News and Events
Learn more about how the Anthony Costa Foundation is making a difference in the places where the families live and work.
GRANTS: AUGUST 2023 Grants Awarded
In it’s August 2023 Small Grants Round the Foundation awarded grants to 16 organisations across its three focus areas including:
Barwon Area Integrated Family Violence Committee – To increase awareness and understanding of family violence in the community. This will be achieved through a two-pronged approach: a “lived experience” art exhibition which shares the stories of local women affected by family violence; and the delivery of basic training for students and general community members in understanding and responding to family violence and sexual assault.
BATForce – To reduce the harm to the youth mental health caused by online behaviour through the delivery of Digital Tattoo a workshop that focuses on the online world and young people’s experiences with it. The workshop will be delivered through schools to year 5-9 students and their parents/carers. A customised version of the workshop for young people with disabilities and their parents/carers will also be developed and delivered.
Bravehearts Foundation Ltd – To protect children from sexual harm through the delivery Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure personal-safety program to children ages 3-8 who are attending kinders and primary schools in Geelong. The program includes a live 20-40min show, teacher in-class lesson plans with activities/resources/activity booklet/songs plus assessments to determine outcomes, as well as materials for parents and for children to take home.
Camp Quality – Support for Camp Quality’s Family Camp in Anglesea. The 3-day camp provides an opportunity for families with children facing a cancer diagnosis to relax and connect with others facing a similar situation. The camp includes organised activities where families can have fun and build relationships both within their family, but also with other families undergoing a similar experience.
Colac Neighbourhood House – To support neuro diverse children aged 9-12 to develop new skills, increase their social connection with peers and reduce isolation through the delivery of a program where they will engage in a range of activities which include experiences of tactile play, mindfulness , yoga and Pilates, Theraplay, with a focus on healthy attachment, recognition and development of social cues and using writing as a tool for self-soothing and regulation.
Edmund Rice Community Services Ltd – To deliver three Head 2 Heart programs in Geelong. The program engages secondary students as leaders to work with primary school students. The program is designed to promote positive relationships and connections with positive role models, identify individual leadership strengths and awareness of own strengths, aspirations and potential. enhance self-esteem and capacity to help seeks and build confidence and optimism for the future.
Epilepsy Action Australia – To support the mental health of children under the age of 10 that have epilepsy through the Ted-E-Bear Connection program. The program provides support to children and connects their parents/carers to online peer-support, online seizure-safety workshops and telehealth education from an Epilepsy Nurse.
Leisure Networks – To support school readiness for children aged 3-6 in the Corio, Norlane and Whittington communities through the implementation of the Mini Movers program. The program is designed to support young children to develop in the early childhood development domains of gross motor and fine motor skills, language and social/emotional learning. This is achieved by sport-based activities, play and general movement in a fun, supported environment.
MS Plus – To support people with MS in the Geelong region to achieve better financial security and emotional wellbeing through the MS Financial Wellbeing program. The program provides financial coaching, and access to webinars and innovative digital and printed tools empowering them to focus on living healthy, independent lives, rather than the stress and trauma of a dire financial situation.
Riding for the Disabled Barwon – To decrease the social isolation and exclusion of primary school aged children with a disability through the delivery of a therapeutic horse-riding program.
Reading Out of Poverty Inc (ROOP) – To assist with school preparedness for children aged 0-5 years from low socio-economic backgrounds, including migrants, refugees, and First Nations individuals in the Greater Geelong region through the Books to Birth program. The program works with partners to provide early literacy packs and pop-up libraries to support these children.
Rosewall Neighbourhood Centre – To provide 3214 youth with a place to connect with peers and trusted mentors, participate in a variety of activities aimed at supporting connections and exposure to new skills and activities, as well as receive dignified food security through the Rosewall Community Centre Youth Group.
