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2018-19 Seniors Participation Grant Guidelines

Applications for 2019 have now closed.

Following a review of grant programs during 2017, a new Seniors Participation Grants Program has been developed to improve the health and wellbeing of socially isolated and vulnerable seniors, develop new models for effective participation opportunities for seniors and continue to create inclusive age-friendly initiatives in local communities.

The focus of the Seniors Participation grants will be to:

  • develop and implement new projects that increase participation opportunities for seniors (including age friendly initiatives)
  • develop and implement projects that address systemic barriers to participation for older people
  • replicate successful projects that increase participation opportunities for seniors (including age friendly initiatives).

An online toolbox of successful project resources is available for organisations to replicate or further develop in this grant program. Organisations can download project resources at any time.

Successful projects and resources from this grant program will be included in the online toolbox.

Target group

Older people live within a wide network of family, communities and services. An older person’s ability to live independently in their community is influenced by many factors including their health and wellbeing, levels of family, community and service support and the environment in which they live.

Risk factors that can lead to vulnerability, disadvantage, social isolation and/or loneliness of older people include:

  • low or fixed income
  • living with a disability
  • living in low socioeconomic communities and/or rural areas
  • living with housing stress or homelessness
  • being single, childless or living alone
  • limited or low levels of literacy where this reduces access to information and services
  • limited or no communication technology skills, where this reduces the ability to locate and access services
  • at risk of elder abuse
  • inadequate transport and/or unsafe environments
  • limited trusted formal or informal support networks
  • caring responsibilities
  • belonging to a minority group (Aboriginal Elders, seniors from culturally diverse backgrounds and LGBTIQ communities)
  • risky or addictive behaviours (alcohol/drug or gambling addiction).

Life events such as loss of a partner, retirement or relocation to a new area, loss of licence, onset of illness can contribute to the risk of vulnerability and can also disrupt an older person’s stability.

The grant program will focus on projects that can prevent older people becoming at risk or reach out to older people who are at risk.


The grant program will focus on projects that are delivered in collaboration with new or existing partnerships that could be between local government, community-based agencies, services organisations, multicultural organisations, ethnic services, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, LGBTIQ services and organisations, local clubs and groups. A partnership approach enables:

  • strong governance and support structure of projects
  • a diverse range of perspectives and knowledge about the local needs
  • a shared inclusive vision, with a focus on achieving outcomes for the whole community
  • ongoing working relationships among the key partners
  • increased opportunities for projects to continue after the funding ceases.

By combining knowledge, skills and resources, partnership approaches are highly effective in creating community owned projects driven by the needs of older people and that generate positive outcomes for older people.

Improving organisations and communities – transformational change

The grant program aims to support organisations and communities undertake a process of change by creating and implementing projects that have a lasting impact on delivery of participation opportunities for older people in their communities.

The grants can support projects that include local planning and implementation to embed seniors inclusion in the work of local government and community-based agencies and groups, increase community awareness of vulnerable risk factors for seniors and enhance existing partnerships or facilitate the creation of new partnerships, leading to improvements and increases in opportunities for participation in community by older people.

Community of Practice

Grant recipients are invited to participate in a Community of Practice, facilitated by the Department, to support implementation of funded projects. The Community of Practice will provide networking opportunities for project participants to share project information. It is anticipated the learnings will be useful to other interested organisations.

Who can apply for a grant?

Local government, community-based agencies, services organisations, multicultural organisations, ethnic services, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, LGBTIQ services and organisations, local clubs and groups interested in applying for a grant are encouraged to develop partnerships with other local organisations, agencies and community groups and identify a Project Lead.

Grant applicants will need to demonstrate that they are working within a collaborative structure for project planning and implementation that brings together key players who can assist and influence the proposed project outcomes and lead to sustainable outcomes. Submissions from organisations who demonstrate a partnership approach will be prioritised.

The Project Lead must either be an incorporated community-based organisation, charitable organisation or local government in Victoria. Partner organisations, agencies or community groups may be auspiced by the Project Lead.

Project Lead’s that do not have current Public Liability Insurance or an up to date incorporation status are not eligible to apply.

What types of projects will be funded?

Grants are available from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $75,000. Projects must be implemented within a period of two years.

