Funding boost for Pride Project foundations

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Wimmera Pride Project

Wimmera Mail-Times

THE Wimmera Pride Project has received a $50,000 grant to employ an administrator to help the LGBTI support group to forge links with businesses and reach its goals.

Pride project co-founder Maddi Osatpiw said the two-year grant from the state government was secured with the help of Wimmera Uniting Care.

"We're incredibly thankful to Adele Rohde and chief executive Wendy Sturgess at Wimmera Uniting Care," she said.

"They helped us apply for the grant and the position will be through Uniting Care so we will have the help of their teams and whoever has this new role will get the support of their services."

Ms Ostapiw has also received $3000 to participate in professional development opportunities to develop her skills as an LGBTI community leader.

As Wimmera Pride Project's auspice organisation, Wimmera UnitingCare, will use the $50,000 to employ an administrator for the group for one day a week over two years.

Wimmera UnitingCare chief executive Wendy Sturgess said she was thrilled to have received the funding in a competitive grants round with only a few successful rural and regional applicants.

"This grant will enable the Wimmera Pride Project to lay the foundations necessary to establish the group as a properly governed, strategic community service which meets the unique needs of a rural LGBTI community," she said.

"The Wimmera Pride Project is the only group of its kind in our region and has huge potential to build confidence, capacity and networking of the LGBTI community in our area."

The administrator role will be responsible for developing a terms of reference for the group, researching the needs of the Wimmera's LGBTI community, creating a strategic plan, investigating and applying for additional funding and developing policies and procedures.

Wimmera Uniting Care will provide support from its Community Capacity Building, Occupational Health & Safety, Quality & Accreditation, Marketing & Media, Finance and Human Resources teams to assist the group's development.

Ms Ostapiw said the developmental grant will help the pride group continue its work so far.

"It will be a grant to employ a person to look after the business admin side of things," she said.

"We're hoping to get a website up and running and facilitate business relationships, which has been a bit difficult on volunteer time so far."

The grant-supported administrator will also help obtain sponsorship and further grants while assisting the pride group's projects over the next few months.

"We're going to be focused on safe spaces for businesses, we'll be working for training for healthcare and education professionals and we will also be working to increase our relationships with the community through social events," Ms Ostapiw said.

Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley announced the grants for 38 LGBTI groups last week.

"We have some incredibly effective LGBTI organisations – these grants will expand their capacity to support more people throughout the state," he said.

"It's about creating a level playing field for all Victorians – and we know that access to health services is a barrier LGBTI Victorians face.

"The support we are providing will provide opportunities for the community to come together and provide a reminder that equality is not negotiable."