Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke visited a community meeting centre with a cheque for more than $33,000 which will help provide much-needed additional shaded space.

The funding, part of the Community Building Partnerships Program, will provide shade sails and privacy screens for Cowra Information & Neighbourhood Centre’s outdoor area.

“This $33,194 funding will extend the community outdoor meeting area with shade sails, paving and privacy screens,” Ms Cooke said.

“It will provide much more space for all of the groups which use the Neighbourhood Centre, such as visiting indigenous, health and legal support groups.

“These groups are so important because they allow people who feel socially isolated or are having trouble accessing services to come along and become familiar with what’s available in a social and friendly setting,” Ms Cooke added.

Trish Gundersen, finance officer at the Information & Neighbourhood Centre, said the outdoor space has been struggling to meet the needs of the centre’s users.

“One of our major groups is the free community morning tea each week, which attracts between 100 and 120 people,” Ms Gundersen said.

“At the moment the paved area isn’t big enough and we have to have tables and chairs placed on a dirt car park.

“The grant money will help us address this – we have elderly citizens who come here and they need a safe platform, and the upgrades will proved that.”

The improvements to the outdoor area are part of the 2018 Community Building Partnerships grant fund, which provided $330,000 to 19 community-based projects across the Cootamundra electorate.

The Community Building Partnership program has funded some 13,800 community projects since it commenced nearly a decade ago.

“The NSW Government’s strong economic management ensures that I as local Member am in a position to secure this funding for projects that truly make a difference on the ground,” Ms Cooke said.

For more information about the NSW Government’s 2018 Community Building Partnership Program, visit www.nsw.gov.au/cbp