AN ORGAN festival, the creation of a possum skin coat and new social enterprises are among the projects to receive funding in the latest round of grants awarded by the South West Community Foundation (SWCF).
Groups will share in more than $70,000, with $32,000 coming through the foundation and an additional $38,544 awarded through a partnership with the Isobel and David Jones Family Foundation and the Fletcher Jones Foundation.
SWCF agreed to administer grants this year on behalf of the Jones foundations to projects that fit their criteria.
SWCF executive officer Linda Grant said demand was strong this year with 49 applications requesting more than $173,000 in funding.
The foundation allocated a record $68,325 in two rounds of funding this financial year, which was more than double any previous financial year.
The boost in grants follows increased demand and coincides with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the first community foundations worldwide.
Major allocations include $5000 to bring opera to nursing homes across the region, $6000 for a digital cinema upgrade in Port Fairy, $5000 for a south-west bursary for the Melbourne Accelerator Program to launch a local social enterprise, $5000 to run The F Project retail shop in Warrnambool and $4000 towards a creative play space at the Kirkstall Recreation Reserve.
There were also 100 additional $50 education vouchers distributed across the region.
Ms Grant said the vouchers were significantly oversubscribed and required additional donors to meet the shortfall.
Foundation board chairman Barrie Baker said the foundation represented local people looking after local people. “It is funding coming from local people and going to local people,” Mr Baker said.
“These are projects in the community where local people can get involved. We hope that our grants inspire more participation in local organisations.”
Mr Baker described the opportunity for a social entrepreneur from the south-west to participate in the four-month Accelerator Program in Melbourne as “particularly exciting”.
The program helps people to become ready to launch or grow their social enterprise.