The Waikato Women’s Fund (WWF) exists to create an endowment or Future Fund, held in perpetuity for the purpose and vision of the WWF. Unless specified by donors, all monies received as donations are treated as part of the Future Fund. These funds are invested by Momentum Waikato on WWF's behalf.
Any returns generated by the Fund enable us to make a small number of grants to worthy organisations and initiatives that enable girls and women in the Waikato to realise their aspirations, creating a ripple effect of change.
The year ending 30 June 2022 was a very challenging year for investment markets. Similarly, the return-on-investment result for the Fund was disappointing, meaning there are no returns available to distribute as grants. We asked for and received feedback from our members, with many supporting a small grant, drawn under exceptional circumstances from the ‘Waahine Toa 2022’ event proceeds.
It was decided this grant (NZ$2,000) would go to an organisation or an individual in the Hauraki or Thames-Coromandel districts affected by the recent weather events, who is actively supporting girls and women in their area to achieve their aspirations.
Following our request for nominations from the membership and consideration by our WWF committee, the following have been shortlisted for membership voting.
Based in Coromandel Town, the Spirit of Coromandel Trust’s purpose is to encourage and engage rangitahi, tamariki and waahine into outdoor activities by connecting them to nature, by bike.
The Trust wishes to further develop opportunities for waahine, and the grant would go towards their ‘Waahine on Wheels’ programme and to build future capability within the region for more women and girls.
The Trust has coached a significant number of women and girls, demonstrating that there is demand from young women, mums and older ladies returning to activity and looking for support. The Trust has created a collective, which involves nine community groups on the Coromandel peninsula with similar goals, working collaboratively across the region to ensure all women and girls have the opportunity to create healthier lifestyles and active participation.
The Never Surrender Club started 11 years ago within the Thames community and now provides weekly boxing classes with over 300 visits per week. Passionate about the art and sport of boxing, the club ensures that it instils the principles of discipline, hard work and dedication, helping members to implement these ethics not only in boxing, but throughout their lives.
Never Surrender is committed to providing access to a club, coaching and equipment to the community based on a koha/affordability basis. Aware of the pressure on families today, with many children unable to access sports due to the costs involved, the club feels it is important to provide youth with access to a sport, without financial restraints. Along with free training, items such as gloves, mitts, pads and headgear are provided free of charge.
This year, the club became aware of a need for new ‘waahine only’ classes, for waahine and coached by waahine. The classes began classes three months ago and a WWF grant would help the club continue them.
Feedback from the club’s female participants (with over 60 attending every week) is that these new classes have already been of major benefit to their members, including excellent mental health benefits, such as for those members who have become confident enough to re-enter the job market and have secured employment, and those who feel more empowered in their personal relationships.
Carrie Burns and JJ Hazelton are teachers at the Whangamata Area School (WAS) and have taken on getting more waahine onto bikes through their after-school women’s mountain bike sessions. A WWF grant would go towards supporting Te Kura Paika, an initiative based on the simple act of riding a bike, which enables students to interact socially and feel more connected with their local community. The initiative also works to deepen the connection of students to their environment and enhance their wellbeing.
Supported by the Whangamata Mountain Bike Club, the WAS mountain bike programme started as a small group of ten riders last year and has grown to over 100 riders actively participating. The club was hit badly with Cyclone Gabrielle and Te Kura Paika participants were first on the scene to help clean up the trails and get kids back out on their bikes.
The programme focuses on several key outcomes:
providing opportunities for low-income whanau within the area to access riding by removing barriers to participation (with the provision of bikes, helmets and other riders to encourage them to participate)
increasing the number of Mana Whenua tamariki in the ride group
increasing the engagement and achievement of the girls within the group (some of the younger girls are podium-placing at national and international level)
To find out more about the mahi they do visit their facebook page here.