Community groups share $385,000 in grants to support Parramatta

Thirty not-for-profit groups, social enterprises, creative organisations and artists have been announced as recipients of City of Parramatta Council’s 2021 Community Grants program.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said the more than $385,000 in funding would support recipients to deliver programs that enhance social connectedness, cultural wellbeing and economic resilience in Parramatta.

“Council is delighted to support these dedicated organisations and creatives who have given so much to the Parramatta community, particularly during the pandemic,” Cr Dwyer said.

“These grants will make our City’s social fabric even stronger by helping fund a huge range of grassroots programs and initiatives, from sewing lessons for refugees to workshops nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. It makes me very proud that we can support so many inspiring projects.”

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The Social Outfit, a social enterprise employing and training refugees and new migrants to manufacture and sell ethical fashion, has received a $25,000 grant for a pilot ‘Earn and Learn’ project in Parramatta.

The Social Outfit CEO Camilla Schippa said: “Imagine a community sewing hub, the click-click of industrial sewing machines, warm smiles and laughter, as women from Afghanistan, India, Myanmar and Syria work side-by-side learning how to manufacture beautiful garments and earning textile award wages as they are trained up in their first Australian jobs. We plan to do just that in Parramatta.”

Local theatre maker Nick Atkins has received a $20,000 grant for The Lemon Tree Curse project, which will include creating a new play and running a workshop with the National Theatre of Parramatta.

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Nick Atkins said: “The lemon tree fell on my great-great-grandfather’s house when he tried to prove a point by cutting it down without asking for help. Ever since, the ‘lemon tree curse’ has become synonymous with mistakes people in my family are doomed to repeat when they don’t ask for help. Using this curse as a starting point, I will fuse my established body of work as a theatre maker with my emerging practice in the digital performance space while engaging with the Parramatta community.”

Initiated by the former Parramatta City Council in 2007, the Community Grants program has supported a diverse range of local community organisations, volunteer groups, sporting clubs, social enterprises, creative producers, and heritage organisations.

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Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 across five categories: Community Capacity Building, Creative Fellowship Fund, Creative Project Leveraging, Growing Social Enterprise in Parramatta, and Cultural Heritage and Research Fund. Funding can be used to develop projects and resources, build internal capacity or buy essential materials.

Recipients are supported by Grant Support Officers from Council’s Community Capacity Building team.