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Over $20,000 in grant funding has been awarded to eight West Coast groups through this year’s Granville Harbour Wind Farm Community Grants Program.

Now in its second year, the Grants Program supports grassroots projects that make a real difference to the West Coast community.

Granville Harbour Wind Farm Project Director, Lyndon Frearson, said the Project Team had received a high number of quality applications for this year’s Grants, which was unsurprising given the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on many small groups and clubs throughout the region.

“The total value of grant applications we received this year was well in excess of our grant funding budget  – with several applicants applying for funds specifically to maintain critical community connections for mental and social health or to support those in need during the pandemic,” he said.

“It really goes to show the tenacity and commitment of those who are still working to support community members in need – despite the logistical and operational challenges the coronavirus pandemic has created,” said Mr Frearson.

Melissa Sullivan, Manager of the Zeehan Neighbourhood Centre, and winner of a Granville Harbour Wind Farm Grant, said the funding meant they would be able to continue their much-needed Community Pantry service, which provides a hand up, not a handout, to those facing tough times.

“It’s often difficult for people to come forward and ask for help, but the Neighbourhood Centre provides a safe space where community members can seek support without judgement,” Ms Sullivan said.

“For many of our clients, the pantry means they will be able to eat for the next few days until their Centrelink payment comes in, or that their kids will go to school with full lunchboxes, or that they can now pay their phone bill.

“Everyone has the right to feel supported and to have food in the cupboard – and this is what the community pantry offers,” she said.

Zeehan Lions Club Secretary, June Scott, another Grant recipient, said their small non-profit club was struggling to meet basic operating costs, and feared that with limited fundraising opportunities this year, the group would have faced potential closure.

“With this year’s Zeehan Gem and Mineral Fair cancelled due to COVID-19, we’ve lost our major annual fundraising event, so this grant will help us get through the next year and enable us to continue our work to support the community,” she said.

Other groups to benefit from this year’s Community Grants Program include the Granville Harbour Community Coastcare Group, Zeehan Men’s Shed, Zeehan RSL, Strahan Fire Brigade, Rosebery Women’s Hockey Club and the Galley Museum in Queenstown.