The ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program is aimed at improving the lives and wellbeing of young people in regional areas, in line with identified areas of need in regional NSW.
- Status: Closed
- Grant amount: From $150,000 to $3,000,000
- Application opened: 1 September 2022
- Application closed: 4 October 2022, 10:00 am
The objective of the ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program is to genuinely reflect the needs and aspirations of regional young people in NSW to:
- learn, work and achieve in regional NSW
- be mentally and physically healthy, safe and thrive in their communities
- explore their creativity, collaborate with other teams, develop a sense of achievement and feel socially and culturally connected to their communities
- have transport and digital connectivity solutions to access training, work services and recreational activities; and
- be place based and reflect the diversity of young people’s needs across regional NSW.
Nine investment themes across Four Pillars have been identified in our Regional Youth Insights to address the specific challenges that young people encounter where they live.
The Program directs resources to strategies that will make the difference needed to address the unique challenges encountered by regional youth and maximise local opportunities.
Application guidelines are available here.
This program is administered by Department of Regional NSW.
Who can apply
- a local council recognised under relevant NSW legislation (excluding Greater Sydney Wollongong and Newcastle)
- regional joint organisation of councils
- Section 355 Committees of Councils must apply in the name of the relevant Council and must have permission to apply
- a not-for-profit and community organisations registered with the Australian Charities and not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
- an association registered with NSW Fair Trading under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009
- an incorporated entity with an Australian Business Number (ABN) or an Australian Company Number (ACN)
- a Local Aboriginal Land Council
- the Lord Howe Island Board
- an unincorporated Far West group
Eligible Local Government Areas
Projects must be in one of the 93 regional NSW Local Government Areas (PDF 208.59KB), Lord Howe Island or the Unincorporated Far West. Projects in Greater Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong are not eligible.
Applicants are not required to be located within an eligible project location however should ensure that all relevant permissions are obtained. It is advisable to also include letters of support to demonstrate the project need in that location in the application.
Who can’t apply
- Unincorporated organisations.
|Community projects and events||Fit out or upgrade of Community amenity and community service infrastructure that support the delivery of youth projects|
What you can’t apply for
- Costs related to buying or upgrading non–fixed equipment or supplies, unless considered essential to program delivery or accessibility equipment and are incidental costs to the overall project budget.
- Purchase of laptops, mobile phones and other capital items unless considered essential to program delivery and are incidental costs to the overall project budget.
- Costs relating to the purchase of vehicles, buses, boats, trailers, motorhomes, or other modes of transportation.
- Purchase of land or buildings.
- Financing, including debt financing or rental costs .
- Costs relating to depreciation of plant and equipment beyond the life of the project.
- Non-project related staff training and development costs.
- Ongoing/recurrent funding that is required beyond the stated timeframe of the project.
- For infrastructure projects, funding for any ongoing staff or operational costs .
- Funding for ongoing staff or operational costs beyond the 2-year period.
- Project management or contingency costs that exceed the eligibility requirements.
Projects must be for initiatives that boost and support regional youth’s work; readiness, wellbeing, physical or digital connectivity or links to the community. Successful projects will address one or more of the investment themes identified by the Office for Regional Youth which are detailed in the program guidelines (PDF 1.12MB).
A project must be for:
- delivering projects that benefit the local youth community and provide public benefit to young people (this is not limited to physical projects and can include teaching, life skills etc.)
- fit out of or upgrades to existing, local community infrastructure to assist the delivery of general or targeted youth community projects
- infrastructure to assist the delivery of targeted youth community projects
- community projects and infrastructure which assist in improvement and promotion of accessibility and inclusion within youth
- community projects and infrastructure which assist in improvement of community participation, liveable communities and accessibility and inclusion outcomes within youth
Project costs may include those associated with:
- fit out or upgrade of existing infrastructure which assist in the delivery of programs
- delivering programs and events
- the purchase of materials and equipment essential to program delivery
Design, including regulatory applications and approvals costs, must be listed as administration costs.
