Refugee communities in south-west Sydney will benefit from a spate of innovative new projects when Settlement Services International (SSI) unveils the recipients of its Community Innovation Fund on Australia Day 2018.
SSI opened the first round of applications for the $50,000 fund in September 2017 to celebrate the strength and resilience of the community of south-west Sydney and to encourage innovative ideas to support newly arrived refugees.
The Community Innovation Fund is not a typical grants program but rather an “incubator” for ideas that removes barriers to funding for the community. Its specially designed application process allows great ideas to be supported without making it necessary for applicants to have perfect grant-writing skills.
The fund’s resources are offered to groups, organisations or individuals with a connection to south-west Sydney (Fairfield, Liverpool and surrounds) and projects that will benefit local refugees who have arrived in the last three years.
Local service providers and other funded bodies are not eligible to apply.
SSI Community Engagement Coordinator Kat O'Neill said Australia Day was chosen for the announcement to send a positive message about how the community’s newest Australians are contributing to what is happening in Sydney’s south west.
“This community offers not only sanctuary but also opportunity to its newest community members,”
Ms O’Neill said.
“This fund enhances that opportunity. It gives power, voice and resources where they are most needed: in the hands of the community. It aims to grow community leaders’ capacity.”
SSI received a high volume of applications, all of which demonstrated the vision and commitment of local leaders to enrich the south-west Sydney refugee community, Ms O’Neill said.
An intensive consultation process was undertaken with the refugee community to inform the fund’s selection criteria, to understand the community’s aspirations and challenges, and to learn what kind of community newly arrived refugees want to live in.
“This was a crucial step in establishing the fund, allowing the community to decide how to address its settlement needs,” Ms O’Neill said.
“It guides where the fund’s resources will go and what types of projects will be delivered.
“Investing in these ideas moves further towards a strengths-based model of refugee resettlement that recognises the skills and experiences of the community themselves.”
SSI will also resource successful applicants by providing project management and mentoring tools.
While the second funding round won’t be launched until later in 2018, Ms O'Neill is keen to hear from anyone wanting to discuss their ideas for innovative projects.
Read more about the Community Innovation Fund, including selection criteria, here: About the Community Innovation Fund.