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Cheque is in the mail

Image source: pexel-Maryia Plashchynskaya

Australia Post does more than deliver mail and parcels, take passport photos and process bill payments.

The business juggernaut gives money away as well.

Australia Post’s 2021 Community Grants program is now open for applications from not-for-profit organisations for individual project funding of up to $10,000.

Australia Post wants submissions with a primary focus on improving mental health and well-being, which are locally led and delivered.

Amber Collins, Australia Post’s chief marketing officer, said the events of the past 18 months have highlighted how imperative community connection is to mental health.

“Through a global pandemic, fires and floods, we’ve seen how important it is to find ways to help improve and maintain our mental well-being,” Ms Collins said.

“Our Grants program will fund projects that help build a connection between individuals and their community that encourage open and positive conversations around mental health.”

Australia Post’s commitment to mental health and well-being includes a partnership with Beyond Blue.

Georgie Harman, Beyond Blue’s chief executive officer, said the partnership has given more people access to information about how to maintain good mental health and connect with support services at a time when it’s needed most.

Women Connect @ Phillip Island Community & Learning Centre was a recipient of last year’s grants program.

Courtney Wallace, program coordinator, explains that while Women Connect’s general focus is on education, small business and employment, there was a recognition of a surge of women and families moving to the Island who were isolated and without a friendship network.

“As volunteers without mental health training, we wanted ways to connect [the newcomers and the locals] by creating social groups that were accessible, regular and easy-going,” Ms Wallace said.

“We came up with the idea of a book group, garden group and a walking group.”

Australia Post provided $2000 funding for the project through its Grants program.

All three groups are still active and came together last December to pack over 200 emergency food hampers for people in need over Christmas.

“It was a terrific event, we had Christmas carols playing in the background, and it was an activity where you could chat and meet others while packing,” Ms Wallace said.

“We have seen a blossoming of friendships forged through the groups which are stepping stones to creating your network.”

Women’s Information Support and Housing In The North, now known as Juno, received a grant of $8100 in 2020 for its Art for Recovery and Well-being art workshops.

Jade Blakkarly, CEO at Juno, said the organisation offers individual support to their clients experiencing homelessness or family violence. 

“When we applied for the Australia Post Grant, our rationale was to create a project to connect women with other people while providing an opportunity to do something for themselves,” Ms Blakkarly said.

Moreland Council provided a space for the eight-week program where women came together with an art therapist to work on various art projects.

“This was a time for women to get to know each other and spend time out away from the constant crisis of their lives,” Ms Blakkarly said.

“Do something positive and calming doesn’t happen very often for our clients.”

The feedback from the women who took part in the art workshops was very encouraging.

Juno was able to measure its success and ascertain what the value was to the participants regarding their well-being.

Women Connect and Juno were thrilled to be recipients of the Australia Post Grants program and will be applying again this year.

Both organisations gratefully acknowledge the benefits of the funding program and want to build on what they created last year.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

The auspost.com.au/grants are open to community organisations in urban and rural areas Australia wide until midnight Sunday, July 4, 2021.

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Carol Saffer

Carol Saffer is an award-winning journalist enthusiastic about creating copy that engages audiences. She is curious by nature, possesses a growth mindset and thrives on new and unusual challenges. Carol has experience as a reporter for various regional Victorian newspapers and writing for Business Day in The Age. Her previous career was in the fashion industry, and she holds post-graduate degrees in business and journalism.

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