ABOVE: Gateway social inclusion program manager Amitha Pathirana was on hand to receive a new grant at the Lismore Workers Club.
ABOVE: Gateway social inclusion program manager Amitha Pathirana was on hand to receive a new grant at the Lismore Workers Club. Marc Stapelberg

$250k dished out to local groups and charities

COMMUNITY grants worth $250,000 have been presented to local groups and charities to help them develop much-needed projects on the Northern Rivers.

The Lismore District Workers Club announced the winning groups on Monday.

Among the grant recipients was the Northern Rivers Community Gateway.

The organisation was granted $4000 for its Launder-It project to buy new appliances.

Community Gateway social inclusion programs manager Amitha Pathirana said the money would help disadvantaged people gain access to clean clothes.

"This will give us the opportunity to provide that service for people who sleep on the rough," Ms Pathirana said.

"Some of our clients had to wash their clothes under the shower so this is a great opportunity."

Launder-It already provided showering facilities to vulnerable people in the community including those with a mental illness.

Lismore Workers Group of Clubs' Richard Mackney said the shortlisting process was difficult and time-consuming.

"It's a very hard process deciding who gets what," he said. "We only get so many dollars and there's a lot of deserving organisations."

More than 30 groups applied and 20 were selected for the annual grants scheme.

Granted amounts ranged from $480 to $4345.

The Northern Rivers Community Gateway runs a number of social inclusion programs and healthcare services such as emergency relief, food parcels and the housing support scheme.

Ms Pathirana said a new social enterprise called The Cart Cafe would be starting in August.

"We will employ people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless," she said.

"Giving them employability skills and possibly putting them in a position to get to employment and better their lives."

To be eligible for a grant the community group or charity must meet a number of strict criteria.


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