehi Duncan, Regional Manager, Zeal Education Trust

What they say about it...

"Zeal is my happy place - they have been really helpful in expanding my knowledge in photography, which I'm really passionate about."

"Zeal is my second home."

"Zeal is a non-judgemental, loving place, an awesome space for us young people to be ourselves."

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $37,500


Waikato Rocks Trust seeks to support talented youth to create a vibrant community. They've produced weekly music shows for TV Central and Sky TV and have a weekly radio show on Free Fm 89.0 Waikato wide and 98.1 FM in Raglan promoting the original music of local people. They organise live events and expose creative talent to thousands of people on stage, on Radio, online and in print.

"We have young creative people in abundance that are of many cultures. We aim to expose them to bigger audiences throughout the country and beyond to value their creativity. We intend to create an opportunity to showcase them on stage and in all possible media. The two events organised with WEL Energy Trust support this year have enabled hundreds of artistic people, mostly young people, to showcase their talents to more than 100,000 people nationwide." - Logan Nathan, Waikato Rocks Trust

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $4,000


North Waikato Transport Trust's Mission is to support the provision of rural and urban transport options to enable North Waikato people to live inclusive, healthy, independent lives. Their organisation provides a transport service to assist those in the community to attend health appointments, collect people from their homes and deliver them safely back again.

A koha based system is used, so the service is accessible to all.

WEL Energy Trust's contribution towards operational costs has helped towards wages for their coordinator, as well as towards fuel, telephone costs, and servicing their vehicle.

"The many times this van has transported our elderly residents to hospital appointments has meant a great reduction in the amount of time our staff have to go 'off the floor' to take residents to these appointments. The volunteers are always friendly and courteous, and in many instances they are known to the residents because they are locals." - Diana Le Mon, Facility Manager, Kimiha Home and Hospital

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $5,000


We all know how important warm, safe housing is, and this was highlighted by the 2016 Vital Signs research which identified solving problems with affordability, availability and quality of housing as one of the top priorities for community action in our region.

Nga Rau Tatangi (NRT) works in partnership wit like-minded organisations to support whanau into home ownership, alongside providing warm, safe and quality housing for Kaumatua.

The Wairere Village Project enables whanau to achieve their housing dreams and aspirations. Meanwhile, others wanting to support the project have invested socially to ensure rental housing is available to Kaumatua within an environment that is culturally responsive to their needs.

NRT also owns and manages two Kaumatua villages based on Papakainga living in Dinsdale, Hamilton. This is a place to call home for many Kaumatua residing in the village as they support and care for one another, sharing meals together and having fun.

WEL Energy Trust funding has assisted to provide hands on support, advice and advocacy. It has also contributed to wider networking and collaboration opportunities within social housing. Funding has been vital to ensure that NRT has the capacity to carry out the valuable provision of services for the betterment of others. WEL Energy Trust is committed to working with others to make a difference in this priority area.

"Kaumatua are often the first to say 'Thank you, thank you, I never thought I would have such a beautiful home.' Whanau that are moving into their new homes have shared emotion and felt they needed to pinch themselves as it seemed unbelievable. Words of gratitude and humility are always shared and expressed as they also go onto supporting others." - Yvonne Wilson, Community Project Manager, Nga Rau Tatangi

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $10,000


Another top priority for action in our community highlighted by the 2016 Waikato Vital Signs research is the importance of developing better education and development pathways for our youth. Working together to improve community connectedness as well as taking care of our natural environment are also highlighted as top priorities.

Perry Outdoor Education Trust (POET) aims to equip low decile Waikato secondary schools to develop young people through outdoor experiences by building capability and sustainability in the school through professional development, mentoring of teachers and direct funding to ensure no student is excluded through a lack of financial means.

Where possible, experiences take place close to home, are low cost and help build connections between students and their local environments and communities.

A key principle is that outdoor programmes are facilitated by teachers. Positive relationships between teachers and students are promoted in recognition of the importance of these relationships in engaging students to learn in the classroom. The long-term sustainability of the programme in the school is more likely when schools can deliver programmes themselves. POET also supports schools in developing their systems to ensure quality outcomes are achieved consistently and experiences are safely managed.

"The generous support of WEL Energy Trust enable us (the Board and staff) to focus all our energies on the outcomes for young people instead of being distracted from our work by financial pressures brought on by ongoing funding issues." - Karen Singers, Manager, Perry Outdoor Education Trust

2016/17 FUNDING RECEIVED: $15,000


In July 2014, WEL Energy Trust loaned the Te Rongopai Community Trust $110,000 over five years to help complete the Good News Community Centre in Nawton. The loan was fully repaid in December 2015.

Te Rongopai had been turned down by banks after raising $450,000 through personal pledges towards the $1 million project. The rest came from grants or donations of time and materials from local businesses.

WEL Energy Trust are thrilled to see the community centre up and running, knowing the Trust had played a small part in making it happen. In addition to the loan, WEL Energy Trust granted $35,000 to the project in 2011/12.

The community loans scheme was established by WEL Energy Trustees to enable viable community projects to succeed faster. The loans can also be used to help organisations purchase critical assets and income-generating businesses with strong social benefit.