There are two grant streams available to ALL local government, community-based agencies, services organisations, multicultural organisations, ethnic services, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, LGBTIQ services and organisations, local clubs and community groups:

Replication Grants between $10,000 and $25,000 to create similar projects to the successful projects listed in the Toolbox. For example, a peer model project, Community Connectors, to train and deploy senior volunteers in local communities to engage with hard to reach, lonely or isolated seniors and link them to activities or services.

Innovation Grants of up to $75,000 to

  • develop and implement new projects that increase participation opportunities for seniors (including age friendly projects) or
  • develop and implement new projects that address systemic barriers to participation for older people, for example transport, access to digital services.

Funding provided through the grant program is one-off seed funding to build longer term improvements in communities or organisations that will have a positive impact on seniors that are sustained after the funding ceases. This includes development of new ongoing opportunities for participation, changes to existing offerings and improved and increased engagement by services in funded organisations’ activities.

Projects need to either address specific needs (e.g. community activities) or systemic barriers (e.g. improving transport connections). Other themes for projects could be intergenerational, technology based, skill development, educational, peer support, age-friendly and cultural diversity.

Projects need to consider ways in which the project activities can continue after the funding ceases to ensure sustainability. For example, new groups such as a choir or a social group might be auspiced by a project partner after the project is complete.

Innovation projects will require a project plan to be submitted before proceeding to the implementation stage. Successful Innovation grant recipients will be provided with a project plan template when notified of their successful application.

Priority will be given to projects that have the following features:

  • a Project Lead in a partnership with one or more organisations, agencies and/or community groups
  • consultation and engagement with older people in project planning and implementation
  • opportunities to create change in organisational practice, program offerings and community and stakeholder engagement
  • targeting vulnerable and socially isolated and/or disadvantaged seniors and/or
  • inclusion of Aboriginal Elders and/or
  • inclusion of older people from diverse cultural backgrounds and/or
  • inclusion of older people from communities of identity (LGBTIQ) and/or
  • focus on creating age-friendly communities
  • demonstrated value for money
  • demonstrated plan to continue after the end of the funding period.

What will not be funded?

  • Projects that do not involve organisations working together on local needs.
  • Projects that already receive Victorian government funding for the nominated activity.
  • Projects requiring ongoing funding from the Victorian government.
  • Projects that duplicate similar initiatives in the same local government area. We encourage grant applicants to partner with organisations, agencies, clubs and groups that may have similar project ideas in the same local government area.
  • Requests for retrospective funding for projects that have started or have been completed.
  • Interstate or overseas trips.
  • Ongoing operational costs (for example, ongoing salaries, rent, utility costs).
  • Capital expenditure, such as building renovations.
  • Maintenance work for existing facilities.
  • Purchase of a vehicle or associated costs.
  • Costs to cover existing debt or budget deficits.
  • Applications that are incorrectly filled out or incomplete.

Key dates

Applications for 2019 are now closed.

Assessment criteria

  • Demonstrated need for the project.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with older people in planning and implementing the project.
  • Demonstrated experience of effective partnerships.
  • Demonstrated capacity to manage projects and funding.
  • Demonstrated ability to monitor and evaluate projects.
  • Address priority areas.

Selection panel

Applications will be assessed by a panel comprising of, but not limited to, representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, Municipal Association of Victoria, Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria. Recommendations on grant recipients will be made for approval by the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers.

Funding conditions

  • The grant recipient (Project lead) must enter into a funding agreement with DHHS that sets out the conditions and reporting requirements of the grant (applicants should review the Victorian Common Funding Agreement standard terms and conditions before applying).
  • The project must commence within six (6) weeks of entering into the Funding Agreement.
  • Funds must be spent on the project as described in the original application.
  • For larger projects (over $25,000), project plans must be submitted to DHHS for approval before proceeding to implementation stage.
  • Any variation to the project must be submitted to DHHS in writing for approval prior to implementation.
  • At the end of the Funding Agreement, any unspent funds must be returned to DHHS.
  • Grant recipients are required to share learnings, tools and resources developed from their project and are invited to participate in a Community of Practice that will be convened by DHHS.

Monitoring and reporting requirements

For larger projects (over $25,000) Project Leads must submit six monthly progress reports.

All Projects Leads must submit a project completion report (including acquittal of funds) at the end of the two-year funding period.

Reviewed 25 November 2022