City of Sydney’s $6.2 million package for local businesses, culture and communities

City of Sydney

Last night City of Sydney Council approved more than $6.2 million in direct cash grants and in-kind contributions for local businesses, community groups, cultural programs and environmental initiatives.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said 156 projects – from support for vulnerable community groups and local music and food festivals to major events sponsorships and business expos – received funding in one of the City’s largest ever grants rounds.

“I’m constantly awed by the ideas and enterprise of our community,” the Lord Mayor said. “The City is proud to fund these wonderful projects and initiatives, which will foster and celebrate Sydney’s culture and creativity, support our local economy and encourage sustainability.”

“When the pandemic hit, many foretold the decline of cities. Looking through the list of projects and events we’re helping fund I’m filled with renewed optimism that couldn’t be further from the truth. We are a community that supports each other, that learns from each other, that goes out and has fun together.

“As we emerge from the pandemic with our sights firmly on recovery, we know these small grants will have a big impact. We are backing the community groups that provide vital services, helping local businesses recover and grow and breathing new life into Sydney’s cultural and night-time economy. There is energy and excitement and so much to look forward to in the city.

“Importantly, the City has now also established dedicated grants for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse peoples. We are ensuring that there are no barriers to accessing the City’s support and ensuring our grants go where they’re most needed.”

The Council-approved funding – $5.2 million cash and $1 million value-in-kind – will be allocated to projects in the 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25 financial years.

The funding includes:

Social grants

Council approved $2.58 million in funding under the social grants program across 17 community services grants, 18 festival and event sponsorships and 16 matching grants.

Projects include a community bus service to transport locals to essential services such as hospitals and shops, a festival of wine, food and art for local businesses and the community in Pyrmont, and the expansion of a program in Camperdown to provide free food and other social services to vulnerable local community members.

“Post lockdown, we’re encountering more and more isolation-related issues in the community like depression and social anxiety. We are also beginning to see the real effects of inflation causing food insecurity for many as our free weekly pantry has more than doubled in a matter of weeks from 60-70 recipients to over 155 recipients,” said Nuno Viveiros of the Living Hope Food Program in Camperdown.

“We’ve introduced a pop-up mental health clinic to our weekly food pantry and with the City of Sydney’s funding, this will enable us to increase community engagement and interaction by providing more weekly hot meals at our premises and hosting other community events from time to time.”

Cultural grants

More than $2.02 million has been approved under the cultural and creative grants and sponsorship program for initiatives that enhance creativity across the city and strengthen the sustainability and capacity of local cultural and creative industries. The funding will be shared across 29 cultural and creative grants and 10 festival and events sponsorships.

Projects include the creation of a mural in Redfern depicting Aboriginal elders who have passed and celebrating their contribution to the community, and a series of reading, writing and literary events as part of the 2023 and 2024 Sydney Writers’ Festivals.

Knowledge exchange grants

Seventeen knowledge exchange sponsorships have been approved to the value of $637,000.

Projects include an annual incubation program to build knowledge, capability and connections between the cultural and property sectors to address Sydney’s creative space shortage.

Economic grants

Under its business support grants program, Council approved $605,000 in funding across 13 live music and performance grants, five night-time diversification grants and six place and industry grants.

Projects include sound and equipment upgrades at the Hollywood Hotel to improve live music performances, a series of free live music events at The Burdekin to attract new audiences to Oxford Street, and networking events to help connect businesses to opportunities and keep them abreast of local issues.

“The Chamber’s project is important because it is focused on gathering insight into what local businesses need from a transport perspective. It is important as we continue to focus and support the growth and recovery of the visitor economy in our local business precinct.” Alex Gibbs, President, Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce and owner of local business, Smile Marketing.

“The Chamber’s project is important because it is focused on gathering insight into what local businesses need from a transport perspective. It is important as we continue to focus and support the growth and recovery of the visitors economy in our local business precinct, and support from the City of Sydney will enable us to do this,” said Alex Gibbs, president Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce and owner of local business, Smile Marketing.

Environment grants

$402,000 will be shared among 25 environmental performance grants recipients.

Projects include a demonstration to introduce carbon management at the Sydney Opera House using a building automation system, and an energy assessment and audit to help the 595-room Sydney Marriott Hotel explore opportunities to reduce energy consumption.

The City of Sydney’s next round of grants will open later this year.

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