Wellington Shire Council has made changes to its grants programs to help not-for-profit community groups with rising costs and COVID-19 recovery, and to make the application process easier for volunteers.
The changes will come into effect for the latest round of Community Assistance Grants opening on 14 June and for Quick Response Grants from 1 July.
The total amount for which groups can apply for Community Assistance Grants has risen from $5,000 to $6,000, while the amount for Quick Response Grants has increased from $2,000 to $2,500.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said the increase was recognition that community groups had been hit hard by rising costs and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are all very aware that costs are going up on so many day-to-day items, and this can affect our community groups enormously when putting together their projects and events, or upgrading their facilities," Cr Bye said.
"On top of that, many of these groups are still recovering from not being able to function as normal during the pandemic. Increasing the amount of funding available in applying for grants will go some way towards recovery for those not-for-profit groups, which are run by hard-working volunteers in our community."
To make the application process easier for volunteers, Council has removed some category and contribution requirements.
The changes also mean volunteer groups associated with schools will now be eligible to apply for grants, and activities held at commercial licensed venues will be eligible if volunteers can demonstrate there is no other alternative venue. Activities held at venues with gaming machines, gambling and betting will remain ineligible to apply.
The new guidelines and criteria will be available from 14 June at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/grants, or phone 1300 366 244 to speak with Council's Grants Officer.