In this funding round, nine grants totalling $3,610,000 were awarded. These included two in the Major grants stream, and several by invitation program area grants
Launch Housing was awarded a major grant of $2.5M over five years towards its Families Supportive Housing project, an 8-storey permanent supportive housing with support services for women and their children escaping domestic violence. The building will be located in Dandenong and include 60 apartments, communal spaces, play areas, 24-hour security as well as an entire floor dedicated to support services, such as family counselling. By offering permanent housing, this project will support women and children in dire circumstances to stabilise their lives, allow children to maintain or re-engage with schooling and address their mental health concerns.
This will be the first project of its kind in Australia, in a single location, of this scale. While the need is much greater than can be addressed by this project, it is hoped it will be a successful ‘demonstration project’ allowing government to assess the social and economic value of permanent housing versus crisis accommodation which does not solve the issue of homelessness.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has been awarded $500,000 through the major grants stream for a pilot project to build the capacity of primary schools to address children’s mental health issues.
The project – announced by the Victoria Deputy Premier and State Education Minister, the Hon James Merlino in late November – sees the Foundation match State Government funding to enable the pilot project which will trial a tailored mental health program in up to 10 Victorian primary schools. The project will provide evidence-based training and resources to support dedicated school staff to better identify and respond to mental health issues of pupils. It will also help schools build strong connections with community-based health and other services so that students and families can be linked to these services as appropriate.
In the Early Childhood Development funding area, a $400,000 grant over three years was awarded to Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) for the Martu Women and Families Program. KJ is a Martu-led organisation established in 2005 to support Martu to build strong, sustainable communities in a manner that is Martu-focussed and recognises and reinforces Martu values. Martu are traditional Western Desert Aboriginal people from the vast area of the Great Sandy, Little Sandy and Gibson Deserts in WA.
This grant will support the expansion of the early childhood programs in the Pilbara region in WA which have been delivered since 2009 by World Vision Australia (WVA) and have now been handed over to the KJ to manage and expand. The success of WVA’s project to establish early childhood programs in this community was the impetus for The Ian Potter Foundation awarding WVA a $2.2M major grant in 2018 to support an identical initiative around Derby in the Kimberley region of WA.
Critical to the success of these programs is the engagement with the children’s caregivers (parents, grandparents and older siblings). KJ is well-placed to enhance this family engagement by employing parents and family members as local facilitators of the program. Across three communities, the program will create up to 10 part-time positions – a significant economic investment for these remote communities – fulfilling a key part of KJ’s vision of economic empowerment for Martu people.
The remaining five grants were made in the Community Wellbeing funding area. The Christie Centre Inc was awarded a capacity building grant of $90,000 which will help fund the purchase of a Mildura native nursery. This will allow the Christie Centre to scale up its operations and expand the GrowAbility program (previously funded by the Foundation) which currently supports participants to attain Horticulture qualifications. Acquiring this business will enable the Christie Centre to create employment pathways for GrowAbility participants.
The new nursery business will be an addition to the social enterprise portfolio developed by the Christie Centre, providing employment pathways in a supported environment for people with disabilities. CEO of the Christie Centre, Florence Davidson, shares the organisation’s learnings along with other grantees on establishing and running social enterprises in episode three of the Ian Potter Summer Listening Series podcast.
Also awarded were four Impact Enhancement grants to assist current grantees to consolidate their impact. Two of these grants are unique in that they facilitate bringing together Karinya Young Women’s Service Inc (an existing grantee with a highly successful program) to share their knowledge and experience with Women Up North Housing (a not-for-profit social services provider in NSW) who are looking to pilot a similar program in Lismore NSW. These are small but significant grants ($5000 each) and are a first for the Foundation as we look to support the transfer of knowledge between organisations in the same sector.