Funding to help bring city streets back to life

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Local neighbourhoods in the City of Sydney are set for an economic boost thanks to a new $4 million grants program.

The City of Sydney has developed a new precinct activation program to fund businesses and creatives to work together to revitalise our villages and activate new micro-precincts.

The grant program will encourage collaborative partnerships between businesses, creatives and communities that renew and transform the city centre, local precincts and neighbourhoods. The collaborations will be designed to activate businesses, public places and vacant retail and commercial space with cultural programming.

Fees for outdoor events, power access, venue hire, or other applicable service and event hire will be waived for projects supported under the program until 30 June 2023.

The program is open to for-profits, not-for-profits and sole traders, with projects to take place from 1 June 2022 to 30 June 2023. Each application must have a lead applicant plus a minimum of five project collaborators, located near each other.

“The past two years have been incredibly challenging for all of us, particularly our city centre. While much of our economy has begun to recover, the CBD has remained quiet as people continue to work from home and hospitality and travel remains restricted. The lockdowns cost the city’s economy an estimated $250 million a week and 40,000 jobs were lost,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“But Sydney is now reopening, with consumer confidence indices higher than average, suggesting a strong, pent-up demand, especially in services and hospitality. Our focus now is on supporting recovery and investing in events and activations.

“Our new precinct activation grants program has been designed to encourage businesses, creatives and communities to collaborate in renewing and transforming the city centre, local precincts and neighbourhoods with cultural activity.

“It’s an exciting program because rather than just creating one-off events, we’re hopeful new hotspots will emerge. Businesses and event producers will build relationships, work together and establish new and unique offerings that become part of their area’s DNA.

“The new $4 million precinct activation program comes on top of a $12 million pipeline of activations and celebrations that began rolling out across the city centre in January. All of this is helping us build on last year’s successful al fresco summer events to create an al fresco city – a place where people choose to come not just for work but to meet friends, enjoy a cultural experience, dine out and be entertained year-round.”

To best support the economic recovery of our neighbourhoods, the City of Sydney is also inviting feedback on the precinct activation grant guidelines which cover program details, eligibility and funding.

City of Sydney Council this week endorsed the new guidelines for the precinct activation grants to focus on projects that promote place-based activations, strengthen local precincts, seed micro-precincts and regenerate the Sydney’s 24-hour economy.

The guidelines were developed in consultation with key stakeholders including the Nightlife and Creative Sector Advisory Panel, local business chambers, industry associations and the community, and align with the City of Sydney’s overarching Community Recovery Plan.

The guidelines are on exhibition until 22 March before they are presented to Council in April for final adoption.

In June 2021, a City of Sydney CBD activation grant helped 10 venues along York, King and Clarence streets come together to create a festival to bring the small bar precinct to life.

The YCK Laneway collaboration resulted in a highly successful 6-week program, packed with late-night cultural programming.

Karl Schlothauer, YCK Laneway participant, owner of Stitch Bar and president of the Independent Bar Association, said the grant helped to establish new, ongoing relationships between the arts and creative and hospitality sectors.

“While technically all of the bars are competitors, in the wake of Covid-19 we all understood that what is good for the area is good for the individual. We needed to do something big to attract people back to the city centre and it is a lot easier to make yourself heard as a collective than as an individual,” Karl said.

“There were many positive outcomes to the project, first and foremost being the increased patronage, with all participating venues experiencing an uptick in trade throughout the activation.

“We’ve created a formal YCK Laneways Association to look after the interests of the precinct. This means we can now apply for, and deliver, grants and corporate sponsorship opportunities on behalf of the precinct, and we have a vehicle deliver these types of activations again and again.”

The City of Sydney is also inviting applications for its community, cultural, business and environment grants for 2022/23. Twelve grant programs and sponsorship opportunities are available including cultural and creative grants and sponsorship, knowledge exchange sponsorship, matching grants and business support grants, live music and performance.

Applications close at 5pm on Monday 11 April. Projects must take place from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.

For more details on the City of Sydney’s Precinct Activation Program visit: cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/business-support-funding/precinct-activation-grants

For details and to provide feedback on the proposed precinct activation guidelines visit: cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/policy-planning-changes/your-say-on-our-proposed-precinct-activation-grant-guidelines

For media enquiries or images, contact Elaine Kelly Phone 0477 362 550 or email ekelly@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Trisha Croaker. Phone 0418 397 462 or email tcroaker@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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