Satellite Foundation – To improve the mental wellbeing and resilience of young people aged 14 – 17 in Geelong who have a family member that experiences mental illness through Create & Connect Workshops. The workshops provide an opportunity to access group activities in a fun, creative and safe space, express themselves, and connect with their personal and shared experiences.
Tiny Dots Early Intervention – To support families who are not able to access services related to disability or developmental delays in babies and toddlers aged 0-2 currently due to finances or timing through the provision of allied health assessments, referral and short-term intervention to babies and toddlers and integrated parent and family education and support.
U&I Inclusions – To provide an accessible space for people with disabilities to foster skills to grow healthy foods, whilst encouraging greater outdoor interaction, alongside ecological awareness, and education. This will include a greenhouse, wheelchair accessible garden beds and paths.
Worn Gundidj – To support First Nation’s and disadvantaged people with a disability to understand their rights, responsibilities and access points for services in Geelong and Warrnambool.
The Foundation is currently accepting applications for its December 2023 Community Grants Round. Interested applicants should contact the Foundation to discuss their potential application. More information about the Foundation’s Grant Rounds can be found here.
NEWS: Drummond Street Services - Reaching Milestones Together
Your child reaching their developmental milestones is a seemingly easy task, until it isn’t. Many families and children that live in Norlane/Corio are in survival mode, rather than thriving mode. As a result, there can be large gaps in the emotional and social development of these children due to adverse early childhood experiences. These seemingly small gaps at an early age can actually have lifelong impacts and lead to poor outcomes on many familial, educational and social measures.
This is why 2022 Small Grants Round grantee Drummond Street Services together with Reflection Space sought to work with these families and children. The main goal of their funded project was to provide a targeted intervention to increase family engagement and support kinder and school readiness for children who had had extremely limited access to socialisation opportunities during the Covid 19 pandemic and were experiencing emotional and social developmental delays. The grant they received allowed them to trial the evidence-based program ‘Sunshine Circles’ at the Northern Bay College Family Centre. ‘Sunshine Circles’ is a therapeutic intervention for both children and their parents and uses experiential play-based activities that provides opportunities for healthy parent/child interactions and supports social and emotional development of children.
Fourteen families participated in the pilot program. All were from multicultural backgrounds. They met weekly and engaged in activities based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parents and children that is personal, experiential, physical, and fun. Another important element of the program was the utilisation of culturally relevant games and songs to encourage connection to heritage for the parents and their children.
Parent and facilitator feedback and positive results from the broader program evaluation demonstrated benefits for both the children and their parents. Here is some of the feedback from parents:
“[My daughter is] getting better with relationships with other children. She wouldn’t play with other’s before, she does that now and listens better to me.”
“[My son] doesn’t get upset at being around people like he used to. He improved a lot in playing with other kids and with his attention.”
“My daughter started using words and smiling more, she started copying the other kids. I hadn’t ever seen her do that. It made me so happy. I’ve been very worried about her”.
Feedback from the facilitators highlighted the positive outcomes for those who participated:
“One of the main things I noticed was the children’s confidence to participate in a group setting and their engagement levels. Parents said that it was so great for their children and that they didn’t anticipate that the outcomes would be so significant. But they were – in terms of taking turns, waiting and sharing. I think a major benefit was just mixing with other children. Many were born during COVID-19 and quite isolated during that time.”
The Foundation is proud of our Small Grant Round, from the engagement of its Gen3 family members in reviewing and recommending applications for funding, to the positive outcomes grantees achieve with small amounts of funding.
GRANTS: APRIL 2023 Grant Awarded
In April 2023 the Foundation made new grants to seven organisations across its three focus areas including:
Bay Leaf Community Kitchen – To support the provision of high quality, nutritious pre-cooked meals and food hampers to vulnerable individuals and families via a drive-thru meal service. The food provides initial entre and helps to build connection and trust to provide additional supports around underlying or additional challenges. Funding will support ongoing work and ability to increase number of people helped and level at which they are helped.
