The first round of applications has now opened for community groups and organisations to apply for a share in $160,000 as part of Hunter Water's expanded Love Water Grants program.
The focus of the program is to fund water conservation and environmental initiatives.
This year the scope of the grant program has been widened to provide additional support to community groups and organisations that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey welcomed the addition of two new categories into the assessment criteria.
"I'm really pleased to see the introduction of the 'customer hardship' and 'economic stimulus' categories in this year's Love Water Grants. I encourage local businesses, community groups and organisations to apply, with up to $10,000 in funding on offer," she said.
Hunter Water managing director Darren Cleary said community projects funded by the Love Water Grants helped spread the value of saving the precious resource and making smart water choices.
"Our community has used 15 per cent less water than we expected over the past year, which is equivalent to saving the water use of 52,000 households. This is an outstanding result and shows how everyday behaviours and changes, whether big or small, make a difference," he said.
"This includes water efficiency and sustainability initiatives implemented as a result of our grants program. It's helping our community make smart water choices and it's bringing us together. We're proud to partner with and support our community through this program, as we work to ensure a resilient and sustainable water future.
Applications for round one of the grants program close on Saturday, October 24. Round two due will open in February 2021. For more information or to apply go to hunterwater.com.au/grants.
Clubgrants funding available
Port Stephens community organisations impacted by COVID-19 are being encouraged to apply for funding under the next round of the NSW Government's Infrastructure Grants program, which is now open.
"The economic impacts of COVID-19 have meant some communities have struggled to maintain sports, cultural and other social activities," Catherine Cusack, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, said.
"Community sporting and cultural organisations are the lifeblood for many communities and this funding can be used for projects that foster equity, social inclusion and participation. We want these organisations to not just keep their doors open but to grow and prosper.
"Clubgrants funding is designed to give community organisations a boost when and where it's needed most - it is available for projects to build, repair or upgrade facilities across arts and culture, sport and recreation, disaster readiness and community infrastructure."
The last round of the program saw projects to repair and rebuild community assets affected by bushfires and COVID-19 given priority. Such projects will remain in the priority framework for this round.
Community infrastructure is also now a standalone category and it can be used for spaces like halls and meeting rooms, community transport, and infrastructure that supports youth, disability, mental health, homelessness, and domestic violence services.
The grants are made possible by the Clubgrants Category 3 Fund which re-invests profits from registered clubs' gaming machines into a statewide funding pool for large-scale community projects.
To find out more information or to apply go to responsiblegambling.nsw.gov.au. Applications close October 12.