My name is Sara Bravini and I am an Assistant Director in the Department of Home Affairs’ Countering Violent Extremism Programs Section.
Today I’ll be talking to you about the new Safe and Together Community Grants Program.
In particular, I’ll be talking to you about:
- Aims of the Safe and Together Community grants program
- 3 categories of funded activities in Round 1
- How to apply for a grant:
- 3 selection criteria
- Project, budget and COVID plans, information about your organisational structure
- Tools for preparing your grant application.
I will talk to you for about 40 mins and then leave about 20 mins for questions at the end of the session.
[For the first session - I also want to let you know that this session is being recorded and will be posted as a video about the program on the Department of Home Affairs’ website.]
So what is the Safe and Together Community Grants program?
Before I explain what the program is, it might be useful if I firstly explain what violent extremism is – which is a trend that is emerging both internationally and in Australia and in particular, among young people.
Violent extremism is when people use violent actions as a way of achieving and imposing their ideas over the broader community.
When a person’s beliefs move from being relatively conventional to being radical, and they want a drastic change in society, this is known as radicalisation. This is not necessarily a bad thing and does not mean that these people will become violent.
But if a person or group decide that fear, terror and violence are justified to achieve an ideological, political or social change, and they then decide to act in a way that incites fear, violence or terror towards others, this is violent extremism.
It doesn’t matter what the belief or cause they are championing might be – whether it is based on a political or religious or social idea or based on a specific issue they want to change.
For eg, violent extremism can include people inciting hate towards another group at the local level in their community.
This could also include graffiti’ing hateful things on prominent buildings or engaging in threatening behaviour to intimidate others in public places.
At the more serious end, violent extremism includes people who have decided to organise and carry out an act of terror to put fear into the community and make a statement about their ideology.
So you might be asking yourself – How does this affect me, my organisation and my community?
Through your work, you might be observing that many of us are living with a number of things that are putting stress on us - how we live and how we interact with others.
- the continuing impact of COVID and how it limits the way we can go about our daily lives like we used to.
- Statistics are showing that a number of us are feeling isolated and lonely and we’re looking for connection, even before COVID started.
- We’re feeling financial stress with the increased cost of living and people are worried about how they’ll look after themselves and their families
- We’re worried about our work and employment situation – are our jobs safe, esp with the impact of COVID.
- Many of us are experiencing health issues, including our mental health
- Among young people, we are seeing more of them tell us they feel disconnected and socially isolated. And this is usually taking place at a time in their lives when they are trying to find themselves, their identity and their purpose or what they want to do with their lives.
These are all risks and triggers that can create environments where vulnerable people might turn to extreme ideas and behaviours – that might be very different to their normal personalities – as a way of making sense of what is happening to them.
And as community organisations working with young people and their families, you might notice these changes and wonder what you can do about it.
This is where the Safe and Together Community Grants program can help.
The aim of the Safe and Together Community Grants Program is to enable communities and organisations to deliver activities and programs that can help, at the earliest possible stage, individuals who may be vulnerable to developing extremist views and behaviours.
It will do this by:
- Building communities’ general awareness of and strengthen their resilience to extremism.
- Enabling community organisations to partner with communities, including families, to teach them skills to effectively engage with young people who might be vulnerable to extremism.
- Establishing support programs for young people who are successfully disengaging from extremist views and behaviours.
Who should apply?
Community organisations who are working in a wide range of areas:
- Does your organisation work with supporting disengaged youth?
- Are you tackling social issues in your community such as anti-hate or racism work?
- Are you delivering social cohesion initiatives at the local level that are bringing people together?
The risks and triggers that can make a person vulnerable to extremism, are also the same issues that can impact on a community’s cohesion and which you, as community organisations, might already be working to address through your programs.
For this reason, the ideas, skills and experiences you might have, could be adapted towards supporting young people to resist violent extremist views and behaviours.
