A Guided Tour at Grenfell Guide Hall

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has visited the Grenfell Girl Guides for an update on their bathroom renovation project, funded under the latest round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

“It was a pleasure to meet such a lovely group of girls, who are developing their skills and confidence for everyday life, paving the way for them to be our future leaders,” Ms Cooke said.

“During my visit, it was also great to hear how plans to renovate the bathroom are progressing, which will certainly make the meeting place much more comfortable for all involved.”

Grenfell District Manager for Girl Guides Glenda Howell said they are grateful for the funding provided and appreciate the support from Ms Cooke.

“We are all very much looking forward to the updated bathroom, with building works expected to commence very soon,” Ms Howell said.

The Grenfell Girl Guides bathroom renovation project received $50,974 in funding in the fourth round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Through rounds one to four of the program, over $3.7 million in funding has been secured in support of 18 projects across Weddin Shire.

As part of her visit, Ms Cooke has also encouraged girls aged five to 17, and their parents, to learn more about guiding and to get involved with their local group.

“Guiding is such a fantastic way to nurture and empower our young women. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to be involved in the program locally.”

For more information about Girl Guides NSW, please visit www.girlguides-nswactnt.org.au

Applications for Creative Capital Funding Program Now Open

The NSW Government is seeking applications for cultural infrastructure projects that will benefit audiences and improve access to arts and cultural facilities across NSW.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that local councils, not-for-profit organisations and Local Aboriginal Land Councils, should take advantage of the targeted cultural infrastructure funding and apply with ideas that will benefit the local community.

“This funding is an excellent opportunity for our community to develop and upgrade cultural facilities in the region, and I encourage everyone to put their ideas forward,” Ms Cooke said.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said the Minor Works and Equipment Projects Round Two grants, delivered through the Creative Capital program, demonstrate the NSW Government’s commitment to invest in projects that reinforce the State’s position as the leading arts and culture hub in Australia.

“We’re calling for applications for projects that will pay dividends for communities across NSW by developing and upgrading fit-for-purpose cultural facilities such as museums, theatres, performance spaces, galleries and Aboriginal Keeping Places and language centres,” Mr Franklin said.

“Cultural equity is at the heart of the NSW Government’s Creative Capital program and thanks to the $60 million investment – more projects like this can now realise their ambitions, providing more people with access to world-class arts and culture, no matter where they live in the state.”

“The people of NSW deserve a rich and diverse cultural offering and this funding will ensure our museums, theatres, performance venues, galleries, libraries and Aboriginal Cultural Centres, Keeping Places and language centres are fit-for-purpose and continue to present quality arts and cultural experiences.”

Applications close on 12 midday, Monday 8 August 2022, download a copy of the guidelines at www.create.nsw.gov.au.

Applications Now Open for Spring Holiday Activities

Councils and eligible not-for-profit organisations in the Cootamundra electorate are encouraged to apply for funding to deliver Holiday Break activities for young people during the upcoming spring school holidays. 

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the $10 million program offers young people in the region aged 12-24 years the opportunity to socialise with their peers, learn something new and have fun.

“The Holiday Break program provides ways for young people to engage and connect with people their own age in a wide range of events from arts and cultural activities to outdoor leisure pursuits,” Ms Cooke said. 

“It’s also a great foundation to strengthen mental health and wellbeing after what has been a difficult couple of years for many.”

“Funding of up to $7,000 will be available to all 93 regional councils and eligible not-for-profit organisations to deliver fun and exciting activities like movie nights, arts workshops, music activities and sport camps.” 

Minister for the Arts and Regional Youth, Ben Franklin said that for the last three years, the Holiday Break program has provided young people in the regions with the opportunity to have fun and enjoy themselves over the holiday period.

“Holiday Break allows regional youth to overcome barriers to participation by providing free or heavily subsidised holiday activities, alleviating cost of living pressures for young families and ensuring they are given equal opportunities,” Mr Franklin said. 

“We want to ensure all regional young people have the opportunity to connect with each other, learn new skills, and enjoy their youth.” 

