CBD-focused organisations receive grants

Kaylah Joelle Baker

Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria (BSRV) has received $13,950 as part of the City of Melbourne’s 2022 Connected Communities Grants program to go towards its mission of greater social inclusion for blind and vision-impaired people in Melbourne.

Understanding the immense impact the COVID pandemic and lockdowns have had on blind and vision-impaired people, BSRV president Maurice Gleeson couldn’t be more “appreciative” of the grant.

He said the team was currently in the process of planning walks around the city, discussing “key areas” to be discovered and how to “best meet the needs” of their community.

“Because of the long COVID lockdowns, this grant is an opportunity for blind and vision-impaired people to be reconnected to the city of Melbourne and rediscover the city, because it has changed a lot in a short time with all the developments,” Mr Gleeson said.

BSRV was established in 1977 and has continued to develop into a thriving charity that encourages blind and vision-impaired people of all ages and backgrounds to lead healthy and active lifestyles in their surrounding community.

The community grants also saw The Disability Resources Centre awarded $19,331, which will be used to establish a Buddy Network, a peer support program for people with disabilities.

The centre’s campaign officer Ally Scott said it was “delighted and extremely grateful” to have received the funds, saying the new program would address the loneliness, social isolation and helplessness “experienced by so many people with disabilities in the era of COVID-19.”

“Volunteers with lived experience are vetted and trained to enable them to give meaningful one-to-one support to others in the disability community who are struggling in these difficult times. Those who are supported are encouraged, where possible, to become buddies themselves,” she said.

Ms Ally said funding from the City of Melbourne was of “huge importance”, providing critical community work that would otherwise be impossible.

Charity group The Equality Project also warmly welcomed its $12,000 grant which will help run its “Beyond the Rainbow” and “LGBTIQA+ Health and Wellbeing” days, both to be held later this year in the CBD.

The Beyond the Rainbow day will be an event for workplaces/organisations to engage with LGBTIQA+ communities while the latter will be about empowering people with tools and strategies to improve health and wellbeing post COVID lockdowns.

The Project’s general manager Marnie Southward said her group was “really grateful and really appreciative” to the City of Melbourne for the grant which would help reconnect people following last year’s lockdowns.

STEM Sisters Vic Incorporated, a diverse group aimed at empowering women of colour in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, received a $10,000 grant.

The funds will help the group bring the first-ever Soapbox Science to Melbourne during National Science Week this year, which is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women and non-binary scientists and their science.

The Town Hall’s latest grants program is worth $543,322 and went towards 77 different projects that Lord Mayor Sally Capp said would help ensure “residents feel engaged and supported”.

Other recipients included the Drill Hall Residents Association ($15,000), Residents 3000 ($1550), Rotary Club of Melbourne ($2000), Rotary Central Melbourne Inc ($7060), Drill Hall Community Garden Association ($2000), and Eastenders Inc ($2000) •

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