Funding boost for Blue Mountains community groups

Community groups across the Blue Mountains have received more than $62,000 in new funding.

The $62,051 funding pool was allocated under round five of the Stronger Communities Grant to benefit nine community groups from around the region.

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle and Macquarie MP Susan Templeman are interviewed by Radio Blue Mountains, one of the groups to receive community grants funding.

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle and Macquarie MP Susan Templeman are interviewed by Radio Blue Mountains, one of the groups to receive community grants funding.

Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, spoke in Parliament on the issue earlier this month, congratulating the groups for their quality applications.

"There has been a lot of talk around grants recently, which left a really bad taste in people's mouths," she said.

"These groups work really hard to put together something that they hope is going to be assessed on merit. That's exactly what we have done with this grants program that the government has asked Members of Parliament's offices to administer.

"We looked very seriously at each application to see how it strengthened our community and put a high level of probity around it because we want to make sure that these grants are fair. This is important funding for these community groups, and they want to know that it's a level playing field.

"The fact is that we get way more applications than any of these funds will allow to be distributed. For these Stronger Communities grants, it isn't surprising to get more than $1 million worth of applications for $150,000 worth of funding.

"When governments step away from providing services, volunteers and the community step in and they need support to do that."

Among the organisations to be granted funding was Katoomba Rotary Club, which received more than $6500 for a catering trailer.

"People know that I have a long history with Rotary, and I continue to see really good proposals coming forward from Rotary Clubs," said Ms Templeman.

"I support them fully in the things they do around youth exchange, leadership development, group study exchange-all the incredible things they do, like fundraising for wonderful medical causes, including seeing an end to polio.

"It's great to be able to support Katoomba Rotary with a new catering trailer, which will allow them to travel around in the community - when we can do that again - and do what they do so well."

A number of children's services also received funding to allow them to deliver more to their community.

"The Blackheath Kookaburra Kindergarten is going to have bathroom renovations-the basic stuff that makes a real difference to not just those children but the adults caring for those children," Ms Templeman said. "We'll also see improvements in Katoomba at Gateway Family Service for the playroom that they use there and the equipment It has to enhance child development.

"Again, it's recognising how important learning through play is for the youngest members of our society. Euroka Children's Centre at Blaxland will now have the opportunity to experience an edible community garden in their facility thanks to this grant.

"These are all wonderful projects to be able to support."

Cancer Wellness Support at Leura received just over $6000 for air-conditioning, while Central Villages Anglican Church was granted $2500 for a better audiovisual and sound system for their hall, used by a variety of community groups.

Radio Blue Mountains in Katoomba, run by volunteers, received $2500 to upgrade equipment.

"I started out in community radio. I know how important it is to provide training to people as they learn how to communicate and move through a journalism career or sometimes just represent their community. So, congratulations to Radio Blue Mountains," said Ms Templeman.

Finally, Blaxland Football Club received $10,000 to improve its field with goalposts and fencing.

"People who applied for those grants know there were decisions made on merit, although there were many other very worthy projects that the funding didn't stretch to. We agonised about which groups would receive funding, because, quite frankly, so many of them were so deserving," said Ms Templeman said.

"Although many activities are on hold at the moment, it is good to know that many of our local sporting groups and community organisations will be able to come back with improved facilities once the stress of the coronavirus pandemic has subsided."