“If there’s an activity that you’d like to see happen during youth week or the school holidays, I encourage you to reach out to your local council or eligible not-for-profit organisation to turn your idea into a reality.” 

Applications are open now until the 29 July 2022. To find out more and for program guidelines, visit www.nsw.gov.au/HolidayBreak.  

Be Part of the 65th Annual Seniors Festival

The call is out for local organisations to help fill a calendar of engaging and empowering activities for older people during the 2023 NSW Seniors Festival.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the $200,000 NSW Seniors Festival Grants Program supports initiatives that encourage people aged 60 or over to stay healthy, connected to their community and active.

“This is an opportunity to celebrate or build on the diverse skills and interests of seniors in our community in areas like art, sport, health or technology,” Ms Cooke said.

“This year’s Seniors Festival included computer classes, dance lessons and gardening workshops, so it would be terrific to see local groups come up with more creative and fun activities for the 2023 festival.”

Local councils, community groups and not-for-profit organisations are among those who can apply for grants of up to $10,000.

“The Seniors Festival is an opportunity for all seniors in our community to be active, connected and social—no matter their location, language or ability level,” Ms Cooke added.

Minister for Seniors Mark Coure said the NSW Seniors Festival is the largest event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and has been running for more than 60 years

“These grants reinforce the NSW Government’s commitment to helping older people in NSW stay connected with their community as outlined in the Ageing Well in NSW: Seniors Strategy 2021–2031.”

The Seniors Festival will run from 1 – 12 February 2023. Applications for grants are open now until 1 August 2022.

For more information and to apply, visit seniorsfestival.nsw.gov.au/events/nsw-seniors-festival-grants

Winter Holiday Fun Coming to the Region

Youth in the Cootamundra electorate will be able to enjoy a variety of workshops, programs and trips over the upcoming winter school holidays, thanks to the NSW Government’s $10 million Holiday Break Program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke welcomed the program and said it offers great opportunities for young people to learn new skills, meet people and have fun at the same time.

“The Holiday Break program empowers young people to come together, step out of their comfort zone and do activities they might otherwise not have ever dreamed of doing before,” Ms Cooke said.


“Youth in Coolamon with have a chance to try their hand at a NAIDOC painting workshop, while youth from Cootamundra and Gundagai who have never seen snow before will get the chance to take a trip and learn how to ski and snowboard. Activities are being run all across the electorate for young people to get out and enjoy.”

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres said a number of free sport and recreation activities are included to help keep kids active during the winter break.

“These school holidays there are 16 camps across regional NSW that include meals and activities such as archery, BMX, orienteering, problem solving skills and more,” Mr Ayres said.

“Holiday Break camps are a fantastic opportunity for regional youth to challenge themselves and learn new skills, and I encourage all parents to register their kids now and give them an experience they will never forget.”

The program is also supporting 34 leading arts, screen and cultural organisations to show young people what they have to offer. 

Funding for the program is part of the State Government’s commitment to making the arts more accessible to young people across regional NSW.

Minister for Regional Youth and the Arts Ben Franklin said the programs will enable young people to enjoy a wider range of activities.

“We have a vibrant youth arts sector in NSW that covers many forms, and this is reflected in the wonderful array of workshops that will be on offer for young people during the winter school holidays,” Mr Franklin said.

“We are investing in our innovative arts, screen and cultural organisations and making their ambitions a reality, while also improving access to high quality and diverse experiences for children and young people.

“These inspiring sessions provide an important opportunity for young people to find their passion, develop new skills from professional artists and explore exciting forms of self-expression and collaboration.”

To find out more about activities near you and for program guidelines, visit nsw.gov.au/winterbreakprogram

Community Groups Invited to Apply for NSW Government Infrastructure Grants

Organisations in the Cootamundra electorate can now apply for funding to support local community projects thanks to the NSW Governments Clubgrants Category 3 Infrastructure Grants opening.

“$12.5 million is available this year for new or upgraded facilities across sport and recreation, arts and culture, disaster readiness and community infrastructure,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is an opportunity for local organisations to apply for funding for projects that will provide long-term benefits to the community.

