Latrobe Valley community groups and sports clubs were presented with grants of up to $3000 on Friday, to complete projects that would enhance local programs and facilities.
AusNet Services awarded Latrobe City Council with $20,000 as part of its Community Development Fund program, which is granted to different councils each year.
This is the first time Latrobe City has received the funding, which will go to eight recipients including Traralgon Hockey Club, Cooinda Hill and Moe SES.
Latrobe City mayor Dale Harriman said the money would “lift up” Gippsland’s community groups, who had experienced a difficult year due to the Hazelwood mine fire.
“Now they don’t have to fundraise or dig into their own pockets and it’s something they can get without having to work really hard for it,” Cr Harriman.
“They’re already doing so much work elsewhere – they can now concentrate on their main issues, whether that be with the SES or a community group.”
AusNet Services east region community manager Luke Vaughan said the fund’s purpose was to support local projects that could benefit the community.
“It’s important for us, as a tangible project, that we can give some money to the groups and help their communities out,” Mr Vaughan said.
“It’s really to give a little bit back to the communities that we operate into.”
Cooinda Hill, a service that supports adults with disability, will put the grant towards improving an arts ability program in its Morwell opportunity store, POD.
Cooinda Hill chief executive Chris Trotman said the program, which enabled clients to create and sell their artwork, would now become more accessible.
“The AusNet grant will enable us to purchase two wheelchair-accessible, electrically height-adjustable work stations,” Ms Trotman said.
“A lot of things aren’t normally accessible, so this will enable people in wheelchairs to join in the workshops and create some fantastic artwork.”
The Toongabbie Recreation Reserve Committee of Management received $698 to upgrade its kitchen equipment.
Committee president Graham Berrett said the equipment, to be used by Toongabbie sporting clubs and playgroups, would be installed this week.
“I’m very pleased – basically we’re all volunteers and grant junkies, so we’re very appreciative of anything that comes our way,” Mr Berrett said.