Community & Business

20 September, 2023

Grants open new doors for local groups

ALMOST $320,000 in grant funds will be shared among seven groups in the region.

By Chelsea Ashmeade

A $62,000 grant will assist Better Together to purchase a cold food truck to support its popular Helpful Hearts Pantry Community Group.
A $62,000 grant will assist Better Together to purchase a cold food truck to support its popular Helpful Hearts Pantry Community Group.

Among the recipients of the Gambling Community Benefit Fund’s Super Round is the Chillagoe Bushman’s Carnival Association which will receive $100,000 to upgrade its grounds, allowing it to host many more events in the town.. 

Association secretary Kate Costin said she “just about fell off the chair when the call came through”.

“I actually couldn’t believe it. It’s huge for the community,” she said. 

“The money it will bring into the town is massive.”

Ms Costin is one of four committee members who have the vision to increase the opportunity for more events at Chillagoe.

The grant will allow the committee to extend the bar and seating area, upgrade the current cold room, build a new undercover eating area, upgrade the stock yards, install more water taps throughout the campground and construct a camp draft arena. 

“We are all currently in shock and cannot believe how lucky we are to have been successful in our application for the grant,” Ms Costin said. 

“The opportunities that will arise from all the upgrades and new facilities will allow the CBCA the chance to host a greater number of events throughout the year. 

“We are grateful to everyone who supported us in our application and look forward to unveiling the new facilities.”

It is anticipated the majority of the work will be completed before the next rodeo in May 2024.

In Atherton, Better Together will receive a $62,521 grant to purchase a cold food truck to support the Helpful Hearts Pantry Community Group. 

Better Together spokesperson Jennifer Cox said the organisation was excited about receiving the grant and couldn’t wait to keep making a difference across the region.

At present, the group uses multiple eskies and fridges to safely transport food.

“The truck will allow us to get it (food) to people fresher and collect it in a better way to help us collect overstocked food for our community pantry,” she said.

The Helpful Hearts Pantry is open Wednesdays in Atherton and allows consumers to pick up food at a fraction of the cost, saving it from landfill. 

“Having a truck will be much easier,” she said. 

In Mareeba, the Golf Club will receive a grant of $90,721 to upgrade the clubhouse roof – a space the group looks forward to using once more. 

Club president Owen Harvey said they were “pretty rapt” to receive the money. 

The club will use the money to re-roof the clubhouse which has a number of leaks in it.

“I wasn’t hopeful, but then elated when we got the phone call,” Mr Harvey said. 

“The last wet season was pretty rough on the club.”

It’s been about two years since the clubhouse was properly used. The club has worked hard to get it back to a useable state and the re-roofing will make it all the more comfortable after each golf day.  

Another committee excited by their grant receival is the Tree Kangaroo and Mammals Group. 

To support a project in tracking koala movements in the Tablelands area, the group will receive $34,200 for bio-acoustic monitoring equipment.

Headed by Amy Shima and Roger Martin, the project is the first of its kind in the region.

While they’re not easily seen, Ms Shima said there were definite signs of koalas in the Tablelands.  

“It will give us the ability through technology to locate and track animals over greater distances to monitor their behaviour and distance travelled. We will be much better able to study the population up here,” she said.

They were already tracking one koala and were intrigued with its movements and behaviour. One particular night they were able to track its movements, which saw it wander about 1km looking for a female. 

“This animal was showing cryptic behaviour,” she said, adding that it was this behaviour they hoped to be able to gather and analyse data for but on a broader scale. 

Ms Shima said it was hoped one day this data would be collected by a PhD student. 

“This grant was really, really good because the technology is now available but you have to be able to afford it and that’s what the grant money is for,” she said.

“It’s really interesting. We think of tree kangaroos up here but koalas hold a special place in everybody’s heart. It’s pretty special to have koalas in the area.”

Other grant recipients include Mareeba Meals on Wheels - $12,214 for a dishwasher; Mareeba and District Pony Club - $4400 for an arena drag; Ravenshoe Memorial Bowls Club - $16,328 to purchase equipment.

The Mareeba and Atherton groups are seven of more than 450 recipients during this round of funding. 


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