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New Stronger Communities round of funding opens – total of $150,000 on offer
Hawkesbury community groups looking to improve their facilities are being urged to get ready for the next round of funding that could deliver them up to $20,000.
Up to 20 capital projects across the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains could get the go-ahead, though there’s a fairly small total of $150,000 available this time around.
Expressions of Interest for this next round of the long-running Stronger Communities program will open at the end of this month.
“A total of $150,000 will once again be available for community groups to fund up to 20 capital projects in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains,” Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said as she announced the new round this afternoon.
“Grants of up to $20,000 will be available for small projects that deliver social benefits to our community,” she said.
“These can include things like community gardens, the upgrading of facilities to provide inclusive access, sports equipment, some IT equipment and software, or fit outs for community spaces like men’s sheds and community centres.”
While welcoming this latest funding round, Ms Templeman said she believes the pool of funds should be bigger, not least because of the disruption caused to communities because of COVID and the natural disasters we’ve faced in the last 18 months.
“My independent assessment panel had more than $1 million in applications rolling in from Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains community organisations for the last round of Stronger Communities funding,” Ms Templeman said.
“While we welcomed the government’s decision to waive the 50/50 matched funds requirement in that round, in recognition of how difficult fundraising had been during Covid and natural disasters, no additional funds were made available for MPs to allocate. As a consequence, we received requests for larger grants from many groups but insufficient funds to meet them.
“The latest lockdowns have only exacerbated that situation, and it would have made more sense to see an overall increase in funding available so more projects could benefit.
“It will mean that not everyone will receive the amount of money they need, and some very worthy projects will possibly miss out altogether.
“Even a modest increase would mean organisations like charities, service and sporting groups, and school P&Cs that apply for these grants to help fill a gap left by governments will have more of a chance to fulfill that need.”
Wilberforce United Soccer Club (pictured) benefitted from $20,000 in Stronger Communities funding in a previous round, with the money used to help install lights around the bottom field of its Woodlands Road grounds.
Macquarie MP Susan Templeman with Wilberforce United Soccer Club members, from left to right, Don Culey, Daniel Davey, Boris Racki and Adam Jones, with the new lights in the background (Archive picture)
The lights made a real difference to the club and its players, with members of the Over 35s being able to play under lights close to home rather than at Bligh Park where they previously had to travel.
Expressions of Interest for the grants program can be made through Ms Templeman’s office, with the independent panel assessing the merits of each project before recommendations for funding are made.
Projects must be completed by December 31, 2022, and groups must have an ABN to be eligible.
“It’s a fairly simple online Expressions of Interest form to be filled in, which can be done from October 31,” Ms Templeman said.
For more information on Stronger Communities eligibility and how to apply, email email@example.com.
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