Following on from the success of round one and two of the Stronger Communities Programme, the Federal Government has opened up a third round of grants this month in a bid to improve community participation.
Up to $150,000 is available for community groups in each constituency across the country to help with small capital projects that contribute to the vibrancy of the local community.
Each project can receive grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 each, which might include upgrades or fit-outs of community centres, sporting facility upgrades, purchase of equipment for local service organisations, park furniture, BBQ’s or storage sheds.
Among the groups successful in round two in Calwell, was the Greek Orthodox Community of Broadmeadows who received $10,000 for a kitchen upgrade.
Established in the early 70s, member John Patsikatheodorou said that after decades of use facilities and the meal preparation area were in dire need of an upgrade.
“Financially it’s helped us out; I’d encourage others to seriously consider applying also,” he told Neos Kosmos.
“We offer a hot meal to our senior citizens every Monday and we’ve got a drop in centre on Sunday and we runs functions such as baptisms on the weekends as well. Given the ageing of the population, the kitchen equipment that we have – the stoves and the fryers – are very old and so one of the plans was to upgrade the kitchen and meals preparation area.”
To be eligible, community groups need to provide matched contributions to the grant amount either in cash or goods, labour, or partner funding on a dollar for dollar basis.
For groups who do not have the money as yet, contributions can be raised through a fundraising campaign, special donations, donated goods and services, or a matching grant from another body.
Mr Patsikatheodorou said the money has significantly helped the group financially, with the kitchen expected to be complete in the next month or so. While ensuring the centre is fit for future use, he added that the upgrade would also be a chance to make connections with other ethnic groups and add to the community feel in the area.
“Given the ageing of the population, and given that we no longer use the facility seven days a week, we’re opening it up to the broader community to make use of it as well,” Mr Patsikatheodorou said.
The Greek Community of Broadmeadows has been at the forefront of multiculturalism in Hume. Having established the Upfield Soccer Club, which was predominantly Greek based, in recent years they approached the recently established Iraqi community and handed it over to them.
“They’re the things that bound the community,” he said.
“So we’re looking to make connections with newer communities and partnering with them because a lot of them are looking for space to meet and have their activities.”
Applicants to the Stronger Communities Programme must be a legal entity, such as an incorporated association, and have an Australian Business Number (ABN).
For those located in Calwell, expressions of interest are due by Monday 31 July, 2017. Contact Maria Vamvakinou’s office on (03) 9367 5216, or email [email protected] for a form.
Grants are open in all electorates. To find out what is happening in yours, contact your local MP for details. For more information, visit investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/scp/