COVID-19 Community Relief and Recovery Grants Program


The COVID-19 Community Relief and Recovery Program provides funding of up to $5,000 (plus GST if registered) to eligible not for profit community organisations, groups, social enterprises, creative organisations, groups and individual artists for activities that assist communities with relief and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program focuses on the following three priority areas:

  1. Enable community-led recovery from COVID-19 to improve mental and physical health.
  2. Support social connection and engagement in COVID-19 safe ways.
  3. Support for relief initiatives to address the impacts of COVID-19 where other funding is not available.

Before applying, applicants need to read and understand the program guidelines(PDF, 580KB) 

Apply online

Priority areas

The program focuses on the following three priority areas:

Improving mental and physical health to enable community-led recovery from COVID-19

For example projects that:

  • Improve health and wellbeing through a prevention approach to family violence such as advancing equity across all genders
  • Seek to prevent homelessness e.g. supporting people at risk of becoming homeless
  • Prepare people for paid and/ or voluntary work
  • Seek to develop the community’s readiness to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Provide opportunities for walking and other physical activities that are Covid Safe to promote physical and mental health and social connection

Activities might include professionally facilitated webinars, workshops or training programs, or educating and increasing awareness and knowledge in the community, collaborations between community groups and local not for profit businesses organisations.

Support social connection and engagement in COVID-19 Safe ways

For example projects that:

  • Upgrade equipment to enable participation and connection in new ways, including online
  • Optimise opportunities for communities to participate, celebrate, preserve and promote local culture and identity
  • Promote creative and cultural development activities that connect people and reactivate public spaces
  • Skills development training/workshops, learning, arts and heritage activities
  • Provide opportunities for community connection, engagement, collaboration, and social connection in new and innovative ways in a COVID-19 environment
  • Foster inclusion for people with disability and their carers

Support for relief initiatives where other funding is not available, to address the impacts of COVID-19

For example projects that:

  • Improve access to information regarding emergency relief services
  • Improve access and connection to psycho-social support services, health care and first aid, and family violence services with a focus on vulnerable communities
  • Expand and improve the distribution of food, water and material aid
  • Improve access to emergency accommodation (including animal care)
  • Provide training opportunities for staff and volunteers to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to assess the immediate needs

Please refer to the 
COVID-19 Community Relief and Recovery Grants Program Guideline(PDF, 580KB).

Selection criteria

Successful applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Project delivery: provide an implementable project plan and detailed budget.
  2. Project aim: how will the project respond to one of these three priorities:
    1. Improving mental and physical health
    2. Supporting social connection
    3. Supporting relief initiatives
  3. Project need: does the project identify a current or future gap in services or activities and is informed/ supported by local knowledge.


Further information

Grants life cycle


Design by the applicants with Council support


Online application with supporting documentation


Assessment of applications conducted by Council officers


Applicants advised of the assessment outcome.


Funds provided to successful applicants.

Program delivery

Project delivered within the specified timeframe.


Acquittal of funds required including receipts of expenditure.

How does an applicant apply?

Applicants can apply through the Council’s online SmartyGrants portal.

Before applying, individual applicants/representatives of the organisations must read and understand the program guidelines and are strongly encouraged to discuss their project idea with a Council officer before applying.

How often can an applicant apply?

To ensure fair access across groups and organisations in Yarra Ranges:

  • An eligible applicant can submit one application only.
  • Individual artists must be auspiced by an incorporated organisation.
  • Auspicing organisations can sponsor more than one application. 

When do applications open and close?

The funding rounds opens 16 October and closes on the 20 November 2020. Applications will be assessed at the end of the round. Applicants are notified of outcomes approximately four weeks after the closing date.

Make sure you apply before your activity or event takes place as there is no retrospective funding awarded. The approved project must be completed before the end of 2021. 

Is your organisation eligible?






Incorporated not-for-profit organisations, associations, community groups, registered charities and social enterprises with an ABN.

Unincorporated not-for-profit organisations, community groups, arts groups or an individual artists must auspiced by an eligible incorporated not-for-profit organisation through an Auspice Agreement.

If sourcing an auspice organisation, ensure the auspice agrees to accept legal and financial responsibility for the grant.

Government or semi-government organisations, i.e. schools, hospitals and libraries (unless the project benefits the wider community). 

For-profit businesses/organisations. 

Political parties and lobby groups.

Auspicing organisations and/or applicants that have outstanding reports or other debts to Council.

What we can fund

The following important requirements demonstrate the foundations for projects to be successful.

