Community Foundation awards Grants to eleven local groups

On Wednesday 23rd November the community groups who were successful in this year’s Community Grants program were announced to a room full of people at the Walter J Tuck Reserve.   

Diana Mueller, convenor of the Community Engagement and Grants Committee outlined the importance of this program in supporting community volunteers to do great things in our district.  “From maintaining important community gathering spaces and events to building capacity and reducing isolation across the community,” said Diana, “it is amazing to see how much the community does with a relatively small amount of funds.”

As part of the evening, Directors Ariane Ramsay and Paul Pratt handed out grant certificates and gave each group a chance to share the details of their project.

The Gippsland Sculpture Festival is an engaging arts event which takes place in Yinnar every second year.  “This grant will enable local students to develop sculptures for the festival, but this is also about building ‘sculpture culture’ within the schools, enabling students to participate and feel part of the 2023 event,” explained Sam Sunderland.

Nicky Cawood spoke about the Mirboo North Grainstore’s journey in 2022 from new committee to developing a strategic plan.  The project which they are receiving funding for is the development of a logo and website, which will include an easy-to-use booking system for this iconic building on Mirboo North’s main street.

The Boolarra Folk Festival and Christmas in the Boo both received a grant to support the re-engagement of young people in their community events.  The grant to the Folk Festival will support a drumming performance by the Primary School students to open the festival, while the Christmas in the Boo team will be supporting free children’s entertainment.

Rhonda Evans from the Mirboo Recreation Reserve spoke about the importance of their Reserve to the local community and noted that while upgrading the switchboard didn’t sound as exciting as some of the other projects, it was so important to the safety of their volunteers and making the space easy to use.

The Friends of the Lyrebird Walk, aka the Wednesday Warriors were seeking support to buy a new vehicle.  As John Collins, their new President indicated, their vehicles were generally like their members, “a bit old and looking the worse for wear but doing alright!”

South Gippsland Radio, broadcasting as 3MFM, has received a grant to set up a satellite radio station in Mirboo North. This fantastic project will ensure weekly radio broadcasts from Mirboo North with local content, current affairs and music, and will allow for training of locals in how to broadcast and develop radio programs.  “Another advantage of this type of local radio is providing news and connection for those who can’t read or are visually impaired,” explained Cliff Hammond.

BooFIIT is a not-for-profit exercise program that advocates exercise for every BODY. Carol Cox and Elspeth Kiddell accepted the grant explaining that it would be targeted at providing those new and existing members who were facing financial challenges, with half price memberships. 

Glenys Webster from the Yinnar & District Memorial Hall also spoke about the importance of free and safe exercise, in particular for the older members of her community.  She spoke movingly about the benefits and read out a letter from one of the participants, who noted that “I would seriously have to consider my participation if I had to pay, my pension is severely stretched at present.”

The Dumbalk Progress Association will use its grant to run a ‘Movie under the Stars’ evening for their community.  Greg Trease, Vice President, who accepted the award, noted that “Covid had decimated community connection”.  Janelle Richards pointed out in her application that it was important to connect the new young families who had moved to the area during the pandemic through a fun family event.

Finally, the South Gippsland Bass Coast Local Learning and Enterprise Network were successful in their grant to cover the cost of our community bus in driving a group of Year 11 VET students from Mirboo North Secondary College to their external courses in Leongatha and Korrumburra each Wednesday.

The Friends of the Mirboo North Swimming Pool also received a grant of just over $33,000 towards the improvement of the BBQs and installation of new shade sails in the grounds of the pool.  This was separate to the Community Grants, but came from the remaining funds in the Mirboo North Swimming Pool Fund.  As Stephen Koci, newly appointed President of this group, noted “this will further improve our new facility and enable families and groups to enjoy a BBQ in this beautiful setting, as well as staying safe from the sun.”

Ruth Rogan, Executive Officer, concluded the evening by thanking each group for the volunteer time and effort they had given not only to securing funds, but to conceiving and implementing these projects.  “We are lucky to have such a committed community of people in our disrict.”

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