Six remarkable community programs in Melbourne and regional Victoria have shared more than $165,000 in grants from the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund.
The recipients of the latest allocation of grants include a group providing food for the disadvantaged in Bendigo and Melbourne, a literacy program provider for children in the Cardinia Shire, and an employment services organisation helping women find sustainable work.
The Neighbourhood Fund has distributed more than $465,000 to help communities all over Victoria since launching in March 2013.
Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Scott Tanner said the latest round of grants would help grass-roots organisations build a better future for local communities.
"Bank of Melbourne is proud to support Victorian communities through diverse causes and organisations. The latest round of grants will help create inclusive and skilled neighbourhoods,” Mr Tanner said. “From building urban gardens to improving employment prospects for women experiencing disadvantage, these organisations are creating a better future for our state."
The Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund allocates grants of up to $50,000 in each funding round to organisations and projects that are improving the lives of Victorians. The Fund supports smaller groups that attract little government funding or significant fundraising income of their own.
Successful projects in the latest round were:
1. Bendigo Foodshare, Bendigo: $40,000
Bendigo Foodshare helps reduce food poverty through education and skills development as well as providing healthy meals to people in need. Their school and community meal programs teach children and families to choose and prepare healthy food. Bendigo Foodshare will use this grant to buy a refrigerated truck to continue recovery and distribution of food to agencies, schools and community meal programs in Central Victoria. The group currently supplies perishable food items to 54 schools and 21 community meal programs.www.bendigofoodshare.org.au/
2. Lentil as Anything, Melbourne: $18,000
Lentil as Anything is a unique not-for-profit community organisation operating five ‘pay-as-you-feel’ restaurants: customers pay what they believe the food is worth, rather than a set price. They also engage long-term unemployed, migrants, isolated and disadvantaged individuals in hospitality training programs and have expanded their philosophy to urban farming. Their long-term objective is to grow on urban farms the 7,000kg of produce used by their restaurants each week. The grant will be used to set up an urban farm in the Darebin area with raised garden beds, gardening and plant goods, solar panels, watering infrastructure and materials for a communal kitchen space. www.lentilasanything.com
3. Kids’ Own Publishing, Cardinia: $26,880
Kids’ Own Publishing helps children and families from culturally diverse and disadvantaged communities to share their stories by creating books. The group has pioneered the concept of children’s community publishing in Victoria and has published more than 100 books in a variety of languages. The grant will provide funding for IN TRANSIT, a new community-wide publishing project for those living in the culturally diverse Cardinia Shire. IN TRANSIT is an interconnected arts-based literacy program for children to explore their own values and develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. Through the publication of a suite of books, by children for children, the Cardinia Shire will have a range of creative resources that can be shared with the broader community. www.kidsownpublishing.com
4. Fitted for Work, Melbourne: $50,000
Fitted for Work helps women facing disadvantage to find and keep employment. A team of dedicated staff and trained volunteers give women the self-esteem and confidence to find sustainable employment by providing a free personal outfitting and interview service. This funding will go towards a program to help 250 women build confidence and self-esteem, as well as deepening their skills and ability to get a job. The program will run from October 2014 to June 2015 and assist women between 16 and 65 years of age experiencing disadvantage.www.fittedforwork.org
5. Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance, East Gippsland Region: $5,000
Surf Life Saving Lakes Entrance is a small surf club in Far East Gippsland with about 400 volunteer members. For more than 50 years, the club has patrolled the beaches of East Gippsland during busy summer periods. The grant will be used to buy a replacement inflatable rescue boat that helps lifesavers perform sea rescues, deliver first aid services, patrol long stretches of beach, transfer patients and support Nippers classes and swimming programs.www.lakesentrancesurflifesaving.org.au
6. Wingate Avenue Community Centre, Ascot Vale: $25,408
Wingate is a registered training organisation recognised for its outstanding contribution to Victoria’s local education and training sector. Wingate brings technology and training to local communities by converting existing classrooms into new computer labs. This grant will allow 18,000 students to use computers and other resources in the community centre, giving them skills, knowledge and confidence to transfer to family, friends, and the broader community.www.wingateave.com.au
For further information about the Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund or to apply, visit www.bankofmelbourne.com.au/neighbourhoodfund. The next round of funding is open between 15 September and 10 October 2014.