  • Projects must be located in Yarra Ranges and deliver all outcomes in Yarra Ranges.
  • Applicants must commit to obtaining all necessary permits related to the funded activity, particularly for events and installations.
  • Projects must have suitable public liability insurance that covers the duration of the project. If the organisation/individual does not have public liability insurance at the time of application, a funding condition is that they must provide evidence of obtaining it before the grant is paid.
  • Current Working with Children Checks and Child Safe Standards compliance is required of funding recipients (where appropriate).
  • Applicants must consent to provide evidence of how funds were spent, progress reports if required and feedback to Council on project activities, outcomes, impacts, and benefits through an acquittal process.
  • Equipment (such as laptops, tablets, cameras, etc.): Applicants, including individual artists, are eligible to apply for up to $1,500 for these components of their project. Applications for equipment also need to demonstrate measurable outcomes with wide community benefit. Applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Please note: Applications from individual artists must be auspiced by a local organisation, based in the Yarra Ranges. Non-consumable material and equipment is to be purchased by the auspicing body and retained by them to be used as a community asset, after the completion of the project. Individual artists are strongly encouraged to discuss their project plans with the Grants Team before starting their application.
  • Applicants, including individual artists, can purchase consumable materials, supplies, or subscriptions e.g. to software platforms (for the duration of the project) if that is required to undertake the project, up to the sum of $1,500.
  • For all applications, the value of all equipment and materials combined must not exceed $1,500 of the total budget for the grant sought.
  • Applicants must submit all supporting material when applying. Given the competitive nature of grants, no late submission of supporting documents will be accepted.

What we can't fund

Applications will be ineligible if funding is intended for:

  • A program, service, or activity that is primarily the responsibility of the State or Federal Government and activities that are currently funded by the State and Federal Government; for example, the core business of schools, hospitals, libraries or other services.
  • Activities that take place outside Yarra Ranges.
  • A new building, capital works or facility maintenance works.
  • Activities that duplicate programs already being delivered within the same geographical area.
  • Purchasing food and water for delivery of relief services that receive funding from other levels of government.
  • Ongoing staff salaries or administration costs not specific to the project.
  • Projects that involve children and young people to stay overnight or other kinds of camps.
  • Projects that are for core school curriculum activities or school-based projects that do not engage the wider community.
  • Activities that take place at inappropriate venues; for example, gambling venues or venues that are sponsored by gambling businesses.
  • Projects with the singular purpose of promoting religion or politics.
  • Professional services, training, study or academic research here or overseas.
  • Retrospective funding of projects. Applicants need to submit their application before the event or activity occurs.
  • Subsidising ongoing or regular use of Council’s halls or facilities.
  • Awards, purchase of trophies and competitions.

Guiding Values

Good Governance

Yarra Ranges Council is dedicated to ensuring the COVID-19 Community Relief & Recovery Grants Program is run fairly and transparently. We commit to managing an effective grants program that responds to community needs and represents excellent value for money.

This commitment is expressed through openness to constructive feedback and a desire for continuous improvement.

We hold ourselves to a high standard of grant-making and support our partners to do the same through their work. Successful grant recipients must have robust governance structures in place.

Child Safety Standards

The introduction of Child safe standards by the Victorian Government stipulates that all organisations that provide services for children or receive government funding are now covered by mandatory reporting requirements. Grant recipients that have direct/incidental contact with children during the course of their project will be required to provide additional documentation as part of the application process.

Gender Wise

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to gender equity in the region and considers our partner organisations as key in pursuing this. Men and women can face different expectations and challenges based on social conditioning and subtle biases. Consequently, when designing or delivering a project and treating all people as the same may not necessarily result in equal inclusion and impact.

It is important that grant applicants apply a ‘gender lens’ when drafting their application. An example of this is considering the different needs and circumstances of people of all genders within the target beneficiary group. Further information on running gender-wise projects can be found at: Alternatively, applicants are invited to contact Council’s Gender Equity Officer on 1300 368 333 for ideas on integrating gender-aware practices into your organisation’s work.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

Yarra Ranges is renowned for its natural beauty and Council is committed to maintaining the health and significance of the region’s environment. All proposed projects are encouraged to incorporate activities that improve sustainable outcomes and minimise unnecessary environmental impacts. For more information or support on this, please contact Council’s Sustainability Officer on 1300 368 333.

Diverse and Inclusive

Diversity is a strength within Yarra Ranges and something the program seeks to promote. Grant submissions from groups and individuals of all abilities, cultures, age groups, gender and sexual orientation are strongly encouraged.

Indigenous Communities

Council is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and organisations to close the health gap, build awareness of Indigenous heritage and culture and apply Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing for example in caring for our environments. Relevant applications are encouraged. For projects with an Indigenous lens please contact Council’s Indigenous Development Officer on 1300 368 333.

