14 July 2022

Introduction

About the North East Link Program

North East Link is the biggest ever investment in Melbourne’s north east – changing the way people move around Melbourne.

Victoria’s longest road tunnels will fix the missing link in our city’s freeway network, take 15,000 trucks off local roads a day and slash travel times by up to 35 minutes.

We’ll also complete the Ring Road in Greensborough, overhaul the Eastern Freeway, build Melbourne’s first dedicated busway and the North East Trail – more than 34km of walking and cycling paths.

During construction of North East Link, we'll be working closely with the community to manage and minimise local impacts. Importantly, we also want to support, connect and improve local communities as we build North East Link, leaving a positive legacy across the north and east.

About the North East Community Fund

During construction of North East Link, we want to support and strengthen local areas most impacted by construction. This means supporting community projects and initiatives across the north east, from Greensborough, Watsonia, Yallambie and Macleod to Bulleen, Balwyn North and beyond.

To achieve this, a $10 million North East Link Community Fund has been established to support community projects both big and small.

The North East Community Fund (NECF) will improve community connectedness through three types of funding – grants, sponsorship and partnerships for bigger community projects.

Funding is available for local organisations and community groups and will support a range of community initiatives – from uniforms for local football clubs, to community art exhibitions, festivals, and community centre upgrades.

There will be funding rounds each year during the construction of North East Link, with $1.5 million available in 2022-23. Priority will be given to local areas impacted by construction, focusing as a first step on applicants from those Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Applications for grants and partnerships in Round One will be open from 14 July 2022 to 21 August 2022. The North East Link Program (NELP) can use its discretion to accept or deny late applications.

Applications for sponsorships can be made on an as needs basis anytime during the 2022/23 financial year but should be submitted at least six weeks before funding is required to allow enough time for assessment.

The NECF is managed by NELP, and these Guidelines will be reviewed and updated regularly until North East Link opens to traffic in 2028.

Community priorities

To be considered for a grant, sponsorship or partnership, an organisation or community group must demonstrate how their proposed project or initiative aligns with at least one of the following priorities:

Community connectedness: creating opportunities, activities and environments which bring the community together

Health and wellbeing: supporting programs and opportunities which promote healthy living and wellbeing Innovation: supporting projects and events which help the community to solve future challenges

Environment and sustainability: enhancing and conserving green spaces and the environment Accessibility: focus on mobility to make it easier for people to travel and explore their local area

Leadership: supporting and training future leaders to advocate for their community

Education and skills: providing information, skills, and new opportunities to members of the community Diversity: supporting social inclusion for diverse populations

Beautification: supporting opportunities to improve the aesthetics and facilities of the community

Arts and culture: celebrating culture and building positive community perceptions

Heritage: celebrating history and creating links between the past and present within the community

Social procurement: commitment to generating social value through procurement within the Victorian Social Procurement Framework.

Eligibility Community Grants and Sponsorship

Initiatives seeking funding of up to $100,000 may be eligible for the Community Grants and Sponsorships Program. These initiatives should encourage community connectedness by bringing people together and involving them in their community, as well as providing a significant and lasting community benefit.

Applications must fit into one of the following categories:

Connecting communities' grants: Up to $10,000 for a one-off initiative that aims to improve community connectedness and participation.

Activating community grants: Up to $20,000 for festivals, events, and installations that bring local people together.

Transforming community grants: $20,000 to $100,000 for improvements to local community, sporting and recreation facilities and local environments.

Sponsorships of up to $5000 are also available as a once-off funding amount to support community groups. For example, sponsorship of a school community fete, or a community event such as Relay for Life. Funding for sponsorships is available at any time during the 2022/23 financial year.

Funding will be based on merit and assessed in accordance with the assessment process outlined in Assessment. Co-funding will be considered favourably in the assessment process and could be in the form of financial or in-kind contributions.

Eligible applicants

Applications are invited from:

  • incorporated not-for-profit community organisations
  • group auspices by not-for-profit community organisations.

In Round One, priority will be given to applications from the Banyule, Boroondara and Manningham LGAs as North East Link construction will be most significant in those areas this year. Applications from other LGAs within the project corridor, including Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Whitehorse, and Yarra will still be considered once priority applications have been reviewed.

A list of potential incorporated not-for-profit community organisations is included in Eligible applicants below.

