Two decades of trust celebrated

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Locals and staff of the Central Lakes Trust (CLT) gathered in Roxburgh recently for an occasion marking 20 years of the charitable trust.

The trust’s first grant meeting was held in Roxburgh on March 20, 2001, and since then it has provided more than $117 million to the community for a vast range of projects in the region.

The trust’s inaugural chairman Peter Mead said it was born out of the Otago Central Electric Power Board and predecessors which had been operating since the 1920s.

One of the first grants was $400,000 to assist in converting the former Roxburgh Hospital into a rest-home. He recalled that after the hospital had closed there had been a lot of thought about what it could best be used for.

The formation of the trust was really the factor that ‘‘crystallised’’ turning the idea of a rest-home into a reality, he said.

Many recipients had been able to go back for further funding in following years, he said.

‘‘In the early days, a lot of the grants were for ‘bricks and mortar’ types of things.’’

Now there were a wider range of grants including for wellbeing, Mr Mead said.

Present trust chairwoman Linda Robertson said there were also grants for operating costs, because sometimes other funding bodies could not provide them.

The trust worked with other funding bodies to help the community gain what it needed, she said.

Grants included support for swim centres across the region, social service agencies, volunteer services, search and rescue organisations, services for people with disabilities, health services, education, arts, sports and tourism.

The trust’s largest single grant was $1.15 million over five years for 536km of cycle trail to link the Queenstown Trail, the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail to create a continuous network.