Community, Businesses Encouraged To Consider Grant Opportunities

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Community groups, sporting groups, local event organisers and businesses are encouraged to start developing ideas and costings for projects eligible for funding under the 2021-22 Colac Otway Shire Grants Program.

Colac Otway Shire Council reviewed and endorsed the funding program guidelines at last night’s meeting and will open applications on March 9.

Next financial year’s grants program, which is subject to the adoption of the 2021-22 Council Budget, will provide an opportunity for more than $300,000 in Council funds and matching in-kind or cash contributions to be invested in the Colac Otway community.

The program includes five categories, with grants of up to $5,000 under the renamed Category 5 ‘Small Business Environmental Sustainability Program’.

The key change to Category 5 will be the ineligibility of projects which are funded by other agencies such as solar panels and batteries.

The guidelines review has also included the “strong encouragement” of the use of shire-based trades and suppliers for projects, and the clarification of in-kind eligibility and other criteria.

Mayor Cr Kate Hanson said the continuation of the annual Grants Program was a positive story about significant partnerships between Council and community.

“The grants program has delivered hundreds of projects over many years, and a majority may not have happened without the contribution of Council.

“The program has been in its current form for the past three years, with almost 100 community groups, events or businesses sharing in about $310,000 across two funding rounds in 2020-21.

“Facility upgrades, new equipment, new activities and shop façade improvements were among projects which received funding last year.

“2020 was a very different year, with some groups forced to move events on online and some events cancelled.

“However we are all very hopeful that this year’s grants program will support our local community groups getting back on their feet, support the return of our popular community events, with COVID-safe measures, and enable new events to be held.

“The façade improvement grants can assist shop and office owners paint, repair and revitalise their building frontages, which could provide a welcome boost to our business precincts, community and visitors.

“We know it’s been a tough year for many businesses across the shire, however we encourage business and building owners to look how they can take advantage of the façade or sustainability grant program categories to support their initiatives or improvements.”

All categories require a matching contribution via cash or in-kind from the applicant on a dollar for dollar basis.

A total pool of $311,500 is available from the Colac Otway Shire Grants Program, subject to the 2021-22 Council Budget, from five funding categories:

  • Community Grants Program
  • Community Events & Support Program
  • Small Grants Program
  • Building Façade Improvement Program
  • Small Business Environmental Sustainability Program

The guidelines and Grants Program information are available on Council’s website at:

Applications open on Tuesday 9 March 2021 and close 5pm on Friday 9 April 2021.

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