The Common Ground Project will receive $50,000 in VicHealth funding to support residents hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Common Ground Project, located in Freshwater Creek, will use the grant to support the Staying Grounded program that was launched this year, which promotes food security and provides access to locally grown food.
The program was originally set-up for asylum seekers to contribute in the production of food and then service those that require it in the community. The program saw a group of Afghan women take part on Mondays while a group of Sri Lankan women on Wednesdays. In 2021, the program will be open to anyone suffering hardship in the community.
The Mulberry Group, which oversees the project, CEO Nathan Toleman said this grant would allow them to employ someone to specifically run and grow the program, which has never been more necessary than in these difficult times.
“Food security and access to training and employment for asylum seekers is always an issue particular in COVID,” Mr Toleman said.
“We just wanted to make sure they were looked after… it also offers them an opportunity to learn, be paid and possibly grow their own business one day, while servicing the community.”
South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman said the funding was crucial to allow organisations like the Common Ground Project to support those who need it most.
“This much-needed funding from VicHealth will ensure local organisations can continue supporting our community to build back better from the impact of coronavirus,” Mr Cheeseman said.
“Grass-roots organisations are the heart and soul of South Barwon and their efforts are key to helping us recover from this pandemic.”
The program will run again in 2021, beginning February.
There will also be a fundraiser held on Saturday (December 19), with proceeds going to the Staying Grounded program. Running from 4-9pm, there will be pizza and wine along with a DJ on site, $30 per head.