Eligible initiatives

To be eligible for the Round One NECF community grants and sponsorships funding, applicants must:

  • be based in the City of Banyule, City of Manningham, City of Boroondara, Nillumbik Shire, City of Whittlesea, City of Whitehorse, City of Yarra or conduct activities that benefit members of these communities
  • propose an initiative where most participants and/or recipients are residents of the nominated LGAs
  • demonstrate that the initiative can be delivered within 12 months of the receipt of funding
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have current public liability insurance (PLI).

Applicants will not be eligible to receive community grant or sponsorship funding if they:

  • derive income from gambling or conduct, or are proposing to conduct, activities that promote gambling
  • are currently funded entirely by the relevant local council to undertake the same initiative
  • have not submitted an acquittal for any previous grant or partnership from the relevant local council.

Ineligible initiatives

Initiatives are not eligible to receive a grant or sponsorship funding if they:

  • have the single purpose of promoting a religion or political parties or political purpose
  • are already being funded by local, state, or federal governments
  • are intended to fund maintenance, vehicles, trophies, fundraising or donations
  • are intended to fund operational or core business costs including salaries and administration costs
  • are deemed as core curriculum activities of educational institutions
  • are initiatives where much of the budget is for refreshments/catering or advertising/promotion
  • have already commenced, or are scheduled to commence before the grant or sponsorship is paid
  • are for the sole costs of public liability insurance
  • include capital works programs at community facilities which have already been funded through the North East
    Link Program.

Grants and sponsorships categories

Connecting communities’ grants: up to $10,000

Funding will be available to organisations that have identified a small, one-off initiative that aims to improve community connectedness and cohesion.

Examples could include:

  • pottery wheels for a local pottery group
  • uniforms for a local football club
  • signage for a local community centre
  • gardening equipment for a local community garden.

Activating communities’ grants: $10,001 to $20,000

Funding will be available for temporary activations of spaces or events that bring local people together. Examples could include:

  • community art exhibition
  • local street festival
  • community concert showcasing local cultural groups
  • community open day for a local sports club.

Transforming communities’ grants: $20,001 to $100,000

Funding will be available for improvements to local community, sport, and recreation facilities. This may include funding for improvements of local waterways through planting and other activities. Examples could include:

  • tree planting at a reserve or park
  • accessibility upgrade to a community centre
  • redevelopment of a local theatre
  • resurfacing a football ground or netball court.

Community group sponsorship: up to $5000

Funding is available for sponsorship of community groups and funding examples could include:

  • sponsorship of a sporting organisation such as a football or netball club
  • sponsorship of a school community event such as a school fete
  • sponsorship of a community recreation group or event such as Relay for Life.

Applications for sponsorship can be made on an as needs basis at any time during the 2022/23 financial year. Applications will need approximately 6 weeks to be assessed, so please consider these timelines when applying.

Priority will be given to sponsorships requests for community groups in the City of Banyule, City of Manningham, and City of Boroondara, however community groups in other local government areas will also be considered if they can demonstrate a clear community benefit within the project area.

Community groups can only apply for one sponsorship request each financial year.

Only one application can be submitted per eligible project, but an organisation can apply for more than one funding category or project if they wish.

Proposed initiatives and projects can only receive one round of funding. For example, if an applicant receives funding in 2022/23, they cannot apply in future rounds for the same project or initiative. Applicants may choose to apply for future funding rounds with a new project or initiative.

In-kind contributions such as donated goods, services or volunteer work can be included in your project. More information about in-kind contributions and how to calculate the value can be found on the Victorian Government website.

Eligibility Community Partnerships Program

Applicants can seek funding for community partnerships up to $100,000. Where applicants can demonstrate significant community benefit, funding of more than $100,000 may be considered for bigger community projects.

These initiatives should encourage community connectedness and cohesiveness by bringing people together and involving them in their community, as well as providing a significant and lasting outcome.

Funding will be based on merit and assessed in accordance with the assessment process outlined in Assessment.

Initiatives who have already secured some funding support will be looked upon favourably given their potential to deliver significant benefits to the community.

Eligible applicants

Applications are invited from:

  • incorporated not-for-profit community organisations
  • group auspices by not-for-profit community organisations.

In Round One, priority will be given to applications from the Banyule, Boroondara and Manningham LGAs to reflect construction impacts this year. Applications from other LGAs within the project corridor, including Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Whitehorse, and Yarra will still be considered once priority applications have been reviewed.

