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This Community Grants Program aims to work in partnership with community groups and individuals to create a sustainable, active, healthy, inclusive and empowered Merri-bek. The Program is based on Council’s Community Grants Policy and provides support for new and innovative initiatives that respond to emerging community needs.

It is a competitive process and limited by the amount of funds available. Applicants are not guaranteed funding, nor the full amount requested. Projects funded previously cannot be guaranteed funding in future years. This needs to be considered when developing an application.

Funding for funding support in the 2024-2025 financial year has closed on 26th February 2024.

  • The next round for funding during FY 2025-2026 will open on 1 January 2025 and close Friday 28 February 2025.
  • A Round 2 of funding for Facility Improvement Grants - smaller projects will open on 1 June and close 14 July 2024. Read more below.

Read the  Community Grants Guidelines(PDF).

To apply online go to our SmartyGrants website to complete and submit the application form during open dates.

Community Strengthening Grant

To support projects that enhance the Merri-bek Community and aim to address areas such as social inclusion and community participation, environmental sustainability, healthy and active living and creating vibrant spaces.  Funding up to $7,000.

  • This funding supports one-off community projects that benefit the Merri-bek Community and aim to address areas such as social inclusion and community participation, environmental sustainability, healthy and active living and creating vibrant spaces.

    Funding ideas

    • Community events
    • Leadership and development activities
    • Community participation programs
    • Community projects including sustainability, social inclusion, health promotion, participation etc
    • Groups that can apply: community garden, seniors’ group, playgroup, youth group, artist groups, support groups etc.

    Funding Priorities

    Read the more About the community grant program: Objectives,  Funding Priorities and Principles:

    Applications that meet one or more of the Funding Priorities, will score higher in the assessment process:
    • Supports Council’s priority communities
    The project is planned and delivered by community groups and organisations that work together,
    The project has clear benefits for people living in Merri-bek,
    The project considers its environmental impact and tries to minimise it where possible.

    Community Grants Program guidelines (PDF 396Kb) provides further information about this grant category and other funding opportunities.

  • Application are closed for larger project for the 2024-2025 financial year. 

    • Next round for 2025-26 will open 1 January - 28 February 2025.

    All year round grants - quick response funding for participation projects and activities that fall outside of the annual grants timeframes  Community Participation Grants for Groups

  • Up to $7,000

    • 12 months
    • The current 2024-2025 round has now closed.
    • Next round; applications accepted from 1 January - 28 February 2025 for projects to occur between 1 July 2025 - 30 June 2026.
  • Organisations, groups and clubs

    • Be a Not-for-Profit community group, organisation or club,
    • Be incorporated or auspiced by another incorporated organisation,
    • Have adequate public liability insurance,
    • Have acquitted previous Council grants and have no outstanding debts to Council,
    • Be able to supply financial statements and requested supporting documentation,
    • Ensure the proposed activity is consistent with Local, State and Federal laws.
    • Temporary staff costs to implement the project (e.g. project worker, instructor etc.)
    • Printing, translation, promotional activities
    • Equipment or community venue/meeting room hire (up to $500)
    • Costs to encourage participation (e.g. Transport, disability support, interpreters)
    • Catering and refreshments (up to $300)
    • Volunteer expenses
    • Small equipment that is useful long term to the community and is needed for the project and aligns with the Community Grants Objectives (Up to $500)
    • Communications, media, advertising and marketing.

    The limits set out as above will be adhered to in the assessment process, it is encouraged that project expenses are spread across a variety of project expense costs. Unfortunately we cannot place flexibility for the above set limits.

  • Funding may not be used for:

    • Projects that do not align with the Community Grant Program Principles and Community Grants Objectives
    • Fundraising activities - projects that are for general fundraising and fundraising events, competitions, trophies, prizes or awards.
    • Permanent public art installations
    • Projects that have already started or have been completed
    • Activities that are part of an organisation’s regular program or that duplicate an existing program
    • Items that are part of an organisation’s core business or normal operating expenses e.g. salaries, insurances, utilities, rental of business premises.
    • Projects that are the funding responsibility of other levels of government
    • Privately-owned, for-profit businesses
    • Further information on the grants program, what we won't fund view the Community Grants Program Guidelines (PDF 1287Kb).
  • To apply online go to our grants website https://merri-bek.smartygrants.com.au to complete and submit the application form.

