Southland is home to strong and thriving communities which provide a quality of life not found elsewhere.

Venture Southland is proud to provide assistance and support for these communities through a varied range of projects and initiatives.

The work undertaken by Venture Southland can be split into four main areas:

  • building community capability and capacity,
  • community planning,
  • local community initiatives and
  • community funding.

The approach is twofold and relies on a relationship approach of working alongside local people and groups and secondly partnering with Councils, community funders and other stakeholders on a range of projects and initiatives. The projects are many and varied. These activities support the outcomes of making rural Southland a desirable place to live, grow up, run a business, raise a family and enjoy a safe and satisfying life.

There is a close alignment between the Southland District Council Community Futures group and the community development team which is reflected in the number of collaboration projects.

Some key projects undertaken include:

Community Organisation and Volunteers Futures Project 2016

The Community Organisation and Volunteers Futures Project 2016 was commissioned by Southland District Council and sought to grasp a better understanding of the volunteer and not-for-profit sector. This explored the crucial role these sectors play in delivering services to support community well being. Venture Southland conducted consultations with over 100 local and regional groups, creating a database containing 1,117 volunteer and not-for-profit organisations. The information gathered supports service delivery to Southland’s communities and assists planning to meet future community needs.

Southland District Community Facilities Assessment 2016/2017

The Southland District Community Facilities Assessment 2016/2017 commissioned by Southland District Council, aimed to investigate community facility provision in the Southland District. Venture Southland surveyed and interviewed over 300 managers and users of community facilities to achieve a better understanding of community need, perspectives, and values in relation to facility provision. The outcomes from this project will be used to support communities plan for their facilities now and into the future.

Governance Workshop Series

Each year Venture Southland partners with the Southland Community Law Centre to deliver a series of community workshops across Southland on topics relevant to community groups. In 2017, “Surviving & Thriving as a Community Organisation” was delivered, which focused on getting more volunteers on board, handing over the reins, up-skilling volunteers, and setting guidelines for good behaviour and accountability. The series proved popular with 115 community organisations attending across the six workshops. Previous years workshop topics have included health and safety for volunteers in community groups, good governance, and developing trusts and deeds.

Community initiatives Venture Southland has contributed towards 

  • The development of the Southland Accessibility Map
  • Assisting the Thornbury Vintage Tractor & Implement Club plan for their new museum display
  • Partnering with Invercargill City Council to host a workshop on the community-led initiative “gap-filler”
  • Facilitating and providing funding advice for the Winton Memorial Hall upgrade
  • Providing funding support and administrative assistance to Cycle Fiordland
  • Supporting the Wyndham Museum to identify opportunities for the future and consider sites for re-location.