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Stronger Communities Grants Now Taking Applications

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Eureka Mens Shed member Ron Lancaster, concentrating on turning a chair leg, has been a member for the past 3 years.

Local community based projects will be eligible for grant funding under the new Stronger Community Program Federal Member for Ballarat, Catherine King announced last week while visiting the Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed. “I am pleased to announce the Stronger Communities small grants program is now open for applications for eligible organisations in our community,” Ms King said. “Funding is available for not-for-profi t organisations, community groups and councils in the Ballarat region. “Any projects that improve community participation and contribute to the vibrancy and viability of local communities could be eligible.

“If you have an idea that could improve the community and are part of a community or not-for-profi t group with a local focus you should consider applying to this program.” The program will amount o $150,000 this year, covering grants of between $5,000 and $20,000.

Applicants are required to demonstrate matched contributions from other sources, whether from council, state government or private fundraising.

Short project proposals are due by 4 September 2015, which will then be reviewed by a Community Consultation Committee established to examine each project proposal and recommend successful projects submit a further, full application. “Alongside the Committee, I will be recommending the fi nal successful projects to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development by the end of October 2015,” Ms King explained.

“If you aren’t able to apply at this time, there is a second round of funding in early 2016.”

Ballarat East Community Men’s Shed President Ron Lancaster said that outside funding was always important for community groups.

“If there are grants available then we would certainly look at them to see if they suit our objective to what we are doing,” he said. “We have been operating since 2006. We are an independent Shed so we run our own affairs and are not responsible to any organizations such as United Care or Salvation Army, some councils run Sheds, too, but we independent.

“We have raised the money to make it happen here. We have just over 100 members but there are probably 40-50 active members and the rest are more supporters of what we do and they are still working and doing things and believe in the concept of Men’s Sheds and happy to put a membership in to support us.”

Mr Lancaster added that it was an exciting time with the building developments taking are taking place in the Men’s Shed. “I would like to be here when we’ve paid off the loan because I was involved when we started, and we had to go to the public to get some funding, to get up and going,” he said.

“It would be nice thing to be there when we have fi nally paid off the building, and that will allow us to do some more maintenance, more community free projects and things like that.”