Incorporated not-for-profit community organisations may include but are not limited to:

  • charities
  • organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) or Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) status
  • cooperatives
  • companies limited by guarantee and/or limited by shares (non-distribution of profits or dividends)
  • trusts that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
  • associations (under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009)
  • local Aboriginal land councils
  • organisations established under an Act of Parliament.

To be eligible to apply for Round One community partnership funding, applicants must:

  • be based in the City of Banyule, City of Manningham, City of Boroondara, City of Nillumbik, City of Whittlesea, City of Whitehorse, City of Yarra or conduct activities that benefit members of these communities
  • propose an initiative where most participants and/or recipients are residents of the nominated LGAs
  • propose a partnership that will take place or be completed by 30 June 2028
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • hold current public liability insurance (PLI).

Applicants will not be eligible to receive community grant or sponsorship funding if they:

  • derive income from gambling or conduct, or are proposing to conduct, activities that promote gambling
  • have a debt owing to the local council where the project will be undertaken
  • have not submitted an acquittal for any previous grant or partnership from the relevant local council.

Eligible initiatives

The Community Partnerships Program will support initiatives such as:

  • construction of new community infrastructure
  • refurbishment of existing community infrastructure
  • the purchase of capital equipment
  • the building of community leadership and opportunities for participation
  • improved community connectedness, improved community cohesion and meeting community needs
  • other initiatives of community value.

Ineligible initiatives

Initiatives are not eligible to receive NECF community partnership funding if they:

  • have the single purpose of promoting religious or political parties or political purpose
  • are currently fully funded by local, state, or federal governments
  • are intended to fund operational or core business costs including salaries and administration costs
  • are deemed as core curriculum activities of educational institutions
  • have already commenced, or have not commenced but secured funding
  • include capital works programs at community facilities which have already been funded through the North East Link Program.

Auspicing

Grants, partnerships, or sponsorships cannot be applied for without an Australian Business Number (ABN), incorporation or Public Liability Insurance (PLI). An auspice organisation can assist and manage the funding process on a community group or organisation's behalf.

The auspice organisation will receive all grant payments. The auspice organisation is obliged to ensure that the funding spent meets the requirements of the application and funding agreement.

Evidence of the agreement between the 2 parties to undertake this auspice arrangement must be included with the application. This includes necessary documents to prove Australian Business Number (ABN) status, Certificate of Incorporation and Public Liability Insurance (PLI).

Assessment

Applications for all grants, partnerships and sponsorships will be assessed by NELP in consultation with relevant councils and any relevant state government departments.

The Community Partnership and Community Grants and Sponsorship programs are a competitive application process and applications are assessed against the assessment criteria. Therefore, successful applications are those that best respond to the assessment criteria.

The following assessment process will apply for Round One

Grants and partnerships applications will be assessed after the application period has closed (11.59pm 21 August 2022) with the aim of awarding successful grants and partnerships in September 2022.

In exceptional time-critical circumstances, NELP may choose (at its discretion) to assess some applications against the criteria prior to the application period closing.

Sponsorship applications will be assessed on an as needs basis from 14 July 2022 until 30 June 2023. Please allow at least 6 weeks for applications to be assessed.

NELP may contact relevant stakeholders to understand more about their application such as any risks or related issues and other opportunities for joint funding.

Assessment panel

All applications will be assessed by a senior panel convened by NELP.

The panel may consult the following parties through the assessment process, as required:

  • representatives of relevant councils
  • relevant Victorian Government departments and agencies.

An independent probity advisor will oversee the assessment process.

Assessment panel members will be responsible for:

  • Assessing applications in accordance with the North East Community Fund Guidelines and assessment framework.
  • Ensuring that probity and integrity requirements such as confidentiality and conflict of interest declarations are adhered to.
  • Acting independently and consistently across all applications.
  • Participating in panel meetings as required.

Note: A description of approved projects will be provided to the relevant State Members of Parliament.

Assessment criteria

All applications will be assessed using consistent criteria that measures community impact from the project during construction until the opening and operation of the North East Link and the benefits the projects and initiatives intend to deliver to the community.

Community Impact (30% of overall score)

The impact on a community is defined as the net effect of activity associated with the construction of North East Link on a community and the wellbeing of individuals and families. For example:

  • access and connectivity (social implications of people's ability to get from one place to another and impact to community cohesion)
  • function and viability of community infrastructure (social impacts of changes to community infrastructure facilities which includes places and facilities like education and childcare facilities, aged care, libraries, religious facilities, youth and community spaces and indoor and outdoor sport and recreation).

