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.

Creative Infrastructure Support Grants

Support to reopen or adapt existing creative spaces for professional creatives who have been affected by COVID-19; and support for creatives with equipment or rental subsidies. This program is open to projects in these 8 local government areas: City of Yarra; City of Moreland; City of Port Philip; City of Melbourne; Ballarat City Council; Geelong City Council; Mt Alexander Shire; and Surf Coast Shire.

Stream 1: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $25,000 for infrastructure upgrades, rental subsidy, and/or equipment for creative spaces led and run by First Peoples.

Stream 2: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $25,000 for infrastructure upgrades, rental subsidy, and/or equipment for collectives, micro-organisations, businesses and LGAs.

Stream 3: Applications may be accepted for requests up to $3,000 for equipment and/or rental subsidies only for sole traders, freelancers and businesses.

Applications close 22 March 2021 5pm

Medium Community Grants

Grants up to $10,000 for not-for-profits and community organisations. Grant writing workshop on Wed 3 March bookings required. Grant writing video available on the website.

Applications open: 1 March 2021

Applications close: 22 March 2021

Community Recovery Grants – Stage 2

To support new, or expand existing, innovative community-led and community-based initiatives that contribute to the community’s COVID-19 recovery and strengthen resilience. Applications Open: 22 February 2021 Close: 21 March 2021

Applications open: 22 February 2021

Applications close: 21 March 2021

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

Small Grants

Grants are also made to assist innovative and creative arts projects that challenge the current boundaries of their given discipline. A focus on the role of arts and culture as a vehicle for strengthening and enriching our community. Projects may be funded for development, presentation and touring. Individual artists should contact the Foundation directly for advice on applying for project funding. Up to $10,000.

Applications open Monday 15 Feb 2021; close Friday 26 March 2021.

Business Events Grants

This program provides Australian business matched funding, of between $10,000 to $250,000, to support their participation as buyers or sellers at pre-approved business events (exhibitions, conferences and conventions) in 2021. Approved events are listed on the Schedule of Approved Business Events on the Austrade program website. (Many events will not be relevant to arts and culture organisations, but some may be of interest). Applications close: 30 March 5pm AEDT

Applications close: 30 March 2021 5pm AEDT

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!

Federal Government
Stronger Communities Program

The Stronger Communities Programme funds small capital projects in each of the 151 federal electorates for incorporated Not-For-Profit groups, trustees, or local government. You must be invited by your local MP to apply (usually you just ask them to invite you). For this round, grant funding will be up to 100 per cent of eligible project costs except for local governing bodies where grant funding will be up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs. Your grant request must be between $2500 and $20,000. Project must be completed by 31 December 2021.

Applications close: 22 March 2021 5pm AEDT.


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.