THE next stage in the regeneration of the Foster & District Community House took a big step forward recently when the House was announced as being one of 28 recipients of grants provided by the 2015 Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program.
The program is facilitated by the Gardiner Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). The recipients, who came from all three principle dairy regions of Victoria, were presented with their cheques at a reception held at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Thursday July 23.
Working in Dairy Communities provides grants of up to $5,000 for projects that aim to strengthen small Victorian dairy communities, build their capacity to deal with local issues, and enhance existing community infrastructure.
In total, $100,000 was made available and was widely and evenly distributed across the three dairying regions.
The grant of $2791 will enable the Foster & District Community House to upgrade its IT facilities and to expand community internet access.
“The grant made a significant contribution towards the upgrade of our office IT equipment that was reaching the end of its reliable life, resulting in problems cropping up on a regular basis,” said FCH Community Development Co-ordinator Rebecca Matthews.
The grant also enabled a reliable WIFI service to be installed throughout the Community House building.
“This will assist with our educational programs, and we also offer free public access to our WIFI service during opening hours.
“This upgrade is part of the revitalisation of the Community House, expanding and improving on our current services. We are very grateful for the support from the Gardiner Foundation,” Ms Matthews said.
Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chairman, Mike Taylor AO, said that supporting dairy communities through programs like this is critical to a sustainable dairy industry.
“Family farms and strong local businesses are critical to maintaining strong and vibrant local towns, and we are proud of the enormous contribution the dairy industry makes to the social fabric of regional Victoria. We are delighted to play a small part in helping build those strong communities by supporting the community groups that do such vital work.”
The Right Honourable Ian Sinclair AC, Chairman of FRRR, said small grants play an important role in local communities.
“These grants help address the issues and priorities and enable local groups to implement local solutions to local problems. The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s support of communities through this grant program has a transformative effect.
This year, on average, for every dollar we are granting the local community has raised more than four times that amount to bring the projects to life, through either in-kind support or other local fundraising. This demonstrates how small communities leverage and grow any amount of support they receive – delivering big outcomes for their communities,” he said.
Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.4 million in this program, supporting 363 community projects. For further information, visit www.gardinerfoundation.com.au