Applicants may include up to 10% of the total project cost for contingency.
Unused budget contingency costs will be deducted from the final grant payment.
Projects are not eligible for funding if they are:
- located outside an eligible project location
- not submitted by an eligible applicant
- for the delivery of essential or core government services that should be funded from another source such as local government, the NSW Government or the Commonwealth Government
- seeking retrospective funding to cover projects that are already complete
- seeking grant funding for ongoing staff or operational costs beyond two years
- for a general works package without specific scope, costs and location (e.g. ‘upgrading lighting at community youth centre without identifying the work required, number of sites or the locations)
- predominantly for marketing, branding, advertising or product promotion including tourism marketing
- providing direct commercial and/or exclusive private benefit to an individual or business
- not clearly providing benefits that will significantly contribute to the objectives of the Program
- the recipient of any grant funding from another NSW Government grant program for the same project.
- projects that seek to solely subsidise memberships for existing services.
Ineligible project costs
Ineligible project costs are:
- costs related to buying or upgrading non–fixed equipment or supplies, unless considered essential to program delivery or accessibility equipment and are incidental costs to the overall project budget
- purchase of laptops, mobile phones and other capital items unless considered essential to program delivery and are incidental costs to the overall project budget
- costs relating to the purchase of vehicles, buses, boats, trailers, motorhomes, or other modes of transportation unless considered essential to program delivery and are incidental costs to the overall project budget
- purchase of land or buildings
- financing, including debt financing or rental costs
- costs relating to depreciation of plant and equipment beyond the life of the project
- non-project related staff training and development costs.
- ongoing/recurrent funding that is required beyond the stated timeframe of the project
- for infrastructure projects, funding for any ongoing staff or operational costs
- funding for ongoing staff or operational costs beyond the 2-year period
- project management or contingency costs that exceed the eligibility requirements.
Projects funded by the ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program
In December 2022, 68 projects across regional NSW were awarded funding under the $40 million ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ Regional Youth Investment Program.
What your application needs to include
Prepare your application with this checklist:
- the required details and supporting information relating to the applicant’s status
- a clear project scope
- a project plan using required template (XLSX 25.38KB)
- a project budget using required template (XLSX 24.61KB) and based on quotes or detailed estimates, reasonable assumptions or previous experience with similar projects
- Risk Register using required template (XLSX 14.44KB)
- landowner consent if the land is not owned by the applicant
- evidence of incorporation for community groups
- evidence of project co-contribution (if applicable)
- evidence of community consultation and strong community support for the project
- information addressing each of the Assessment Criteria together with supporting documentation
- for further information you may view Frequently Asked Questions
Projects must be for initiatives that boost and support regional youth’s work readiness, wellbeing, physical and digital connectivity and links to the community. Successful projects will address one or more of the investment themes identified by the Office for Regional Youth.
Projects must be for:
- delivering programs that benefit the local youth community and provide public benefit to young people
- fit out of or upgrades to existing, local community infrastructure to assist the delivery of general or targeted youth community programs that respond to a priority area for the region
- infrastructure to assist the delivery of targeted youth community programs
- community projects or programs and infrastructure which assist in improvement and promotion of accessibility and inclusion within youth
- community projects or programs and infrastructure which assist in improvement of community participation, liveable communities and accessibility and inclusion outcomes within youth
Projects must deliver benefits and outcomes that contribute to the program objectives. Applicants will be expected to establish monitoring procedures to demonstrate the delivery of the expected benefits.
Projects can demonstrate public benefit by showing how the project will benefit the youth generally, or a targeted cohort of youth. Similarly, while projects can be located on private land they must not be solely for private benefit. The applicant will need to show how the facility will be open to the community.
Improved outcomes for Priority groups of young people:
The Office for Regional Youth recognises that some young people have specific service and accessibility needs when accessing services within their local communities.
To meet the needs of these young people, applicants are encouraged to deliver projects that target one (or more) of the priority groups below:
- Aboriginal young people
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse young people
- Young people from a refugee background
- LGBTQIA+ young people
- Young people living with a disability
- Young people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.