    Our page on applying for community grants provides further details about the application process and information around reporting and other requirements for grant recipients.

Organisational Establishment Grant 

To support newly established organisations or groups over three years to grow and become independent. Funding up to $10,000 per annum for 3 years.

  • This funding aims to support newly established organisations or groups over three years to grow and become independent.

    Funding will be provided for 3 years only; it is expected that the organisation be self-maintained and suitably self-sufficient at the end of the funding term. Applications will be accepted every 3 years for this category.

    Groups must be no more than three years old and must complete an acquittal every year to show how the organisation is operating.

  • Applications for 2024-2027 has now closed.

    • Next round; applications accepted from 1 January - 28 February 2025 for funding between 1 July 2025 - 30 June 2027.

    All year round grants -  to support incorporated or auspiced community groups who meet on a regular basis to address issues of isolation and promote active community involvement - Membership Activity Grants 

     

  • Up to $10,000 each year for 3 years 

    Payment annually - up to $10,000 is paid each financial year, a total of $30,000 over 3 years

  • Funding is for 3 years

    • The current 2024-2027 round has now closed.
    • Next round; applications accepted from 1 January - 28 February 2025 for funding  between 1 July 2025 - 30 June 2028.
  • Organisations, groups and clubs

    • Be a Not-for-Profit community group, organisation or club,
    • Be incorporated or auspiced by another incorporated organisation, if auspiced see below.
    • Have adequate public liability insurance,
    • Have acquitted previous Council grants and have no outstanding debts to Council,
    • Be able to supply financial statements and requested supporting documentation,
    • Ensure the proposed activity is consistent with Local, State and Federal laws.

    Specifically for this criteria community groups must:

    • Be currently based in Merri-bek
    • Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    • Be no more than three years old and be able to complete an acquittal every year to show how the organisation is operating.
    • At the end of the funding term., the group / organisation must be independent (cannot be auspiced), be self-maintained and be suitably self-sufficient at the end of the funding term.
  • Organisations groups, and clubs must:

    • Meet eligibility requirement of the Community Grant Program to be considered for funding. Read more a at Who can apply
    • Be based in Merri-bek
    • Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    • Be no more than three years old and must able to complete an acquittal every year to show how the organisation is operating.
    • At the end of the funded period be; independent, self-maintained and suitably self-sufficient  i.e. be incorporated and self-funded for organisational expenses.
  • • Administration and running costs 
    • Small equipment that is of significant need to the organisation and supports the Community Grants Objectives
    • Incorporation fees
    • Insurance
    • Governance training
    • Volunteer training and capacity building
    • Strategy development
    • Rent and utilities .

  • Funding may not be used for:

    • Projects that do not align with the Community Grant Program Principles and Community Grants Objectives
    • Fundraising activities Projects that are for general fundraising and fundraising events, competitions, trophies, prizes or awards.
    • Permanent public art installations
    • Projects that have already started or have been completed includes retrospective funding and reimbursement of expenses paid prior to submitting an application or funding approval.
    • Activities that are part of an organisation’s regular program or that duplicate an existing program;
    • Items that are part of an organisation’s core business or normal operating expenses e.g. salaries, insurances, utilities, rental of business premises. (except for Organisational Establishment Grant category);
    • Projects that are the funding responsibility of other levels of government;
    • Privately-owned, for-profit businesses;
    • State-wide activities that do not directly benefit the Merri-bek community;
    • Further information on the grants program, what we won't fund view the Community Grants Program Guidelines (PDF 997Kb).
  • To apply online go to our grants website https://merri-bek.smartygrants.com.au to complete and submit the application form.

    Our page on applying for community grants provides further details about the application process and information around reporting and other requirements for grant recipients.

  • We assess eligible applications using the criteria listed below and funding is awarded based on merit and information submitted in the application.