Catholic Care Victoria – To improve the transition of refugee/asylum seeker youth and their mothers from Afghanistan and Iran in the Geelong/G21 region into further education or meaningful employment pathways through the employment of an additional Bi-Cultural Worker (Persian).
Geelong Mums – To provide everyday essentials such as nappies, clothing or formula to support vulnerable babies and children and their families. This project will build on the success of Geelong Mums’ regional model and seek to extend the service to the rest of regional Victoria with the goal of reaching over 18,000 babies and children by 2027.
Hope Bereavement Care – To meet the additional demand for services by providing free and specialised counselling, support and information for community members grieving the death of a baby or child, grieving the sudden and unexpected death of an adult and those grieving after suicide.
Marrar Woorn Neighbourhood House – To deliver an art program that provides a safe place and space for LGBTIQ+ youth from across the Colac Otway Shire and to build individual and community capacity to support mental health for this vulnerable cohort.
Read the Play – To support the development, piloting and implementation of a new program focused on mental health and positive risk-taking for young people aged 16-18 within Geelong United Basketball pathway teams and local clubs that have not previously had access to Read The Play programs.
Solve-TAD Limited – To improve the health and wellbeing of people with a disability in the Geelong region who cannot access funding from the NDIS or lack other resources through the provision of fit-for-purpose, custom-built equipment.
The Empowerment Challenge – To continue and expand The Empowerment Challenge mobile outreach program. The program offers easily accessible, long-term support to vulnerable younger mums in the Geelong area through individual and group support, training and skill building.
The Foundation is finalising its Grant Round Calendar for FY24. New dates should be available by the end of May. Potential applicants are always encouraged to contact the Foundation before submitting an application. More information about the Foundation’s Grant Rounds can be found here.
NEWS: Marrar Woorn Neighbourhood House - The Power of Love, Connection and Creativity for LGBTQIA+ Youth
A little has gone a long way at Marrar Woorn Neighbourhood House. As a recipient of a small grant in the August 2022 Small Grants Round, Marrar Woorn has been able to continue to deliver and grow a key social support program for local LGBTQIA+ youth in the Colac-Otway Shire. Prior to receiving this grant, the program – which is the only wellbeing opportunity for LGBTQIA+ youth in the area – was run on the smell of an oily rag by unpaid volunteers and at risk of folding. The program has since grown from a humble, albeit important, art making class for five to an art making and social support group of 30 participants.
LGBTQIA+ youth are one of the most marginalised cohorts of people in regional areas and are significantly more at risk of mental health concerns. The creation of a safe and inclusive space that promotes self-expression for these youth has forged strong social connections, improved mental wellbeing and undoubtedly saved lives. The power of love, connection and creativity is evident in the reflections of participants and facilitators. A facilitator described the impact of the project on the young people as “extraordinary…. these few hours for somebody in [their] position, how life-saving that brief opportunity can be on a young person’s journey to adulthood, and safety.”
Participant feedback has also highlighted the power of the program, “this group has absolutely changed my life, the things I’ve experienced and the people I have met has been wonderful. Every week I look forward to attending and I’m nothing but happy when I’m there. The group of people there are phenomenal and we get chances to learn more things than art. The support I have is also amazing, there is no hate, all these is, is love and I feel more myself there than anywhere else. I couldn’t imagine my life without this group, it makes me more elated than anything. ”
We are delighted to share that Marrar Woorn were successful in the Foundation’s April 2023 Grant Round in securing funding to continue delivering this program for another two years and to provide the facilitators and participants with Youth Mental Health First Aid training to increase individual and community capacity to support the mental health of this vulnerable cohort.
NEWS: The Empowerment Challenge - Supporting Vulnerable Young Mums and their Bubs
In early 2022 the Foundation funded The Empowerment Challenge (TEC) to pilot a 20-week mobile outreach program to support vulnerable younger mums in the Geelong region to access needed supports and services in a way that is safe, inclusive and builds long term social connections. The funding secured the employment of a part time Key Support Worker whose role was to build relationships with peer organisations, spend one on one time with younger mums and then facilitate a weekly mothers group. When the pilot was due to wrap up in May 2022 due to the many positive outcomes and the need for this service, the Foundation, in collaboration with the Geelong Community Foundation, provided further funding to extend the progam for another 12 months.
