Strong and Resilient Communities

The Strong and Resilient Communities (SARC) Activity aims to support vulnerable and disadvantaged people to participate socially and economically through local community-driven solutions that build self-reliance and empowerment.

SARC provides funding to build strong and resilient communities by supporting local community organisations to overcome disadvantage. Projects funded under SARC aim to help communities become more resilient and inclusive through greater community engagement, participation and belonging.

Prior to 2021, SARC comprised three streams:

  • Community Resilience grants – for community wide approaches to build social cohesion and address racial, religious and cultural intolerance.
  • Inclusive Communities grants – to improve the social and economic participation of vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals.
  • National Research grants – for research projects that respond to emerging issues of national significance.

In January 2020, the Social Research Centre conducted an evaluation of the SARC grant activity. The evaluation assessed the effectiveness, appropriateness and performance of the SARC activity.

The evaluation found that SARC:

  • positively contributed to community cohesion, economic participation, engagement with services and positive community attitudes.
  • was promoted effectively
  • targeted a diverse range of groups.

Findings from the evaluation were used to improve the design and focus of the SARC Activity.

From 2021, SARC is focused on promoting Inclusive Communities.

The $63 million SARC Activity – Inclusive Communities Grants (SARC – IC) will run over 5 years from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2027 and aims to improve the social and economic participation of four target groups:

  • Young people aged 12 to 18 years who are, or are at risk of being, disengaged, marginalised and having limited engagement with education/training
  • People with disabilities and/or mental health issues requiring support to participate in their community, and work towards becoming and/or remaining independent and engaged
  • Vulnerable women who are, or are at risk of, social isolation and exclusion requiring support to participate in their community and increase their sense of self agency and empowerment
  • Unemployed people who face individual barriers to employment to support their increased capacity to engage with existing employment/training services and/or work towards gaining employment

SARC – IC supports one-off, time limited projects for up to two years. It is not designed to assist ongoing service delivery.

The first SARC – IC grant opportunity opened in October 2021 and closed in November 2021.

38 not-for-profit community organisations were funded to deliver projects in metropolitan, regional and remote areas across Australia.

Australian Government grant opportunities and grant awards can be found at www.grants.gov.au.

To find a service near you, visit the DSS Grants Service Directory and search for Strong and Resilient Communities – Inclusive Communities grants.

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