MANNA Gum Community House in Foster has received its third Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grant of $5000, which will go towards completing another stage of the Community House’s outdoor Gathering Place project.
Manna Gum manager Bec Matthews said the current grant will see “a commercial barbecue installed in the backyard of the House, which will be used for our regular programs and events.
“These include our youth group, community lunches, and school holiday programs, and the barbecue will also be available to the general community,” she said.
“We are incredibly grateful that Manna Gum has been fortunate to benefit from a Gardiner Foundation Community Grant multiple times.
“The grants have helped us to improve our infrastructure, build partnerships, support our community, and be sustainable,” Bec said.
“They’ve been particularly important for the development of our backyard space, which is now an ideal venue for a much wider range of activities and user groups than it was before.”
The Community Grants Program supports projects in small Victorian dairy communities, funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, and delivered in collaboration with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
The two charitable organisations are celebrating 20 years of partnership this year.
A congratulatory certificate signed by Gardiner Dairy Foundation chairman Len Stephens and FRRR chairman Tim Fairfax AM to mark the awarding of the Community Grant in the 2022 round was also presented to Manna Gum.
Bec said Manna Gum’s Committee of Management and staff created a backyard masterplan in 2017.
“After some extensive consultation with user groups and stakeholders, we broke the masterplan down into stages to make it more achievable,” she said.
“We drew funding and support from a number of sources, including a large amount of in-kind and voluntary support.
“We wanted to improve the safety of the outdoor space and the accessibility, introduce play spaces for children, and make it generally more welcoming,” Bec said.
“The first grant from FRRR in 2018 paid for the new concrete pathways to improve access, some outdoor chairs and tables, and to install a cubby house.
“In 2020 the Gardiner Foundation provided a second round of funding which paid for some much-needed storage sheds,” she said.
“The barbecue will be going in when an old shed that’s no longer needed has been removed, and it really will be a wonderful facility, not just for Manna Gum but for the Corner Inlet community, too, right in the heart of our Gathering Place.”