City of Cockburn to review grant application process amid concerns bodies not receiving appropriate funding because of poor applications

City of Cockburn to review grant application process amid concerns bodies not receiving appropriate funding because of poor applications

CITY of Cockburn will review its grants and donations application process to make the procedure more efficient, but one councillor believes another step should be taken to help those seeking council support.

Each year the City allocates up to 2 per cent of it rates for different grants, sponsorships and subsidies for people and groups within the community.

The fund was setup in 1995 to support community projects that could not access funding through mainstream agencies.

Some $1.2 million has been allocated for the 2015-16 budget.

Cockburn’s recreation and community safety manager Rob Avard said a review of the application process, which would allow submissions to be completed online, would make the procedure more efficient for applicants and administrators.

The review is expected to be finished in time for the 2017 funding rounds.

Councillor Lee-Anne Smith welcomed the review, but said more could be done to ensure applications made to the City were as strong as possible .

There was debate at the City’s last ordinary council meeting around funding for organisations that submitted sub-standard applications.

Councillors Chamonix Terblanche and Lyndsey Sweetman said community groups and not-for-profit groups deserved a little slack.

“Having worked in more than one volunteer organisation it happens, unfortunately very often, that people are overworked and understaffed,” Cr Terblanche said.

“Just to put in an application is quite a lot of work.”

Speaking to the Gazette, Cr Smith was sympathetic to local community groups but argued council was there to walk applicants through the process.

She has since called for the City to consider grants that could be used by small not-for-profit groups to seek expertise that would strengthen their organisation.

“If an organisation applies for $5000 and we give them $1000 because their application wasn’t strong enough, we’re not really helping them,” she said.

“I’ve always said that people in the community have the answers, they just need support.

“If we can up-skill them, then they can compete for bigger funding grants elsewhere and continue to do the work they do best.”