“In previous rounds we have funded the Narrandera Golf Club to install new irrigation. We also helped the Gundagai Swimming Club upgrade their facilities.

This is about connecting the community, fostering participation in sport, recreation and arts, and boosting social inclusion and disaster resilience,” Ms Cooke said.

Since 2015, the NSW Liberals and Nationals in Government have funded more than 520 community projects worth $81 million under the Infrastructure Grants program. 

These grants are made possible by the Clubgrants Category 3 Fund which re-invests profits from registered clubs’ gaming machines into community projects. Funding is available for infrastructure projects in four key areas:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Infrastructure
  • Disaster Readiness
  • Sport & Recreation

Applications for the first round of funding for 2022/23 are open from 27 June to 18 July.

To find out more information or to apply, please visit nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/clubgrants-infrastructure

Organisations in the Cootamundra electorate can now apply for funding to support local community projects thanks to the NSW Governments Clubgrants Category 3 Infrastructure Grants opening.

“$12.5 million is available this year for new or upgraded facilities across sport and recreation, arts and culture, disaster readiness and community infrastructure,” Ms Cooke said.

“This is an opportunity for local organisations to apply for funding for projects that will provide long-term benefits to the community.

“In previous rounds we have funded the Narrandera Golf Club to install new irrigation. We also helped the Gundagai Swimming Club upgrade their facilities.

This is about connecting the community, fostering participation in sport, recreation and arts, and boosting social inclusion and disaster resilience,” Ms Cooke said.

Since 2015, the NSW Liberals and Nationals in Government have funded more than 520 community projects worth $81 million under the Infrastructure Grants program. 

These grants are made possible by the Clubgrants Category 3 Fund which re-invests profits from registered clubs’ gaming machines into community projects. Funding is available for infrastructure projects in four key areas:

  • Arts & Culture
  • Community Infrastructure
  • Disaster Readiness
  • Sport & Recreation

Applications for the first round of funding for 2022/23 are open from 27 June to 18 July.

To find out more information or to apply, please visit nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/clubgrants-infrastructure

Livvi’s Place Albert Park Opening

A new playground, designed with elements to enable inclusive play for all children has been opened at Albert Park, Cootamundra, thanks to joint funding of $200,000 from the NSW Government’s Everyone Can Play grant scheme and $200,000 input from Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council, in conjunction with the Touched By Olivia Foundation.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said it was an honour to be at the opening of this unique playground which would provide a place to challenge and encourage active play in an environment designed to incorporate nature.

“This playground has been created as a space where children can delight in the giant treehouse, swing on all sorts of different types of swings, and have their imaginations sparked by water features,” Ms Cooke said.

“Everyone feels welcome here. Every child can play here. This project has been designed so that all children can enjoy this space, regardless of ability. The vision that has been shown in regard to diversity and inclusion is remarkable.”

“I also recognise the efforts of Mayor Charlie Sheehan and Cootamundra Gundagai Regional Council staff in seeing this vision come to life along with the Touched by Olivia Foundation.”

Extensive community consultation and feedback was sought throughout the process of the design of this playground. Thoughts and ideas from children regarding how they wished to play was an integral part of the process and contributed to the overall design.

Along with connecting children to nature and providing an inclusive space, this playground also acknowledges the Indigenous connections to the park, incorporating the theme of a long-neck turtle.

Cowra to Benefit From Youth Opportunities Program

Young people in Cowra will benefit from the NSW Government’s Youth Opportunities program, with Cowra Show Society the successful recipient of $46,580 funding for their initiative – Volunteering for the robust real-world experience.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the Cowra Show Society’s planned workshops would provide a great opportunity for young people in the Cowra region to engage with the community and learn new skills to set them up for success in life.

“Young people thrive when they have the opportunity to participate in programs tailored to their needs,” Ms Cooke said.

“This proposal from Cowra Show Society sounds like a fun and engaging way to help them develop the talent and tools they need to reach their career and education goals, as well as encourage greater participation of young people as volunteers – be it with the Cowra Show Society, or elsewhere in the local community.”

Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the Cowra Show Society was one of 47 projects funded under this round of the Youth Opportunities program.