The program is looking to fund 3 categories of activities in this grant round:
- Activities that improve general awareness in the Australian community about extremism – such as teaching young people the triggers and risks that can cause a vulnerable person to become attracted to extremism, and how they can develop internal resilience against it as a negative influence;
- Activities that empower communities and families to engage with vulnerable young people who might be at risk of developing extremist views and behaviours; and
- Activities that can support vulnerable individuals who have successfully moved away from extremist activities and to help them keep up their progress.
To be eligible for a grant under the program, community organisations should show that they have an idea or activity or program that could fit into one of three categories of activities that will be funded under the program.
I’ll now go through those 3 categories and what they cover.
The first category of activities that the program would like to fund are activities that can improve the Australian community’s awareness of and resistance to extremism.
We know from the experience we’ve just lived through with COVID, that one of the most effective ways for communities to remain united and resilient, is for us to work together and understand what might be impacting our communities and why.
This approach also works with understanding how extremism can come about – such as what are the risks and triggers that can influence a vulnerable person, especially a young person, to want to adopt an extremist mindset. We can also help young people by encouraging them to build up their protective factors and resist such influences in their lives.
Our communities are already having some complex and sensitive conversations about issues such as race and racism, the physical and mental health of our young men, social isolation and loneliness or helping our children and young people navigate social media and online gaming in a safe way.
The Safe and Together Community Grants program is looking for community organisations who would like to develop and deliver activities that highlight those factors that might make a person vulnerable to extremism and work with communities to foster their resilience and encourage cohesion.
Activities under Category 1 might involve running workshops with community leaders, delivering mentoring programs with young people or designing education modules that might explore the risk of extremism when confronted with other challenges.
This could include not feeling accepted, feeling discriminated against, experiencing bullying, experiencing unemployment, feeling deprived of one’s religious or individual freedoms, dealing with health issues (including COVID-19 or mental health issues), navigating social media safely or learning how to champion and be active in political issues in a safe and respectful way that doesn’t threaten or harm others.
Activities in Category 1 can be delivered in-person or in an online environment.
If you would like more information about this category, I would encourage you to read the program’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines which contain examples of activities that could be considered for funding under Category 1.
The second category of activities that the program would like to fund, are activities that empower communities and families to engage with vulnerable young people who may be at risk of developing extremist views or behaviours.
As a community improves its awareness of violent extremism, community leaders, parents, and friends may become more attentive and start to notice when a young person might be adopting extremist views or behaviours.
his could be unusual things that the young person saying things which seem out of character for them, withdrawing from their social circles and taking up new interests or activities that seem very different from their previous interests and hobbies.
In these instances, communities are well placed to support that young person’s inner circle - like their parents, elders and community leaders - to reach out and engage with them to better understand what might be happening in their life. In turn, vulnerable young people can often be more open to talking through their thinking with people they trust or if they are looking for it, asking for help.
This second category will fund community organisations to develop and deliver initiatives that can support community leaders, families and other people to learn skills on how to engage with young people who might be vulnerable to extremism.
Community organisations like you might already be delivering programs that might have similar approaches and which might be adapted to this category.
For instance, you might be working with community leaders to mentor young men on how to explore and project positive male role modelling. You might be working with troubled youth who are misbehaving in anti-social ways and showing them ways on how to disengage from those negative behaviours. You might be delivering programs that bring different groups of young people together to learn how to work together and overcome tensions that are preventing them from being a cohesive community.
This category is open to considering any of those types of ideas. The important aspect that I would stress is that organisations use their applications to show that they have skills and experiences that can help communities, families and leaders to:
- Engage, and learn how to have, appropriate conversations with a young person about sensitive issues, including when a person might be vulnerable to extremism; and
- Empower young people with information, resources and strategies to encourage those who might be at risk of extremism, to seek help such as considering participating voluntarily in a countering violent extremism (CVE) program.
Again if you would like more information about this category, I would encourage you to read the program’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines which contain examples of activities that could be considered for funding under Category 2.
The third category of activities that the program is looking to fund, are programs that support individuals and their families who are successfully disengaging from extremist views and behaviours.
As individuals successfully disengage from extremist views and behaviours, they may look to their communities for help and support while they re-establish their lives.
