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New community projects support social inclusion, disability reform

Pet care for people experiencing homelessness, NDIS readiness workshops targeting culturally diverse clients and a project to support small-scale business ventures driven by older women are among the innovative community projects that have secured a funding boost to further their work.

The State Trustees Australia Foundation recently announced the winners of its annual Grassroots Grants program in which 23 organisations working in the areas of ageing, disability and mental health shared in more than $200,000 in grant funding.

Scope Community Arts Centre in Bendigo received a Grassroots Grant in 2014 , which was used to launched a newly developed art studio for people with a disability. Pictured are supporters and a local artist, receiving the grant in December 2014.

Scope Community Arts Centre in Bendigo received a Grassroots Grant in 2014 , which was used to launch a newly developed art studio for people with a disability.

State Trustees executive general manager Melanie Lewis said the foundation was interested in assisting charities to respond strategically to the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which was a focus in the 2015 grant program.

“There is a strong need to support communities, organisations and individuals through the NDIS transition period to enable a collaborative approach to the change, and prevent people falling through the gaps while adjustments are underway,” Ms Lewis said.

Among the disability organisations to secure funding include The Bridge Inc for its NDIS readiness program for culturally and linguistically diverse people with a disability and their carers.

Able Australia Services will be supported to deliver workshops for people with deafblindness, which refers to sensory disability resulting from a combination of both hearing and vision loss or impairment. Multiple Sclerosis and the Victorian Deaf Society also received funding for targeted NDIS projects.

Money for Jam is an initiative of Melbourne-based think tank Per Capita’s Centre for Applied Policy in Positive Ageing. Per Capita was granted $10,000 to expand its project which nurtures microenterprises among seniors, and older women in particular, to support their retirement incomes.

Also receiving funding is Brotherhood of St Laurence’s social inclusion program for older disadvantaged people in inner Melbourne. The Café Connections program, which runs out of BSL’s Coolibah Centre, aims to help its members be engaged with the community.

The Café Connections’ activities include the Coolibah Café, complete with a commercial espresso machine and barista training for volunteers and Coolibah members, a weekly discussion group for the members and local people and also social outings and celebrations that cover diverse interests and cultural backgrounds.

The Coolibah Café will sell coffee to staff, members of the Coolibah Centre and other Brotherhood services, volunteers and visitors, further encouraging opportunities for social interaction.

See the full list of successful organisations and community-based initiatives on the State Trustees Australia Foundation website.

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