FOR the past 37 years a charitable trust dedicated to child health has been unable to spend over $100,000 sitting idle in its coffers, but it appears the trust has now seen the back of its legal woes.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty Child Health Research Trust, formerly the Eastern Bay Hepatitis B Immunisation Programme Trust, was established in 1983 to promote vaccination of Eastern Bay pre-school and primary school children against Hepatitis B.

However, since the Government began immunising children against Hepatitis B, the trust has been left with a large sum of community-raised money it has been unable to spend due to not having enough living trustees to reach a quorum.

Over the past three decades the trust has managed to navigate legal and administrative issues to appoint a new board and is now looking to dish out its original $50,000, which has grown to over $130,000 in the years since.

Chairman Jeff Farrell said the trust was now “very excited” to start investing this money into research projects for the benefit of Eastern Bay children’s health.

Trustees have been selected for their medical, financial and legal knowledge.

“We are now in a position where we are able to proceed with some confidence,” Mr Farrell said.

While the trust originally focused on immunising children against Hepatitis B, this is no longer a concern due to the Government’s vaccination programme and the trust will now look at funding research projects that address other health issues affecting Eastern Bay children.

Different criteria will apply depending on whether researchers are seeking funding of less or more than $10,000.

Mr Farrell said the trust would be seeking the best outcome possible from the money.

He said he didn’t expect the trust would fund research projects completely, but rather would contribute to projects alongside other funding sources.

“We had a trust meeting before Christmas and we now have robust criteria in place on how research proposals will be evaluated and how we will advertise and which applications we will support,” he said.

To be eligible for funding, researchers must demonstrate the local relevance and benefit of their project, how the project could lead to achievable and effective contributions to health gain for Eastern Bay people beyond the life of the project.

Larger projects must prove scientific quality, significance and/or innovation and provide a track record of an applicant’s previous research.

Applications for funding will close mid-March. The evaluation panel will then consider applications before making its decision in April.

EBOP Child Health Research Trust trustees

  • Helen McDougall
  • Ross Lawrenson
  • Yvonne Boyes
  • John Rennie
  • Joseph Scott-Jones
  • William Jones
  • Jeff Farrell
  • Nan Riini