Major Grants help future-proof beloved community institutions
  • Friday 21 May 2021

Image: Yandina School of Arts members and supporters (from left to right) Gab and Wayne Pawson (of Yandina Hardware), Heath Stone, Daniel and Karyn Weepers, Carol Price, Dawn Gerring, Noel and Sandra Brown, and Audienne Blyth.

While future generations may not realise it yet, Sunshine Coast community groups, like the Yandina School of Arts, Coolum Bowls Club and The Compass Institute work tirelessly to ensure their activities, facilities and heritage are kept alive and accessible for all.

Sunshine Coast Council’s most recent Major Grants have awarded over $930,000 among 112 volunteer groups to support projects which will provide community benefit well into the future.

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said while COVID-19 caused struggle within the community, many organisations have been able to focus on the silver linings.

“During a time of uncertainty and when organisations were forced to slow, rather than stop and give up altogether, many volunteers running community facilities chose to take the time to plan the delivery of great infrastructure projects,” Cr Law said.

“In the earlier phase of this pandemic, council had the foresight to set aside money to aid these grassroots community projects.

“This has now resulted in many great outcomes for the community, as well as delivering a solid and sustained injection into our local economy.”

The last Major Grant round for this financial year included some COVID-19 relief, in the form of reduced co-funding requirements.

Reducing usual co-funding requirements attracted a bumper number of applications, with 159 applications received across the seven application categories.

Nearly 60 per cent of applications in the Community Facilities category received full funding, with 47 infrastructure projects to progress.

Yandina School of Arts president Daniel Weepers said the $30,000 grant they’ve been awarded would allow for essential improvements for this central community hub.

“With the grant funding, we can ensure the preservation of this beautiful building, which is such an integral piece of Yandina’s history,” Mr Weepers said.

“At the moment, we can’t run live theatre, we can’t host certain community groups, and we can’t fundraise or function to our full capacity.

“With the grant, we’ll be able to repair several exterior walls, along with fix cladding, windows and paint the exterior of the facility in accordance with the Heritage Maintenance Schedule.

“We are so grateful for the support from council as it means we can preserve the hall and keep it running for future generations.”

Wendy Fifield from Coolum Beach Bowls Club said the $30,000 grant they’ll receive would be a huge help in boosting the club’s accessibility to both local community members and tourists.

“When business slowed down last year, we took time to look ahead and set plans to make our club more appealing to a greater community,” Mrs Fifield said.

“Major Grant funding from council will allow us to fix up the ditches and add safety handrails to two of our bowling greens.

“This means we can ensure greater safety and accessibility to both ageing bowlers and newcomers who partake in the increasingly popular ‘barefoot’ bowls.”

The Compass Institute’s Head of Business and Growth Sandra Brodie said the over $16,000 contribution they would receive towards solar power at their much-loved Compass Farm location would help the organisation’s financial sustainability.

“The installation of a solar system at Compass Farm will mean we have a reliable, environmentally sustainable and much more energy efficient source of power to support our operations,” Ms Brodie said.

“Solar also offers significant cost savings to Compass, which can instead be re-invested back into the Farm and the critical services we provide as a not-for-profit to the young people with disabilities that we support on a daily basis.”

Council’s Community Grants Program provides support to not-for-profit community groups for one-off projects, events and activities that benefit the Sunshine Coast community.

Major Grants support eligible local community groups with funding up to $15,000 for projects (and up to $30,000 for infrastructure projects) in one of seven categories:

  • Community Development,

  • Community events,

  • Community Facilities,

  • Cultural Development,

  • Cultural Heritage,

  • Economic Development, and

  • Sports, Recreation and Healthy Living.

The focus of this program in this financial year has been on supporting projects which:

  • respond to community need and deliver on council’s priorities

  • activate the community in a resilient and vibrant way

  • inject money into the local economy

  • are ready to get started and be successfully completed, and

  • deliver maximum community benefit.

To learn more about grant programs and funding opportunities for community organisations, please visit

The next round of Major Grants will open on 19 July and close 30 August 2021.

A full list of successful recipients is available on council’s website,