Connecting young people, thanking volunteers, bringing neighbours together and supporting community-led group activities and events are features of the latest COVID recovery support packages available in Mitchell Shire.

The recovery plan identifies priority support areas to help address the effects of COVID-19 and restrictions across the community and the economy.

The first round of applications is open now with support available for community-led activities and initiatives across four categories:

• Youth out and about – people aged 12 to 24 who live or go to school in Mitchell Shire can gather some friends and have a day at a Mitchell Leisure Services pool for free. The applicant and three friends will receive entry into either the Seymour or Kilmore pool, plus snacks and a drink.

• Small street party in the park pack –neighbours can get together and organise a small outdoor gathering in one of the shire’s local parks. Packs include items such as sunscreen, hand sanitiser, gloves, park booking form, COVIDSafe and food-safe event information and a voucher to purchase food.

• Volunteer thank-you celebrations. Up to $500 available for community groups to thank volunteers through Christmas and New Year celebrations to cover the cost of items such as food, entertainment, small thank-you gifts (no more than $20 per volunteer), transport or other associated costs.

• Community life, activity and event support. Up to $500 for community groups and non-profit organisations to host activities or events that address one of seven priority areas within the COVID-19 Community Recovery Plan.

Eligible activities could include events that improve gender equality and empowerment of women and gender diverse people or initiatives that address and prevent education and employment disparity.

Round one is closing soon. For dates and more information, please visit www.

mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/COVID-19 or email community.development@mitchellshire.vic.gov.au.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm said the council wanted to make it easier for individuals and community groups to get back together.

“Local events, activities and initiatives are the heart of our towns. We need to get our local calendars filled back up with things for people to do,” he said.

“We know it’s short notice this year, but we wanted people to know what support is available as they prepare for Christmas.

“There will be more opportunities next year so keep an eye on council’s website and social media for updates.”