Including People with Diverse Needs

Council is committed to increasing access and participation by people with disability in their community. Grants projects can lead the way in this. Consideration of how projects will reach out and include people of all abilities is encouraged (e.g. promotion, physical access, including performers of all abilities). All grantees are encouraged to consider how their project will be accessible to people with a disability or marginalised groups. For practical ideas and considerations, please contact Council’s Metro Access Officer or Indigenous Development Officer on 1300 368 333.

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about applying for COVID-19 Community Relief and Recovery Grants? Check out our list of frequently asked questions below.

What are the opening and closing dates for applications?

The funding round opens 16 October and closes on the 20 November 2020. Applications will be assessed at the end of the round. Applicants are notified of outcomes approximately four weeks after the closing date.

Make sure you apply before your activity or event takes place as there is no retrospective funding awarded. The approved project must be completed before the end of 2021.

How much funding can be applied for?

Up to $5,000. 

Our project involves working with children. What do I need to know?

Council is committed to promoting child safety and ensuring compliance with the Victorian Child Safe Standards. As a Child Safe organisation, Council requires projects or programs which involve direct or incidental contact with children to have appropriate measures in place.

Applicants will be stepped through what’s required as part of the online application process.

I am working on my budget. What do I need to consider?

Applicants are expected to provide a budget aligned with outcomes for the project duration. Budgets need to demonstrate considered planning, be realistic and justifiable for the proposed application.

Do I need to provide quotes?

Yes, for all individual expense items which exceed $500.00

Is a project cash or in-kind co-contribution required?

Whilst not mandatory, co-contributions (including cash or in-kind) will be considered favourably. Full and confirmed details of any co-contributions must be outlined in your application.

Examples of other contributions may include you as the applicant; individuals contributing skills or time; state government funding; not for profit organisations; or local business sponsorship.

Can I include indirect, overhead and administrative costs in my grant application such as wages and project?

It is Council's expectation that grants are used only for the approved project and not to contribute to the grantee’s general overheads, administration or other indirect costs. However, Council also recognises that some indirect, overhead and administrative costs may be directly attributable to the project or activities being funded. In such cases, consideration will be made to fund these expenses to a reasonable level. 

Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

I have a question about my submitted application, who can I contact?

For all application enquiries, please call Council directly on 1300 368 333 during business hours. 

Alternatively, you can email  (Please include your application reference number in the email subject heading)

What support documents are required?

Support letters are well regarded and helpful. Ensure letters are relevant to the application and support your case for funding.

What is an “Auspice” and what is their role in the grants process?

A community group (or individual artist) that is not incorporated must have their application ‘auspiced’ by an incorporated organisation. The auspicing body is legally responsible for the funds and enters into the Funding Agreement with Council.

Please note that information on the auspicing body will need to be provided in the application, including their ABN, financial report and contact details. Grant applicants can allocate a small auspicing fee as part of the application.

Read more about auspicing arrangements.

View an example of a Memorandum of Understanding between Auspice Organisation and Applicant document.(DOCX, 27KB)

What happens once my application has been received?

You will receive an automated email acknowledging your application has been lodged.  All applications undergo a pre-assessment eligibility check by a Council officer before being assessed by two independent Council Officers and the Manager Community Wellbeing. Successful projects are presented monthly to Council for noting. 

Will all applications receive funding?

No. The application process is competitive, and it is anticipated that requests for funding will exceed the funding available. Successful applications will be those which best meet the grant program objectives and can demonstrate the capacity to deliver the project in response to the selection criteria.

If successful, am I guaranteed to receive the full amount of funding requested?

No. Successful applicants are not guaranteed to receive the full amount of funding requested. Council reserves the right to recommend grant amounts which may differ from the amount requested.

If successful, how long do I have to start and complete the project?

The approved project must be completed before the end of June 2021. 

Can I submit an application after the closing date?

No. Due to the high volume of interest, late applications cannot be accepted.

Who is eligible to apply?

Incorporated not-for-profit organisations, community groups, social enterprises and individual artists with no outstanding Council debts/acquittals are eligible to apply.  Applicants who are not incorporated will require an auspice. 

Do I or my organisation need to be based in Yarra Ranges?

No, projects must be located in Yarra Ranges and deliver all outcomes in Yarra Ranges.

Is it possible to change the project after the grant has been paid?

It is possible to vary your project, but this must be discussed with the appropriate Council officer as soon as possible.

What happens is we cannot finish our project in time?

This should be clearly communicated to your designated Council officer as soon as possible. If you are facing challenges or difficulties in implementing your project, get in touch, and we will support where we can.

Do you provide feedback if an application is unsuccessful?

Yes, an opportunity for feedback exists and will be offered as part of the unsuccessful notification process. 


Contact details

Please contact the Grants Project Officer on 1300 368 333, or  if you have any questions or need support.