By Michael Giles

THE odds of winning a ‘Community Grant’ from the South Gippsland Shire Council are pretty good. The same no doubt goes for Bass Coast’s program.
Of the 33 local community and sporting groups that applied for grants in Round Two of South Gippsland’s 2016-17 program, 22 were successful at last Wednesday night’s presentation of grants.
And of those that didn’t get the nod, most either weren’t eligible or didn’t provide sufficient evidence to support their applications and have been recommended to resubmit in the next round after consultation with shire staff.
Recognition was also given for funds already handed out under the Small Emergency Grants Program and the Dairy Tight Times Support Events Program for activities that have already taken place.
And when you consider that a number of groups got two bites of the cherry, there’s got to be a good chance your group will secure funding for a worthy project. So go for it!
There’s also some indication that some groups and towns are very good at applying for funds and feature in the Community Grants list year after year. Good on them for being proactive and well organised. Their members and the community in general are the beneficiaries.
So the challenge is there for your group to take a look around and come up with an improvement project that might be eligible for shire funds.
As an initial step, you might have to do what the Leongatha and District Netball Association has done this year, and apply for funding for a master plan or development plan that not only sets a priority list for the works needed now and in the future, but also provides the justification when applying for grants.
It’s a good process that can lead to excellent community projects featuring the leveraging up of shire funds in a way that only community groups can achieve with their own fundraising efforts and in-kind labour and support.
Community groups can now apply in South Gippsland Shire’s Round One of the 2017/18 Community Grants Program which is open until August 31, 2017.
Those interested in making a submission can find both the guidelines and application on Council’s website at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/grants.
Applications are also being invited for the Bass Coast Shire’s Community Grants Round 2 which closes on Friday, August 4, 2017.
Check out the shire website for the Community Grant Guidelines or you might consider attending the Community Grant Information Session at the Kilcunda Community Hall, from 4pm to 5pm this Thursday, July 27. Please book to attend by 5pm, Wednesday, July 26 by contacting the Bass Coast Grants Officer on grantenquiry@basscoast.vic.gov.au or by phoning 5671 2211.