Apply for Strawberry Fields grant
Plans for the redevelopment of the Tocumwal Visitor Information Centre are well underway thanks partly to funds received through the Strawberry Fields Festival’s Community Grants Scheme.
A $5000 donation to the Tocumwal Community Development Committee during last year’s round of grants was put towards Stage 2 of the centre’s redevelopment, which will include a restaurant above the centre overlooking the Murray River.
Held annually in Tocumwal since 2011, the Strawberry Fields Festival started its grants scheme in 2015. It is designed to support local initiatives which enhance community economic development and improve the quality of everyday life in the Southern Riverina.
TCDC president Ross Bodey said the grant they received had helped the Tocumwal Foreshore redevelopment become closer to a reality.
‘‘The $5000 we received was used to get (development) plans drawn up for the top storey of the Visitor Information Centre,’’ Mr Bodey said.
‘‘Without that grant we couldn’t have run our path — we were super appreciative of the money we received from Strawberry Fields.’’
Mr Bodey said the grant helped the group to a stage where it could obtain a formal quote for the project, which is expected to cost $3.2 million.
Other grant winners from last year include Biralee Preschool, Berrigan Children’s Centre and Berrigan Shire Community Spin Space.
Biralee Preschool director Jess Williams said the $2800 they received not only helped enable the development of a new textured path out the front of the Finley-based school, but also funded local sustainability workshops at its special open day on November 12 last year.
‘‘This was a great opportunity for everyone to interact and we were delighted to have Strawberry Field director Tara Benney come along on the day . . . she was impressed with our sustainability efforts,’’ Miss Williams said.
The preschool’s open day featured a fruit fly presentation by Berrigan Shire Council economic development officer Merran Socha and one on keeping backyard poultry by Rose Tilley, who also assisted Jemma Brockie in running a compost workshop and growing organic vegetables demonstration. Norma Gowans conducted the Welcome to Country and presented bush tucker plants.
Applications for this year’s round of grants are now open and Mr Bodey encourages local groups and organisations to ‘‘make the most’’ of the increased grant pool of $25,000.
‘‘Every organisation has things they can do to improve their facility or area. The process itself is not hard to do. It didn’t take long at all to fill out the (online) application,’’ Mr Bodey said.
Strawberry Fields director Tara Benney said the fund is a way to give back to the community and the residents who have welcomed the festival and its attendees year after year.
‘‘We want the event to have a positive lasting impact in the Berrigan Shire and we love hearing about all the ways this fund has benefited the community.’’
The grants funding pool is raised by the on-site festival activities such as the Wildlands Community Barbecue, and a portion of ticket sales.
‘‘People also now have the option of making an extra donation when they buy tickets to the festival online, which has already raised more than $1000,’’ Ms Benney said.
Eligible candidates for grants must be based in the Berrigan Shire and have until June 30 to submit their applications at www.strawberry-fields.com.com.au/grants.
This year’s Strawberry Fields Festival is scheduled to be held in Tocumwal from November 17-19.
Biralee Preschool gardener Laurie Walsh and preschoolers Monique and Maddison Keel plant organic vegetables as part of the sustainability project endorsed by Strawberry Fields Festival Community Grant Scheme.