(Photo: First Hike Project)
Research, and our own lived experiences, tell us that more frequent social contact is associated with higher life satisfaction and better, overall health and wellbeing outcomes. Conversely, social isolation and loneliness can have significant, negative impacts for many people’s health and wellbeing. In May, as part of our Collective initiative we partnered with a local philanthropic Foundation to support 8 social inclusion programs across Metro Melbourne.
The hardships suffered through COVID-19 have not affected all groups equally, and groups such as young people, migrants, those in casual or unstable work, without accumulated assets and strong personal or professional networks, have been particularly vulnerable. These groups are also not always comfortable seeking support directly from services. Rob Rees, Cultivating Community, shared that; “Fear of connection is a real anxiety within our client groups. There still remains much confusion amongst our clients about Covid 19. They are unsure about safe spaces, rules and regulations. Many community spaces in public and social housing are still shut with no access (yet nobody is telling that story).”
Face-to-face support programs run by community-based organisations can often make the most significant difference for these marginalised groups. These programs are often run by smaller organisations, reliant on volunteers, responding to local community needs, with limited budgets. As Neil McCulloch at First Hike Project told us:
“…this grant is an amazing windfall for our organisation and we thank you in complete surprise! Small organisations like ours run on such little available administration time and funds so even a relatively small grant such as this one really does make a huge difference. With all of our costs increasing year on year it is so wonderful to receive this grant from you guys… we look forward to being able to share this with as many newly arrived youth from refugee backgrounds as possible.”
April 2022 Social Isolation Grants
|ORGANISATION NAME||WEBSITE||GRANT AMOUNT|
|Big Issue – Street Soccer||https://thebigissue.org.au/our-programs/street-soccer-program/||$5,000.00|
|City in the Community||https://melbournecityfc.com.au/news/city-community||$5,000.00|
|First Hike Project||https://firsthikeproject.org.au/contact/||$5,000.00|
|Free to Feed||https://www.freetofeed.org.au/||$5,000.00|
|Kensington Neighbourhood House||http://www.kensingtonneighbourhoodhouse.com/||$5,000.00|
|South East Community Links||https://secl.org.au/||$5,000.00|
These grants were made possible with the support of a Philanthropic Foundation who wishes to remain anonymous. Their focus for this fund is support for Victorian frontline services. We thank them for their generous support and encourage other funders to make contact with us if they wish to have a collective impact with StreetSmart.