The City of Sydney has approved more than $6.2 million in funding across 156 cultural programs, environmental initiatives, community groups and local businesses in one of its largest ever grant rollouts.

More than $2 million will be shared between 29 cultural and creative projects, and 10 festival and events sponsorships. In 2023 and 2024, the Sydney Writers’ Festival will receive funding for a host of events, while a mural in Redfern celebrating the community contributions of elders who’ve passed on is also planned.

Business-support grants will also help enliven the cultural landscape, with more than $600,000 in funding earmarked for live music and performance, including a sound and equipment upgrade at the Hollywood Hotel. There’ll also be funding for free live music at The Burdekin, as well as networking opportunities to help businesses better serve their local communities.
More than half a million dollars for “knowledge exchange sponsorships” has also been approved, including an initiative to tackle the lack of creative spaces available across the city.

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A further $2.58 million in funding is headed for social grants that will give communities access to essential services including hospitals and shopping centres via free buses. It also includes a food and art festival for Pyrmont, and the expansion of a program providing free food and other services to vulnerable people in Camperdown.

Living Hope Church in Camperdown, which offers food assistance to people in need, has launched a pop-up mental health clinic alongside its weekly community pantry with the funding it’s received. Spokesperson Nuno Viveiros says that with inflation, the number of people seeking help putting food on the table has doubled in recent weeks, and that the organisation has also seen an increase in mental health issues brought on by the pandemic.

“Post lockdown, we’re encountering more and more isolation-related issues in the community, like depression and social anxiety,” Viveiros said in a statement.

Twenty-five environmental grants, valued at $402,000 in total, have also been handed out. The Sydney Marriott has used its grant to undertake an energy assessment to help reduce energy consumption.

Mayor Clover Moore says she’s “awed” by the projects, and believes the cash and in-kind grants will “provide vital services, help local businesses recover, and grow and breathe new life into Sydney’s cultural and night-time economy”.

“When the pandemic hit, many foretold the decline of cities. Looking through the list of projects and events we’re helping fund, I’m filled with renewed optimism [that] that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Moore said in a statement.