Research shows that without the right type of long-term support, younger mums become disconnected from their peers and socially isolated. Depression is more prevalent among pregnant younger mothers than adult pregnant women or teenagers in general, & younger motherhood can have long-lasting effects on mental health (Hudson et al, 2000; Logsdon et al, 2005; Marino et al, 2016). Qualitative evidence collected by the project highlighted the other needs these vulnerable younger mums experience. These stories centred around the impact of family violence, insecure housing, the challenges found with navigating financial support through Centrelink, and of lack of food security. These issues quickly become insurmountable and potentially have a massive negative impact on both mothers and in turn, their children. TEC aims to help break this cycle of disadvantage and empower these younger mums to give themselves and their children the best start in life.
The program has been designed to support young mums, long term, who do not have access to help to manage the stressors and challenges associated with being young mums, in addition to the other challenges that they face. Through their peer relationships the Key Support Worker has been able to link these young mums to key services for help with issues including housing, family violence, food insecurity, going for driver’s licence and financial assistance. The other arm of the program is providing a welcoming and supportive environment for the participants to come together and connect in a meaningful and non-judgemental way. Feedback below highlights how important the program’s support has been for local young mums:
“If I didn’t come here, I wouldn’t see anyone”
“I love coming here because I don’t feel judged. Everyone is so welcoming”
“I’ve met such lovely people here. I don’t feel very accepted by my mothers group but when I walk in here I relax”
“It’s so nice to just be able to chat to someone. I’ve tried meeting other mums but it never goes anywhere”
“I have workers to help with the big stuff but no one for the small stuff. Narelle is helping me with my licence and that is a huge help”
“I love getting out of the house and this is such a great place to come!”
“I’m a pretty anxious and shy person when meeting new people but I feel really welcomed here!”
Lots of learning has taken place during the pilot, most significantly where the TEC thought their clients lived, ‘we initially thought the majority of the younger mums would be in the 3214 area. However, the pilot taught us that younger mums needing to connect were widespread in the Geelong and surrounding areas“. These learnings are helping to inform the next phase of the project, pivoting where needed and in the words of TEC “always keeping the needs of our participants and our mission at the forefront of everything we do.”
GRANTS: December 2022 Grants Awarded
In December 2022 the Foundation made new grants to 12 organisations across its three focus areas including:
100 Story Building – To support the expansion of the successful Story Hub program into 2 additional low SES schools in the Geelong region (Geelong East Primary and Geelong South Primary), through the co-design and creation of a bespoke creative space and creative literacy program and to build the long ongoing sustainability of the model by creating a teacher network and community of practice in the region.
Eat Up Australia – Support for a free school lunch program for disadvantaged children and young people ages 5-18 in 14 Geelong schools.
Foundation 61 – Support for a 15 bed long stay residential rehabilitation centre for men experiencing life controlling issues, including drugs and alcohol. The program provides supported accommodation, a wholistic recovery program and vocational training (Certificate I in Work Education, Certificate IV in Drug & Alcohol Services, Certificate IV in Mental Health Services) to assist these men to regain control of their lives, rebuild personal relationships and reintegrate into society.
Geelong Symphony Orchestra Incorporated – Support for the Geelong Symphony Orchestra to provide three concerts annually at Deakin’s Costa Hall over the next three years.
Give Where You Live Foundation – Support for matching funds for Pitch Up Geelong August 2023. Pitch Up Geelong is a live crowdfunding event based on the model developed by The Funding Network. At the event three organisations get a chance to tell their story to a room full of donors who are interested in making a difference. Donations made on the night are matched by the match funders.
Habitat for Humanity International – To construct homes for vulnerable low-income families.
