A range of community centres and Neighbourhood Houses offering support to residents in Melbourne’s north-west will share in more than $100,000 through Melbourne Airport’s 2021 Community Grants program.
Construction job opportunities, improved study results for primary school children and greater literacy for new migrants are just some of the outcomes expected through the airport’s financial aid, which will go towards nine organisations.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said the airport is delighted to once again support meaningful community projects operating on the airport’s doorstep.
“Our Community Grants program will enable community centres and Neighbourhood Houses to continue their important work, which upskills residents and gives students the added training they need to succeed in their studies,” he said.
“Each centre not only offers tailored education and training sessions but also plays a significant role in helping migrants and youth build new social groups within the community.
“A large portion of the airport’s workforce live in the surrounding local government areas, so we understand and truly care about investing in local skills growth.” 
One of this year’s grant recipients is the City of Melton, and Mayor Cr Kathy Majdlik said Council would use funds to establish a new construction related training program.
“Through the Constructing Pathways program, 100 local people from diverse backgrounds will be able to acquire a WorkSafe White Card qualification in their own language. They’ll also be linked with a recruitment specialist to assist them in finding employment once they have completed the training,” she said.

“We’d like to thank Melbourne Airport for generously supporting our Constructing Pathways initiative. This funding will help our residents obtain ongoing employment, will grow the skilled workforce in our municipality, and will contribute positively to the local economy.”
Melbourne Airport Community Grants Recipients 2021
Organisation: Banksia Gardens Community Services
Project: Kenley Court Neighbourhood House Study Group | $10,000
The Study Group program at Kenley Court Neighbourhood House in Meadow Heights is a highly successful program delivered after-school, two nights per week. The Study Group is targeted at refugee and newly arrived migrant children and young people aged 6 to 12 enrolled in local primary schools; however, any child needing support is welcome. The Study Group provides a safe environment where students can learn, socialise, pursue interests and enjoy recreational activities with a high degree of supervision and guidance from Kenley Court staff and volunteers.
Organisation: Duke Street Community House (DSCH)
Project: Learning Beyond the Classroom Project | $10,500
DSCH's Learning Beyond the Classroom Project will see the launch of a homework and social club forging direct links with local secondary schools to address barriers to education and social participation faced by children of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. DSCH has identified a gap in services that support children of migrants, refugees & asylum seekers. The parents of these children often face challenges associated with language and cultural barriers, employment and education, and finding time to raise a growing family, which is where the Project steps in to provide support.  
Organisation: Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre Inc
Project: "Sensational Seamstresses" - an employment and training initiative for CALD women | $10,500
Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre (FSNLC) works in partnership with Assembled threads, an employment focused social enterprise providing meaningful work for disadvantaged Victorians, in particular, women from CALD backgrounds, through locally made and ethically certified local manufacturing opportunities.

FSNLC provides English language and literacy support to women working with Assembled Threads and also provides an employment pathway for women attending the FSNLC English Program. The Project will use the funds to contribute to the employment of the coordinator. This will assist Assembled Threads, supported by FSNLC, transition from a small Social Enterprise to a leading supplier of locally made Personal Protective Equipment and uniforms to all levels of government and construction companies supported by established social procurement frameworks. This will ensure that many CALD women in the City of Moonee Valley and surrounding areas will have the ability to secure ongoing employment and have access to Accredited Training.

Organisation: Fraser Rise Children's and Community Centre, and
Hillside Community Centre and Neighbourhood House
Both centres to receive funding for the CONSTRUCTING PATHWAYS project- "Creating career pathways to the construction industry for Diverse Communities | each program to receive $10,500
As a direct result of COVID-19, Melton's unemployment rate rose by 5.9% in 2020, in addition to 6,545 community members losing their jobs. The centres will utilise the funding to increase the scope of employability, upskilling diverse communities with a focus on the construction industry. The project aims to engage 100 locals – split between two centres – from diverse communities, offering training in eight languages, enabling participants to enter the workforce with assistance from a recruitment specialist support.

After consultation with work recruitment specialists, it’s confirmed that majority of employers within the western suburbs require a white card, especially for CALD residents wishing to enter the workforce. Opportunities include positions as cleaners, labourers, outdoor work, building sites (painting, site clean-up and recycling). Procon Training will be delivering one day of OHS white card training and certificate to prepare the 50 participants to work safely in the construction industry.
Organisation: Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre
Project: Wellbeing, Digital Literacy and Reading Program for students with mild intellectual disabilities | $10,000
GNLC currently provides literacy and numeracy classes for students with a mild intellectual disability. To further improve educational and employment pathways for these students and others in the community, they would like to expand the program to include; a reading program, a health and fitness program and a digital literacy program. Specialist Education Consultants will be employed to devise programs to suit this cohort.

The ability to read and to use a computer will allow students to take more control of their daily affairs and not rely so heavily on others to support them.
Organisation: Kensington Neighbourhood House Inc
Project:  Strong Foundations | $10,500
Strong Foundations responds to the needs of Somali Australian children in the Kensington public housing estate. With large families, low parental literacy, limited technology and overcrowded apartments, the move to remote schooling in 2020 was challenging. Children are still catching up on learning lost to lockdown. This is particularly the case for our Grade 1 participants who essentially missed their whole prep year – putting them well behind their more privileged peers.

Kensington Neighbourhood House will use the funding to continue the activities of the Strong Foundations Program until the end of 2022 (18 months). This project will ensure that the momentum established with the 2020 Community Grant can continue long enough to have a meaningful impact.
Organisation: Maribyrnong Community Centre
Project: Work and learn through digital connection | $10,000
Three Community Centres in Maribyrnong will develop & deliver an engaging suite of programs to provide community members who are currently experiencing a sense of digital disconnection with the opportunity to learn skills on digital devices & gain an introductory understanding of the cyber world. This program is targeted at those experiencing barriers to participation through socio-economics, language, age, access or inclusion.
These skills & experience using digital devices will help to provide a pathway to gaining employment.
Organisation: North Melbourne Language & Learning Inc
Project: North Melbourne Language & Learning Homework Club | $10,500
The Homework Club was established as a pilot project in July 2019, for children in Years four to 10. The club was formed to support children whose parents have poor English and literacy skills and are unable to assist their children with schoolwork. Families are also lacking many of the resources needed to support their children's education including access to digital devices and internet. The club operates weekly, with one co-ordinator and five volunteer tutors. The co-ordinator is employed for five hours a week, for 40 weeks of the year. The five-hour period includes preparation, running the session, supervision of volunteer tutors and recruiting new volunteers as required. Funds will be used to support the salary of our Homework Club co-ordinator.
Organisation: St Albans Community Youth Club Inc.
Project: St Albans Community Assistance Scheme | $10,500
For more than 50 years The St Albans Neighbourhood House has assisted the non-English speaking immigrant community of St Albans with social support and practical assistance. This project will expand on the services already run by volunteers in the facility to assist underemployed and gig economy members of the Chin Myanmar refugee community, increasing their participation in the work force and improve their economic welfare.