    % of score Criteria How we assess applications
    40% Supports Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    35% Demonstrates community need
    • Why is the organisation needed?
    • How many local people will benefit from the organisation?
    • What benefits will the organisation have for the community?
    • Has the applicant asked local people or groups if this new organisation is needed?
    • Is there anything else like this organisation in Merri-bek?
    25% Has capacity to implement the project
    • Is the application well planned and milestones achievable within the timeframes?
    • Does the organisation have the resources and experience to manage the establishment of organisation over 3 years?
    • Does the budget reflect value for money?
    • Is there evidence of in-kind contribution?

Facility Improvement Grants

This funding supports changes to community facilities or assets that will help community members participate more in community life.  Priority is given to community-led projects that increase community access and participation, demonstrate collaboration between groups and result in greater use of facilities.

Read the Facility Improvement Grant - Applicant Information Manual (550kb PDF)for more information about this category.

Read the Communty Grant Guidelines (PDF 1186kb).


Two types of grants are available under this category.

Facility Improvement Grant - Smaller Projects

Smaller project - funding up to $10,000

  • This funding supports changes to community facilities or assets that will help community members participate more in community life.  Priority is given to community-led projects that increase community access and participation, demonstrate collaboration between groups and result in greater use of facilities.

    Preference will be given to projects that:
    - Encourage greater participation in community life
    - Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    - Meet the needs of the community
    - Show how organisations partner together
    - Plan for long term sustainability.
    - Plans, permits or site audits may be required, depending on the project.

    Read the guidelines for help about this category.

     

  • A second round of applications for 2024-2025 will open on 1 June and close midnight 14 July 2024.

    The round for funding for FY 2025-2026 will open on 1 January 2025 and close Friday 28 February 2025

  • Up to $10,000

    • 12 months
    • Applications for 2024-2025 are now closed.

    •  

      The next round for funding for FY 2025-2026 will open on 1 January 2025 and close Friday 28 February 2025

  • Organisations, groups and clubs

    • Be a Not-for-Profit community group, organisation or club,
    • Be incorporated or auspiced by another incorporated organisation,
    • Have adequate public liability insurance,
    • Have acquitted previous Council grants and have no outstanding debts to Council,
    • Be able to supply financial statements and requested supporting documentation,
    • Ensure the proposed activity is consistent with Local, State and Federal laws.
  • Preference will be given to projects that:

    • Encourage greater participation in community life
    • Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    • Meet the needs of the community
    • Show how organisations partner together
    • Plan for long term sustainability
    • Plans, permits or site audits may be required, depending on the project.
  • Funding may not be used for:

    • Facilities where there is little or no public access
    • Purchase of land
    • Projects that are considered as routine or cyclical maintenance works (e.g. general painting, replacement of fixtures, drainage, roofing) 
    • Purchase of equipment, except as part of facility upgrade.
    • Wages or salaries for project management, unless an external person is appointed to manage the project.
    • Projects that do not align with the Community Grant Program Principles and Community Grants Objectives
    • Fundraising activities/ projects that are for general fundraising and fundraising events, competitions, trophies, prizes or awards.
    • Permanent public art installations
    • Projects / activities that have already started or have been completed or requests for retrospective funding; funding cannot reimburse costs paid before approval,
    • Activities that are part of an organisation’s regular program or that duplicate an existing program,
    • Items and expenses that are part of an organisation’s core business or normal operating expenses e.g. salaries, insurances, utilities, rental of business premises
    • Projects that are the funding responsibility of other levels of government
    • Privately-owned, for-profit businesses
    • For further information on the grants program and what we won't fund view the Community Grants Program Guidelines (PDF)
  • To apply online go to our grants website https://merri-bek.smartygrants.com.au to complete and submit the application form.

    Our page on applying for community grants provides further details about the application process and information around reporting and other requirements for grant recipients.

  • General facility improvements that encourage greater community access, equity and participation.

    • Multipurpose community facilities.
    • Facility improvements to support people with disability accessing the venue.
    • Energy efficiency upgrades - improves a buildings’ environmental performance. i.e. conversion of items to renewable energy and/or water and energy efficiency.

Facility Improvement Grant - Larger  Projects

Larger project - funding up to $40,000
*Expression of Interest submissions for 2024-2025 are now closed.

