Australian rural community groups will be the beneficiaries of an exciting new grants initiative announced by a company that hopes to support rural Australia.
The Philmac Project provides individual cash grants up to $5000 to organisations wanting to carry out water related projects the benefit regional communities, particularly schools and sports associations.
"It is a challenging time both for Australian manufacturers and for the rural water users who have stood by us over the years, and we want to give something back" said Philmac Managing Director Chris Stathy.
"It can be difficult for community groups to source cash for even small projects these days, with increasing competition for government grants and many small businesses in regional towns being inundated with sponsorship requests.
"So we set aside a total of $25,000 to give away this year as an expression of our ongoing commitment to rural Australia and keeping communities connected"
To make is as easy as possible to apply, Philmac has set up a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PhilmacAustralia
) where organisations can find application forms and more information. Applicants will be able to lodge their submissions online until December 14, 2012.
To quality a project must be water related, such as upgrading or installing watering or irrigation systems, plumbing installations or water capture facilities. The project must be located in a regional are, and the work has to be completed within 12 months of the start date.
While the initiative is open to any community organisation that meet the criteria, Philmac is particularly keen to receive applications from schools or sporting associations.
"We know that they are the heart and soul of most rural communities, and that by helping them the grants will be benefiting as many families as possible," Mr Stathy said.
Importantly, applications will need the support of their members and the broader community to succeed.
"The idea is that the community gets to select a short-list for each State. People will be encouraged to visit Facebook and vote for the submissions they think most deserve the money.
"The submissions that attract the highest number of Facebook votes for each State will be eligible for the final judging, which will be carried out by a specially selected panel.
"The panel's focus will be making sure the money goes to a project that will make a genuine difference to the local community, and has the potential to reduce water use, improve water quality or benefit the environment in some way," Mr Stathy said.
"If the Philmac Project can make even a small difference to community groups struggling to find funding for a worthwhile project, then it will have been a success. And depending on the response, we will explore the idea of expanding the concept next year."
For more information, to make a submission or to vote on a project please visit www.facebook.com/PhilmacAustralia
Never used Facebook? If so then please check out this great website that provides a summary on what is involved - click here to find out more.