How small grants support a deeper connection with Communities Taking Steps

How small grants support a deeper connection with Communities Taking Steps

CCI Giving approved a record number of applications in Round 8 of its Small Grants program Communities Taking Steps. A budget of $130,000 marked the program’s largest single-round pledge and was distributed between 22 organisations supporting communities that need help. Many applications highlight the explicit need for more funding in most states and territories.

Four targeted cohorts will benefit from Communities Taking Steps grants: refugees and people seeking asylum, those affected by domestic violence, families affected by mental illness, and young people experiencing educational disadvantage. Social initiatives are diverse. Organisations connect with people facing disadvantage or those living with psychological injuries. Some provide mentoring programs and art therapy among activities that can benefit the mental health and wellbeing of people experiencing trauma. Mentoring also assists individuals to build a future with new life skills and pathways to employment and education. Sustaining vital renovation projects means crucial services are ongoing.

Funds were directed towards meeting demand for technology and Apps development for real-time translation services supporting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) members of the community, some of whom are refugees. Free WIFI at one homeless support service can strengthen digital and community connection.

CCI Giving noted a request by Emmanuel City Mission for assistance in purchasing lockers. A simple storage solution for people without homes addresses restrictions to being mobile and increases opportunities to attend employment interviews and medical appointments.

Michael McDade from Emmanuel City Mission described the challenge of living and working without a place to store personal belongings.

“Nearly every single day we hear about someone having their belongings stolen. Just a little while ago, one of our visitors who has become a trusted volunteer had his backpack stolen while he was mopping the floors. Our hearts just broke for him. We have people coming to us with just the clothes on their back literally because they’ve been robbed through the night. Having valuables in their possession while sleeping rough puts people in a very vulnerable position.”

“Accessing any kind of service is problematic when you have no forms of ID, no computer access and no phone because of loss or theft. We believe that feeling secure in the knowledge that belongings are securely stored will make a huge difference to our visitors’ confidence.”

CCI Giving Small Grants Round 9 applications open in early 2023. Subscribe to our mailing list at and stay informed about news and grants application dates. CCI Giving welcomes enquiries and discussion about how we can help to support communities in need.

Round 8 of the CCI Giving Small Grants program is supporting the following projects:

Mentoring for Refugee and Asylum Seeker students

Mercy Connect recruits, trains, and supports volunteers with educational backgrounds, to assist refugee and asylum seeker students overcome barriers to education because of language, socio-cultural, and economic challenges during the critical time of settlement in Australia. Volunteers mentor students with regular in-class support that builds skills for dealing with challenges of mainstream schooling. It also helps integration with the wider community. Learning support nurtures wellbeing and self-esteem and gives focused help for literacy and numeracy. This grant will assist Mercy Works with their Perth based program.

Art Therapy at Nagle House

Nagle House is a safe house for homeless women in the inner city of Sydney, run by Cana Communities. This grant helps to fund mental health treatment through Art Therapy (AT). AT involves a patient making a creative visual art as a form of non-verbal expression. Traumatic events are often difficult to describe in words alone and they can be visually stored in the brain. AT helps patients to explore stored images in the brain and to externalize, process, and resolve negative thoughts and feelings associated with trauma. AT takes place individually or in a group.

Lockers for the Homeless

Emmanuel City Mission will use their grant for the purchase of lockers for their premises. One of the many challenges faced by the vulnerable homeless community is safe storage for their belongings. Contrary to the stereotype of homelessness, many visitors who walk through Emmanuel City Mission doors have important documents that need to be kept safe along with clothes, photo albums, blankets, and raincoats. Installing lockers at the centre will enable visitors to securely store belongings and create an opportunity for peace of mind and a greater sense of personal safety.  