  • This funding supports changes to community facilities or assets that will help community members participate more in community life.  Priority is given to community-led projects that increase community access and participation, demonstrate collaboration between groups and result in greater use of facilities.

    Preference will be given to projects that:
    - Encourage greater participation in community life
    - Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    - Meet the needs of the community
    - Show how organisations partner together
    - Plan for long term sustainability
    - Plans, permits or site audits may be required, depending on the project

    Read the Facility Improvement Grant - Applicant Information Manual (550kb PDF)for more information about this category.

    Read the Communty Grant Guidelines (PDF 1186kb).

  • Application dates are currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in May 2024. 

    Expression of Interest submissions for 2025-2026 to open:  September 2024. (anticipated date)

    The next round is 2025-2026 and the timelines are: 

    Expressions of interest (EOI's):

    • will close mid-October 2024.
    • An interview will be required for all EOI submissions and may be conducted within the EOI period. Otherwise we will assign you Council officers after the EOI's are closed in mid-October.

    If deemed eligible to Stage two, a full application will be accepted between 1 January - 28 February 2025 and include all information such as full quoting, schematic plans, permits, permissions and site audits.

    • Full application due: 1 January - 28 February 2025
    • Notification of Outcome: May 2025
    • Project Delivery: 1st July 2025 – 30 June 2026
    • Up to $40,000
    • Payment of funds will be in two instalments. A full evaluation and acquittal report is required for the second instalment to be paid at the completion of the project.
    • The final payment amount is also subject to the assessment of a full project financial acquital assessment and if needed a recalcuation of final 20% grant payment to ensure the applicants manditory contribution of 25% of the full project value.
    • 12 months
    • The next round 2025-2026 -  delivery of project must be between 1 July 2025 - 30 June 2026
  • Eligible Applicants:

    Organisations, groups and clubs

    • Be a Not-for-Profit community group, organisation or club,
    • Be incorporated or auspiced by another incorporated organisation,
    • Have adequate public liability insurance,
    • Have acquitted previous Council grants and have no outstanding debts to Council,
    • Be able to supply financial statements and requested supporting documentation,
    • Ensure the proposed activity is consistent with Local, State and Federal laws.

    Read more Who Can Apply

  • Preference will be given to projects that:

    • Address Community Grants Objectives and Funding Priorities
    • Meet the needs of the community
    • Plan for long term sustainability.

    Applicant must contribute at least 25% of the total project value. 

    Applicants are required to:

    • show how community groups collaborate to encourage greater use of the facilities by a range of community members
    • contribute at least 25% to the cost (value) of the project
    • complete a two-part application process:
    1. Submit an EOI
    2. Applications that require an EOI will undergo a preliminary assessment process, including an interview and site visit where necessary, the EOI process will determine if the Applicant is eligible and ready to submit a full application form that will include skematic plans, relevent permits or site audits, depending on the project.
    3. Part 2 of the application process - Applicant must submit three sets of quotes that details full costings; include detailed schematic plans/design, timelines with evidence of the applicant’s capacity to contrubute funds; and deliver the project on time and within budget.
  • General facility improvements that encourage greater  community access, equity and participation;

    • Environmental initiatives
    • Multipurpose community facilities
    • Facility improvements to support people with disability accessing the venue.

    What funding can cover:   

    • Indoor or outdoor building materials,
    • Costs of permits or audits, (if conducted within funded period) 
    • Contractor fees (such as builders, architects, building surveyors etc.)
    • Noting: funding cannot cover costs and expenses occurred prior to application for funding outcome is considered, and not prior to the project funding start date. (see Duration tab)
  • Funding may not be used for:

    • Facilities where there is little or no public access
    • Purchase of land
    • Projects that are considered as routine or cyclical maintenance works (e.g. general painting, replacement of fixtures, drainage, roofing) 
    • Equipment, except as part of facility upgrade
    • Wages or salaries for project management, unless an external person is appointed to manage the project.
    • Projects that do not align with the Community Grant Program Principles and Community Grants Objectives
    • Fundraising activities- projects that are for general fundraising and fundraising events, competitions, trophies, prizes or awards.
    • Permanent public art installations
    • Projects that have already started or have been completed.  
      • i.e. funding cannot cover costs and expenses occurred prior to application for funding outcome is considered, and not prior to the project funding start date. (see Duration tab)
    • Activities that are part of an organisation’s regular program or that duplicate an existing program,
    • Items and expenses that are part of an organisation’s core business or normal operating expenses e.g. salaries, insurances, utilities, rental of business premises.
    • Projects that are the funding responsibility of other levels of government.
    • Privately-owned, for-profit businesses.
      • i.e. A Privately Owned property or facility cannot be considered for a facilitiy improvement grant.
    • Further information on the grants program, what we won't fund view the Community Grants Program Guidelines (DOC 498Kb).

