The NSW Government has released “quick response grants” of up to $10,000 to assist Aboriginal communities with addressing health and wellbeing needs.
Applications are now open for the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Program, which offers grants from $1,000 to $10,000.
Organisations based in NSW that work with Aboriginal communities can apply for the funds, which may go towards providing culturally appropriate and community-based social and emotional wellbeing support; access to COVID-19 information; activities that help minimise risk of transmission within communities; and more.
The money can also go towards buying IT equipment, online workshops, establishing new community groups, providing food, clothing or housing, travel costs, personal protective equipment, access to internet, access to COVID-19 testing or vaccine hubs, and more.
“These quick response grants will help communities access local, culturally appropriate services so they are informed and supported to take actions like staying at home to reduce community transmission,” said NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin.
Aboriginal communities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, he added.
“These grants will enable Aboriginal services to support people already impacted by COVID-19 as well as taking preventative steps such as encouraging vaccination.”
Eligible organisations can apply multiple times for the grant if different needs are identified.
NSW COVID-19 case numbers continue to climb, with a new record high of 1,290 announced today, and have reached the doorstep of First Nations communities.
More than 400 Indigenous Australians in NSW have contracted the virus since June, ABC’s 7.30 has , and the first Indigenous COVID-19 death has now been recorded.
In the north western NSW region of Wilcannia, reports have emerged of an Aboriginal woman with COVID-19 and breathing difficulties turned away by medical services with the region unequipped to deal with the virus and lacking any ventilators.
In Wilcannia, 44 have tested positive for COVID-19 and there are reports of food and supply shortages as families isolate together in overcrowded housing.
Community leaders are struggling to acquire greater supplies of COVID-19 vaccines while dealing with vaccine hesitancy among community members.