Throwing the usual application criteria and process out the window, Meridian’s Power Up funding panels from Raglan to Te Anau put the call out to their local communities to find out where support was needed the most throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this season’s funding round, $36,000 normally earmarked for educational, environmental and recreational activities has been quickly redirected to support community response and needs.
The Raglan community, near Meridian’s Te Uku wind farm, launched Raglan Naturally’s community response with a $5,000 boost from Power Up. The Raglan hub is coordinating with local government, civil defence, community leaders and organisations to inform, connect and support the people of Raglan. The local Power Up panel is also supporting The Raglan Foodbank, giving $5,000 to boost immediate stock and extend demographic support.
Sixty families in Wellington’s Makara community faced an immediate challenge during lockdown, accessing the internet. Makara, close to Meridian’s West Wind farm, has limited cell service and the community internet service wasn’t prepared for lockdown. With an immediate $12,000 boost from the fund to upgrade equipment, households in this resilient community were able to learn and work from home, stream and stay connected.
Meridian’s hydro communities are often geographically remote, and for Whalan Lodge Rest Home in the Waitaki Valley, this meant the staff locked themselves in with their residents. The local Power Up panel gave $5,000 to cover food and PPE supplies of these brave and caring locals and kept the community safe.
It was this remoteness that impacted the patients of the Twizel Medical Centre. Fortunately, the local panel stepped up with $4,000 for new IT resources, enabling nurses and doctors to connect important outpatient care to local patients in need.
The volunteers at Otematata Fire Brigade saw the need for a little pick me up for members of the Otematata community. The local Power Up panel gave $5,000 enabling the kind-hearted and dedicated firefighters to deliver over 100 bags full of healthy and delicious food.
Meridian’s Power Up Community Funds are available every year to communities closest to our wind farms and hydro stations. The local Power Up panel members, who assess applications and allocate funds, are key links into the many communities we operate in. These hard-working volunteers make sure the funds go a long way in the right hands.
Meridian’s North Island Community Engagement Manager, Carly Andersen said “We know there are some very tough times ahead for our communities. Those very same people who have delivered many valuable projects for their communities with support from our Power Up Fund, may now need help. By adapting the way we work, we’re able to give where it’s needed most.”
Mel Schauer, Meridian’s South Island Community Engagement Manager said, “The response from our Power Up panel members and the communities has been very positive. We’re seriously proud of the communities we are part of, especially the way everyone pulls together in tough times. As they say, charity begins at home and helping sustain the communities we live and work in is a great place to start.”
For media queries, please contact:
Tori Rose, External Communications Specialist, 021 861 567