Improve community connectedness (25% of overall score)

The initiative will increase the number and connections that an individual has with others in their community.

Improve community cohesion (25% of overall score)

The initiative will improve the sense of togetherness and bonding that exists between members of a community.

Meet community need (10% of overall score)

The initiative addresses a community priority listed in Community priorities.

Organisation's capacity (10% of overall score)

The organisation or community group has the demonstrated capacity to deliver the initiative in time and within budget.

How to apply

Please have the following information ready before you start your application.

Information on the applying organisation including:

  • Name, address, contact details
  • Incorporation Registration Certificate
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Public Liability Insurance certificate (PLI)
  • Evidence of land ownership (e.g. rates notice) or landowner permission
  • Budget summary.

Information about the proposed project:

  • Project name
  • Type of project (capital works, purchase, other initiative)
  • Details about the project
  • Location of the project
  • Which priority area/s the project represents.

You'll need to provide responses to address the below:

  • Describe how your project will improve community connectedness and cohesiveness
  • Describe how your project will fulfil at least one community priority
  • Provide evidence that this project/initiative has community support.

Please include as much information as you can to support your application and demonstrate your ability to deliver the community project or initiative.

In relation to project costs, you will be asked for:

  • The total cost of the project
  • Your organisation’s contribution
  • Funding amount being applied for
  • Any other funding sources you have already secured.

Grant writing workshops

A series of free online grant writing workshops will run to coincide with each application period for community grants and partnerships to help prospective applicants understand the eligibility criteria, community priorities and to develop their applications. These will be funded by NELP and hosted online by an independent facilitator.

Sponsorship applicants are also eligible to attend the workshops if appropriate. If applicants are unable to attend the workshops, a recording can be made available.

You can register for one of the online workshops on the North East Community Fund page.

Getting assistance

If you have questions about the NECF or need assistance applying, please contact 1800 105 105 or email community@northeastlink.vic.gov.au

If you require an interpreter, please call (03) 9209 0147.

Submitting an application

Applications must be submitted online at North East Community Fund.

Access to the Internet and an email address are required to make an online application (assistance will be provided to applicants who require a hard copy application form).

Applications and all communication between NELP and the applicant can be accessed through the online application portal.

Incomplete applications will not be accepted. We will notify all applicants on the outcome of their proposal as soon as possible.

Further information

Acquittal of funds

Each grant and partnership funding recipient is required to submit an acquittal report within 3 months of project/initiative completion for auditing purposes. The acquittal includes questions on how many people/residents participated, or benefitted from the initiative, what adjustments were made to the initiative as it unfolded and whether the aims and objectives outlined in the application were met.

The acquittal audit also includes a financial report clearly demonstrating that the funds were spent in accordance with the budget submitted in the original application.

NELP reserves the right to undertake an audit of funded projects, including, but not limited to, the inspection of all income and expenditure records, correspondence, meeting notes, promotional material, site visits and any other relevant documentation relating to the funded initiative.

Funding agreements and documentation

Initiatives which receive a funding offer from the North East Community Fund will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement and accept terms and conditions as provided by North East Link in relation to the specific project or initiative which has been proposed.

Privacy Collection Notice

North East Link Program collects your personal information for the purposes of administering the North East Community Fund. We may disclose your personal information to Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (MTIA), other state government organisations and third parties, including (but not limited to):

  • SmartyGrants, the online application software provider
  • Relevant local councils
  • MTIA third party contractors

For the purposes of:

  • Processing and assessing your application
  • Allocating grants
  • Communicating with you
  • Confirming required permissions
  • Enquiring about past/current/future funding as required
  • Completing any background checks as required (Working With Children Check, Police Check).

We will only send you communication about any applications you make and updates to keep you informed on the North East Community Fund. You may choose not to provide us with all personal information we request from you, which may impact whether we accept an application from you, respond to your queries or take your feedback into account.

You have the right to access and correct personal information about you held by us. To request access or request changes to the personal information we hold about you, or for more information about how we manage your personal information, please refer to our Privacy Policy or contact us for a copy.


Find out more

Contact us

Please contact us if you would like this information in an accessible format. If you need assistance because of a hearing or speech impairment, please visit relayservice.gov.au