In addition, parents and families might look for assistance as they continue to support vulnerable individuals who might be themselves, seeking help to move away from extremism.
Similar to Category 2, community organisations like you might already be delivering programs that might have similar approaches and which might be adapted to this category.
For instance, you might be working with vulnerable youth to help them re-establish themselves in their communities after a difficult period in their life. You might be delivering programs that provide mentoring and outreach services to positively support vulnerable young people to remain positively engaged. You might be delivering programs that encourage previously troubled youth to reconnect with their families, their cultural roots and their social networks – such as finding work and fostering their interests – as a way of fostering their personal resilience.
This third category will look to fund initiatives aimed at helping individuals and their families remain positively engaged and connected with their communities, learn strategies to maintain their resilience and manage any risks that may make them vulnerable to or want to re-engage with extremist ideas and behaviours.
Again if you would like more information about this category, I would encourage you to read the program’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines which contain examples of activities that could be considered for funding under Category 3.
I will now move onto the third part of today’s session on how to prepare a grant application for this program.
Round 1 – How much funding is available
In this first round of the Safe and Together Community Grants program, $2.5 million in funding will be available across Australia, for grants.
Community organisations will be able to apply for a grant of between $10,000 and $100,000.
This means that in your grant application, you must apply for a grant amount that is between $10,000 and $100,000. Your application will not be considered further if you apply for less than $10,000 or more than $100,000.
Round 1 – When to apply
The round will be open from Wednesday, 23 November 2022 to 9pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) on Thursday 12 January 2023.
Taking into account daylight savings, you will need to submit your application before the following local time, depending on where you are located:
- 9pm - if you live in NSW
- 9pm - if you live in Victoria
- 9pm - if you live in Tasmania
- 9pm - if you live in the ACT
- 8pm - if you live in Queensland
- 8.30pm - if you live in South Australia
- 7.30pm - if you live in Darwin
- 6pm – if you live in Western Australia
Late applications will NOT be accepted.
In its first year, the Safe and Together Community Grants Program is looking to focus its activities towards targeting 3 key issues – supporting young people, supporting regional and rural areas and promoting an awareness of the risk of extremism.
While all applications will be assessed equally, the program will prioritise applications received from:
- organisations that have demonstrated their experience and success in delivering similar programs, activities and initiatives in the community (either with or without grant funding), particularly on understanding and responding to extremism;
- organisations that are strongly connected to and/or directly represent young people, including representing a specific cross section of young people or young people from a culturally diverse background; and
- organisations that have a strong connection to and/or directly represent a regional or rural part of Australia, including having a physical presence in a regional/rural community.
To be eligible for a grant, all applications must answer 3 selection criteria. If you don’t answer one of the selection criteria, we cannot consider your application further.
The 3 selection criteria are:
- Describe your proposed grant activity in detail
- Explain why there is a strong need for a Safe and Together Community Grants Program activity in your target community.
- Demonstrate your organisation’s experience in delivering programs, initiatives or activities that could address extremism in your target community.
I will now go through the three selection criteria in detail.
Selection criterion 1
The first selection criterion asks you to describe your proposed activity that you would like funded through a grant under the Program.
For this response, the online application form will ask you to describe your proposed activity in detail. Please use the space you are given and provide as much detail as you can, as this will help the Department to understand your activity and whether it would be a good fit with the program’s aims.
The online application form will ask you to select which of the 3 categories it falls under (the three categories that I just explained in the previous segment of this session – is it an activity that will improve awareness, empower communities or support individuals). You will also be asked to explain how your organisation will deliver the activity and how you think the activity fits into the aims of the Safe and Together Community Grants Program.
In preparing your response, I would strongly encourage you to think about your answer in advance and what information you can present in your application that could demonstrate the following:
- What activity/ties does your organisation propose to undertake?
- How many people do you think, might participate in your activity? Why do you think this?
- What outcomes do you expect to achieve in your activity?
- And how will those outcomes relate to the overall objectives of the Safe and Together Community Grants Program?
- How will you track and report on the outcomes your organisation is achieving in your activity?
