Federal backing for participation centre
Many years of advocating for acknowledgment of volunteering as a key social driver has paid off for the Wimmera’s Centre for Participation – to the tune of almost $800,000.
Supporting ‘effective community governance’ has also helped the centre attract the government money.
The windfall is part of the Federal Government’s Strong and Resilient Communities, SARC, grants program.
Social Services Minister Dan Tehan, in officially announcing the funding, said money provided through the program helped organisations to build strong, resilient, cohesive and harmonious communities.
“It will ensure that individuals, families and communities have the opportunity to thrive, be free from intolerance and discrimination, and have the capacity to respond to emerging needs and challenges,” he said.
“I was pleased to advise the Centre for Participation that it had been selected as a preferred provider for this grant round.”
Member for Mallee Andrew Broad had let details surrounding the funding decision slip during Wimmera Machinery Field Days and said the money would ‘turbo-charge’ volunteering in the region.
The money will go towards a $300,000 two-year research project into ‘How volunteerism impacts social cohesion’ and a $487,500 ‘Building Cohesive and Resilient Communities’ project.
Centre for Participation chief executive Julie Pettet said receiving funding for community-led projects was wonderful.
“But to receive both of these is absolutely amazing,” she said.
The Centre for Participation was one of 16 organisations across Australia invited to submit a closed research tender based on ‘How volunteerism impacts social cohesion’.
“Our proposal went on to be one of six national research proposals that were selected,” Ms Pettet said.
“Over two years, we will work with colleagues from Think Impact Melbourne to develop a greater understanding of, and report on, how volunteering impacts social cohesion and the difference volunteer programs make on local communities.
“To ensure recognised this research is Australia-wide, members of the National Network of Volunteer Resource Centres will form a reference group and contribute to the research.
Ms Pettet said the Building Cohesive and Resilient Communities project would help the centre build ‘cohesive and resilient’ communities by providing a Good Governance program in partnership with four western Victorian organisations.
“Testing of the Good Governance program has taken place, as a result of the learning and subsequent work with Social Traders, and the program has been refined. We are now able to roll it out as a program,” she said.
“Mentors will be matched with a community organisation for 12 months, during which time they will share their skills and knowledge and, hopefully, assist the organisations to achieve successful outcomes.”
The Centre for Participation is working with groups such as Northern Grampians Shire Council and a multicultural group in Ballarat to undertake the next phase of rolling out the program.