24 April 2023

'Inclusion and connection' - Icon Water opens up its Community Support Program for applications

| Icon Water
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A past recipient of Icon Water’s Community Support Program is Roundabout Canberra, founded in 2018 as a way to donate second-hand baby, parenting and children’s goods to families in need. Photo: Roundabout Canberra.

Icon Water, Canberra’s publicly owned water utility, has run its Community Support Program for over twenty years and is again inviting community organisations to apply for funding for specific projects that support the Canberra community. And it’s open for funding applications again.

Icon Water’s general manager of customer engagement Davina McCormick says that the program supports charities that strive for community outcomes including environmental sustainability, inclusion, and contributing to a safe and liveable society.

“We sponsor many vital support services such as Lifeline Canberra, Canberra Sleepbus, Kids in Care ACT and Menslink.

Icon Water also provides funding to community sporting clubs, educational and cultural initiatives, local community groups and projects focusing on the environment and sustainability,” Ms McCormick says.

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With a vision to be a valued partner in the community, Ms McCormick says Icon Water aims to ensure a variety of sectors across the ACT and surrounding regions are supported through the program.

“The organisations we support not only provide a benefit to the ACT community, but they also align with Icon Water’s values and must not negatively impact the environment or the community.”

Ms McCormick says partnering with local community organisations also provides an avenue for building community knowledge of water and wastewater and education about protecting these essential resources, particularly with cohorts we may not otherwise reach.

“There’s nothing more essential to every person than water, so inclusion and connection reflect fundamental values for Icon Water.”

“Some of the challenges we face in providing water and wastewater services to everyone are around inclusivity. This impacts the public’s water literacy and our ability to increase education on how to safely dispose of items such as wet wipes, sanitary products and disposable nappies to prevent blockages in customer plumbing and our network systems.”

The Icon Water Community Support Program provides financial, and in-kind, assistance to local organisations that bring real value to our community and is now open for new applications from locally focused charities to help them build connections and help people who are harder to reach.

One past recipient is Roundabout Canberra, founded in 2018 as a way to donate second-hand baby, parenting and children’s goods to families in need.

Founder and director Miranda Philips says the organisation provides families experiencing hardship in Canberra and the surrounding regions with essential items and equipment to ensure the safety, wellbeing and dignity of their children and to support their participation in everyday activities.

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“Roundabout Canberra has over 250 volunteers who sort, clean, and prepare donated items, which are provided to families via a network of more than 100 Canberra-region services and charities. We support those services by ensuring that essential items are in excellent condition and are readily available for their clients,” she says.

“We have developed a model which is volunteer-powered, people-centric, environmentally responsible and has grown to be a vital part of Canberra’s support system for vulnerable families.

“Our role is vital in allowing social services to build a constructive relationship with the parents and carers they are supporting. We are told by our partners that providing material goods to a family can be the start, allowing them to build a relationship with the family, which then allows them to work on any other vulnerabilities the family may be experiencing, including homelessness and domestic violence.

“In 2022, we helped 3121 children, and this year we expect to help more than 4000 local children access essential items.

“We have grown substantially in the past five years in response to the growing demand for support for local families with particularly large increases in demand resulting from challenges posed by COVID-19, including challenges accessing goods and financial pressures from stand downs and job losses and more recently associated with cost-of-living pressures faced by many Canberra families.”

For organisations interested in applying visit Icon Water to find out more. Applications close 30 April.


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