Community & Environment

Arts funding boost to support wellbeing

Hamilton’s creative arts community received an $85,000 boost this month in recognition of the part it plays in improving the wellbeing of Hamiltonians.

Clarence Street Theatre, The Meteor and Riverlea Theatre all received funding from Hamilton City Council’s community response fund as part of a 12-point recovery plan to help the city withstand the effects of COVID-19.

The $1 million fund announced in March was initially aimed at essential welfare services for at-risk people but was extended last month to include any non-profit organisation which supports the wellbeing of Hamiltonians and whose services were impacted by COVID-19.

Community Committee Chair Councillor Mark Bunting said extending the fund was important to capture the wide range of organisations which contribute to the wellbeing of our community.

“Wellbeing doesn’t just mean providing essential food and accommodation, although that is critically important. It also means supporting people’s cultural, social and environmental needs too.

“Our creative sector in Hamilton helps create diverse, social communities with opportunities for local people to become involved in the arts. It’s important that these organisations get the support they need to continue to provide their services, which took a big hit during the lockdown.”

Creative Waikato Chief Executive Jeremy Mayall said COVID-19 has seen the creative sector emerge as an essential service, as more people turned to arts to help cope with the trauma of the past few months.

“We’ve seen on a number of occasions how the arts and artists serve the whole community in a time of crisis. Art helps people to make sense of things and contributes to our mental and physical wellbeing.”

But it’s also an industry that was negatively affected by the pandemic Mayall said.

“COVID-19 had an immediate impact on creative organisations and the effects will be long lasting. The Council’s support recognises the place the arts has in serving that community need and will help our industry thrive and the wider community to share in the creative arts experience.”

The Council’s fund is part of a combined effort by the Waikato Community Funders Group to support community organisations in Hamilton. More than $2.3M has already been allocated (including $535,000 of Council funds), of a total $3.25M.

Cr Bunting is joined by Community Committee Deputy Chair Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf, Maangai Maaori Te Pora Thompson-Evans and Council’s Community and Social Development Manager Andy Mannering to review and approve the distribution of Council’s funds.

For a full list of funding recipients and to read the new criteria, visit

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