Programs making a difference are granted solid support

Programs making a difference are granted solid support

CCI Giving is supporting 14 organisations through Round 6 of its Small Grants program. After a year of significant challenges brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19), many organisations experienced an unprecedented increased demand for services to support vulnerable communities and individuals.

CCI Giving Chair Jeremy Yipp is concerned about the ability for charities and volunteer groups to remain viable, but noted that flexibility and willingness to collaborate could still help disadvantaged people during extended periods of COVID-19 restrictions to operations.

“Charities themselves, and not just the people they support, felt a deep impact from pandemic restrictions in 2020. Normal fundraising activities ceased, there were no sausage sizzles, volunteers were unable to work in groups and there has been a range of difficulties to contend with. Remarkably, many have found ways to continue despite a lockdown and regardless of reduced donations.”

He expects economic hardship and mental health issues will present in the community more sharply going forward.

“Increased unemployment will affect the unemployed person and all of their family members. Charities are going to focus on meeting physical and material needs but are aware of significant psychological needs because of economic uncertainty and job insecurity. Mentoring and pastoral support programs help to build resilience and better mental health.”

Jeremy explains that organisations will continue to plan operations through a COVID-19 lens.

“Demand for support services is intensifying as more people turn to grassroots organisations to help them get through a tough time. How volunteers and teams organise themselves to overcome logistical challenges to operations while complying with health and safety requirements is a considered process and truly admirable.”

CCI Giving provides small and large grants that help Catholic organisations and others that carry out Catholic mission in Australia and make a positive impact.

The full list of recipients of CCI Giving’s Small Grants Round 6:

When COVID-19 affected communities in Australia, charity meals programs closed across the country. Restaurants and cafes also closed. In New South Wales, at the end of March StreetSmart Australia fast tracked the launch of their SmartMeals program by utilising the unused capacity of local cafes and restaurants. This enabled them to provide meals for their local homeless and community groups. The response to the pandemic in this way provided a practical and local solution that addressed food security issues for many vulnerable people. It also meant that vulnerable workers remained employed, at hospitality businesses and social enterprises.

Christmas Project 2020
Since the early nineties, Gethsemane Community in New South Wales has given Christmas gifts and cards to people with disabilities in boarding houses, group homes, aged care and people living independently with support. They pack toiletry, general and festive food and calendar hampers to support mental health and drugs health teams. In 2019, they packed 890 gift parcels and 490 hampers to help people in need of support. Sixty people with disabilities were lunch guests on Christmas Day in 2019, but COVID restrictions mean the project will be scaled back this year.

The Gathering live-stream concert
The Bluebird Foundation’s The Gathering is a live-streamed performance of songs shared by families of NORTH Children’s Choir. Formed in 2019, the choir enables talented singers from northern Geelong suburbs, who are aged 6-11 years, to develop their singing skills. They are from many cultural backgrounds including Italian, Liberian, Karen, Sudanese, Maori and include Indigenous and white Australians. Children will perform songs in a range of languages, alongside footage of the rehearsal process, and families and the wider community are invited to join the online audience.

Operation Family Protect
Hearts of Purple was founded to help end the cycle of abuse and create a happy and safe household for families. A dedicated team with various fields of expertise runs Operation Family Protect in Queensland, assisting people experiencing abusive environments to restore happiness and a feeling of worthiness to their lives. All are volunteers who use their own homes to store donated goods, including furniture, bedding, clothing, and food which is then provided to families in need. As demand for support grows, so does the volume of donated goods. Operation Family Protect will purchase two shipping containers to house donated goods which will allow more donations to assist people who are experiencing domestic violence.

The Young Warrior Woman Program
The Warrior Woman Foundation’s flagship program, the Young Warrior Woman Program is a mentoring and psycho-educational program providing connection, education, and mental health support to women aged 15-25 years who are transitioning from out-of-home care into independent living. These women also are at high risk of homelessness because they lack a stable adult in their life. Based on the principals of the Self Determination Theory, the program is designed to reduce the stress involved in leaving care and learning to live autonomously and manage preparing for adulthood.

Empowerment Hubs Online Program
Sisterworks Inc new online Empowerment Hubs program in Victoria aims to keep our migrant, refugee and asylum seeker women engaged and economically empowered during the COVID-19 restrictions, now and into the future. The project embraces ‘learning by doing’ approach and implements a remote learning model through online workshops, training and mentoring. This not only provides vocational skills and economic independence but reduces the impact of isolation by creating a sense of community and belonging.

