Media statement - COVID-19 community grants

Published on 22 April 2020

Comments attributed to Mayor Erin Thompson

Last night Council approved a new community grant to support our residents’ social isolation, mental health, financial security and food security in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $50,000 community wellbeing and resilience fund will be used to support existing community groups that are working with individuals and families, particularly disadvantaged ones, by expanding their programs or creating new ones. The grants – with between $500-2000 available to each applicant – are open to any incorporated community group operating within the City of Onkaparinga.

Examples of community-led programs that could be funded by the grant include those that:

  • Support our residents to have access to safe, affordable, culturally appropriate and nutritious food
  • Enable our communities to support each other to reduce social isolation
  • Up-skill workers to move into another career path
  • Provide financial advice and support to those that have lost jobs or suffered a drop in income
  • Enable young people in our communities to provide support (e.g. replacing at-risk volunteers)

The funds allocated to this grant are from savings identified in a 2019-20 budget review, and it aims to fill a gap between other COVID-19 relief measures we’re providing, as well as those provided by organisations, businesses and the state and federal governments.

Times are tough right now, but we’re all in this together and this fund adds to a suite of COVID-19 relief measures already introduced by council to help ease the strain on our communities.

We’re continuing to work through what other support options can be offered to our community as people continue to be impacted by the virus. It’s important we make sure that meaningful relief is provided to those who really need it.

Measures implemented to date include:

  • A longer period of time to pay fourth quarter rates instalments without incurring penalties, for a period of up to eight weeks past the due date, and looking at what other options we can provide our ratepayers through the budget process.
  • Waiving lease and associated costs for businesses and community and sporting clubs using council facilities for a period of three months between 1 April and 30 June 2020, with an extension if required.
  • A “Think Local, Buy Local” advertising campaign to promote the local economy.
  • Reducing the payment terms for small-to-medium local businesses to 14 days.
  • Expanding our online business mentoring program to include grant writing and mental health and wellbeing, and waiving the fee.
  • Pivoting the Southern Business Mentoring Program, jointly funded with Cities of Marion and Holdfast Bay, to respond to business issues relating to COVID-19 (including two new streams – Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Specialist Retail Support) and waiving fees until June 30.
  • Creating a local Jobs Board Directory that lists local job providers, agencies and recruiters to assist job seekers in our community.
  • Creating a dedicated COVID-19 Business Support Page, distributing weekly COVID-19 Business Support emails, and publishing a COVID-19 Business Resource Guide with links and support.

More details on the community wellbeing and resilience fund will be available at onkaparingacity.com/grants from next week. To keep up-to-date with City of Onkaparinga’s affected services, visit onkaparingacity.com/Emergency-announcements/Covid-19

ENDS