Christmas comes early for community groups

Lisa Mantscheff from the Nimbin Family Centre and her daughter Elka (left) with Marie Lee and Beatrice Riordan from the North Lismore Reunion Committee. They were part of a civic ceremony at the Lismore City Council Chambers on Tuesday where $130,000 was presented to local community groups as part of Local Government Week.

Air conditioning, a commercial oven and a childrens parade.

These are just some of the things that community groups will be able to afford after $130,000 worth of cheques were dished out during a civic ceremony in Lismore on Tuesday to mark Local Government Week.

Marie Lee and Beatrice Riordan picked up a cheque for $2200 on behalf of the North Lismore Reunion Committee, which is putting out a book of personal histories.

Its called Northies Memories, said Marie. Its the oldies telling their stories about themselves, with photos. Were going to do 200 copies to start with, but I feel sure well sell a lot more than that.

Meanwhile, Lisa Mantscheff was there representing the Nimbin Family Centre, which received $2200 to stage a parade and mini-fair to celebrate International Childrens Day in October.

Council gave out $35,500 to 17 community groups while Lismores 29 halls each received $1000 and its 18 Rural Fire Brigades shared in $5500.

The Lismore Workers Club also handed out $60,000 worth of grants, generated from poker machine profits. The club assessed applications and made its own choices on who deserved the dough.

Recipients ranged from the War Widows Guild of Australia, which got $1200 to take its members on bus trips, to ACON Northern Rivers, which received $5000 to target homophobic violence and harassment on the streets of Lismore.

For Jenny London from Red Inc, a $7000 funding boost means their biscuit business will now be able to cover its costs or perhaps even make a profit as they plan to buy a commercial oven and carry out a full kitchen upgrade at their Lismore studio. Up until now Red Inc, which works with young people with disabilities, has been renting a commercial kitchen in Wollongbar.

This means we can make our biscuits in Lismore, said Jenny. At the moment its costing us money and it ties one of our cars up for a day. But we really wanted to keep the project going because our young people love having their own little business.

Julie Baker from the Family Support Network is delighted to hear she wont be sweating out another summer at her Koori Kids Playgroup after they received $5000 for air conditioning for the old scout hall in South Lismore. A number of different playgroups use the space, including the newly-formed Dads and Kids Playgroup.

In summertime its a steam bath down there, said Julie. We have mums with little babies and its uncomfortably hot. The air conditioning will be like Christmas.

An additional $2200 from Council will be spent on a sewing machine and a cooking class run by a nutritionist for the mums, she said.

Lismore City Council community development officer, Shauna McIntyre, said the funding was for small organisations that were based in the community and often struggled to attract money from other sources.

These little bits of money can make such a huge difference to these little groups, she said.

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