The value of community grants available this year through the Waterloo Wind Farm Grants Program is increasing, with the asset’s investors, Palisade Investment Partners and Northleaf Capital, anxious to ensure community groups receive greater support following prolonged drought and economic downturns resulting from the coronavirus.
An additional $10,000 has been added to this year’s fund, taking the total funding available in 2020 to eligible Mid North community groups to $40,000.
Hannah Willson, Waterloo Wind Farm community engagement manager, said it has been a challenge for our local communities to struggle through drought-like conditions – to then face restrictions on everyday life and community activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The intent of the Waterloo Wind Farm Community Grant program is to address key community issues and sustain both the local environment and the local economy,” she said.
“Through our Grant Program, we can give a leg up to community-led efforts to improve the social wellbeing of residents and offer funding for projects that encourage community connections.
“Social cohesion is even more important in times of hardship,” she said.
Grant applications are currently open and can be submitted up until 5pm Friday, May 8.
A panel of local community members and Waterloo Wind Farm staff will assess all applications and decide how grants are allocated.
The Saddleworth District Association was a recipient of a $4000 grant as part of last year’s Grants Program.
The association has since used its funds to landscape a vacant block of land on Main Street – previously the site of the Saddleworth Foodworks – to create an open, friendly space for residents.
Secretary of the association, Rosemary Richardson, said the previously desolate site was really coming together with a number of other local groups including the primary school, CWA and Gilbert Valley Lions collaborating to create an ‘inviting open space’.
“Hopefully by Christmas this year we can all meet up again to enjoy the space and experience great pride at having created a new and valuable asset for the community,” she said.
Hannah said she was keen to see a number of new community groups put forward applications this year.
“With increased funding we have the capacity to fund two to three additional projects,” she said.
Waterloo Wind Farm Community Grants Program has been providing funding to the Mid North Community for seven years and along with other sponsorship has contributed more than $232,000 to the community.
For more information on the grants program or to lodge an application, please visit www.waterloowindfarm.ccom.au/community