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).

Artsfront are doing a zoom meeting every week day for 30 minutes at 12pm. More info here.

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.

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).

JobKeeper Payments

The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.

Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer.

The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Government has launched the $500 million Business Support Fund to support small businesses in the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic so they can survive and keep people in work.

The Fund is part of the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package.

Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant which can be used towards costs such as utilities, rent and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning.

Australia Council for the Arts

The Australia Council has announced a Resilience Fund of approximately $5M for artists and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding can be combined with relief offered by other arts funding agencies, government departments, support services and philanthropy.

Australia Councial have developed this program using input and ideas from the arts sector. They gathered this input through various sector roundtables and discussions, feedback and ideas provided to them by artists and organisations they fund and people who have participated in their sector development programs.

The 2020 Resilience Fund includes three streams you can apply for:

  • Survive – small grants for individuals, groups and organisations to offset or recoup financial losses due to cancelled activity.
  • Adapt – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to adapt their practice and explore new operating models.
  • Create – grants for individuals, groups and organisations to continue to create artistic work and develop creative responses in a time of disruption.
Creative Victoria

A $16.8 million Victorian Government funding package will provide immediate support to Victorian creative organisations and individuals to sustain employment, develop new works and provide opportunities for creative community participation, in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Sustaining Creative Workers

This support includes a new $2.2 million Sustaining Creative Workers initiative offering quick response grants for impacted Victorian based independent artists, creative practitioners and micro-organisations, with five or more years of professional experience.

It will support creatives, across all creative disciplines, to continue to work in their creative field, adapt to change, research and develop projects, develop their product or skills, and/or connect with new audiences or markets.

Applications will be accepted for requests:

  • Up to $5,000 for individuals, sole traders and freelancers
  • Up to $10,000 for collectives, micro-organisations and businesses*
  • Up to $2,500 in additional access funding for applications from Deaf and Disabled creatives, artists, arts workers and disability-led organisations/businesses

* Micro organisations/businesses are those that employ less than 5 Full Time Equivalent staff.

This support also includes:

  • A new $13 million Strategic Investment Fund, open to Creative Victoria-funded, non-government arts and cultural organisations – spanning almost 100 festivals, performing arts companies, museums, galleries, and First Peoples, youth and culturally diverse arts organisations across Victoria.
  • $1.6 million in grants through Creative Victoria’s funding programs, focusing on activities that can be undertaken in the current climate, such as the research and development of new creative works, professional development activities and new ways of reaching audiences.
City of Melbourne
Grants open for creatives affected by COVID-19

The City of Melbourne has released $2 million in grants for artists and creative organisations impacted by the COVID-19 virus to assist them during this challenging time.

The grants are available to develop new work, or for digital presentation of artistic works and performances and to provide support during the time when restrictions are in place because of COVID-19.

Grants open for businesses affected by COVID-19

The City of Melbourne has released $5 million in financial support for small to medium sized businesses to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development and undertake capital works.

City of Darebin
Darebin Community Grants Program

Please note in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the City of Darebin have extended the closing date for the 2020/2021 Small to Medium Cash Grants, Venue Hire Support Grants and YOouth Projects Grants to Monday 27 April at 11.59pm.

The following funding programs are available:

  • 2020/2021 Small Grants Program (Up to $3,000)
  • 2020/2021 Medium Grants Program (Up to $15,000)
  • 2020/2021 Venue Hire Support Grants Program (Up to $8,000)
  • 2020/2021 Youth Projects Grants Program (Up to $5,000)

Intending applicants are advised to check their eligibility before applying (please refer to the 2020/2021 Information Booklet: Can I apply for a Community Grant?). If uncertain about the eligibility of either a group or a proposed project, please contact the Community Grants officer on 8470 8504 or

Inner North Community Foundation

The Foundation is concentrating current grants on supporting local responses to the Covid-19 crisis. These grants are made possible by Darebin City Council, Moreland City Council, MP Consulting, and local donors.

Grants available are:

  • Covid 19 Emergency Relief Vouchers Grants Program
  • Covid 19 Rapid Response Fund Grants Program
  • 2020 Pathways to Employment Grants Round

Open to artists, musicians, performers, producers, community artists, not-for-profit arts organisations and community groups to create and present work. Individual artists can apply for up to $2000 and organisations can apply for up to $5000. The program pool is $125,000.

Round 1
Round 1 of Creative Community is open only to the following community members:

  • Residents of social Housing in the City of Yarra
  • Members of the LGBTIQ+ community
  • Members of the Aboriginal/Torres Strait community connected to Yarra.

Applications for Round 1 will close at 11:59pm on Monday 20 April. Please read the Round 1 Creative Community COVID-19 Quick Response Grants Guidelines before applying.

Round 2
Applications for Round 2 of Creative Community COVID-19 Quick Response Grants will commence on Monday 20 April and will be open to all eligible applicants. Please read the Round 2 Creative Community COVID-19 Quick Response Grants Guidelines before applying.


These will be open to creative businesses, including live music venues, commercial galleries, rehearsal studios and sole-trader creatives. Businesses can apply for up to $5,000. This grant is designed for creative businesses to respond, adapt and undertake development in the social distancing climate. The program pool is $60,000.

Please read the Creative Business COVID-19 Quick Response Grants Guidelines before applying.

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.

Budget Direct
Sponsorship Solved

Striving to make a difference in your local community but need a financial leg-up?

Budget Direct wantz to help groups throughout Australia in their efforts to build happy and healthy neighbourhoods.

If your organisation is eligible, you can apply for a Budget Direct sponsorship of $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000.

Who can apply?

We’re open to sponsoring registered organisations or associations that:

  • provide local or statewide community services
  •  run community awareness and education programs
  •  promote health and wellbeing (e.g. sports clubs)
  •  advocate for road safety
  •  provide emergency services
  •  support in need or at-risk Australians
  •  help build strong, vibrant communities.
#SaveOurSector – Support for Community Organisations

The Our Community enterprise has embarked on the #SaveOurSector campaign, with free resources, tools and advice that will help community organisations survive the COVID-19 crisis.

Image credit: Fire Monkey. Photo by Andy Miller.

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