Community Grants

Community Grants Program Guidelines

Program overview

The Community Grants program supports eligible early childhood education services to increase participation and access for children experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage, by delivering targeted initiatives and support for Aboriginal children and children from low income families.

This program supports the participation in 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the two years before school. The program is open to not-for-profit community preschools (centre-based and mobile) and not-for-profit long day cares. Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services and Aboriginal Child and Family Centres are eligible for this program.

Grants can be used to promote educational access for Aboriginal children and children from low income families, as well as initiatives that will improve educational experiences or outcomes for those children attending a service.

Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria, application requirements and spending rules.

Applications are open 10 June 2021 to 6 August 2021. Early payment will be available to those services who require urgent funding and lodge their application by 25 June 2021. All other grant payments are expected to be made from December 2021.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the Community Grants program, a service must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a not-for-profit community preschool (centre-based or mobile) or not-for-profit long day care (as identified in the National Quality Agenda IT System, or where sufficient evidence is provided upon request) and includes local government managed services; or be a Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Service or Aboriginal Child and Family Centres operating in NSW.
  • Be an approved early childhood education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations or the Supplementary Provisions Act.
  • Deliver an early childhood education program in accordance with The Early Years Learning Framework under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education.

Services are eligible to apply for Community Grants funding once per service approval (for mobile preschools, you can only apply under the Service Approval of your parent service, not individual mobile venues).

Application process

Applications for the Community Grants program should be submitted through the SmartyGrants online application system. A guide is available to help applicants use SmartyGrants.

Applications for this program open 10 June 2021 to 6 August 2021.

Applications can be submitted for grants funding of up to $10,000 (ex GST). Services may apply for funding for multiple programs/initiatives in a single application, with the total amount of funding per service awarded not exceeding this amount.

Assessment criteria

The department will assess applications and determine funding based on service eligibility, spending rules, program priorities and available funding. Applications may be competitively assessed.

The department may prioritise applications that are from services:

  • operating in regional and remote areas
  • operating in the most disadvantaged areas (SEIFA band 8 or lower)
  • with significant enrolments of Aboriginal children and children from low income families.

Spending rules

Activities should primarily benefit children aged from 3 and above.

Eligible services may apply for funding to help support programs or initiatives that are in addition to business as usual activities, such as:

  • Transport initiatives such as establishing partnerships with local schools, councils or transport providers to increase access.
  • Providing staff development opportunities such as training and conferences that promote outreach to Aboriginal children and children from low income families.
  • Resources that support access and participation for Aboriginal children and children from low income families.
  • Providing access to specialised staff for Aboriginal children and children from low income families.
  • Educational resource development that promotes outreach to Aboriginal children and children from low income families.
  • Engagement of an Aboriginal community member to work with the service or the local Aboriginal community.
  • Engagement of a cultural or local community member to support low income children.
  • Reengagement of Aboriginal and low income families where enrolments may have declined due to COVID-19 and other unforeseen circumstances such as flood, bushfire, drought etc.

Activities can be in conjunction with other community initiatives delivered by the NSW Government or other agencies supporting Aboriginal children and children from low income families.

Funding is not available for activities where the service is receiving funding through an existing alternative source such as Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for resources and activities that can be fully funded through the Community Grants program.

Activities need to commence during the 2021/22 financial year and approved funding must be spent by 30 December 2022. Applicants may be asked to return any unspent funding after this date.

The department must be notified of exceptional circumstances whereby approved funding cannot be expended by 30 December 2022. Notification should include an explanation for why funding has not been expended and a timeline for spending the outstanding funds. Decisions regarding unspent funds will be made by the department on a case by case basis. Decisions will be confirmed by the department in writing.

Payments

Program grants will be paid to successful applicants as a one-off payment via the Early Childhood Contract Management System (ECCMS).

Early payment will be available to those services who require urgent funding and lodge their application by 25 June 2021. Payments for these services will be made from October 2021.

Early payments cannot be made for applications lodged after 25 June 2021.

All other grant payments are expected to be made from December 2021. In the event of significant variation to this timetable, services and/or applicants will be notified by the department.

Grant payments will only be progressed for applicants that are registered in ECCMS and have accepted the Terms and Conditions of the Early Childhood Education Grants Program.

Along with the Terms and Conditions, these program guidelines will form part of the funding agreement for services receiving grant payments through this program.

The amount of funding provided will be based on the department's assessment of the amount requested and the information provided in the application.

Reporting requirements

A formal acquittal process must be undertaken within one year of the end of the spending period (e.g. within one year of 30 December 2022). This will consist of a statement of expenditure and a performance report.

