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Community Investment Policy 2017


1.1 Nelson City Council has been providing assistance to community organisations for many years through a variety of mechanisms such as funding agreements, one-off grants, rates remissions, intermediary loans, and community leases and licences.

1.2 This revised policy was approved by Council in December 2017.

1.3 Further background information on the history of Community Assistance is outlined in the background paper provided for Council in November 2014.


2.1 Nelson is known as a centre of community innovation, together we tackle increasingly interconnected issues in thoroughly engaging ways that build resilience and a connected community.


3.1 The purpose of this policy is to guide Council in relation to its support for charitable and non-profit organisations that deliver social development outcomes. As a result, groups will be assisted to contribute towards Council’s Community Outcomes and the vision and goals for Nelson 2060.


4.1 Council provides community investment as outlined in the table below. Council also provides rates remissions to community groups who own their own land. This is covered in a separate policy but the funding comes from the community assistance budget.



Community Investment Grants

Grants are provided for small-scale projects or one-off items where the community identify a need for funding to achieve the objective of the fund.

Community Investment Agreements

Agreements are developed based on community needs and contribution to achieving the objective of the fund. There is no specified maximum amount for community investment agreements.

Intermediary loans

Loans obtained by Council on behalf of not-for profit organisations who wish to develop facilities on Council land but as they do not own the land cannot offer sufficient security to obtain loans on the open market.

Community leases and licences

Agreements with not-for-profit organisations that rent or occupy Council land and/or buildings.



5.1 Only organisations with “Registered charitable entity” status, or that can demonstrate that for tax purposes they are considered “not for profit”, will be eligible for Community Investment under this policy.

5.2 Retrospective funding or loans will not be considered.

5.3 Only initiatives within Nelson and/or benefitting Nelson residents will be funded. Services delivered regionally will have funding eligibility relative to the benefit derived by Nelson residents.

5.4 Council will not fund activities or initiatives where the primary purpose is to promote religious belief activity.

5.5 Initiatives will need to contribute to Council’s Community Outcomes and the vision and goals of Nelson 2060.


6.1 Council recognises its role in Community Investment Funding is in setting the purpose, process and a financial contribution.

6.2 The overarching focus of Community Investment Funding is towards social development.

6.3 Officers will meet with representatives of other funding and social agencies (including Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Canterbury Community Trust, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs and Tasman District Council and others experienced in the field of social development) to understand their strategic outcomes for community funding in Nelson which will provide context for the focus for which Council’s fund is to be applied.

6.4 Council officers will work with the community to identify partnerships that align with the vision and objective of the fund and, where Council financial support is deemed appropriate, officers will prioritise and recommend funding.

6.5 Final funding allocations will be made by the Community Investment Funding Panel which comprises four community representatives and the Group Manager Community Services or his/her nominated representative. This panel would also be involved with setting priorities for the fund with the community.

6.6 Where financial support is provided, the contribution the project will make to the vision and objectives of the fund must be demonstrated. Agreements must be for and clearly detail a specific service and/or outcome that will result from the funding.

6.7 Council officers and community representatives involved in funding decisions are required to note any possible conflicts of interest.

6.8 Funding allocations will be made in accordance with the Office of the Auditor General basic principles that will guide all funding arrangements (part 2 – good practice guidelines), including accountability, openness, value for money, lawfulness, fairness, integrity.

6.9 Risk assessments will be undertaken for organisations and projects before funding decisions are made.

6.10 Not-for-Profit organisations without charitable status may nominate an umbrella organisation with this status who has agreed to receive and administer the funds on behalf of an applicant. In this instance the umbrella organisation would be legally accountable to Nelson City Council for the expenditure and outcome measures of the project.

6.11 Organisations can apply for an agreement and/or grant (one of each per year), unless acting as an umbrella organisation.

6.12 In recognition of a desire to support innovative partnerships, organisations may submit more than one application for consideration, provided the application is in partnership with multiple organisations or partners, demonstrating collaboration to achieve outcomes.

6.13 Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the Community Investment Funding Panel, but in general will not be accepted.

