Project funding to end

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Funding for a youth driven project to reduce the impact of bullying in Ashburton has been withdrawn and it’s co-ordinator is ‘‘gutted’’.
Think first co-ordinator John Hobbs said he was very disappointed that the Te Punanga Haumaru Trust had elected not to continue funding the community awareness and education project.
Three years of funding would end at the end of the month and he would depart two weeks later.
‘‘When we first started this project it was signalled that there would be three years of funding initially. We’ve re-applied annually with success, but unfortunately that funding has now been reallocated,’’ said Mr Hobbs.
Just last week Think First had been recognised for its good work at the Trustpower Ashburton Community Awards, winning a joint runner up award in the Education and Child Development category.
It was the second such award for the project, said Mr Hobbs.
‘‘A couple of days later I received the bad news about the funding cut, so it’s been a roller coaster few days.’’
Mr Hobbs said Ashburton had made good progress on addressing the issue of bullying over the last three years, but there was still ‘‘an awful lot more work to do’’.
‘‘On a positive note, we have achieved goals set out in our three year plan.
‘‘From the offset we wanted to engage with local youth and the community to develop tailor-made resources for the needs of Mid Canterbury people – and that has been achieved.’’
Mr Hobbs said the recently launched Weird and Wonderful Ways to Waste Time pocket map of the district, developed with Ashburton Youth Council, had been hailed a big success and meant Think First was ‘‘going out with a bang’’.
That project, along with other developed resources, including a support app launched nearly ayear ago, had helped support and raise awareness around bullying.
‘‘We hope to keep the app and our website going for the next 12 months, but unfortunately other ideas we had in the pipeline will not now be developed.’’
Pictured: Soon to depart Think First co-ordinator John Hobbs.