Rapid response funding supports COVID-driven demand for community services

09 Sept 2021

City of Newcastle has provided $110,000 towards the purchase of food packages and toiletries, as well as crisis accommodation, counselling and web connectivity to community groups responding to the current lockdown of the city.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the funding was part of an expanded Community and Economic Resilience Package (CERP) designed to combat the economic and social impacts of the current lockdown.


"City of Newcastle has an important role in coordinating local services and providing targeted support," Cr Nelmes said.

"When the pandemic was declared last year City of Newcastle was quick to respond to the needs of our community, providing rapid financial support to frontline services struggling to cope with the sudden surge in demand.

"With the current Delta outbreak placing added strain on community members and the services that support them, City of Newcastle has expanded this response, dispersing more than $110,000 amongst 15 community organisations.

"Our Rapid Response Grants will give these organisations the resources they need to address critical challenges for some of our most vulnerable residents as we continue to work together to stay safe and keep our community strong."

The grants will allow existing service providers to supply nutritious food and vouchers for essential needsimprove access to community servicesaddress issues such as social isolation, and increase access to affordable internet, digital technology and equipment to improve participation in education and access to essential services.

Erin Beard from the Family Support Network said the funding would allow them to help more families by providing food, toiletries and baby items, as well as school supplies to help children and young people improve their home learning experience.

“We are all generally feeling the stress of lockdown but for families who are already under duress, these COVID times add an extra load. This grant from City of Newcastle has meant we can relieve some of that stress,” Ms Beard said.

“With the impact of COVID-19 we have changed the way we are providing services and with more online groups and facetime calls, we are aware of the burden of this on families who need to use their data and internet for this support. For children that are doing online learning as part of home schooling, data usage can be an additional cost. This grant means we can support families in a practical way, by covering some of the associated costs. 

“We can also provide basic necessities for babies and children, meet some of their school needs and relieve some of the burden of the cost of grocery items.”

Recipients of City of Newcastle's Rapid Response Grants:

  • ACON – emergency food and personal care relief packs
  • Awabakal Ltd – culturally tailored communication, outreach and support resources and materials
  • Catholic Care Social Services – emergency relief packs and casework support
  • Community Disability Alliance Hunter – peer-led social support and public health information package
  • Family Support Newcastle – mother and baby items, web connectivity resources and food and toiletry packages
  • Got Your Back Sista – emergency food relief and counselling vouchers
  • Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pantry – hampers with food, essential items and toiletries
  • Hunter Multicultural Communities – welfare packs and multilingual newsletter production
  • Hope Street Wallsend and Mayfield – food preparation and emergency relief packages
  • Jesmond and Maryland Neighbourhood Centre - small equipment IT purchases for phone and web connectivity
  • LIVEFree Project Hamilton South – scaling up of existing service to meet demand for welfare checks
  • Newcastle Beacon – emergency relief food and pharmacy packages
  • NOVA for Women – emergency accommodation funding and small equipment purchases for phone and web connectivity
  • REACH Homeless Services – food and hygiene packs
  • SOUL Café – short term staffing costs for mental health clinician and street manager