Ron Hamilton and Charles Birt at the Kilmore District Men's Shed.

Fire safety measures will be installed at Kilmore District Men’s Shed with a $3000 donation from the Australian Rail Track Corporation, ARTC, Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations Program.

Kilmore District Men’s Shed group will use the donation to purchase and install gutter guards designed to prevent embers entering gutters and igniting flammable debris.

Kilmore District Men’s Shed organiser Ron Hamilton said the gutter guards would play a vital role in protecting the premises during bushfire season.

“Fire is a real risk in our area and the gutter guards will keep out embers carried by the wind from settling in our gutters and igniting,” he said.

“This means the men’s shed is better protected and able to continue playing an important mental health role for local men — connecting men to their community and, in some cases, saving men’s lives.”

Inland Rail Victorian projects general manager Ed Walker said the company was proud to give back to the community and support non-profit groups.

“We are proud to give back to the communities that are home to Inland Rail. The work these organisations do is instrumental to the wellbeing of regional communities,” he said.

Mr Walker encouraged other non-profit groups to lodge their applications for the next round of funding.

“The Inland Rail Community Sponsorships and Donations program offers funding between $1000 and $4000 for individuals and organisations in regional areas along the Inland Rail alignment,” he said.

“The funding supports organisations or individuals that contribute to local and regional prosperity, wellbeing, and sustainability.”

Applicants are encouraged to include as much information they can about what they want to achieve and how it will benefit their community.

Round 14 of the program supported 23 schools, community groups and associations along the Inland Rail alignment with a combined $80,000 of funding, taking the total funds awarded by the program to more than $930,000.

The latest round of funding is the largest since the program started in 2019 and takes the total number of organisations receiving funding from the program to 289.

Applications for the current round of funding close on January 31, 2023.

To check eligibility, phone 1800 732 761 or email ircommunitysponsorships@artc.com.au.