Lifeline Direct – To provide crisis support to the community through training volunteer Crisis Supporters to answer Lifeline 13 11 1 telephone line.
Norlane Community Initiatives – Support for community development activities in Norlane through the Neighbourhood Commons Project. Funds will be used to develop key spaces and places (Robin Ave and Labuan Square) that that will assist Norlane residents in co-creating activities, projects and initiatives that will address local priorities around social, environmental and economic challenges in Norlane.
Reach Foundation – To deliver a peer led Heroes Day experience for 400 year 9 students from three local secondary schools in Geelong. This high-energy, interactive workshop experience will equip participants with the skills needed for positive self-expression, whilst building known protective factors for good mental health.
Riding for the Disabled Colac – To support an equine therapy program for people with disabilities through the purchase of a specifically designed and fabricated carriage that allows able-bodied, less-abled and wheel chair bound participants to experience the movement and freedom of riding in a horse drawn carriage.
The Outpost Inc – Support for only non-referral after hours service feeding those in need. The service operates 7 nights a week (the service also currently provides lunch 2 days a week). The service provides support including hot healthy cooked meals, hot/cold drinks, fresh fruit and vege, blankets, beanies, street swags and sleeping bags, personal hygiene items and welfare support and referrals.
Uniting Victoria and Tasmania (Barwon) – To improve and increase the provision of emergency relief including addressing escalating food insecurity in the Barwon region through robust coordination of the Uniting Barwon Emergency Relief services.
The Foundation is currently accepting applications for its April 2023 Grant Round. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Foundation before submitting an application. More information about the Foundation’s Grant Rounds can be found here.
NEWS: Charles Sturt University - Growing the Next Generation Agriculture Workforce
The Anthony Costa Foundation has partnered with goFARM Australia, Australian Farming Services and Charles Sturt University to launch a new initiative over the next seven years to enhance the horticultural and agricultural workforce pipeline.
The ‘AGcessibility: diversifying the next gen of Agriculture’ program is aimed at First Nations young people and young people from low SES backgrounds in regional and rural communities and will offer scholarships and other supports to new students studying a Bachelor of Horticulture, Bachelor of Agriculture, Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management, or Bachelor of Viticulture at Charles Sturt University.
The agricultural, horticultural and livestock industries have long been the backbone of regional and rural Australia. An estimated one-third of employment in regional and rural areas is directly or indirectly linked to the agricultural sector. Projections indicate that all these industries have very strong futures both to support the domestic market and, increasingly, the expanding range of export markets.
Employment in agriculture is changing; routine employment is being replaced by mechanisation, computerisation and robotics. Such changes increase demand for higher skilled and well-trained personnel as these industries transition to a higher tech and stronger science requirement – thus there is growing demand for well-trained, innovative and passionate young people to build positive and financially rewarding agricultural careers. Currently there exist on average 4-5 job opportunities for each university graduate in agriculture and horticulture.
It follows then, that there is every reason, apart from awareness, opportunity and support, for First Nations young people and young people from low SES backgrounds to take advantage of this opportunity to build their careers. Scholarships and other supports for these students to attend university for agricultural and horticultural studies will help position them for long term well-remunerated employment. In so doing, these trained and qualified students will contribute significantly to a build-up in workforce capacity in these essential and rural-based industries where the increase in availability of workforce is a regional and national imperative.
NEWS: Lazarus Community Centre - Providing a Safe and Welcoming Place for those Who are Homeless
Homelessness continues to be an issue confronting the Geelong region. While there are a variety of services that provide support, Anthony Costa Foundation grantee Lazarus Community Centre provides people who are homeless a place to feel safe and welcome during the day. It offers a place where they can take a shower, wash and dry their clothes, have a lunch, participate in activities, connect with others, and receive support from various local specialist homelessness service providers.
Les is one of the people that attends Lazarus. While everyone who becomes homeless has a unique story to tell, there are three leading causes that drive this problem; mental health, family violence and sudden life changes. Loss of family support and work instability is central to Les’ entry into homelessness. You can watch Les tell his story below.
