The Federal Government’s Volunteer Grants support local community organisations by enabling the inclusion of vulnerable people in these organisations, and by promoting awareness to increase participation in volunteering.
The Volunteer Grants provide not-for-profit organisations with funding ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to support the work of volunteers.
Last year’s recipients included two Central Coast surf lifesaving clubs, who were also beneficiaries of the Stronger Communities Programme, a similar grant program for regional community organisations and local governments.
The Stronger Communities Programme provides grants between $2,500 and $20,000 for small capital projects that will benefit their local communities.
Umina Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC) received $5,000 through the 2022-23 Volunteer Grants and $12,500 from the Stronger Communities Programme, while Terrigal SLSC was granted $4,900 and $19,300 respectively.
Both clubs earmarked the grants for investment in a rescue boat trailer and for upgraded first aid training for their volunteers.
Damon Somerfield, Director of Education and Training at Umina SLSC, said that with this grant their club is able to meet Surf Lifesaving Australia’s requirement to have all patrolling members complete an upgraded first aid course.
Mr Somerfield also said that some of the grant will also cover fuel card assistance for volunteers who frequently travel to ensure water safety, coaching and officiating services are available at nipper carnivals.
“This funding will enable Umina SLSC to recognise our members who volunteer their time willingly, which they give for the common good,” he told Coast Community News.
Tim Pittolo, Director of Lifesaving at Terrigal SLSC was also keen to put the grants to good use.
“Last summer, volunteer lifesavers at Terrigal performed over 330 first aid treatments and this new grant will support another 70 volunteers to be trained, meaning we will have more qualified first aiders on the beach,” he said.
A new trailer will also allow Terrigal SLSC to transport rescue equipment more efficiently and safely when deployed in work away from Terrigal, such as during flooding events.
Federal Member for Robertson Gordon Reid was pleased the funding would help ensure the SLSC volunteers have the most up-to-date training before the busy summer period.
“Ultimately, this will ensure greater safety on our beaches and safer patrol seasons in the years ahead.”
The 2023–24 Volunteer Grants Opportunity is open for Expressions of Interest through Members of Parliament. Organisations interested in a grant must contact their local MP to submit their expression of interest and confirm the closing date.
Organisations that are nominated by their MP will be invited to apply for a grant in November 2023.
Grants opportunity guidelines can be found on GrantConnect.