City of Newcastle grants eight charities rapid response cash to help residents doing it tough

ASSISTANCE: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Craig Budden at BaptistCare HopeStreet's Wallsend Centre.
ASSISTANCE: Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes with Craig Budden at BaptistCare HopeStreet's Wallsend Centre.

Eight charitable organisations supporting vulnerable Novocastrians to overcome COVID-19 challenges have shared in $150,000 worth of grants from the City of Newcastle.

The Rapid Response Grants payments, from the Newcastle council's Community and Economic Development Resilience Package, are already helping charities prepare meals and care for residents experiencing hardship.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the first round of support was rolled out a week after the council announced a twin grants program to support non-government organisations, not for profits and other charitable service providers.

"The rapid response funding has ensured the continuity of food supply to meet a spike in local demand," she said.

"It was critical we responded quickly to help organisations implement the changes they have had to make to operate safely under current social distancing and home isolation restrictions.

"We are delighted to help the food charity sector as it adjusts to new ways of working and vulnerable members of the community adapt to access online and digital help, whether through computer tablets for disadvantaged kids living in refuges or online counselling for victims of domestic violence."

The eight charities that have received a Rapid Response Grant are:

  • OZ Harvest
  • Soul CafĂ©
  • Grainery Church
  • Got Your Back Sista
  • Justiz Community
  • BaptistCare HopeStreet
  • Awabakal
  • A local women's and children's refuge

BaptistCare HopeStreet's Craig Budden said their $25,000 grant would help provide food support and material assistance to meet a huge increase in demand at the organisation's Wallsend and Mayfield centres.

"The extra funding will mean we are able to provide more emergency relief care-packs, Woolworths and Coles vouchers, hand sanitiser, cleaning products and other emergency relief items like petrol, sleeping bags and pharmacy products, as well as more takeaway food through our outreach van," Mr Budden, manager of the Wallsend centre, said.

"The grant will also help fund the HopeStreet food delivery service that we have started to ensure those who are experiencing food insecurity but are self-isolating or quarantining can still receive food support."

Another round of community funding totalling $550,000 is also being offered.

The Boost our City Community Grants of up to $30,000 will help organisations directly support community health and wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis.

"These additional grants are aimed at supporting existing service providers to cope with increased urgency and demand in the provision of support services, such as food supply, supported living and community transport, to name a few," Ms Nelmes said.

"Whether it's for someone with complex health needs but limited access to technology to continue getting that vital care, or someone who has lost their job and is seeking help for the first time, we know these grants will go a long way to helping our community."

Open until June 30, the Boost our City Community Grants are available for projects that comply with Federal Government guidelines and NSW Health advice.

Application forms and information on how to apply are available via the City of Newcastle website.