Addressing Elder Abuse within the Deaf Community

John Pierce Centre (JPC) is the only Deaf Catholic Centre in Victoria and provides support and community connection for deaf and hearing-impaired people and their families. This project will improve the long-term physical and emotional wellbeing of deaf people by creating information resources that educate and support them in relation to the issues of elder abuse.  Partnering with the Council on the Ageing Victoria (Seniors Rights Victoria program), and in consultation with the Deaf community, JPC will develop meaningful material to mitigate risks of elder abuse and provide access to the right support if there is a need to report and address the experience of existing abuse.

Skill Me Up! Providing young people practical skills and qualifications

Dunlea Centre has been working with young people and families many years. Their Skill Me Up! Program helps young people to prepare for the workforce by providing opportunities to gain qualifications and work experience by doing short courses and practical workshops. The initiative complements an academic program at Dunlea and develops skills to increase employability and add value to their position as an employee.

Upgrade - Social Connection Project

St Canice’s is well known to the Sydney community and to CCI Giving. Their service, Canice’s Kitchen, provides meals to numerous homeless men and women and gives people a place of social connection. Expanding its service will take the form of installing free WIFI for online access and communication. Access to the internet is a vital tool for connecting with family, friends, and support agencies. Social connection is also important for supporting people experiencing mental health issues or crisis because internet access means various touch points for community connection to social and professional health support.

The Young Warrior Woman Program

The Warrior Woman Foundation is undertaking its third year of The Young Warrior Woman Program. This holistic mentoring and psycho-educational initiative helps young women aged 17-25 years living in/or preparing to leave the out-of-home-care system. It supports success in becoming independent. They achieve this through life-skills education, mental health support, and by connection to a safe and nurturing group of female mentors. There is a strong focus on financial literacy and job readiness. Trauma healing, self-awareness, and personal growth are also a key focus of assistance. They provide three layers of support with peer support, group mentoring, and weekly one-to-one mentoring.

Real time language translation for text message support

HelpMe Feed Foundation is changing the landscape for breastfeeding support by using technology. This new project will provide a real-time text message translation tool for refugee families who need feeding support, as well as more community connection. Facilitated through an API (Application Programming Interface), a typed message can be sent in one language and converted instantly into another language. It enables a smooth and continuous conversation that overcomes language barriers and is especially helpful for an English-speaking nurse and non-English speaking mother to communicate.

The Daisy Centre Domestic Violence Groups

The Daisy Centre, run by Mary’s House, is a specialised and integrated support service that provides professional and individually tailored case management for women who have experienced domestic abuse. Funding will be used towards a therapeutic program "Bloom" which is designed to help women heal from abuse trauma. It provides childcare for mothers who attend therapy sessions. The project empowers women to overcome the affects of trauma and to live in safety from physical and emotional harm.

New flooring for Centre Accommodation

Presentation Family Centre (soon to be renamed Saltbush, Balnarring Beach) provides holidays, retreats, and programs to families and carers from across Victoria. It helps those who find it difficult to access a break in the form of a holiday, recreational trip, or educational program. Factors that impede respite include financial stress, caring responsibilities, grief and loss, disability, illness, and other circumstances. The grant will be used for new flooring to upgrade a house so that families and individuals experiencing hardship can access accommodation when they need time to rest.

Mentorship Program

Breakaway Youth has been providing early intervention and connection for young people at risk, over the last 30 years. Dedicated leaders build life transforming relationships with young participants through monthly camps and other activities. The program has a strong focus on youth development. CCI Giving’s grant will support the Orientation Day for Breakaway which is 6-year mentorship program. Children with a history of abuse and neglect or trauma are referred by government and welfare agencies or schools. Many young people have behavioural issues and learning difficulties.

Flood Relief Hub in Lismore

Following devastating floods, the community of Lismore that has experienced disadvantage economically, now requires ongoing support to help get recover from a catastrophic weather event. Baby Give Back is an organisation that has established a new Lismore Hub facility to assist families in crisis. They offer material support for people to access items ranging from nappies and wipes to prams, cots, and car seats. This facility is managed by an experienced community support team who train and engage locals to fulfil the demand for long-term support to meet the needs of this region.