Les’ story illustrates the important role that family and community play in navigating the ups and downs of life. Sadly for Les, the loss of his parents – who were always there to help out if he needed it – had life altering consequences that left him vulnerable and alone. Despite this loss, he had hope that his job as a meatworker would see him through to retirement. However, redundancy came as a shock and set him back and ultimately on the path to homelessness.
The positive effect that Lazarus has had on Les’ life is abundantly clear, his friendly face beams and his eyes sparkle in the company of the Lazarus community. Les describes how important Lazarus is in his life:
“I go to Lazarus House and it’s been great for me. It’s the simple things, being able to grab a shower, brush my teeth, have a shave and get on the computer. It [Lazarus] has kept my sense of pride intact. It’s given me a bit of dignity to push on. It’s a place of well-meaning people that like to help if you want to access that help.”
“Being out on the streets has depressed me at times but being at Lazarus House has helped curb that depression. It encourages me to not give up hope, to keep going to get somewhere better in life.”
The Anthony Costa Foundation is proud to support the important work Lazarus does in our community to help people like Les.
NEWS: Magical augmented-reality street art KIN celebrating young leaders of Geelong Installed
Fenwick St in Geelong has never looked so magical with an amazing new street art installation thanks to local creative powerhouse Laura Alice, young Geelong leaders, the Bluebird Foundation and the Anthony Costa Foundation.
The new installation, which celebrates diversity and the interconnectedness of communities, has taken pride of place on a large wall on the building at 17-19 Fenwick Street, Geelong owned by Elaine and Anthony Costa that was calling out for a better purpose.
The Foundation approached local community arts organisation, the Bluebird Foundation, to partner on the project knowing that they could deliver not just a piece of art, but a community project that would make a difference. The Bluebird Foundation enlisted local artist Laura Alice, known for her inky paintings and street art, and drew on their work with diverse communities.
This collaboration resulted in an installation that features three diverse local young leaders who live their ideals each day, inspiring change in the Geelong community:
- Tarryn Love a proud Gunditjimara Keeray Woorrong woman who has grown up on Wadawurrung country. As an artist she is committed to exploring the theoretical and political value of First Nation arts practice.
- Quinn Earth Child a queer permaculturalist, artist and musician, inspiring radical sustainable change in the Northern suburbs of Geelong.
- Mutheinchri a Karenni refugee, currently studying to become a NAATI certified translator. She is passionate about supporting her local Karenni community to live their best lives here in Geelong.
Each portrait is surrounded by artistic elements created by the communities that hold them – Tarryn’s mob, the Friend of Cowies Creek and the Drawn Together artistic collective.
But just like the young people pictured, the installation involves more than is obvious on first glance. If you download the app ARTIVIVE each work takes on a new dimension – each work has an augmented reality layer that brings to life beautiful animations interwoven with music and the voices of the young leaders (both Quinn and Mutheinchri recorded songs for the project).
This installation is a unique addition to Geelong’s street art scene and supports the Foundation’s belief that arts and culture can be a vehicle for strengthening and enriching our community and providing voice and equity for vulnerable populations.
If you have not been down to 17-19 Fenwick Street, Geelong to have a look, please check it out and remember to take your phone so you can see the images come to life!
EVENT: FY23 Charity Golf Day
Each year the Foundation hosts a Charity Golf Day to benefit an organisation and/or issue important to the Foundation. The Day also provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the Foundation and the work it does in the places where we live and work with our many business partners.
This year’s event will take place on Friday 25 November 2022 at Londsdale Links and will benefit Ocean Mind. Ocean Mind provides therapeutic surf programs for young people who are experiencing mental health challenges, social isolation and disabilities. Using a simple mix of Surfing, Mentoring and Fun they create a therapeutic environment for young people to challenge themselves, learn new skills and flourish.
For more information about this year’s event please contact the Foundation.