Friday, July 19, 2024

City of Sydney grants $1.5m to ease cost of living pressures

City of Sydney Council has awarded $1.5 million in grants to 12 organisations to help provide food and essential items including menstrual care products to struggling inner city residents over the next year.

“Local food relief organisations report that demand for food relief is now higher than during the pandemic, with people forgoing food to pay for housing and health services,” said Lord Mayor, Clover Moore AO.

“That is a heartbreaking thought, particularly at this time of year as many prepare for festive gatherings. This shouldn’t be happening in a wealthy country like Australia, but while it’s a reality, we’re doing what we can to help.”

She said the grants were part of a new funding program for groups distributing food to households as the cost of living soars.

“We’re supporting a broad range of organisations critical to creating a strong, responsive and collaborative food relief network in the local area.”

“We’re funding groups with good local connections who can respectfully supply and distribute emergency food relief to diverse communities, as well as those that need to upgrade existing kitchen and dining facilities so they can continue their work.”

The Lord Mayor confirmed the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown will receive $450,000 over the next three years to provide more free, culturally appropriate lunches in a welcoming environment to people seeking asylum.

“Our lunch program does more than just provide meals for those we support. It is a source of contact, connection, and community,” said Asylum Seekers Centre CEO, Frances Rush OAM.

“This funding will help meet the need for food relief, allowing staff and volunteers to expand our free, nutritious lunch program for people seeking asylum in our community.”

Other organisations receiving support include First Nations Response and Plate it Forward.

First Nations Response will receive more than $1.2 million over the next three years to expand its food relief services beyond Redfern and Marrickville and further establish itself as a sustainable Aboriginal-controlled community organisation.

“First Nations people, families and communities are disproportionately impacted by the current cost of living crisis. Ensuring First Nations peoples have autonomy over how they access food relief at this time is a crucial element of food security planning,” said First Nations Response co-founder, Coral Lever.

“Access to healthy and sustainable food options is central to ensuring the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for the future.”

Plate it Forward will receive just over $100,000 to continue to donate free restaurant quality meals through charity partners to people experiencing food insecurity in the inner city.

“Plate it Forward first started when community leaders requested food support during the pandemic in 2020. The need for food has not subsided, and many in our community are now also struggling with the rising cost of living,” Plate it Forward CEO, Shaun Christie-David said.

“Over the last 12 months, we have donated up to 150,000 meals to Sydney communities experiencing food insecurity and rescued 13,000kg of food from landfill.”

Other groups that have received grants in this round of funding include Redfern Youth Connect, OzHarvest and The Wayside Chapel Foundation.

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