- How will your proposed activity help to address extremism in your target community?
For more information on how to prepare an answer to this criterion, I would encourage you to read the program’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines which contain more helpful information and examples.
Selection Criterion 2
The second selection criterion in the online application form asks you to explain why is a strong need for a Safe and Together Community Grants Program activity in your community.
You might start your response to this criterion by firstly explaining which community or group will be the target of your activity – will you be looking to support young people or are you looking to support a community that is based in a regional or rural part of Australia.
And in talking about your target community, you might also provide information about some of the issues that your target community has been facing and why – for example, it might be unemployment, racism, social isolation.
In preparing your answer to this criterion, I would again encourage you to think about your answer ahead of time and what information you can include that could demonstrate the following points:
- Who is in your target community? What are their characteristics such as the size of the community and their geographical location.
- Why does your target community require assistance, particularly with addressing the possible risk of extremism? How might the issue of extremism be impacting that community?
- What is your organisation’s connection to your target community and why do you believe your organisation is best placed to support their needs?
- How do you plan to engage with your target community and any other relevant stakeholders who may have an interest in your activity?
Again, I would encourage you to read the program’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines which contain more helpful information and examples.
Selection Criterion 3
The third selection criterion in the online application form you, will ask you to demonstrate your organisation’s experience in delivering programs, initiatives or activities that could address extremism in your target community.
When thinking about your response to this question, your experience can be from the field of extremism or from another field where you can show that your organisation’s skills and experiences are relevant or could be adapted to this area.
When thinking about your answer to this question, I would suggest you think about how your organisation could address the following points:
- Can you provide an example of an activity, program or initiative that your organisation has successfully delivered. This could be in the field of extremism. But the Department is also interested in hearing from organisations that might have experience in other areas and where those skills could be adapted here.
- In explaining your example, provide details about when and where your activity was delivered, was it delivered to support a particular part of the community, how many people participated in the activity and what outcomes did your organisation achieve.
- Again, think about how you can explain the target community your organisation wants to support with your proposed activity. Use your application to explain how you might work with that community, to ensure your activity is successful.
- And finally, think about what detail you can include in your application to show whether your organisation has previous experience in managing a similar grant activity in the past. What policies or procedures does your organisation have in place to manage your proposed activity, if you are successful in being funded a grant?
Round 1 – Other information for your application
When you complete the online form, it will also ask you to provide other information in your application.
This will include a project plan, a budget plan, a COVID risk management plan and information about the structure of your organisation, including the details of key people in your organisation that might make financial or program decisions about your proposed activity.
I will now go through those in detail.
The online form will ask you to provide a project plan for your activity. The purpose of the project plan is to show that your organisation has thought in detail about the activity you want to deliver and how you plan to deliver it.
The form will ask you to outline the key deliverables that your organisation aims to achieve with your proposed activity. I would suggest using the project plan in the application form to explain:
- what is the objective of your activity and the results your organisation would like to achieve
- what are the deliverables of your activity – for example, what specific things will your activity deliver?
- For example, will it be a certain number of workshops, one or a set of education modules, designing and delivering a program over a period of time and what would the program cover
- a timeline of your activity, including the start and end date of your activity. Please note with this response that in this round, granted activities must be completed within a 12 month period.
- What will be your measures of success – how will you know if your activity has been successful, what will that look like?
- What other information should the Department know about your proposed activity.
As part of your grant application, you will also be required to provide a budget plan for your activity.
The purpose of a budget plan is to show that your organisation has thought about how it will break down and spend the amount of funding you are asking for, if you are awarded a grant.
You should consider what activities will or will not be eligible for funding. A list of these can be found in Section 5 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.
For example, grant funding can be used towards expenses such as:
- staff salaries directly attributed to the delivery of the grant activity;
- costs incurred in delivering the grant activity to participants – attendance fees for presenters, design of online content or education curricula; and
- venue hire, insurance, catering and promotion for seminars and workshops.