All applicants under this Program must ensure that their proposed projects are culturally safe, respectful and inclusive for all young people.
Projects that seek to improve outcomes for priority groups of young people must align with the skills, aspirations and experiences of young people in these priority groups.
Additionally, consideration is to be given to supporting regional communities to future proofing infrastructure and programs by funding universally designed projects. Where possible, projects should move beyond current day compliance standards and provide dignified and equitable inclusion to social and community programs for people with disability. This applies to both infrastructure projects and community or social programs aiming to improve existing accessibility and inclusion to encourage greater participation. Applicants must demonstrate inclusion and accessibility measures in their application.
Eligible applications will be assessed against the following assessment criteria:
The Department of Regional NSW of Regional NSW may also in its absolute discretion, consider additional factors when assessing eligible applications.
For further information regarding the assessment criteria, please see the program guidelines (PDF 1.12MB).
Measuring project benefits:
Projects will be funded which identify clear outcomes and benefits for young people under the nominated investment theme. Organisations will be required to evaluate and monitor their projects based on clear outcomes aligned with the investment theme/s that they nominate.
All successful applicants will be required to provide monitoring and reporting throughout the lifecycle of the project as required by the Office for Regional Youth. Applicants should consider this when resourcing and budget planning for the project.
As part of the application process applicants will need to:
- identify how the project activities will improve outcomes for young people under chosen investment theme
- identify what will be your indicators of change or success (what will you measure?)
- identify what will be your method for measuring change (how will you measure it?)
Project outcomes may include (as an example): improved access to culturally appropriate services, access to public and private transport, sense of belonging to the community
Project indicators may include (as an example): Increase in youth literacy and knowledge about culturally appropriate services, increase in use of public transport, youth participation rate in driver skills programs, increase in community engagement activities, increase social participation in regions , increase in new skills
Suggested methods for measuring outcomes may include: pre and post surveys with young people, attendance data for programs, pre and post program testing, satisfaction surveys, log books, skill testing , community feedback, numbers of young people accessing a youth facility before upgrade or fit out, youth feedback post upgrade or fit out.
Start the application
Visit the Smartygrants portal using the Apply now button below to submit an application under the program.
Submissions and changes
Applicants can make changes to their application prior to submitting until applications close on 4 October 2022 – 10:00am. In extenuating circumstances, late applications may be accepted at the sole discretion of the Department of Regional NSW of Regional NSW.Applications cannot be reopened or amended after the closing date except at the discretion of The Department of Regional NSW.
Addendum to the program guidelines (PDF 1.12MB) will be issued via a mail out sent directly from the Smarty Grants platform. Mail outs will only be sent to applicants that have submitted an application or started an application within the Smarty Grants portal.
To ensure that you receive any necessary updates we recommend you open an application as soon as possible so that you can be included on our mail out list.
After the application is submitted
Successful applications will be decided by: Department of Regional NSW.
The Department will assess Eligible Applications against the assessment criteria. Through the assessment process, the Department may seek clarification from applicants to assist with the assessment process and may seek further information including from referee checks, partners and research into the applicant.
The Department may also seek advice from other NSW Government agencies or other third-party providers (such as probity advisors) to assist with the assessment of applications.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application confidentially by letter shortly.
Successful applicants must sign and return a Letter of Offer and Confidentiality Agreement. They will then enter a Funding Deed. An example funding deed can be obtained upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The project must commence within three months of both parties executing the Funding Deed and be completed within two-years.
Support and contact
For help preparing applications, information and resources please contact us at email@example.com.
A webinar on the Regional Youth Investment Program was held on Tuesday 6 September 2022 to provide an overview of the program, guidance on eligibility requirements and application process, and to answer questions from potential applicants.
A video recording of the session is available here.
View Frequently Asked Questions here.
Enquiries can made until 4pm on 23 September 2022. Please direct all questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org for all enquiries.