“Youth Opportunities grants are delivering $2 million in funding for youth-led and youth-driven projects across NSW,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.

“From initiatives to assist young people to get their first job to workshops that will build vital life skills such as cooking and car maintenance, there will be incredible opportunities state-wide for young people.”

Minister for Regional Youth Ben Franklin said the program helps provide a pathway for young people, particularly in regional areas, to find their place in their community and live independently.

“The transition from school to work is often challenging, and initiatives like the Youth Opportunities Program are imperative in helping make that transition as easy as possible for young people,” Mr Franklin said.

“This funding helps facilitate a sustained transition into employment and provides young people with a personal development pathway to upskill them into qualified, work-ready professionals.” Youth Opportunities is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, providing $15.3 million to 329 projects across NSW since it commenced.

Temora Town Band Inc to Scale New Heights After Funding Boost

Temora Town Band Inc is one of 20 NSW-based community brass and concert bands successful in receiving funds under the 2022 Community Band Development Grants Program, administered by the Band Association of NSW on behalf of Create NSW.

Temora Town Band Inc will use its funding of $2000 to increase band activity and grow audience numbers within the community.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the funding would directly support the musical volunteers and Temora’s cultural sector.

“It’s music to my ears that we are supporting our home-grown musicians and volunteers of Temora Town Band, and I am confident this investment will give them a real boost to play on into the future,” said Ms Cooke.

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said that the funding will increase musical activity within NSW communities and support the growth of audience numbers across the State.

“The Community Band Development Grants Program recognises the special role bands and live music play in our community life, and provides an excellent upskilling opportunity for musicians while promoting arts and culture around NSW,” Mr Franklin said.

“What I like most about this program isthat it invests in our local communitiesby providing support to local talent and volunteers, while also increasing band activity, lifting performance standards and growing audience numbers.”

Band Association of NSW is the peak organising body for community brass and concert bands in NSW.  In 2021/22, Band Association of NSW received $55,000 as part of Multi-year Funding for Service Organisations (Negotiated); this includes$30,000 to deliverthe Community Band Development Grants Program.

This year’s Community Band Development Grants Program has supported community bands across NSW, including the Regions, Western Sydney and Metropolitan Sydney.

NSW Government Funding to Support Community Infrastructure in Coolamon

Coolamon Cricket Club Inc will benefit from $51,532 in funding under the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants program.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said this funding will help the Coolamon Cricket Club to continue providing a fit-for-purpose location for local clubs and the community to enjoy participating in sports and hosting events.

“The Coolamon Cricket Club Inc is receiving $51,532 to replace and upgrade their water system to improve the quality of the playing surface at the grounds,” Ms Cooke said.

“This funding will provide upgrades to these facilities to ensure that it is a safe environment for all competitors and community sporting groups.”

Mr Shane Rudd, President of Coolamon Junior Cricket Club said the benefit of this watering system is not just for the cricket teams, but all sporting teams and anyone that uses the grounds, including visiting schools.

“This watering system, which utilises recycled water means that we can ensure that the grounds are always maintained in peak condition and provide the highest degree of safety possible for anyone participating in any sport,” Mr Rudd said.

Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the latest round of ClubGrants funding has awarded more than $4.2m to 43 projects across sport and recreation, arts and culture, community infrastructure and disaster readiness.

“Each year $12.5 million is made available for projects to build, repair or upgrade facilities across arts and culture, sport and recreation, disaster readiness and community infrastructure,” Mr Anderson said.

“The latest round was one the largest yet in a response to weather events including drought, bushfires and flooding, as well as the ongoing recovery from the COVID pandemic.

“A focus of the Infrastructure Grants funding is to help local community groups repair, rebuild and upgrade their facilities in areas where it is most needed, which is why it is so important that we support organisations like this in the Cootamundra electorate.”

The Infrastructure Grants program is made possible by Clubgrants Category 3, a fund which re-invests profits from registered clubs’ gaming machines into community projects.  Since 2015, the NSW Government has funded more than 520 community projects worth more than $81 million under the Infrastructure Grants program