The Victorian Government’s Pick My Project fund is designed so that the community are able to have their say on the projects they want to get funded.
The state budget, released last week, has $30 million set aside to fund community projects between $20,000 and $200,000.
State Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas said the fund is a great opportunity for the community to get around some of the great ideas that never fitted into the criteria of previous government grants.
Once entered, projects will be assessed on their feasibility before being voted on by the community online.
There are many projects through the region that will be able to benefit from the Pick My Project fund. Ms Thomas said the Greater Romsey All Abilities Park (GRAAP) is one that immediately comes to mind.
“GRAAP have had a fantastic idea they have been working on, they’ve got lots of community support, they’ve got the plan, they’ve completed stage one and they’re ready to go to complete their vision. To me, that is a prime example of a project that could be funded,” she said.
The Lancefield Neighbourhood House already has some ideas that they’re willing to submit for the community to vote on.
Coordinator Vivien Thomas said the idea for a food bank has been in the works for a few years now and the Pick My Project fund is the perfect opportunity to get it underway.
“Rather than coming in and getting a box like you’re on welfare, there’s a pantry you can go to. Sometimes people, they never need assistance but then they crash their car, their hot water service blows up, their registration is due and all of those things in the same week,” she explained.
“People can be under a lot of stress doing that and they can just take the pressure off their grocery shopping for a week or two, and there’s an abundance of produce that’s grown in the area.”
Other possibilities the Lancefield Neighbourhood House is looking into is creating more storage at Lancefield Park and creating an off-lead area for dogs.
Rather than funding going towards specific projects or groups, just about any project from anyone can be funded.
The only restrictions are that applicants must be over 16 year old to submit their idea online and they will need to identify an eligible organisation to sponsor and support the idea and administer funds through a registered ABN.
“I would be encouraging environmental groups, community groups, maybe business and tourism groups; anyone for where there is not yet a funding stream,” Ms Thomas said.
“This is an opportunity but they’ve got to be community-led, that’s the key thing. They’ve got to be led by the community and something that people in the community want.”