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Appreciated . . . Attending the presentation of North Otago Masonic Charitable Trust grants at the Masonic Centre on Sunday were (from left) Master Mason Graeme Martin, Oamaru Foodbank chairwoman Rosemary Bentley, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, Foodbank secretary-treasurer Jill Wilson, Scott's Own Sea Scouts member James Gower (7), group leader Quintin Orr, and member Olivia Orr (16), Lower Waitaki Playcentre president Kirsty Armstrong and grants officer Violet Thelning with baby Ted, Literacy North Otago representative Sandra Tonkin, Master Mason Arthur Mahan, Literacy North Otago manager Helen Jansen, Citizens Advice Bureau representative Peter Bond, Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust operations manager Mark Smith and marketing and communications manager Frances Mcmillan (both obscured), Waitaki Girls' High School principal Tracy Walker and Citizens Advice Bureau representative Alan Kerby. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

Eight community groups have benefited from the latest grants totalling $10,900 made by the North Otago Masonic Charitable Trust.

At an afternoon tea at the Masonic Centre in Oamaru on Sunday, the groups received their donations from Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher. He said the grants made an important difference to each recipient.

Master Mason Arthur Mahan said the local grants were “a small part” of the charitable works carried out by Freemasons across New Zealand each year. They also fund chairs in gerontology and paediatrics, covering both ends of the lifespan.

The Lower Waitaki Playcentre would use its grant for equipment for under-2s, who were invited with their mothers to attend an informal coffee group for the rural community, grants officer Violet Thelning said.

The Oamaru Swim Club, which could not attend because it was running an event at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre, would buy extra storage equipment with its donation.

The Citizens Advice Bureau was replacing its nine-year-old laptop as it prepared for training as part of the national organisation’s virtual network, representative Peter Bond said.

Scott’s Own Sea Scouts wanted to buy kayaks for its cubs and older scouts, grants officer Jennifer Gower said.

Literacy North Otago was using its grant to make the kitchen in its new premises fully wheelchair-accessible, manager Helen Jansen said.

The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust was about to refresh the public corridor through Smith’s Grain Store between Tyne and Humber Sts, marketing and communications manager Frances Mcmillan said. The project included opening up the bathrooms, installing signage and a community noticeboard, and painting.

Waitaki Girls’ High School received a defibrillator thanks to a combined effort from the Otago Masonic Charitable Trust and The Freemasons Charity. Principal Tracy Walker said during a recent emergency at the school, the nearest defibrillator had to be fetched from the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre. The new one would be stored in the school hall foyer, where it would be available during public events as well as for pupils.

The school office staff had begun to raise funds before applying to the Masonic Lodge, she said.

“We’re very grateful for your generosity. It will make a big difference to the school community.”

The final grant was $1500 for the Oamaru Foodbank, which chairwoman Rosemary Bentley said would be used to “help support the needy in our community”.