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Five innovative community-building projects across Victoria have shared $63,000 in the first allocation of grants for 2014 from Bank of Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Fund.

Applications for the second round of grants are being sought until 4 April 2014.

"We’re very proud to support the important work of these organisations in their local communities," said Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Scott Tanner. “The number and standard of submissions was very high, demonstrating the fantastic work being done in our local communities by some very passionate and capable Victorians.

The Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund allocates grants of up to $50,000 per charity in each round. To be eligible, organisations and projects must be working to improve the lives of Victorian communities. The Fund supports smaller groups that attract little government funding and may not be able to generate significant fundraising income of their own. The Fund invests in innovative ideas and organisations that deliver real benefits for the local community, particularly in neighbourhoods with people who are physically, socially or economically disadvantaged.

Successful projects in the first round were:

1. Touched by Olivia Foundation, Ballarat: $15,000

Touched by Olivia Foundation works with local government to develop Inclusive Play Spaces. These are special community places where children of all abilities and ages can play side by side. Touched by Olivia is Victoria’s leading inclusive play experts with national and international awards for their play-space designs. Their model is recognised as best practice throughout the world. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support the first Inclusive Play Space at Victoria Park, Ballarat.

2. Reading out of Poverty, South Melbourne: $20,000

Reading out of Poverty is a non-profit organisation that supports children and their families in their pre-literacy and early learning stages. Their primary purpose is to provide ways for children to engage in reading and early literacy development activities so they can succeed in school and in life. The organisation’s early intervention programs target disadvantaged families, particularly Indigenous, refugee and migrant families. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support their Next Generation – Overcoming Poverty Through Reading early literacy program, which focuses on children aged 0-5 years from disadvantaged families in Melbourne's inner city. The aim of the program is to raise the pre-literacy skills of children so they have the foundation to succeed at school.

3. Southern Cross Kids’ Camps, Dandenong Region: $15,658.65

Southern Cross Kids’ Camps empower children aged 7 to 12 to overcome the impacts of abuse, neglect and abandonment. SCKC’s mentor and respite programs achieve this by developing self-worth and enduring life skills in each child for greater community connectedness. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support SCKC’s Connectivity for At-Risk Kids program. The program provides much-needed respite for carers and aims to bring laughter back into the lives of abused children.

4. Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition, Greater Dandenong and Greater Shepparton: $10,000

Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition is a peak body representing immigrant and refugee women’s organisations across Victoria. The coalition provides representation, support and advice for a range of organisations whose priority is the development and support of refugee women. The VIRWC addresses needs at various levels and champions causes not addressed by others. Among its initiatives is the Women Building Bridges Project which increases migrant and refugee women’s contribution to social cohesion by creating trusting relationships and harnessing their leadership capacity. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support their Girls Friendship Club with funding to cover equipment, materials, excursions and a family introductory barbecue in 2014.

5. Choir Victoria Incorporated, Ringwood: $2,664.15

Choir Victoria supports and develops children’s singing abilities through the Victorian Boys Choir and Victorian Girls Choir. They are a parent-run, self-funded choir, with members aged 5-18 from many and varied backgrounds. They take pride in supporting choristers with disabilities who are unable to participate in other recreational pursuits. Bank of Melbourne’s Neighbourhood Fund grant will help Choir Victoria purchase a travelling organ to allow for more diverse performances and greater exposure of the group through tours, training camps and outdoor concerts.

For further information about the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund, including eligibility criteria and application details, contact 1300 851 340 or visit The next round of funding round is currently open until 4 April 2014.

The Detail

Fleur Leyden, Head of Media & Communications, 0413 598 477
Anita Noller, Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund, 03 9274 4913

Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund is a division of St.George Foundation
(ABN 46 003 790 761 as trustee for ABN 44 661 638 970).