Renovating our Community Centre

Live Well Tasmania is a small grassroots organisation whose mission is to provide total mental and physical wellbeing services to a remote area of Tasmania. They are a founding member of the Wynyard Community Hub that helps people who are experiencing mental health challenges. The Community Centre requires renovation to comply with building regulations which will enable the ongoing provision of community-based services.

Operation Family Protect

Hearts of Purple supports people and their children who have experienced domestic violence. There is recent increased demand for services that require additional facilities to store donated goods. This grant will help to fund an extra shipping container to store donated clothing and enable Hearts of Purple to accept more donated goods.

Showing up for Kids Workshop

The Reily Foundation provides practical support and education for parents navigating the South Australian child protection system. This new workshop is being developed to target parents of children on long term orders, and to provide help and support in understanding the judicial process. Building knowledge enables parents to be involved with their children despite existing long-term orders. The Reily Foundation works with families to learn about their child protection concerns and give parents tools to effectively address their concerns while supporting their children at the same time.

Feeding the young musicians of NORTH Children’s Choir

NORTH Children’s Choir is an after-school choir, providing opportunities for talented young singers who live in areas of Geelong’s northern suburbs where communities face a range of disadvantages such as unemployment or financial hardship. The choir is facilitated by the Bluebird Foundation and includes bus transport for children directly from school to choir. Children also receive a healthy afternoon snack provided by a local social enterprise café, The Aviary Café.

Post-Lockdown Recovery

Fusion Mornington Peninsula supports disadvantaged young people through mentoring and other programs and instils confidence in young people to achieve their full potential. Since the 2020-21 extended lockdowns in Melbourne, Fusion has witnessed more young people presenting with increasingly complicated challenges in relation to family conflict and/or violence, social anxiety, school absence, and of most concern inaccessibility to safe housing. Their program aims to address growing and intersectional areas of disadvantage with a targeted program focused on education and employability. It also works with individual and family casework support.

Repairs to Hope Cottage

The Chelsea Community Church of Christ runs Chelsea Careworks, a group who supports people experiencing financial and food insecurity, or homelessness. One of the services offered through Careworks is a free food pantry, and access to pastoral care. The building facility is in urgent need of repairs to iron roof sheeting. This CCI Giving grant will supplement existing and substantial fundraising efforts to ensure the space can provide continued support and care for the community.

Increasing ACRATH's Capacity to Support Victim/Survivors of Human Trafficking

ACRATH, Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, volunteer companions provide vital support for 35 trafficked people and their children. ACRATH is committed to giving help to for migrant seasonal workers in Australian farms and in abattoirs because they are vulnerable to exploitation. Many program companions have worked in their support roles for more than a decade. To continue providing care and extend reach to people at risk in rural and remote regions, ACRATH needs to increase volunteer numbers and give them training and support.

Wraparound Support for Young Mothers to Engage in Education

Zoe Support supports young mothers aged 13-25 in Mildura so they can engage in pre-accredited Learn Local programs and accredited education. Wraparound support helps to remove barriers to participation. Program expenses include internet access and tutoring support for studying mothers and childcare support while they undertake Learn Local programs. The grant helps to pay for students’ out-of-pocket expenses at Zoe Support Family Day Care.

Bathroom renovation at 27 Sydney Street, WA

Emmaus Community provides long-term, independent community living for adults living with mental health illnesses. Emmaus Community is a real home environment residents and visitors – including family and friends of resident community members. Emmaus offers weekly lunches for and regular community events throughout the year. This grant will support bathroom renovations to improve residents’ facilities.

Interior public space improvements for Transitional Housing Units

This project will improve the interior entrance to St Joseph's Outreach Services Transitional Housing Units. Families come to stay with SJOS during their assessment period for public housing. They need support to transition to a new phase in their lives. The grant will assist the outreach service to provide better facilities support residents.