    Contact us: communitygrants@merri-bek.vic.gov.au if you wish to clarify or receive feedback for any of the above items that wont be funded. 

  • To submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) online go to our grants website https://merri-bek.smartygrants.com.au to complete and submit the application form during the EOI open times. 

    Once submitted and assessed for eligibility a Council officer/s will be assigned to you to conduct a site interview and explain what information Council will request in the full application.  An officer may be assigned to you after the EOI closing date.

    Our page on applying for community grants provides further details about the application process and information around reporting and other requirements for grant recipients.

Successful Annual Grants for 2023-2024

  • Funding up to $7,000

    Recipient Project  Funded Amount 
    Australian Skateboarding Federation Limited
    Merri Bek Shred Sessions! - skateboarding lessons targeted at girls and beginners in collaboration with Fawkner Neighbourhood House.
     
     $6,400
    Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria
    A vision for improved health and well-being in Merri-bek - social, group activities for people with vision loss.
     
     $6,988
    Drummond Street Services Inc
    Queerspace X Unassigned delivery of weekly art group for LGBTIQA+ people with living with a mental health held at Unassigned Gallery in Brunswick.
     
     $ 7,000
    Feminista Vinyl Inc
    Feminista Vinyl Presents a series of events/workshops/events held at Feminista Vinyl in Coburg.
     
     $7,000
    Juno Services Inc (t/a WISHIN Inc)
    Merri-bek Social Support and Community Connection Group - for women (trans and cis) and non-binary people who have experienced homelessness and family violence.
     $6,458
    Kids' Own (Australia) Inc
    Child-led publishing with Merri-bek Supported Playgroups in the North - to run eight creative workshops.
     $6,019
    Merri-bek (Moreland) Bicycle User Group Inc
    Wheely Women in Fawkner - for women from the  CALD community to learn to ride a bicycle.
     
     $5,850
    Mosaik Experiences
    Reconnecting Community wellbeing project held at Brunswick Neighborhood House.
     
     $7,000
    Renters And Housing Union Inc
    Member engagement to build renters confidence in understanding and advocating for their rights
     $7,000
    Waterdale Players Inc
    Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical
     
     $5,000
    The Onemda Association Inc
    Digital Content Creation - a tech program for young adults with intellectual disabilities.
     $5,350
    UN Youth Victoria Inc
    UN Youth Victoria 2023 Food & Water Security Summit.
     
     $7,000

     

  • Supports newly established organisations or groups over three years to grow and become independent. Funding up to $10,000 per annum for 3 years.

    Value of $69,837.75 per year for 3 years; FY's 2023/24, 2024/25 and 2025/26.

    Recipient Organisation Aims Annual funded Over 3 years
    Rotary Inner Melbourne Emergency Relief Network Inc
    The organisation collects donated furniture, appliances and homewares from the community; clean, test & repair them & rehome to disadvantaged people.
     
     $10,000
    $30,000
    Australia Women & Children Protection and Development Inc
    Focuses on empowering women and children to live their aspired life and build their devoted careers. The organisation aims to protect the rights of women and children and to provide them with the support they need to overcome domestic violence.
     
     $10,000 $30,000
    Colour Them Safe
    Provide accessible and inclusive art for wellbeing interventions where young people can connect, explore art making and experience kindness.
     
     $10,000 $30,000
    Fair Music Provide equity of access to adolescents (12-17 years old) to engaging music education with a focus on real industry experience and wellbeing.