However, grant funding cannot be used towards expenses such as
- activities you have already received grant funding, either under another Commonwealth, state or territory grant program
- activities or programs that are likely to contribute to racial, religious or cultural intolerance or social discord in a community or that are otherwise contrary to the views of the Australian Government
- purchases of land, major construction/capital works
- general ongoing administration of an organisation such as electricity, phone and rent
For help on developing a budget plan, please read section 5 of the Grant Opportunity Guidelines Section 5 for information on what activities grant money can and cannot be used for.
Round 1- COVID19 Risk Management Plan
In the current environment and with the risk of new waves of COVID19 emerging in coming months, the online application form will also ask you to provide a COVID19 Risk Management Plan.
The purpose of the COVID risk management plan is to show that your organisation has given thought to how you would continue to deliver your grant activity, should a new wave of COVID19 impact either your staff, your organisation or the target community you are working with.
In your COVID risk management plan, you should take the time to identify the key risks that COVID could pose for your activity or organisation.
our plan should also explain what risk management strategies you will implement, if further outbreaks of COVID require Governments to implement policies such as lockdowns or mandatory quarantine periods that could limit face-to-face activities between people.
Round 1 – Information about your organisation’s structure
An important part of the online application form is where it will ask you for the information about your organisation’s governance structure.
The purpose of these questions is for the Department to understand how your organisation is structured, the key personnel that work in your organisation and how your organisation makes important financial and program decisions that could impact or influence the activity you are proposing to deliver.
When you are answering this question, I would recommend providing details about the following aspects of your organisation:
- How is your organisation structured? For example, is your organisation governed by a chairperson and board members. If it is, what role do they play in your organisation's decision-making processes?
- Who is responsible for making financial decisions in your organisation?
- Who is responsible for making decisions about program delivery and outcomes in your organisation?
- How will progress/outcomes be monitored?
As you complete the online application form, you will also be asked to fill in and upload a mandatory form called 'Details of Key Personnel - Safe and Together Community Grants Program' which you will find on the GrantsConnect website.
The form will ask you to provide details about the key personnel or officers that work in your organisation. This includes their name, what position they hold and their address and contact details.
This is important information that will help the Department to understand the key personnel that work in your organisation.
Your organisation will not be eligible for a grant if this form is only partially completed or not completed at all.
As you can see from the nature of our program, successful organisations will potentially be working with vulnerable young people. For that reason, we require all key personnel in your organisation to hold and maintain a National Police Check at all times and during the delivery of your activity.
To demonstrate this, the online form will ask the person completing the form to give a declaration confirming that key personnel in the organisation both currently hold and will maintain a National Police Check at all times, during the delivery of your activity.
To demonstrate this, the person completing the online form will also be asked to upload a copy of their current National Police Check, in support of their declaration.
And if your organisation is successful in receiving a grant, the personnel who will be involved in the direct delivery of the activity will be required to hold and maintain at all times, Working with Children and Working with Vulnerable Persons checks.
Round 1 – Prohibited dealings
There is one final important aspect of the application form that I also want to highlight.
As I explained at the beginning of today’s session, the aim of the Safe and Together Community Grants Program is to support communities and organisations to deliver activities and programs that can help, at the earliest possible stage, individuals who may be vulnerable to developing extremist views and behaviours.
Given the nature of the program, the application form will also ask you to give a declaration that your organisation has no direct or indirect connections or links to civic, religious, nationalist or political parties, groups, organisations or associations that hold or condone extremist views or behaviour.
- This means your organisation must not be linked to or associated with any individual or group that condones terrorism, racism, xenophobia, inter-ethnic and inter-religious hatred, left or right wing political radicalism, religious fundamentalism or other forms of fundamentalism that justify violence against a social group in the Australian society.
- You must also not be an organisation that has been implicated in illegal actions or activities such as providing any kind of support (including financial) to terrorist organisations, advocating the use of violence for political means or any other unlawful activities
Finally, I want to highlight a number of tools that are available and which I would recommend organisations read, before preparing their grant application.
On the Community Grants Hub’s GrantConnect website, you will find the following documents:
- Our Grant Opportunity Guidelines – everything that I have covered in today’s session is outlined in the Guidelines. The Guidelines also include a number of examples, case studies and other useful information to help you prepare a good grant application.
