Publication:

Rotorua Weekender - 2021-10-15

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Trust offers funds to encourage vaccinations

NEWS

Baytrust is seeking ideas for innovative community projects to encourage more locals to get their Covid jabs — and is promising funding to help make it happen. In an effort to boost the region’s overall vaccination rate, and help reach the Government’s 90 per cent target, Baytrust is looking to help fund suitable ideas and projects that will incentivise locals to roll up their sleeves. “Baytrust has a core purpose to look after our Bay of Plenty communities,” Baytrust chief executive Alastair Rhodes says. “The low vaccination rates currently seen in the Bay of Plenty are both a health risk to our communities and an economic risk. We may be left behind other regions with higher vaccination rates when activity starts to fully open up again.” The Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions’ current combined vaccination rate is about 10 per cent below the national average of 78 per cent — the thirdlowest rate across New Zealand. “Most importantly we want to keep communities safe and to protect whakapapa and wha¯nau,” Alastair says. “We also know the Bay of Plenty region has areas in it that are already economically vulnerable, and low vaccination rates will provide another barrier to economic recovery, particularly in the tourism, entertainment and events space.” Baytrust has set aside a substantial amount of funding for Covid response across the region and last year funded $500,000 to assist communities through, the lockdowns. It now wants to hear from people and community groups who have fresh ideas, particularly ones that will encourage young people, rural residents and Ma¯ ori to get vaccinated as their rates lag behind the general population. “We want the ideas to come from the community. We don’t envisage using the money to fund the core health mechanism. But rather innovative and targeted projects that resonate with communities which will encourage more people to come forward and have a double dose to protect their health and their loved ones.” Baytrust’s region extends from Katikati, to Tu¯ rangi, to Te Kaha and includes the Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty and Rotorua and Taupo¯ districts. Baytrust’s mission is to accelerate bold meaningful change, helping Bay of Plenty communities and the environment to flourish. In the past financial year (ending March 31, 2021), Baytrust granted $6.3 million to 172 different community organisations. Anyone who has a project or idea to help boost the uptake of Covid jabs and spur our region towards 90 per cent vaccination, is asked to contact Baytrust staff for further information.

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