Foresters Set to Strengthen VIC Community
26 August 2010 at 12:35 pm
Victorian Minister for Community Development Lily D’Ambrosio with Belinda Drew (Foresters) and Cath Smith (VCOSS) at the Community Sector Futures Leaders conference in Melbourne | 26 August 2010
Brisbane-based community sector finance organisation, Foresters Community Finance has been lured to Victoria to partner with the Victorian Government to carry out a pilot Community Asset Building program.
Speaking at the Community Sector Futures Leaders conference in Melbourne, the Victorian Minister for Community Development Lily D’Ambrosio announced a $160,000 grant from the Brumby Government aimed at helping community organisations secure their accommodation and their long-term financial future as part of the pilot.
Foresters Community Finance is to set up shop in Victoria to help community organisations secure long-term leases and purchase properties from which they provide their community services.
The Minister says many community sector organisations struggle to find suitable and stable accommodation particularly during tough economic times and a tight property market.
She says that with a proven track record in Queensland, Foresters has been very successful in attracting private sector dollars into properties to house community sector organisations.
Foresters CEO, Belinda Drew told the Leaders Conference that the Victoria Government is the first in Australia to support community development financial institutions to undertake asset building.
She says Queensland has shown huge benefits with community organisations owning their own space, allowing them to plan for the long term.
Drew says Foresters sees itself as a conduit between the community sector and the financial market and aims to capture capital that may not ordinarily be available to the communtiy sector.
Workshops will be held over the next 8 months in Victoria to link up with with organisations that are ready to asset build and Foresters say it will work with organisations to get them ready for that stage.
Minister D’Ambrosio also announced a $275,000 grant to the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) to provide financial and governance training to organisations in the community sector, particularly small groups in rural and regional Victoria.
The Minister commended VCOSS CEO Cath Smith for the ongoing support and involvement in the Government’s Action Plan: Strengthening Community Organisations to build the capacity of the sector.