THREE Corner Inlet district organisations are among 26 groups from Victoria’s three dairy farming communities to receive grants for projects through the Gardiner Dairy Foundation (GDF) and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
Foster Primary School, Manna Gum Community House in Foster and the Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Public Hall Committee have each been given a share of $121,584 through the two partner foundations’ 2020 Working in Dairy Communities (WIDC) Small Grants program.
Foster Primary School’s $5000 grant has allowed a new and much more efficient telephone system to be installed, improving amenity and communications within as well as beyond the school and ensuring the well-being of all students and staff.
Manna Gum Community House’s $4308 grant will be used to create the next stage of the welcoming and safe family-friendly Gathering Place already well under way in the grounds of the former Foster Court House.
Community film nights will now be possible because of the $5000 grant presented to the Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Public Hall Committee towards long-wished-for audio-visual equipment.
These are three of eight such locally beneficial projects to be allocated WIDC grants in the Gippsland dairy region, alongside three others in South Gippsland, which include replacement window blinds at Leongatha’s Hassett Street Kindergarten.
The Tarwin Lower community will get a new sound system, and the Venus Bay Tarwin Lower District Men’s Shed has received money to run children’s activities at the 2020 Tarwin District t Auto Festival in November, COVID-19 restrictions permitting.
The Anglican Trusts Corporation of the Diocese of Gippsland and the Boisdale-Briagolong Football Club also won WIDC grants, with the balance of the funding distributed among 18 projects located throughout Victoria’s Northern and South-Western Dairy regions.
Foster Primary School telephone system
Foster Primary School principal Lorraine Gurnett said the school had been “extremely fortunate to receive a $5000 grant towards our ‘phone system upgrade from the GDF and the FRRR.
“We are so very grateful to parent and school council member Elisa Nudelman who successfully applied to the WIDC Small Grants program earlier this year,” she said.
“Further thanks must go to the FRRR for supporting our school once again, as previously we were given a $5000 grant towards the shade structure that was built next to the senior building,” Mrs Gurnett said.
“This time, the money is going towards upgrading our ‘phone system throughout the entire school.
“With the old system, lines would drop out mid-conversation, we couldn’t always make a phone call out and the final straw was the reduction of all incoming lines down to one so we were literally queueing to use a phone!” she exclaimed.
“After limping to the end of last term, we are now nearly there with the new installation, working with Connexus to get things up and running.
“Kylie Mitchell, our fantastic administrative assistant, has been recording messages and teaching us all how to use the new phones and system,” Mrs Gurnett said.
“There have been a few glitches but we seem to be getting there so once again, many thanks to our marvellous parents and carers for their patience, and a big thank you to everyone at the FRRR and the GDF from everyone at Foster Primary School!”
Manna Gum Community House gathering place
Manna Gum Community House manager Bec Matthews said “the overall vision for the Gathering Place is to make the area outside the Community House into an accessible and family-friendly space.
“We want to express our appreciation to both the GDF and the FRRR for making the WIDC Small Grants program available and to thank them both for this grant of $4308, which is the second we have been given for the Gathering Place project,” she said.
“We got our first WIDC grant of $4540 a couple of years ago, and that went towards putting in concrete paths for easier access and installing the wonderful and very popular cubby house that Gippsland TAFE students made for us.
“This year’s grant will pay for four new sheds to store equipment and stocks of second-hand goods, and to make a greater connection between the House and the neighbouring Manna Community Garden,” Ms Matthews said.
“We will be removing the existing shed and building an even more inviting al fresco eating space that can also be enjoyed in conjunction with community arts projects in the future,” she said.
“The WIDC Small Grants program noted that our Gathering Place project would ‘strengthen educational and social outcomes through equipping a space that is safe and welcoming and can be used for relevant programs and activities’, and that’s exactly right.”
Yanakie Public Hall film equipment
Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Public Hall committee president Lachlan Moon also thanked the GDF and the FRRR for the $5000 WIDC grant provided towards buying “a projector, a screen and projectors so we can hold run community movie nights.
“The Yanakie Hall committee has had this idea in the pipeline for 12 months or more and we’ve applied for other grants as well as looked at paying for this audio-visual equipment ourselves,” he said.
“Committee secretary Deirdre Zuidema heard about the GDF and VRRR grants program and thought we might be eligible and our vice-president Sean Taylor did a lot of the groundwork and lodged our application.
“The WIDC grant means that now we’ve got most of what we need to cover the cost of the equipment and the Hall committee will contribute the rest,” Mr Moon said.
“We’re looking forward to showing movies for Yanakie people as a way of bringing what has become a very diverse community together, and organising public film nights as fundraisers,” he said.
“Our screenings will be in addition to rather than in competition with other local venues such as the Fish Creek Memorial Hall and the Tidal River open air cinema.”
WIDC Small Grants Program
Now in its 18th year, the WIDC Small Grants program offers up to $5,000 to support community-driven projects that strengthen Victorian dairy communities through enhancing community infrastructure and local capacity.
GDF chief executive Dr Clive Noble said this year the program is funding “projects that support early childhood and adult education and stimulate economic recovery and will have long-lasting benefits for these communities.
“Things have been tough for small towns reliant on dairy and these grants will help communities on their renewal journey by supporting projects that will encourage community engagement and social connectedness,” he said.
“The diversity of the projects reflects the differing needs of dairy communities too.”
FRRR chief executive officer Natalie Egleton said the longstanding partnership with GDF has been so successful because both foundations “share the belief that local groups are best placed to know what their community needs; they just need some support to turn their ideas into reality.
“Working with the GDF over the past 18 years we’ve seen just how passionate and dedicated local not-for-profit groups are in meeting challenges and creating their own opportunities,” she said.
“This year the program is supporting some fantastic initiatives to rejuvenate and extend the capacity of community spaces so that locals have access to high quality facilities.”
Since the launch of the annual Working in Dairy Communities (WIDC) Small Grants program in 2002, Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.8 million in this program and has supported a total of 471 community projects.