COVID-19: Avenues of Support for Community Organisations

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing economic disruption in many sectors including community and arts organisations.

If your business is being affected, there are resources that can help.

Here are some ways that may assist organisations at this critical time. 

Also, there is a Facebook group, ‘Australian Arts amidst COVID-19‘, that has updated info and tips for artists and arts workers during this period (info organised under tags on the right-hand side).

SBS is committed to informing all Australians about the latest coronavirus developments.
News and information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is available in 63 languages.

Guide to Government COVID-19 Assistance for the Arts

This guide sets out various assistance initiatives that are being provided by Federal and State/Territory governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to assist artists and arts workers, the guide is ordered as follows:

  • measures applicable to arts organisations and individual artists;
  • measures are then ordered by relevance to arts organisations and individual artists.

The intention is for this to be a “live” document, updated as circumstances change.

Local Festivals Fund – Round 2

This grant aims to encourage and assist Not-For-Profit organisations and community groups to develop small to medium scale local neighbourhood festivals or events during Covid-19 recovery to celebrate the City’s community spirit, identity, arts and culture. Up to $10,000 per project.

Applications close Wednesday 7 April 2021 at 4 pm

Visual Arts Grants

The Foundation provides funding for a range of Visual Arts projects Australia-wide. Funding only given to Public Institutions with DGR status.

Applications close: 24 May 2021

Federal Government
Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund

This program targets funding towards sector organisations who are seeking to restart, re-imagine or create new activities, providing finance to assist presentation of new or re-shaped cultural and creative activities and events to enhance community wellbeing and access to cultural experiences across Australia, including in outer metropolitan, regional and remote areas.

Opens 31 August, closes May 2021 or when all funds are expended, which will happen fast, so to act quickly!

Local Anti-Racism Initiatives Grant Program

The Local Anti-Racism Initiatives Grants Program 2021 provides funding to community organisations to deliver activities and initiatives that empower local communities to tackle racism. Funding will be offered in 2 streams and the activities must be delivered between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022.

The 2 funding streams are:

  • Social cohesion and community harmony stream – grants range from $50,000–$149,999 for one year for local initiatives that promote and foster social cohesion, community harmony and anti-racism.
  • Anti-racism stream – grants range from $150,000–$500,000 for one year for local anti-racism initiatives.

Applications close: Friday 16 April 2021, midday


Open to creatives, local councils and community organisations who can help young people and Victorians experiencing disadvantage with grants of up to $3K, $10K or $50K. For new or existing ideas or to help amplify an idea that is already in place, to create meaningful social connection, provide opportunities for physical activity and or address food security issues for those who need it most. This grant replaces the previous Art of Good Health, Everyday Creativity and Partnership Grants.

Applications open 16 September, assessed continuously.

Theatre Network Australia (TNA) and Live Performance Australia (LPA)

TNA has joined with Live Performance Australia and other performing arts and music industry bodies to urge the government to fund an urgent package to prevent a complete and permanent industry shutdown, costing thousands of jobs and forcing the closure of performing arts and commercial companies and venues for good.

Business Victoria

Call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 to find out about:

  • the latest information on the public health measures and how these affect your business
  • how to access the financial support available through the national and state stimulus packages – including the Victorian Government’s $500 million Business Support Fund to support the state’s hardest hit sectors, including arts and entertainment and the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Payment which will provide funding to affected businesses to continue paying employees
  • other support services, like accessing business, legal and IT advice and mentoring to help with things like developing business continuity and recovery plans.

Business Victoria also has advice, updates and support on their website to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Image credit: Fire Monkey. Photo by Andy Miller.