While a large number of not-for-profit organisations have been doing it tough during COVID-19, Sunshine Coast Council is pleased to lend a helping hand through its COVID-19 Community Response Grants, which have been awarded today (Tuesday, 23 June).
Council received a record 351 grant applications following the announcement of the new grants, which were activated in May under council’s COVID-19 Community Relief Plan.
The Plan brings together a range of initiatives as part of council’s continuing response to the impacts being experienced by communities across our region.
The first phase of grants supports 97 successful applications, with priority given to community groups in most urgent financial need.
This grant will help meet many community groups’ need for support towards operational costs, which are usually ineligible under council community grants.
Recipients include Belli Community Hall Association, Sunshine Coast Symphony Orchestra Inc, Glasshouse Mountains Sports Club, Nungeena Aboriginal Corporation for Women's Business, Yandina School of Arts, Peachester Community Hall Inc and Caloundra Community Centre.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said council plays a critical role during times such as this and it has been important to stand shoulder to shoulder with the region’s community organisations as they manage through the impacts of the pandemic.
“Our council recognised early on that many community organisations were struggling to keep going at a time when the people they support likely need their assistance the most,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Our Sunshine Coast Community Strategy, which we adopted in November last year, provides a key platform for the partnerships that council seeks to pursue with the community services sector and the current circumstances really demonstrate how we can be of most value to these organisations in their time of greatest need.
“That is why we have put the COVID-19 Community Response Grants in place and we will see this strengthened further in council’s Budget, which will be considered on Thursday this week.”
Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the community groups assisted in this first round of allocations would receive grants targeted towards keeping them going while dealing with the financial impact of COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, many eligible not-for-profit groups have lost revenue sources and experienced a surge in demand for services from individuals and families experiencing a rough time,” Cr Law said.
“These are unusual circumstances, so we saw the need for a temporary program to offer operational funding help, as well as some project funding assistance.
“These grants have the added benefit of helping the local economy to tick along, with most applicants expected to use local suppliers and businesses.
“Sustaining these core community groups, which bind together our strong community in good times and bad, is something council is very proud to contribute towards.”
Maroochydore Junior Rugby League Club President Paul McMillan said their $10,000 grant would largely help renovate their canteen.
“We have 10 organisations that use our club and (before COVID-19) up to 3000 people would visit the site every week, so we’re very community minded,” he said.
“This will benefit so many people including all the state and regional carnivals that are held here. This means we can offer more product and more income for the community.”
Volunteering Sunshine Coast will receive nearly $5000 to purchase tech equipment enabling remote working and giving them the ability to establish productive flexible work arrangements in line with changing community need.
Sunshine Coast Family Contact Centre Association (SCFCCA) will receive more than $4000 to purchase necessary equipment to facilitate virtual supervised visitation for families living apart.
SCFCCA family support worker Lena said the grant was essential to help keep families connected.
“Our services are for families who are in conflict and/or experiencing domestic violence and cannot arrange a mutually agreeable or safe venue for child-parent contact,” she said.
“This grant will enable us to provide additional services to clients, particularly those who may be at higher risk, live interstate and/or are vulnerable persons.”
A stage two phase of successful applications from this grants program is anticipated to be announced in mid-July.