Melbourne publisher Leader Community Newspapers has launched its local grants program for 2014, the third year of the initiative.
The program sees 33 micro-grants worth $1000 awarded to various community projects, which are chosen through reader voting at each of Leader’s 33 community newspapers.
Recently appointed general manager of Leader, Fiona Mellor, told The Newspaper Works that the program saw more than 70,000 nominations last year and that it would be a strong editorial focus of Leader mastheads over the next month.
Leader editor-in-chief of Leader John Trevorrow said that a key element of the initiative was that readers both nominated and voted on the grant recipients.
“The stories in all papers reflect the pride and passion behind all these local community projects,” he said.
“Our papers have contributed to making communities a better place, and strengthened social connections and cohesion among our readers.”
Nominations for the grants opened on May 5 and will close on May 23. A judging panel will select 10 finalists from nominations to each of Leader’s 33 newspapers and then, from June 2, readers will be able to vote on a winner.
Ms Mellor also said that she also plans on furthering Leader’s community engagement with local businesses through small business awards and in other capacities with local schools and families.
“We’ve got a big audience of families. There’s quite a bit that we do with the sports stars awards; we campaign for schools on a regular basis to try and have work done to them if they’re lacking in repairs or anything,” she said.
“This [grants program] is one thing among a number of initiatives that I’d like to set up.”
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