Additional funding support for eligible Aboriginal community preschools and community preschools for transport initiatives

Additional funding is available to support transport initiatives for eligible Aboriginal community preschools or community preschools with significant historical enrolments of Aboriginal children (on a case by case basis).

Grants can be used for transport initiatives that support the participation of Aboriginal children at high risk of discontinuation in preschools and/or to further extend the participation of Aboriginal children in a preschool program.

Applications can be submitted for funding up to $100,000 (ex GST). Applications will be assessed against the eligibility criteria, application requirements and spending rules. Applications may be competitively assessed.

Applications will be prioritised with consideration given to a number of categories such as the number of children assisted through the proposal and the lack of alternative funding sources.

Eligibility criteria

Your service must meet the following criteria:

  • be a not-for-profit centre-based community preschool
  • be an Aboriginal community preschool
  • have an ARIA+ classifications of Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote
  • not currently receiving funding for the same transport initiative through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy or other funding source.

Applications may be accepted on a case by case basis where community preschools (that are not identified as Aboriginal Community Preschools) can demonstrate significant historical enrolments of Aboriginal children. This will take into consideration a range of factors including evidence of numbers and/or percentages of Aboriginal enrolments over the last 3-5 years and significant engagement with a local Aboriginal community to support preschool participation. Services who believe they may meet these criteria should contact the department regarding their intent to apply.

Services are only eligible to apply for additional transport funding once per service approval. Applications for additional funding support will be available in the Community Grants program application should the service meet the eligibility criteria.

Application process

Applications for additional transport funding should be submitted through the SmartyGrants online application system under the Community Grants program application form (same application link as above). Only eligible services will be able to access the additional funding support in the application form.

Applications for this program open from 10 June 2021 to 6 August 2021. Early payment will be available to those services who require urgent funding and lodge their application by 25 June 2021.

Applications can be submitted for funding up to $100,000 (ex GST).

Applications should include:

  • A project budget, including your ability to provide additional funding if the total amount exceeds the amount provided in the grant.
  • Quotes detailing the costs for the purchase, repair and/or maintenance of a motor vehicle.

Application requirements for the purchase of a vehicle:

  • The motor vehicle must be used primarily to transport children attending the community preschool.
  • The motor vehicle must be fit for purpose and capable of transporting children safely to and from the service, including operating safely in varying weather conditions; and comply with all applicable requirements to comply with the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations.
  • The motor vehicle must be registered in NSW with appropriate insurances.

Assessment criteria

The department will assess applications and determine funding based on service eligibility, spending rules, program priorities and available funding. Applications may be competitively assessed.

Prioritisation of applications includes:

  • regional and remote areas
  • operating in the most disadvantaged areas (SEIFA band 8 or lower)
  • significant historical enrolments of Aboriginal children. This will take into consideration a range of factors including evidence of numbers and/or percentages of Aboriginal enrolments over the last 3-5 years and significant engagement with a local Aboriginal community to support preschool participation
  • demonstrating a strong focus on participation of Aboriginal children in early childhood education
  • demonstrating community need
  • the number of Aboriginal children assisted
  • the lack of alternative funding sources
  • value for money
  • other prioritisation categories that reflect emerging needs and is considered to support the purpose and intended outcome of the program.

Spending rules

Eligible services may apply for funding to help support transport initiatives including:

  • Purchase of a transport vehicle. Services are not able to apply for this category if they have previously received funding for a vehicle through this program.
  • Other transport initiatives (such as vehicle maintenance, repair cost, hiring a driver or vehicle).

Grant funding through this stream must be used for transport initiatives only.

Activities need to commence during the 2021/2022 financial year and approved funding must be spent by 30 December 2022. Applicants may be asked to return any unspent funding at this date.

The department must be notified of exceptional circumstances whereby approved funding cannot be expended by 30 December 2022. Notification should include an explanation for why funding has not been expended and a timeline for spending the outstanding funds. Decisions regarding unspent funds will be made by the department on a case by case basis. Decisions will be confirmed by the department in writing.

The department will require security to finalise funding agreements for the purchase of a vehicle under Community Grants. The security could include a 'security interest' under the Personal Property Securities Act 2009.

Payments

Program grants will be paid to successful applicants as notified by the department.

Grants payments will only be progressed for applicants that are registered in ECCMS and have accepted the Terms and Conditions of the Early Childhood Education Grants Program.

The amount of funding provided will be based on the department's assessment of amount requested and the information provided in the application.

Reporting requirements

A formal acquittal process must be undertaken within one year of the end of the spending period (e.g. within one year of 30 December 2022). This will consist of a statement of expenditure as well as a performance report.

Additional information

SmartyGrants help guide for applicants and applicant frequently asked questions.

Contacts

For more information about the Community Grants program, please contact:

1300 755 426
ecec.funding@det.nsw.edu.au

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