Grants available for Canberra charities helping those in real need

Glynis Quinlan 3 May 2017

Canberra charities and community organisations helping the city’s most vulnerable people are being encouraged to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to assist their work.

Hands Across Canberra has opened its 2017 round of grants and is expecting to distribute more than $100,000 in total.

Among the charities receiving priority will be those working with people on the margins of the welfare system, the socially isolated and people with mental health problems.

Other charities to receive priority include those working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and those providing domestic violence assistance.

Hands Across Canberra started six years ago and is particularly aimed at helping smaller charities to access needed funds.

It also has a key role in helping Canberrans better understand the needs on our doorstep.

“Our job is to get Canberrans to think about being generous locally first,” said Hands Across Canberra CEO, Peter Gordon.

“People in Canberra happily give to national and international charities but don’t understand there are 2,000 people in Canberra who are homeless tonight.”

Mr Gordon said the ACT is generally perceived as a relatively well-off community but there are some concerning hidden realities about those with real need. These are highlighted by the following statistics:

  • 1 in 200 people are homeless, soaring 70 per cent in the past five years to now be the second highest in Australia
  • 1 in 7 households struggle to survive on a minimum income
  • 1 in 4 young people will experience a mental health problem in any 12-month period
  • 1 in 6 young people have caring responsibilities
  • 1 in 25 people have severe or profound disabilities

Hands Across Canberra works with around 140 Canberra charities. The organisation consults widely in identifying the areas of greatest need in Canberra before deciding on its priorities for allocating grants.

Mr Gordon said that this year the Australian Council of Social Service was particularly worried about a growing group of people who have insecure work or not enough work but aren’t beneficiaries of the welfare system.

Hands Across Canberra’s grant priorities for 2017 include:

  • working with people affected by insecure work and those at the margins of the welfare system
  • working with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents
  • domestic violence assistance with a focus on perpetrator programs and help for children
  • mental health especially in children and young people
  • early intervention in working with the socially isolated, particularly in Tuggeranong
  • capacity building innovations designed to help improve an organisation’s overall capability such as research, planning, evaluation, governance and collaboration

Only organisations registered on the Hands Across Canberra website are eligible to apply for the grants of up to $10,000, with grants of up to $25,000 available in exceptional circumstances. In order to apply, organisations must also be working in Canberra on social and community welfare.

Applications close on Monday, May 22 and forms are available by emailing or phoning Peter Gordon on 0417 064 767.

Why do you think there are so many people in need in Canberra? Do you think we are generous enough to vulnerable people in our community? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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