Inner West Council announces Stronger Communities Grants

Inner west community groups have benefitted from $300,000 in grant funding.

Inner West Council has approved $300,000 in funding under the Stronger Communities Grants, which provides funding of up to $50,000 per project for proposals to improve and enhance local communities.

The Stronger Communities Grants Program is part of the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund, with a dedicated $1 million to be spent on community grants in the Inner West Council area over the next three years.

“This is one of the real tangible benefits of the merger of the three former councils – money which just would not have been available for these very worthy community projects if the merger had not proceeded,” said Inner West Council Administrator Richard Pearson.

This year, preference was given to projects such as upgrades of club facilities, funding of sporting equipment, or providing tools and equipment to improve the delivery of community services.

Pratten Park Community Sports and Bowling Club received the maximum grant of $50,000 for a kitchen renovation.

Grant applicant Gordon Latham said the money “will completely turn the club around”.

“This $50,000 is like gold. It gives us a chance to do the kitchen properly and totally expand our community focus,” he said.

The club, which changed its name to include ‘community’ so as to enhance its role from a traditional bowling club, has worked hard to stay open and relevant.

Multiple community groups now use the facility and the new kitchen will be used by Metro Assist to establish a social enterprise that will train and employ new migrants and refugees in basic food service.

“Community groups are the heart and soul of our communities and the services they provide make a real and lasting difference to the lives of residents,” Mr Pearson said.

“These grants are a godsend for community groups, Not-For-Profits, sporting organisations, artists and environmental groups - anyone who needs funding to turn their great idea into a reality,” he said.

Marrickville Youth Resource Centre received multi-year funding of $20,000 in 2016 and $27,000 in 2017 to make their centre more sustainable and energy efficient. The money will also be used to install solar panels, and provide resources and education services to educate youth and the wider community on how to reduce environmental impacts.

Tom McDonald from MYRC said the money would mean his “unique” centre will be able to grow its program and outlook.

“Ever since the local government amalgamations we have been looking for ways to expand and reach out further afield. We want to move with the times, and this money means we can think bigger and better,” he said.

“We are so excited about the prospects this grant will create for us,” he said.

Styles Street Children's Community Long Day Care Centre in Leichhardt received $19,000 to redevelop their existing playground into a sustainable, purpose-built learning environment featuring multiple zones in an urban wilderness setting. The money will also fix drainage issues.

Other projects that will be realised using Stronger Communities funding are two IT projects – one will improve health information dissemination and the other fill a gap in adult education for people with disabilities.

The Bower Re-use and Repair Centre will spend their $13,500 on fixing up their truck which has been in use for 17 years.

Guido Verbist said the truck is essential to their work as a not-for-profit environmental charity that helps disadvantaged groups.

“We work on a low budget,” he said. “These grants help the needs of the community and the organisation. It’s a great concept for the government and the community.”

Sydney Latin American Film Festival will develop a new independent cinema at Addison Rd Community Centre, and Ashfield Boys High School will get a new amphitheatre and green outdoor classroom.

Articulate Project Space will install a wheelchair platform stair lifter, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre will upgrade their public access areas, and Ashfield Baptist Church will improve their community hall with better acoustics and lighting, and the installation of a projector.

“As you can imagine, the decision-making around distributing $300,000 in grant funding was a rigorous and required a fully proper and open process,” said Mr Pearson.

“So I’d like to thank the Local Representation Advisory Committee members for facilitating many of the grant applications, and also local MPs Jamie Parker and Jo Haylen for participating on the assessment panel,” Mr Pearson said.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing next year’s grant funding round, going by how successful this first year of Stronger Communities grants has been,” he said.

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Page last updated: 20 Nov 2018