Drama over Eisteddfod funding

THE BAW Baw Shire has refused a Community Development Grant request from the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod for its Parasteddfod, a special needs section of the annual eisteddfod that is unique in Victoria.

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A dance group performs at last year’s Parasteddfod. Photo Credit: West Gippsland Music & Drama Eisteddfod’s Facebook page.

West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod President, Pauline Hastings, said she was disappointed with the council’s decision to reject the group’s application.

She said there had been no negative feedback after initially lodging her application.

“The grant application was not rejected in the time that the application was lodged but after it was processed,” she said.

“The response from the council stated that the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod was not a suitable organisation to receive a grant.

“We have received Community Development Grants from the council for the past three years. Perhaps we didn’t receive a grant this year because we are not struggling as much financially as we used to be,” Ms Hastings said.

The Baw Baw Shire Council has said “applications which reflect the community vision and properties which contribute to the creation of stronger communities and enhanced participation” will be successful in receiving a grant.

But following a council review to simplify the process and reduce red tape a new set of rules was implemented. One of those new rules retrospectively applied a limit to the number of consecutive years a project can receive funding.

“The most significant changes to the 2014 program included community groups becoming ineligible for funding if their project had previously been funded three times”, Baw Baw Community Services director Liana Thompson told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

Other changes to the program included a one month window for applications, only one application per community group and the process being completed solely online.

The West Gippsland and Drama Eisteddfod was not the only community group unsuccessful in receiving a grant this year.

“There were 15 unsuccessful or ineligible grants and two were withdrawn”, Ms Thompson said.

Despite not receiving a grant this year, the West Gippsland Music and Drama Eisteddfod continues to gain popularity amongst performers and attendees.

At last year’s Parasteddfod there were 70 participants from across West and Central Gippsland and around 300 audience members.

Eisteddfod organisers plan to apply for a Community Development Grant again next year.

Ms Hastings said she hoped this year’s outcome would not be repeated.

“Hopefully the council will change their mind next year,” she said.

“We will submit another application and closely follow the newly enforced guidelines.”

Ms Thompson advised community groups interested in applying for grants to thoroughly review the assessment criteria and tailor their applications accordingly.

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