WEL Energy Trust will look at lending up to $500,000 over a maximum 10-year term. Loans can be made at any time and staff are always available to talk to groups about potential applications.


The founders of the CELF programme had a vision to build future Waikato leaders from all walks of life who can re-imagine wealth creation from a social, community, environmental, cultural and economic perspective.

CELF brings leaders from for-purpose and for-profit sectors into a nine month leadership journey. They engage in leadership development, networking, mentoring, and connecting with their community.
WEL Energy Trust’s contribution enabled CELF to sponsor four leaders from the for-purpose sector into the leadership programme. The Trust’s contribution, along with sponsorship from the business community, enabled CELF to provide company and community visits, speakers into the programme, future short courses for specific skill development, and to develop mentoring relationships with participants.

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED (from 2014/15 grants budget): $40,000


K’aute Pasifika is a Pacific Island Initiative, operating from a strong foundation of spiritual and cultural values, providing a comprehensive range of services to Pacific Peoples and disadvantaged groups.

Their vision is for dynamic, healthy, strong, educated, collaborative, sustainable Pacific Communities living to their full potential. K’aute Pasifika aspires to deliver quality services to improving health care, and homebased nursing services to support better care in the community.

Outcomes include:
• Increased socialisation–Day outing activities.
• Increased mobility and maintenance of healthy bones – Day outing activities.
• Increased manua ldexterity and coordination – Arts and crafts activities
• A sense of productivity whilst socialising – Arts and crafts activities.
• Maintenance of mental fitness and motor skills – Physical activities.
• Memory stimulation, problem solving and socialisation – Cognitive activities.

“We are now able to offer a range of a variety of stimulating and exciting activities, and the grant funding has enabled the resources to be purchased to support
a range of activities to improve the holistic wellbeing of Pacific Communities.”

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED: $4,000
Graeme Dingle Foundation


Graeme Dingle Foundation Waikato (formerly known as FYD Waikato) holds the vision that ‘every young person is connected and contributing to their community’.

Participants positively impact young lives by delivering quality, evidence-based year-long programmes in high-need areas of Hamilton and Huntly. ‘Kiwi Can’ is for primary school children and ‘Stars’ for youth.
Children who are raised in challenging circumstances are less likely to develop valuable life skills that will hold them in good stead through life’s challenges. Children receive a ‘Kiwi Can’ lesson every week of the school year during their time at primary school.

In ‘Kiwi Can’ lessons, participants explore themes designed to develop social, behavioural, moral, interpersonal, emotional, cognitive and civic competence. They learn to persevere, problem solve, set goals, make good choices, be accountable and to resolve conflict. They also develop leadership skills and understand about being a role model and fair play.

“I used to use my fists. Now I use my words.” - Kiwi Can Kid

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED: $22,500
Western Community Centre


The Western Community Centre exists to provide services that enhance and evolve to meet the physical, spiritual, social and emotional well-being of the people in the Hamilton West community.

The vision is to contribute towards building thriving, vibrant, healthy and self-reliant communities.

Since 1979 the centre has grown into a vibrant hub attracting many diverse groups of people with 5000-8000 visits being made each month. Each year over 70 unique services are offered - activities, events and programmes that contribute towards improving the quality of life for people.

Being immersed in the community, the centre is able to respond and act quickly to minimise and resolve community tensions and frustrations. Local solutions for local challenges! In 2015 the centre received funding to install a solar power system. In six months this system has produced over 10,000 kilowatt-hours and has contributed to cost savings of $2000.

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED: $17,500
Swimming Waikato


Swimming Waikato works alongside 23 affiliated clubs to provide development opportunities to more than 2,400 members.

They understand that swimming is more than just a sport, it is a recreation activity for many New Zealanders, and it is important to us that our programmes help our community stay safe in the water.

“Funding from WEL Energy Trust allows us to focus our efforts on community delivery and developing innovative ways to engage children and their families in our sport. A recent example has been the development of our Swimming for Life Resources which are available for schools and clubs throughout the region and provide an effective and interactive plan for delivering lessons to young New Zealanders.”

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED: $15,000
SHAMA Women's Centre


Providing a safe and welcoming place for local ethnic women to go, meet others, learn new skills, and access services, information and social work support is just a snapshot of the reason-for-being behind SHAMA Hamilton Ethnic Women’s Centre.

SHAMA works to empower ethnic women so they can integrate into New Zealand and raise safe and successful families and communities, motivating them to exercise their rights and responsibilities, live a life of dignity, free from fear of violence and be recognised as valuable members of the community.

The feedback has been very positive. More than 65 women came to SHAMA classes during 2015 while their social workers supported 129 clients.

“The funding from WEL Energy Trust has been essential to keep our centre’s doors open where ethnic women find support and friendship, celebrate our achievements, deliver Life Skill classes, domestic violence and positive relationship workshops, and provide social work support to our clients while maintaining a solid team working for our community.” - Silvana Erenchun, SHAMA Manager

2015/16 FUNDING RECEIVED: $22,500

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