6.14 Where Community Investment Grants or Agreements are provided the following need to be considered:

  • The level to which the wider community will be involved in the project.
  • The past achievements or potential of the organisation and ability of the organisation to successfully administer the grant/agreement and deliver the outcomes.
  • How the project achieves priorities that align with the vision and objective of the fund.
  • The contribution towards achieving the goals of other Council policies and strategies.
  • The principles of partnership, participation and protection: Partnership - working together with iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities. Participation - Māori involvement in decision-making, planning, development and delivery of services and projects. Protection - safeguarding Māori cultural concepts, values and practices.
  • How the project contributes to community priorities and strategic outcomes of partners.
  • Council’s intention to be a contributionary partner in support of initiatives which are sustainable, and avoid financial dependence on the Council for delivery.
  • The value for ratepayer’s investment through the support of high quality initiatives that are effective and can produce clear benefits for communities.
  • The ability of the project to realistically achieve intended outcomes.
  • Council welcomes partnerships that seek to respond to issues and opportunities in innovative ways, and seek collaborative partnerships in their delivery.
  • The level of match funding and/or in-kind support offered.

6.15 Successful applicants must acknowledge Nelson City Council support in promotional material wherever possible.

6.16 What won’t be funded:

  • Individual people
  • Individual businesses, government agencies or departments, political parties
  • Duplication of existing public or private programmes within close proximity
  • Purchase or improvement of privately owned facilities
  • Funding activities that involve any alcohol, tobacco, illegal substances and gaming
  • Expenses incurred out of the region such as transport or accommodation etc.
  • Professional fundraising services
  • Activities already completed
  • Projects already funded or part-funded by Council
  • Public services that are the responsibility of central government (e.g. core education, primary health care)
  • Activities or initiatives where the primary purpose is to promote religious belief activity.

6.17 In addition to the considerations outlined in this Policy, Council may at times choose to focus grants on particular Council priorities. The decision on focus area can be made during the Annual Plan process or in response to unexpected community need which may arise from time to time.


7.1 The value of the intermediary loan pool is capped at $1.5 million. This figure excludes intermediary loans for regional facilities.

7.2 The additional criteria for intermediary loans are:

  • Only developments on Council-owned land will be eligible.
  • Intermediary loans will be for a maximum of one third of the value of the development.
  • Council will not provide loan guarantees or interest-free loans.

7.3 Applications for intermediary loans will be considered for approval by the Community Services Committee or the Governance Committee.


8.1 Community leases and licences adhere to the following:

  • Formal lease agreements shall be required where organisations occupy Council land or buildings.
  • Rent for the exclusive use of Council buildings or land will normally be set at 10% of the market rent for a comparable building or land.
  • Rent for the non-exclusive use of Council buildings or land will normally be set at 5% of the market rent for a comparable building or land.
  • Valuation of land for rental purposes shall be based on the Rateable Value.

8.2 Community leases for whole or part of Council owned buildings will be advertised when they are vacated so that all community groups have an opportunity to submit expressions of interest.

8.3 Buildings on Council land may be sold, conditional on the building being advertised and the prospective buyer obtaining a Council lease to occupy the land.

8.4 Termination of lease. See paragraph 10.2.

8.5 Applications for new community leases and licences will be considered for approval by the Community Services Committee or the Governance Committee using the criteria in paragraph 4 above.


9.1 All recipients of community investment will provide periodic accountability reports documenting how their activities have contributed to the objectives for which the assistance was given. Reporting periods are as follows:

  • Community Investment Grants – final report on project completion.
  • Community Investment Agreements – annual reports using the Results Based Accountability model where possible. Interim reports may also be required when larger grants are allocated.
  • Loans – annual reports
  • Leases – annually for leases less than four years, minimum of four times during total lease period for leases over four years

9.2 Recipients that fail to submit accountability reports, or that have not spent the money in accordance with the application/contract, or where the use of the facility/land does not satisfactorily contribute to the community outcome will receive up to two written notices asking them to rectify the situation, and may thereafter be asked to return all or part of the funding or vacate the facility/land if they do not comply.

9.3 Community Investment Funding may continue or be terminated conditional on receipt of satisfactory reports. Recipients that fail to submit acceptable accountability reports may forfeit their eligibility to receive any Community Investment Funding in the future.

  • Council Controlled Organisations such as the Tasman Bays Heritage Trust, Bishop Suter Art Museum, Nelson Tasman Tourism and the Regional Economic Development Agency which are funded separately.
  • Council funding for major community initiatives budgeted for separately through Council’s Long Term and Annual plan processes.
  • The Youth Development Fund which provides financial support for young people to attend outdoor education courses.
  • Council’s Events Marketing and Development Fund.
  • Financial assistance to achieve resource management objectives such as fencing subsidies and subsidies to change heating methods. These costs are funded by Council’s Resource Management activities.
  • Contracts or other commercial arrangements where a not-for-profit organisation is contracted to deliver a service for Council.
  • Council support for regional facilities - that is capital projects costing $500,000 or greater.
  • Council owned motor camps.