Shake-up for community grants

By Tas Mavridis

The City of Melbourne’s community grant framework has received a shake up with the new framework placing a greater emphasis on social innovation.

According to the City of Melbourne, the new framework will consist of four streams: connected communities, community funding agreements, partnership and professional development and social innovation partnerships, with a total of $2.4 million being budgeted for these grants.

The most significant change is the introduction of the Social Innovation Partnerships stream which according to the 2018 framework is aimed to help the council tackle “social priorities and create sustained social change”.

People City portfolio chair Cr Beverley Pinder said the new stream would help the council “invest in areas that will have the highest social impact”.

“The new Social Innovation Partnerships will facilitate funding of piloting well-developed program ideas and improve access to council support for projects,” Cr Pinder said.

$660,000 will be dedicated to this particular stream with the projects focusing on issues prominent in the area such as homelessness, youth, cultural diversity, alcohol and drug safety and violence prevention.

Managing director of Social Traders, David Brookes, said the willingness of local governments to contribute to these types of projects was pivotal to their success.

“The City of Melbourne is showing positive leadership by creating support for Melbourne’s social enterprise sector which has great potential in generating positive and sustainable social change in Victoria,” Mr Brookes said.

“Social enterprises are businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems and improve communities.”

“Like any business, access to multiple sources of capital is essential,” he said.   

While guidelines for the streams are yet to be released, the City of Melbourne explained that projects especially in the social innovation stream would be monitored.

While the funding is provided over two years, the second year of funding will be limited to those projects which have shown signs of success through achieving objectives and growth.

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