Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie at Artworks Granite Belt on Tuesday.
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie at Artworks Granite Belt on Tuesday. Liana Turner

15 groups share in $106,000 grants

RESILIENCE in a region is about much more than helping local organisations thrive and improve their services, it's about creating a district with a buoyant community spirit and positive, proud outlook.

A round of Southern Downs Regional Council community grants has recently provided a boost to 15 groups through a total of $106,000 in funding.

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Cr Tracy Dobie said round one of the Grants to Community program was important in valuing and building "resilience and a strong community”.

The three funding streams open for applications were the Community Grant, Events Grant, and the Sport and Recreation Grant.

Cr Dobie said as governments became more centralised, it was essential communities were able to develop "good community spirit”.

"Our smaller communities can feel like they're missing out.

"I believe the community should be saying 'this is what we want and these are the solutions we need'.

"This is what the grants are about.”

She said it was crucial community groups in regional areas were able to take control of their own projects and this year the council had doubled the amount of money injected into the grants program.

"One of the things I want to see is a strong community: I'm talking about when people have an affinity with their community and the place they live.

"We want to provide the support, so people have ownership of what they want their community to be,” Cr Dobie said.

"It's about quality of life and a community having a common purpose.

"Council can come and help but it's not the same if the community does it themselves with council support. We want to take pride in what we do as a community.

"Taking pride in something you've achieved is how your community feels good about itself, which puts a smile on everybody's face.”

She said a Warwick school student talking about regional towns once said "small enough to care, big enough for opportunities” and it was a phrase she embraced and could relate.

"I was staggered last year when I saw the number of community groups that applied. Through the grants, we're trying to look at our communities and identify what they want.

"It's about community building and community development,” she said.

With most of Queensland's population situated along the east coast and in the south-east corner, it was vital that the state's rural and regional areas "have a voice”.

Round two of the Grants to Community program, with an overall funding allocation of $120,000, will open from September 30 until October 29.

Cr Dobie encouraged community groups to look to the future, think about what was needed and submit their applications.

Successful round one applicants include the Eukey Hall Association, the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society Event Management Subcommittee, Amiens History Association, the Ballandean Primary School Parents' and Citizens' Association, the Border District Eisteddfod, Stanthorpe Little Athletics, and the Ballandean Football Club.

For information, check the council website, www.sdrc. or call the grants officer on 1300 697 372.

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