What is the Let’s Stay Connected Fund?
The Let’s Stay Connected Fund is a grant opportunity that has been developed to help communities to stay connected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond.
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the necessary measures taken to slow the spread and protect our communities represent significant challenges for all Victorians.
The implementation of physical distancing to reduce the risk of transmission and save lives is leading to reduced social contact that is particularly hard on Victorians experiencing vulnerability.
Innovative solutions to support community connectedness are needed to respond to this unique challenge.
The Victorian Government has established the Let’s Stay Connected Fund (the Fund) to support organisations to develop accessible, digital content or scale up innovative approaches to community activation and engagement to combat isolation and loneliness. To ensure a rapid response, existing initiatives will be targeted as part of this program.
The objectives of the Let’s Stay Connected Fund are to combat social isolation and loneliness issues in the community and:
- better connect program participants with others in the community
- provide opportunities for the community to contribute or volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- increase the capability of participants to connect with both their community and support organisations
- assist service providers in increasing their reach
- increase the capability for the community to support the socially isolated
- ensure an equitable spread of support across both metropolitan and regional areas
- increase collaboration between Government and support services to assist people experiencing social isolation as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Let’s Stay Connected Fund will be delivered in two streams:
- Stream 1 – Targeted – existing projects that can be “scaled up” to a broader audience (local, regional or state level).
- Stream 2 – Open – allowing applications from community groups, recognised charities, chambers of commerce, peak bodies, industry and LGAs to fund the establishment of new and “scale up” existing innovative projects that will help to address social isolation and loneliness in the community as a result of the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Funding will be capped at $200,000 per project with the minimum amount of funding for a project at least $5,000.
There are no co-funding requirements for applicants to qualify for funding.
Activities and projects that may be considered include but are not limited to:
- engagement approaches using new and innovative technologies that are accessible and inclusive to diverse communities
- supporting organisations to develop digital content or purchase specialist equipment to enable initiatives to be provided online
- supporting locally led partnerships to address social isolation and loneliness in the community
- targeted engagement approaches for vulnerable cohorts, particularly for members of the community who do not have internet access and or / the skills to utilise technology
- establishing or growing innovative community and small enterprise projects and recreation initiatives that address loneliness and social isolation
- increasing access to communications channels and providing training and upskilling opportunities to build people’s capability to access online resources
- collaboration that builds community cohesion
- increasing local community participation in activities designed to assist communities to connect and reduce loneliness and social isolation
- help to reduce social isolation and loneliness for people whose health has been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).
Note that it is expected that all activities will be delivered within six months from the signing of the grant agreement and before the end of 2020.
Applications will be considered from Victorian-based incorporated community organisations, LGA’s, incorporated not-for-profits and industry groups including:
- chambers of commerce and business associations
- industry peak bodies
- business and industry clusters and networks
- groups of LGA’s
- government agencies.
incorporated not-for-profit organisations, including community groups, for example:
- cooperatives or associations
- social enterprise organisations.
Individuals or unincorporated associations are not eligible to apply. All applications must provide a current ABN number.
Applications close 31 August 2020.