As the festive season approaches, the Federal Government is providing new funding for local volunteers and their organisations who many locals turn to for support, companionship and a friendly chat.
Liberal Senator Marise Payne, has welcomed the announcement that several local organisations in the Macquarie electorate will share in more than $132,000 in federal funding.
The funding boost, which is part of the government's $20 million Volunteer Grants round, will be used to help local organisations buy small equipment for use by volunteers, reimburse volunteer fuel costs, training costs and transport of volunteers with a disability, or support promotional activities on volunteering opportunities within their organisation.
Successful applicants include the Blaxland Ridge Rural Fire Brigade, Hawkesbury Valley Rugby Club Inc and The Australiana Pioneer Village.
Ms Payne said volunteers are part of the lifeblood of the Hawkesbury community.
"Unfortunately, Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, especially seniors," she said. "Our community organisations, like Hawkesbury Community Kitchen, do fantastic work in making sure locals have every opportunity to enjoy this time of year.
"Not only that, volunteers have gone above and beyond during the pandemic to provide vital support for vulnerable Australians, and the federal government is very pleased to back them in with this funding opportunity.
"Across Australia, more than 8.7 million volunteers give their time freely to support their communities, representing an economic contribution of around $290 billion each year.
"Having met with many of the successful grant recipients, I know this funding will be put to good use and will enhance the very important work our volunteers undertake."
Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said that it was wonderful to see 75 organisations (28 in the Hawkesbury) across the electorate receive some "much-needed funds".
"My team works really hard to support organisations with the applications and get them to the government for approval, and I was very pleased to be able to nominate such a diverse array of groups in 2021," she said.
"Although these grants are only available between $1000 and $5000, they fund really important equipment and activities that encourage and support volunteering in our community, including making volunteering more accessible for people with disabilities.
"I know these small amounts of assistance will go a long way towards helping our wonderful community groups do their work - particularly in what has been such a tough 18 months to try and conduct fundraising activities.
"I'd like to encourage any other organisations that would like a heads-up about future grants to sign up to my grants newsletter via susantempleman.com.au, or email me at email@example.com and my office will add you to the list."
The 2021 Volunteer Grants provide organisations with grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to help purchase equipment, training and background screening checks for their volunteers.
Over 5,000 applications in Australia have been successful in their application for funding.