It’s being labelled ‘‘grassroots democracy’’ and a leg-up for projects that otherwise might ‘‘fall between the cracks’’.
Shepparton community groups can now make a pitch for support in a new Victorian Government funding channel aimed at helping home-grown projects become reality.
A $30 million government fund for community projects valued at between $20000 and $200000 is now open for applications.
And two local upper house MPs are urging northern Victorian communities to apply.
The Pick My Project initiative hopes to help ideas ranging from ‘‘cultural events to community gardens — anything that will make our local communities better places to live’’, according to a government statement.
All residents aged 16 and above will be able to submit ideas for consideration under the program and then vote for the projects they think are most important.
‘‘All they’ll need is an idea that helps build a stronger community, and the backing of a local organisation, community group, school, local council, or other eligible group able to help deliver the project,’’ the statement said.
‘‘Projects will need to be feasible and have land-owner consent, but there are no restrictive guidelines, meaning many local priorities that fall between the cracks of other grant programs are now eligible for funding.’’
Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp last month said ideas could include anything from sporting and recreation infrastructure to community arts projects, improvements to community facilities or the local environment.
Communities would then get to vote for the projects they think are most important, giving residents in northern Victoria the first and final say on the best way to improve their area, he said.
‘‘This is about putting community funding decisions back in the hands of communities, helping people in northern Victoria come together to improve their neighbourhood.
‘‘We want to hear from young people, sporting clubs, community groups, schools, everyone who is active and involved in northern Victoria — because they know better than anyone what is needed.’’
Applications are open until Sunday, June 24, with winning projects to be announced in September.
For more information, visit www.pickmyproject. vic.gov.au