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Earlier this week I attended a West Coast COGS public meeting in Westport. The main purpose of the meeting was to identify funding priorities for the coming year. ‘COGS’ stands for Community Organisation Grants Scheme. It is a funding scheme sponsored by the Department of Internal Affairs. All sorts of community projects and initiatives can be funded, at least in part, by COGS money. You can use this link below to obtain more detailed information:

http://www.dia.govt.nz/Services-Community-Funding-Community-Organisation...(COGS)

One main topic of discussion at the recent COGS meeting was the need for more volunteers in rural communities.

This has been an ongoing issue over the last few years and is now becoming a critical problem for most small towns. It is all very well and good to be able to ask sources like COGS for financial support. But if there are no local residents willing to commit time to community projects or initiatives then all the money in the world won’t get the job done. Every township in the Buller is dealing with this issue. And while there are always a few dedicated folk who always step up to the plate to help there are many more who do not.

The general population of West Coast towns has changed over the years. Many new folks, from larger towns and cities, even from other countries, have chosen places like Karamea to settle down in. These are ‘life-stylers’ looking for a better way of life. But many are not aware that the wonderful communities they’ve chosen are wonderful because of a long history of volunteering going back generations. So they don’t volunteer. Yet they expect all services to be there for them.

An acute example of this concern is our Karamea Fire Brigade which is in need of new members. The brigade provides an indispensable service to our community. It is made up of volunteers who provide their time in the service of their community. There are many other civic groups and committees that would also benefit from more volunteers pitching in. If you’re not doing so already please consider taking an active role in your community through volunteering. Thanks.

(you can contact me in the first instance if you’d like to get more involved with your community as a volunteer)

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