Grant funding 101

Published on 07 February 2023

NYE 2022 fireworks - Peter Izzard

Many Council projects are funded by grants. From roads to community infrastructure and amenities, from parks and playgrounds to cultural events and services. We spoke to Kiama Council’s Grants Officer Paula Zaja to find out more. 

Who provides grant funding?

Grant funding comes from the NSW and/or Australian Government as well as other philanthropic foundations and corporate and not-for-profit trusts.

How do you apply?

Every grant is different and how to apply will depend upon the individual grant requirements. These are outlined in the Grant Guideline document.

The Guidelines include details such as where and how to submit, key dates, examples of projects that could be eligible, reporting and other requirements. It also outlines the criteria to assess successful applications.

When Kiama Council applies for a grant, we have a multi-step process. Before we even begin, we undertake a range of internal assessments and approvals. Some applications also need endorsement by the sitting Council.

Some things we consider include whether the grant requires a cash, or in-kind contribution from Council, whether the project is something we would otherwise have budgeted for or is in our Capital Works program.

What happens once we have a grant?

First thing – celebrate! Do a happy dance and let those involved in the application process know of our success and thank them for their vital input.

The next steps will be influenced by the type of grant and its requirements, as outlined in the initial Guideline document.

What about delivery and timelines?

Every grant opportunity will have its own timeline for delivery. Obviously the larger the project, the greater the delivery time.

Some projects are delivered in-house, others will need to go to an open Public Tender to secure an external contractor. Some projects may be a combination of both.

Tell us about reporting and acquittals?

All funding programs require a final report on how the grant monies have been spent to ensure the obligations of both the recipient and grant provider have been met.

Acquitting a grant means accurately reporting on the funded activities, expenditure and outcomes. It is a formal condition of funding.

Grant Acquittal Reports are typically required within 1-3 months of project completion. In some cases, regular reports are also required at key milestones during the project.

How can grant funding be spent?

Despite some common misconceptions, grant programs are very specific on how the money can be used.

For example, our Hindmarsh Park Upgrade funding cannot be used to repair or upgrade any other park or playground. The funding for Kiama’s 2022-23 NYE fireworks (pictured) had to be used solely for this event, and what we specified we would deliver.

Can individuals, community groups or businesses get grant funding?

paula_zaja - January 2023

Yes! Kiama Council is also a distributor of grant funding. For example, our Kiama Cultural Grants provide $20,000 each year for local arts-based projects.

To apply for grants via Council or other government departments, it’s important to be aware of what is required well before submitting your application.

This includes thinking about how you’ll address questions of eligibility, credibility and conflicts of interest. Preparing information on how you’ll deliver the project, expected outcomes and risk assessment. It can also mean providing proof of insurance, DA approvals and landowners consent, where required.

Check out our Grants page for more resources, links and information.

Main image: Kiama’s grant-funded 2022-23 NYE fireworks. Photo: Peter Izzard





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