Event funding round opens for applications

Whanganui is in a great position to re-establish its busy events schedule and economic development agency Whanganui & Partners is ready to back inspired organisers with support and funding.

The region’s events are enjoyed by the local community, visitors and businesses. Jonathan Sykes, who oversees Whanganui & Partners’ marketing and events functions, says supporting local events is fundamentally important to the agency.

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Funding applications for events taking place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 are open until June 3, 2022.

“Events have a hugely positive impact on our city and give it a distinct life and flavour. Whanganui has a lot of excellent regular events it is renowned for, and we also have plenty of creative and motivated people with the initiative to develop new ideas.

“We want to hear from both of those groups, and we are also interested in applications from out-of-town organisers who might want to hold an event in Whanganui.”

He said events like last week’s NZ Boxing Champs and this week’s HoopNation Junior Showcase bring hundreds of spectators and participants to the city, boost hospitality and retail businesses, and add vibrancy and energy to Whanganui.

“Support for events is an integral part of our agency’s strategies to support business, attract visitors and build Whanganui’s reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.”

Disruptions due to the Covid pandemic and the Government’s Protection Framework had caused restrictions and complications that had tested event organisers to their limit.

“We have seen many of the events we support have to reluctantly cancel or postpone over this period,” Sykes said. “We are proud of the organisers’ agility and willingness to put their full efforts into going ahead, and in some cases have to make the difficult but necessary decision to cancel.”

Events play a crucial role in Whanganui’s national profile as a place full of creativity, excitement and opportunity. Sykes said there was a real sense of the community’s disappointment over events having to cancel.

“We know this difficult period has given people an even better appreciation of the contribution these events make to life in Whanganui, and how our community has come to recognise them as an important and beneficial feature of our lifestyle here.”

In addition to Whanganui & Partners’ funding, Sykes said the agency had also helped unlock other areas of funding through central government.

“The extra support that has been gained demonstrates the standing of those events and their own hard work. We are proud of the exceptional events that call Whanganui home and of the variety of offerings, like Cemetery Circuit, Vintage Weekend and Masters Games.”

Sykes said Whanganui & Partners wanted to support a broad variety of events, recognising their positive impact on Whanganui’s profile as place where creativity, inclusivity and lifestyle balance were valued.

The agency’s process to secure funding is robust. Organisations must be well prepared for the competitive process, demonstrating their intention to grow towards self-sufficiency while meeting strict criteria around economic and social value.

Whanganui & Partners also provides additional marketing guidance and insight, Sykes said.

“We contribute marketing skills and advice and we give feedback to help ensure these events enjoy success year after year,” Sykes said. “Even our most popular and established events have room for improvement and we see our role as contributing insight as well as financial support.”

Sykes said the agency welcomed funding applications and encouraged anyone interested in creating a new event to get in touch and talk about their plans.

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Jonathan Sykes and Eddie Tofa, organiser of NZ Amateur Boxing Champs.

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