Thursday, April 25, 2024

Knox pledges $3m for community groups

Victoria’s Knox City Council has pledged $3 million over four years for local organisations delivering services to the community as part of its Community Partnership Funding.

Council said a total of $750,000 annually from 2022-2026 will be awarded to local not-for-profit organisations to provide welfare, wellbeing and volunteer support to the Knox community.

“Council has long assisted locally based community organisations with operational costs to enable them to provide welfare, wellbeing and volunteer support to the Knox community. In addition to the continued support for local organisations, Council has made a significant change for the next round with the inclusion of a new funding stream to support the operating costs of the Knox Toy Library,” it said in a statement today.

This financial year – the last year of the current funding round – funding of $733,609 has been distributed to 20 local groups, including Knox Learning Alliance neighbourhood houses, volunteer-based CFA and SES emergency services, Eastern Access Community Health (EACH) for counselling and financial counselling services, Eastern Community Legal Centre for legal services and advocacy, Knox Infolink for welfare support and emergency relief and the Knox Historical Society.

Knox City Council Mayor, Susan Laukens said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Knox community highlighted the value of Council’s Community Partnership Funding program in aiding community support through the provision of ongoing funding for operational costs.

“The Community Partnership Funding program maintains a focus on social outcomes that reflect Council’s strategic objectives and community partnerships that aim to benefit the Knox community, whilst continuing to respond to the social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely mental health, social isolation, family and individual financial health, digital literacy and food security,” she said.

“The Knox Toy Library is a volunteer-based organisation, which has been providing a service for Knox families for some 40 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted membership activities, including fundraising, as it did for many community groups. This funding will enable the toy library to reinstate its part-time coordinator while rebuilding its membership and profile.

“The inclusion of support for the toy library will help families with young children access affordable age-appropriate toys, games and play equipment. It also helps reduce the amount of toys sent to landfill by enabling toys to be used over and over and providing a place to donate gently used toys.

“The Knox Learning Alliance, being the five neighbourhood houses in Knox, aims to deliver a comprehensive range of training programs that provide pathways to employment and further training opportunities. They also offer a range of programs that connect and support people which has been particularly important during the pandemic.

“During this time, the neighbourhood houses have also been part of a support network for various community meals initiatives by emergency relief services and the phone outreach to socially isolated residents and volunteers stuck at home.

“Volunteer-based emergency services such as local CFA brigades and the SES Knox unit, continue to play a significant role in contributing to community awareness and resilience in response to bushfire, extreme weather events and local disasters and incidents.”

An expression of interest process will open in mid-February for organisations to apply for funding under the contested streams.

Council said it will determine the four-year round of funding based on the Knox Council Plan 2021-25 priorities and in response to identified service needs for the Knox community.

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