Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company pictured with the new air-conditioning system in the background.
Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company pictured with the new air-conditioning system in the background. Chris Ison ROK170118caircon3

Government cash splash set to help CQ community groups

GAMBLING can have an insidious impact on society but the government revenue it generates can assist community groups like the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company.

Club secretary Merle Cole said her group had been sweltering in their rehearsal space in the Walter Reid Cultural Centre when they learnt about the potential funds available to them through the Queensland Government's Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

"The carpark was built-in cutting off air circulation and it was awfully hot, so we decided to apply for a grant (to purchase an air-conditioner),” she said.

"It was relatively easy. You simply jump online, provide letters of support to prove what benefits will be.”

Her organisation secured a $27,068 grant in late 2016, with the air-conditioner installed mid last year.

Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company is grateful for receiving a grant from the gambling community benefit fund which allowed them to purchase an air-conditioning plant to cool their area in the Walter Reid Centre making sorting and cataloguing costumes and props more bearable during the summer months.
Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company is grateful for receiving a grant from the gambling community benefit fund which allowed them to purchase an air-conditioning plant to cool their area in the Walter Reid Centre making sorting and cataloguing costumes and props more bearable during the summer months. Chris Ison ROK170118caircon1

Ms Cole said they used to dread going out the back in the summer to sort through costumes and props but now "it's a breeze”.

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke said the application process had recently opened and strongly encouraged local community groups to apply.

"Local community and sporting organisations should get their thinking caps on and consider projects that their organisation can benefit from,” Mr O'Rourke said.

"It could be that your club is in need of new equipment to play the sport that they love, or maybe needs to upgrade a ramp to entrance areas to make life easier for elderly or disabled members to participate.

"Whatever your organisation needs, this is an opportunity to work towards better facilities for its members.”

He said in previous years, groups like Rockhampton Bowls Club, Rockhampton Little Theatre, Gracemere Bowls Club, Endeavour Foundation and many others had been successful.

"During 2017, Rockhampton benefited from a total of $878,524 in funding being provided to local organisations through the Gambling Community Benefit Fund,” Mr O'Rourke said. "I am a really strong believer in community inclusion and see many benefits for organisations to apply for funding which will make Rocky groups even better by extending opportunities for our youth, elderly and disabled,” he said.

Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company thinks other community groups should take advantage of the community grants available.
Merle Cole, Secretary of the Rockhampton Little Theatre Company thinks other community groups should take advantage of the community grants available. Chris Ison ROK170118caircon4

His calls were echoed by Keppel MP Brittany Lauga who said community groups could apply for between $500 and $35,000 under the next round to go towards upgrading services or purchasing much-need equipment.

"Every year the Gambling Community Benefit Fund distributes about $53 million of gaming revenue to Queensland communities,” Mrs Lauga said.

"In 2017 Keppel schools, clubs and community groups shared in nearly $500,000 towards much-needed projects.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke strongly encourage local community groups to put in their applications.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke strongly encourage local community groups to put in their applications. Leighton Smith

"This fund is Queensland's largest, once-off grants program and allows community groups to fund projects that might have otherwise been out of reach.”

"These groups are the backbone of our communities and I encourage all eligible groups to apply for this funding.

"This fund is open to organisations that have not-for-profit objectives and are community based.”

Applications close on February 28.

For more info and to apply, visit www.justice. qld.gov.au/corporate/ sponsorships-and-grants/ grants.



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