Let's Stay Connected Fund
The Let’s Stay Connected Fund has been developed to help communities to stay connected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond.
The Victorian Government is helping communities to stay connected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond with the Let’s Stay Connected Fund. The fund provides grants between $5,000 and $200,000 to support community-led initiatives.
The program will support innovative, community-led and community-based initiatives that build connection, reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation and can be implemented quickly – providing much-needed support across the state. It will also support existing initiatives that can be rapidly scaled up to a local, regional or state level – delivering innovative and practical solutions that will benefit communities as soon as possible.
Victoria Together, our state’s online platform to help build cohesion and connection, will also be made available to host digital content as appropriate.
Initiatives could include helping community groups continue to operate by adapting the way they deliver programs or events, including through online forums. Other possibilities include support for communities to improve digital skills and access online communication channels, or new ways for people to continue volunteering within their communities while maintaining physical distancing requirements
Objectives of Program
The objectives of the program 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).
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).
The program 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.
The process for applying for funding under the program is outlined below:
- All applicants to complete on-line application form for funding. Applicants are encouraged to email email@example.com if they are based in metropolitan Melbourne, or firstname.lastname@example.org if they are based in regional Victoria to discuss their idea and seek advice.
- All applications are to be submitted no later than 31 August 2020. Note that early applications are encouraged and will be assessed as soon as possible, with funding allocated accordingly
- All applicant organisations will undergo a probity check to ensure that business registrations are up to date. In addition, applicants requesting funding over $50,001 will be required to undergo an independent financial risk assessment which requires the submission of Financial Statements.
- All applications will be reviewed against the eligibility criteria.
- Applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be reviewed by an assessment panel who will consider the application and make a recommendation to the appropriate Minister or Ministerial delegate for funding.
- The Minister or Minister’s delegate will consider the advice and determine whether to approve the application for funding. Decisions on funding approval will be made on a competitive basis based on funding availability.
- Applicants will receive a letter confirming the outcome of their application.