Benalla Flexible Learning Centre students Nathan, Sophie, Paul and Crystal with North East Artisans’ member Tim Bowtell surrounded by stunning artwork created at workshops funded by Tomorrow Today Grants Program.

Benalla Flexible Learning Centre students Nathan, Sophie, Paul and Crystal with North East Artisans’ member Tim Bowtell surrounded by stunning artwork created at workshops funded by Tomorrow Today Grants Program.

Community groups and organisations are encouraged to apply for Tomorrow Today Foundation’s 2016 Grants Program. This community building grants initiative has funded over $164,000 of projects since 2002, including educational, cultural and environmental programs.

One of the many successful applications in 2015 was made by North East Artisans (NEA), a creative collective formed in late 2014 with the aim of establishing a thriving arts culture in Benalla. NEA partnered with the Benalla Flexible Learning Centre to present a series of creative workshops, made possible by a $2000 grant from Tomorrow Today.

“Part of our mission statement is to engage with the whole Benalla community and we see the town as having a need for more youth engagement,”  said NEA workshop leader, Tim Bowtell.

This was NEA’s first youth project and Mr Bowtell said it would not have been possible without the grant from Tomorrow Today which allowed them to purchase the art materials required.

“I think it was really successful and it definitely engaged the kids and got them involved. We did three afternoons there but often the kids wanted to keep going and also worked on their creations during the week,” he said.

Benalla Flexible Learning Centre teacher, Sean Buckley, said there were fantastic outcomes for the student from the project. “They not only developed their designs and worked with professional artists, they developed confidence and a sense of balance with their techniques,” Mr Buckley said.

Chair of Tomorrow Today, Sally Gamble said that the successful artistic collaboration showed what was possible in our community, and urged all local groups to think about what they might like to achieve and who might partner them to ensure success.

Initiatives funded must help build a stronger, more resilient and prosperous Benalla and district community. Priority areas in 2016 are families with young children, youth development, community connectedness and addressing social disadvantage.

Please contact Tomorrow Today Foundation Executive Officer Pat Claridge to discuss your eligibility prior to application. Phone 5762 1211 or email patclaridge@tomorrowtoday.info .

Applications close at 5pm, Thursday March 31.