- A set of Frequently Asked Questions about the Program – These are a set of 25 common questions and answers that cover information about the program specifically as well as the grant application process more generally. If you have a question that is not answered here, I would suggest that you contact the Community Grants Hub where they have people that can assist you over the phone or through a web enquiry and who can answer your question.
- Sample application form – This is a document version of the online application form and is a very useful document to look at, before you start preparing your grant application. This document will show you exactly what the online application form will look like, including all the questions in it, and will give you an opportunity to see the questions and get all your information ready, before you start completing your online application form.
- Sample grant agreement – This is a copy of the grant agreement that you will be asked to sign and complete, if you are successful in being awarded a grant. I would recommend looking at this document as well, so that as an organisation, you can become familiar with some of the requirements you will be asked to complete during your grant agreement. These will include completing reports on your activity, reporting your statistics and other useful information and participating in forums such as communities of practice.
There is also other useful information that may help you with your grant application which is on the Department of Home Affairs’ Countering Violent Extremism webpage.
- For any organisations who have missed a session or would like to watch it again, there will be a video recording available of one of the Community Information Sessions.
- Slides from a Community Information Session – The Home Affairs website will also have a copy of the slidedeck that I have been referring to during today’s community information session
- Summary of the Safe and Together Community Grants Program – on the Home Affairs’ website, you will find a one page summary of the program, including both its aims as well as information about Round 1.
- Checklist on ‘Are you Ready to Apply for a Safe and Together Community Grant’? – And finally a useful document that I would recommend organisations read is the Checklist on whether you are ready to apply for a grant. The checklist will help show you what information you need to get ready and have at hand, before you sit down to start preparing your grant application.
Before I finish today’s session and if you are interested in applying for a grant under the program, please go to GrantConnect at www.grants.gov.au and search for ‘Safe and Together Community Grants Program’.
And as I just mentioned, you can also visit the Department of Home Affairs’ website at www.homeaffairs.gov.au for more information about countering violent extremism and the Safe and Together Community Grants Program
I’m now happy to take any questions that anyone might have?
Question: just a question about the checks that personnel need to have. I had a quick look through the guidelines and couldn’t see any specifics about those that you listed and I just wanted to ask whether that is covered there or elsewhere on the website?
Answer: If you just bear with me, I’ll find where in the guidelines. So under section 4.3 of the guidelines on page 8 it notes that if you are successful all personnel working on the grant activity must maintain the following registration and checks: Working with vulnerable people registration, working with children check, and a national police check and from memory there is also another area in the guidelines that also covers this element of detail.
There is another area of the grant guidelines if you bear with me, I’ll see if I can find it, was there anything in particular around that reference?
Question: I wanted to check some organisations will not yet have staff appointed to deliver the program so there was a question in my head about whether information was required upfront in the application by an organisation so whether the applicant or person needed to have that.
Answer: So the reason for having those checks, so it’s two fold. Firstly there’s a declaration in the application that requires the person completing the application to declare on behalf of the organisation that when they bring on board new personnel those personnel will actually apply and then hold the relevant national police checks and working with children and working with vulnerable people checks. The application will ask the person preparing the application to in support of that declaration ask them to upload their national police check, so it’s in two-fold. It’s to ensure that as a good will gesture the person that’s applying can show that that organisation understands the importance in terms of their potential for working with vulnerable people in this space and that they themselves will have the relevant checks in place. That’s what that goes to, and that’s why we’re asking just for that as an upfront to confirm the declaration that their giving on behalf of the organisation and that the organisation understands the importance of those checks and will have those checks in place. Does anyone have any other questions?
Just checking the online chat to see if there is any other questions? No.
As I said, as we’re rolling out this program our frequently asked questions will be on the grant connect website as we actually answer questions in these sessions, questions and answers will actually continue to be posted on that website as well and there is a telephone number for the grants connect call centre and they have also got answers to our program as well. So if that is it for today’s session, I will end it there, and thank you for participating.