Small Grants giving welcome support for households

Small Grants giving welcome support for households

CCI Giving's small grants program supports Catholic organisations across Australia to respond to current and emerging needs in local communities. CCI Giving Director Jeremy Yipp is delighted that small grassroots organisations have an opportunity to get support for their initiatives because many fail to attract government funding.

“These are organisations that are holding events or undertaking small projects to drive their mission, and they can receive up to $5,000 while others might receive up to $10,000” he says.

“It helps small capital works and other initiatives to deliver a clear community benefit and that is what the Small Grant is all about. It’s the Give Back vision at work, for a perpetual foundation to sustain those carrying out the Catholic mission anywhere and no matter how small.”

One of the Round 2 Small Grants recipients described the importance of their funds in assisting asylum seekers through the provision of household items. West Welcome Wagon is a not-for-profit incorporated organisation committed to providing material aid donations and assistance to asylum seekers in Melbourne’s West. They provide some 500 households with various items for daily living.

Chris Scerri is the Chairman of the Board of West Welcome Wagon and explains that the types of items needed by many will vary enormously.

“We provide whatever it takes to run a household. It could be furniture, appliances, crockery, cookware, linen, or fridges,” he says.

“A household might have a case manager or liaison officer referred to them, and some houses will have items while others are quite bare. It depends on personal circumstances. I’ve been to households where it’s quite bad and at other times there are households that just need a toaster or kettle.”

Asylum seekers often face unique challenges and not all have refugee status.

“Primarily it’s the asylum seekers who are most in need of support for daily living. They have language barriers, so we provide basic tutoring and help them with learning to use public transport. People who really require help are women with young children, and those transitioning from detention camps into a residential environment. Often they need school supplies or stationery, and interpreting services.”

West Welcome Wagon supports a diverse community of people, some of whom have experienced war or famine.

“We’re seeing a lot of people from Syria. We support people from around 40 different countries including Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.”

Chris Scerri says that his organisation is reviewing plans for how to support households for the next few years ahead. He considers the asylum seekers who may be allowed to stay in Australia and how West Welcome Wagon can sustain the progress it’s made so far.

“We have a strong re-use ethic and we try to purchase recycled or second-hand items so that we can remain environmentally committed while supporting the asylum seeker community. It also helps us to remain commercially viable and find ways to meet the ongoing needs of sustaining our warehouse, supporting ourselves.”

“We’re also looking at providing other types of items to support asylum seekers such as bicycles and tutoring. We partner with other organisations to be able to receive donated items for households.”

CCI Giving Director Jeremy Yipp says that both small and large grants are distributed nationally, but the small projects are often the ones in need of most financial support.

“These grants have implications for many people facing hardship and I look forward to welcoming more organisations into this program. Learning about the work of the Small Grants recipients around the country is humbling and motivating, and it’s a great privilege to support their endeavours.”


Applications for the next round of the CCI Giving Small Grants Program will open soon. Find out if you are eligible here, or subscribe to CCI Giving to stay up-to-date.