BY LANIE TINDALE
Thirteen organisations have been granted $324,000 under the Inner West Council
Stronger Communities Grant Program. The report published by the council identifies 41 grant applications, with grant requests totalling over $1.35 million. The 13 organisations granted money were awarded between $10-$50 each.
The grant program commenced in 2016, running for three years, and is funded by the NSW government. The biggest grants were $50,000 each for the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative and Youth off the Streets. Big name organisations such as Youth off the Streets, Milk Crate Theatre and the Big Issue were also among those granted funds. Not-for-profit community club, the Petersham Bowling Club, was granted $14 284 to
install 14 SolaBollards (solar powered lights) to provide “safety lighting” as part of an outdoor extension.
Council say they tried to improve representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in response to a lack of representation in 2017. Two indigenous organisations – Boomalli and Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat – received funding. Absec were granted $15 000 to host a “Family Fun Day” during NAIDOC week. The Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative was granted funding for “six new exhibitions to promote and celebrate Aboriginal artists for New South Wales, including the 25th anniversary of Boomalli’s first Mardi Gras show.”
Bronwyn Bancroft, a curator and strategist at the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, told City Hub: "Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative is thrilled with being awarded a stronger community grant by the Inner West Council. This grant assist in our continued survival in our 30th year.." The grant selection panel included Inner West Council Mayor Darcy Byrne, state MP’s Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker, coordinator at NSW Premier and Cabinet
department Doug Thompson and Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL employee Paul Kougias.
Mayor Byrne told the council that “members of the panel were asked to submit a ranking score for each of the projects … that had been submitted.” “There wasn’t complete unanimity but there was very broad consensus about the
strength of the applications.” Councillors Julie Passas and Vittoria Pacitti did not support the funding decisions.
Clr Passas said “I think it's absolutely shocking that the money … the [the Shepherd Centre, a charity for deaf children] has put twice for grants and we haven’t given them once cent. “I would like this to be deferred. This is absolutely disgusting. The people that we’ve knocked back, and the people that we’re supporting with these grants. It’s not at all fair,” said Clr Passas.
Eighteen organisations did not receive funding, including The Shepherd Centre, the Child Abuse Prevention Service, the Infants’ Home, Marrickville Legal Centre and the Australian Foundation for Disability. The overall grant funding available to the Inner West Council was $1 million over 3 years, with 2018 being the final year funding was available.
Four information sessions were held in Ashfield and Petersham, which council says were attended by about 50 prospective grant applicants.