     

     $9,996 $29,990.25
    Growing Farmers Inc
    Support regenerative farming in urban communities by assisting aspiring farmers to connect with land and mentoring, building stronger community connection, providing fresh produce to our local communities, and improving soil and micro ecology in the spaces we farm.
     
     $10,000
    $30,000
    Society for the Advancement of Food Security in Moreland Inc (Merri Food Hub) Achieve food security and food justice by: promoting food security and working towards a more sustainable food system with access to fresh, affordable, culturally appropriate food; increase social cohesion by bringing people together and support a dynamic circular economy.

     

     $10,000 $30,000
    The Opportunity Lab
    Support young people and women who have experienced family violence who are disengaged from education and/ or employment and from their community. Provide a range of supports and programs to engage clients who are disenfranchised.
     $9,841
    $29,523
  • Funding up to $10,000

    Recipient Upgrade project  Funded amount
    Brunswick Neighbourhood House
    Access and Equity - install a new automatic front door at De Carle Street to improve access for people with disabilities and parents with prams.
     
     $10,000
    East Coburg Tennis Club
    Club House Upgrade of entrance area and office space.
     
     $9,201
    Fawkner Soccer Club
    Upgrade synthetic soccer pitch entrance and surround located at John Fawkner College with installation of indigenous gardens, installing urban artwork, a notice board and natural seating.
     
     $10,000
    Glenroy West Kindergarten Inc
    Create a new shaded area in the kindergarten outdoor play space and garden.
     
     $10,000
    Merri Outreach Support Services Ltd
    Improve access to the public BBQ area/green space with Soft-fall resurfacing for better access.
     
     $4,680
    Moreland City Band Inc
    Lighting upgrade for Cross Street Music Hall - replace current lighting with more energy efficient and aesthetically appropriate LED lighting fixtures.
     
     $7,500
    Newlands and East Coburg Community Hubs Inc
    Install a new awning over new community engagement cafe space window and purchase new equipment for the space.
     
     $10,000
     
  • Funding up to $40,000

    Applicant  Upgrade Project Funded Amount
    Ceres Earth Limited (t/a CERES Inc) Refurbish and transform the upper level of the CERES Community Centre into an accessible and vibrant community centre, comprising multi-use indoor spaces overlooking a village square.  $40,000
    Ceres Earth Limited (t/a CERES Inc) Spitfire Caterpillar Train: Childrens arts play and nature exploration – transform the train carriage into a ‘Spitfire Caterpillar’ with two separate indoor/outdoor leasable spaces and a kiosk.  $40,000
    Coburg Athletic Ground Management Committee Inc. New storage sheds for essential equipment urgently required to support the community activities at the Harold Stephens Athletics Track.  $40,000
    Coburg Districts Football Club Inc Cole Reserve Lighting Upgrade - Install a new light tower at Cole Reserve to increase the maintained average horizontal illuminance to 150 lux.  $40,000
    Coburg Tennis Club Inc Landscaping of Garden & access path to incorporate disability access to Court 7.  $34.110
    Hadfield Tennis Club Incorporated Upgrade to Kitchen Amenities at the clubrooms to meet Health Standards.  $14,062
    Our Daily Bread Outdoor Facility Upgrade – install new outdoor seating and removable tables as well as create a garden setting with plants and a community herb garden.  $37,500
    Pink Ember Studio Co-operative Ltd New venue facilities upgrade - lighting upgrade, chairs and tables for large groups, split systems for temperature control, sinks for art making, and a security system.  $22,882
    West Coburg Football Club Inc New scoreboard Upgrade - Shore Reserve: new LED scoreboard to be used as game scoring and community notices.  $40,000

Successful Annual Grants for 2024-2025

  • Listing will be updated soon. 

    We are currently notifying appplicants of the ouctome of their submitted application. 

  • Listing will be updated soon. 

    We are currently notifying appplicants of the ouctome of their submitted application. 

  • Listing will be updated soon. 

    We are currently notifying appplicants of the ouctome of their submitted application. 

  • Listing will be updated soon. 

    We are currently notifying appplicants of the ouctome of their submitted application. 

More information and help on grants

Visit our Applying for Community Grants page to find out more information on the application and assessment process as well as templates, help sheets, information about reporting and other requirements for grant recipients.