Community Fund Ideas starting to gain interest

Whilst it is very early days before any planning approval decision for the proposed Inverleigh Wind Farm is expected (potentially March 2019), an external expert consultant has been retained to start canvasing ideas and priorities for the proposed project Community Fund.  Depending upon the final installed capacity of the project, the likely amount of funding available for community decided initiatives from Inverleigh to Winchelsea would be around $48,000 per year. 

The decision making will have a significant input from the projects neighbours. Those within 5-10km, from whom it is expected that a committee will be formed, possibly assisted by an independent Chairperson with experience in community funding issues.

Discussions have recently been held with Simon O’Brien and Peter Kirby, the respective Principals of the Winchelsea and Inverleigh Primary Schools, the Winchelsea River Care Group (Rod Stone), and the Inverleigh Progress Association (Hilary Hamilton and Tony Waayers), with other one-on-one meetings planned over the coming weeks.  Some ideas canvassed for potential funding support so far include:

  • Support to Winchelsea Primary School’s ‘STEM program’ (science, technology, engineering and maths), potentially to purchase equipment such as a 3D printer etc.
  • Expansion of WPSs Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program involving Grade 3 and 4 children and including aspects such as cooking healthy food, and sustainable living. This costs around $10,000 p.a. to run and has previously had access to some grant funding.
  • Making the Learn to swim programs at Inverleigh Primary School affordable and more effective for parents and families. The currant 5-day program costs parents $75 per child, and the 10-day program is $160 to $180 per child.  This is an ongoing program for Prep to Grade 7 but would be significantly enhanced and provide better results for children if funding of $15,000 was available to take the pressure off parents.  Drownings are sadly on the increase, for several reasons, and support for this activity would be welcomed.
  • Winchelsea River Care - Improving river health and water quality around Winchelsea, with support to existing and planned projects such as:
    • River health improvement between the golf course and the railway bridge for new plantings, weed eradication etc.;
    • Addressing increased acid water pH impact due to reduced river flow;
    • The Platypus Monitoring Program, as a baseline exercise in river health, with 55 sites already DNA tested, with assistance from the Catchment Management Authority;
    • Planting expansion (already applied for 700 grasses from Barwon Water for the bridge area through the Upper Barwon River Care Network);
    • Creation of a river walking track of approximately 4km to cover both sides of the river, requiring removal of gorse and blackberry infestation along the proposed route.
  • Inverleigh Progress Association:
    • Inverleigh kinder expansion.
    • Possible relocation of the Inverleigh tennis and netball court in anticipation of the inevitable expansion of the primary school, which could then utilize that land (longer term idea).

We are only at the start of the ideas gathering process, and we do accept that this could be considered premature, ahead of a Planning Decision.  However, on the assumption of approval, the aim is to ‘hit the ground running’ with the earliest possible use of funding.  All ideas are very welcome, via Simon at simon@communityconnectcsr.com.au