Funds to help fix flood damage at Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre

REASON TO SMILE: Aunty Aileen Allen was so disappointed by the loss of even hardy natives in last year's flooding, the grant is very welcome news. Picture: FILE
REASON TO SMILE: Aunty Aileen Allen was so disappointed by the loss of even hardy natives in last year's flooding, the grant is very welcome news. Picture: FILE

A Forbes community organisation recovering from the recent devastating flood has welcomed a Federal Government Stronger Communities Program grant which will help it restore and enhance a water-damaged courtyard.

Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre Indigenous Corporation had been approved for an $11,654 grant which would be used to enhance the centre's outdoor space to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming space for the community to gather, reflect, celebrate and learn about Wiradjuri culture.

Centre manager Aunty Aileen Allen said the grant was needed badly - flooding late last year caused devastating damage to the site.

"We lost so many plants and trees in the floodwaters," Aunty Aileen said.

"You have no idea how much better this grant will make the outdoor space."

Mr McCormack said $149,500 had been approved for 11 projects in the Riverina and Central West through Round 7 of SCP, a program for not-for-profit organisations which funds small capital projects which deliver important social benefits in each of the 151 Ffederal electorates across the country.

Mr McCormack nominated the 11 projects after he and a community consultative committee considered 45 expressions of interest seeking funding of $620,000 towards projects worth $994,000.

Mr McCormack said the Stronger Communities Program had delivered more than $1 million to not-for-profit organisations in the Riverina and Central West through the first seven rounds of the program.

He said the program had been extended in the 2022-23 Federal Budget handed down this week.

"I am delighted an eighth round of the Stronger Communities Programme will be funded because it is such a valuable source of funding for these community organisations which just need a helping hand to achieve big things," McCormack said.

"The program is very popular; I am often asked: when will the next round open?

"Among the approved projects, this round will allow a preschool to create an outdoor learning space, a show society to fit out a kitchen, a retirement village to modify a transport vehicle for residents and a CWA branch to paint the outside of their building.

"In some cases, these community-building projects simply would not have been possible without the support of a Stronger Communities Program grant."

REASON TO SMILE: Aunty Aileen Allen was so disappointed by the loss of even hardy natives in last year's flooding, the grant is very welcome news. Picture: FILE

REASON TO SMILE: Aunty Aileen Allen was so disappointed by the loss of even hardy natives in last year's flooding, the grant is very welcome news. Picture: FILE