Remote Area Pastoral Support
For many generations, religious sisters have been called to provide pastoral care and support to some of the most remote, disadvantaged communities in Australia. Now, with declining numbers of sisters, passionate and capable lay women are stepping up to take on these roles. The Remote Area Pastoral Support program is a pilot project in Mt Magnet in Western Australia. It was developed and overseen by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, and gives women commencing work in remote pastoral leadership access to training, mentoring, and support. The project ensures these women have the skills, networks and confidence to succeed in such important and challenging roles.

ASRC Foodbank – Community Food Donations
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Inc. (ASRC) Foodbank in Victoria provides food security to members. Physical distancing restrictions to reduce risk of Covid-19, mean the Foodbank model has evolved from a supermarket-style layout into a “food pack” style service. Food and grocery packs are prepared and given out according to family size. Some 1,600 food packs help 1,300 people in 560 households fortnightly and nearly all these families have no income. The purchase collection bins will enable the Foodbank to receive contactless food and groceries donations from the community.

Practical Help For People Seeking Asylum
Circle of Friends Australia Inc. runs a program in South Australia called Practical Help for People Seeking Asylum. It offers financial support to refugees and asylum seekers who do not have access to any form of social security and who have no job or insufficient employment to make ends meet. Since April 2020, the program has sought and obtained donations from individuals in order to help people financially with a modest living allowance. The funds assist to pay rent and essential bills but there is an ongoing need for assistance that has intensified with COVID-19. Without financial support, the program of assistance may leave people more vulnerable to homelessness and destitution.

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round
Zoe Support Australia supports young mums aged 13-25. The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round program provides transport to clients and their children using two ‘Butterfly Buses’, with more than half of mothers using the daily service to schools, kindergartens, TAFE, medical appointments and social/educational programs that are facilitated by Zoe. Butterfly Buses make an average 400 individual trips each month within Mildura and surrounding areas. Transport is a key factor in the program’s ability to offer consistent support to young families. In fact, it is vital. The costs of one Butterfly Bus will receive assistance for twelve months to cover petrol, servicing, insurance, registration and wages.

Confident Voices: My Share Project
The Stuttering Association For The Young Australia offers support to young people who stutter. Confident Voices: My Share Project is an annual 10-week online creative arts program is available nationally. Participants can creatively collaborate on a unique SHARE (i.e., a poem, song, short play, dance, etc.) centred around important topics which are personal to them. In an environment of acceptance, understanding, deep-listening and love, people may share their thoughts and feelings however they choose, knowing that they have as much time as they need to speak. The Project culminates with the opportunity for participants to perform and celebrate their SHARE during a Virtual Showcase event attended by family and friends.

Griffith Community Centre Carevan
The Griffith Carevan is a mobile food van supports local people in the community who are financially struggling or facing hardship. In the fight against poverty, hunger, and homelessness, the Griffith Carevan works with groups representing children, women, men, youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous people, and multicultural groups. The old-style caravan and ageing vehicle need to be replaced according to helpful mechanics who donate all repairs and maintenance. Few volunteers can reverse/park the caravan in allocated spaces, so plans are to purchase a second hand, all-in-one Iveco, high-roof long-wheelbase van. This will enable better movement of all resources, chairs/tables, food and supplies to locations and give volunteers a safer work environment.

Emmaus Community
Emmaus Community provides long term independent community living in Western Australia for adults living with mental illness. It’s a unique social housing model based on a live-in community model. It provides a safe, supportive and respectful home for residents – as well as the extended Emmaus Community of family and friends who share in regular lunches, exhibitions and community events.

The bathroom at the house in Queens Park has old tiles and waterproofing and needs renovation. The shower leaks into the opposite room and requires urgent repair. Plans are to fully renovate the bathroom to fix ongoing problems with renovation that will include the installation of a wall to divide the laundry from the bathroom. The project will ensure a safe and comfortable bathroom for the residents of Emmaus Community.

Dignity is a charity that looks at homelessness a little differently than most. It believes collaboration can end homelessness in Australia and not by providing aid or just helping people who are homeless. Instead, empowering people who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of experiencing homelessness is a more productive vision. Due to the pandemic, more people are at risk of homelessness but benefit from frozen ready meals from Dignity’s Food Relief program in New South Wales. Since being featured on TV’s Filthy, Rich and Homeless, the program has received more than 300 volunteer applications. In harnessing goodwill, the level of meal production for the community will increase. COOK4DIGNITY will bring together volunteers for large scale cook ups while giving them education and awareness of homelessness in Australia.