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Seven innovative community-building projects across the state have shared $100,000 in the first allocation of grants from Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund.

So impressive were the successful applicants that the Fund doubled the money available for this first round. Applications for the second round of grants are being sought this from now until 21st June with the third and final round for the year to be conducted in August.

“We were deeply impressed with the applications, and humbled by the great work being done by grassroots groups in communities across the state,” said Bank of Melbourne Chief Executive Scott Tanner. “Our grants will help these projects to continue for the benefit of their local area.”

Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund allocates grants of up to $50,000 in each round. To be eligible, organisations and projects must be working to improve the lives of Victorian communities. The Fund aims to provide support for smaller groups that attract little government funding and are not large enough to generate significant fundraising income of their own.

Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund identifies and invests in innovative ideas and organisations that deliver real benefits for local neighbourhoods, particularly addressing issues of physical, social or economic disadvantage.

Those projects successful in the first round were:

1. Ardoch Youth Foundation, Melbourne, $10,000

Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support Ardoch’s “Learning through Lunch” program, which takes disadvantaged students out of their comfort zone by providing an experience of formal dining. This creates an opportunity to explore and understand different expectations of behaviour and strengthens social skills. The program enables students to learn about table etiquette and engage in conversation with people from the local community in a restaurant setting.

2. Creativity Australia, Melbourne, $15,000

Creativity Australia’s acclaimed With One Voice choir program brings together people of all ages and from all walks of life, cutting across socioeconomic, cultural, religious, generational and linguistic barriers in the pursuit of harmony. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support the With One Voice choir rehearsals and suppers, to help build a cohesive and connected community.

3. Darley Junior Football Club, Bacchus Marsh, $20,000

Darley Junior Football Club is a community club for more than 300 young footballers, netballers and their families in the Bacchus Marsh area. The family club with tight local community ties helps families by raising funds for those that cannot afford membership so they can still participate. It also provides food to these local club members. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support a kitchen upgrade to enable the club to continue supporting the families of the local community.

4. Polyglot Theatre, Shepparton, $15,000

Polyglot Theatre is Australia’s leading interactive theatre company for children under 12 and their families. The Tangled MOBILE project, will see Polyglot Theatre in partnership with Berry Street work with parents, carers and children who are part of the kinship care and foster care playgroups in Shepparton to deliver a 20-week arts-based workshop program.

5. Touched By Olivia, City of Casey, $20,000

The Touched By Olivia Foundation mission is to facilitate an inclusive playspace in every community of Australia by partnering with communities, governments and corporations. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will kick off the public fundraising effort needed to build an inclusive playspace in partnership with the local community and Casey City Council. It will be a place where people of all ages and abilities can play side by side.

6. Big West Festival, Braybrook, $10,000

Big West aims to build a strong arts and cultural identity for the Western region by investing in long-term community arts partnerships that build belonging and affirm identity. Bank of Melbourne will support Braybrook’s Big Day Out on Sunday 24 November 2013, a featured event in Big West Festival’s 2013 program. The festival will facilitate community creation of five artworks to launch Braybrook’s new community gardens and flourishing community groups.

7. Bluebird Foundation, Geelong, $10,000

Bluebird Foundation is dedicated to making quality arts programs accessible for all. Bank of Melbourne Neighbourhood Fund will support the Giant Toy Box Project that will see local Geelong artist Kaz McGlynn working with young families in Geelong to design and create a Giant Toy Box for the Northern Bay Family Centre. The end product will be an artistic feature, and much-needed storage space.

For more information about the Advantage Package and full terms and conditions relating to all Bank of Melbourne’s home loans please visit, visit a Bank of Melbourne branch or contact 13 22 66.