Second funding round from Mazda Foundation

Second funding round from Mazda Foundation

West-Coast-RDA-2The Mazda Foundation which receives funding from every vehicle sold through the Mazda dealer network has donated more than $75,000 to 22 individuals and groups across New Zealand in a second annual funding round.

Each year, the Mazda Foundation holds three rounds and selects New Zealanders community groups and charities that are in need of support.

A combination of education facilities, conservation programs, individuals, charities and organisations were granted funding. One programme included the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) which received funding to host the inaugural Sir Peter Blake Kaitiakitanga MERC Environmental Challenge.

Based in Long Bay, Auckland, MERC offers marine environmental education and outdoor experiences for schools and other not-for-profit groups, with a particular focus on helping disadvantaged and disabled students. MERC is passionate about bringing marine education to life with memorable experiences.

The group will host the first annual Sir Peter Blake MERC Kaitiakitanga Challenge for schools towards the end of 2014. In three categories, air, land and sea, students will work in teams to design a project that will aim to improve the Long Bay marine reserve or their own school. The projects will be on display at MERC to commemorate the anniversary of Sir Peter Blake’s death.

“MERC received $1,300 from the Mazda Foundation which will make a huge difference to environmental education in schools,” says Emma Coplestone, marine education officer, MERC.

“We hope to make this an annual event for schools to be able to come together, share ideas and spread environmental knowledge. Kids have such great imaginations so we can’t wait to see what they come up with.”

Another grant went to West Coast Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA), a Hokitika based organisation that provides therapeutic horse riding for children and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Riding therapy provides many physical benefits such as improved circulation, balance, coordination and mobility, and also emotional cognitive benefits, in a unique form that is fun and exciting.

The organisation has been granted $8,950 to resurface the riding arena and horse yards.

“Contact with horses is a powerful experience, and the strong bond between the horse and rider has a profound, uplifting effect on people,” says West Coast RDA secretary Fiona Johnstone.

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