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Call all creatives, entrepreneurs, businesses, or members of the community

You're being invited by Port Stephens Council to put forward your ideas on how to inject vibrancy into the towns within Port Stephens.

Whether you want to hold an event, paint a mural, entertain people, celebrate local heritage, or do anything that adds vibrancy and energy — you need to read on!
Jordan Hocking with his mural Mambo Wanda Wetlands
Jordan Hocking with his mural Mambo Wanda Wetlands

The initiative is a part of Port Stephens Council’s 2020/21 funding program designed to reignite the community and local businesses throughout Port Stephens.

Speaking with Mayor Ryan Palmer he detailed further,

“Since launching the funding in July last year, we’ve contributed to some amazing initiatives including the Tomaree Museum Pop Up Shop and Summer on Magnus Street.

"We’re now on the hunt for our second round of grant applicants to help restart Port Stephens, and have a range of grants for creatives, not-for-profits, businesses, community groups, schools, and individuals."

Local muralist and illustrator Jordan Hocking was a recipient of the Vibrant Spaces Fund from the first round of grants, we spoke to Jordan to get some details about his project and what advice he would give to someone thinking about applying.

Firstly Jordan, can you tell us a little bit about the mural itself?
The mural is based on the Mambo Wanda Wetlands, which is the corridor between Salamander and Soldiers Point. Tomaree Library backs onto this area, and the mural references the unique eco-system and species within the wetlands, especially the ones that are often overlooked, like the frogs and trees.

Did you work closely with Council on the concept of the mural, or were you given full creative freedom? 
I had some early discussions but it was pretty clear straight up what direction the project would go in. Mitzi Dewhurst from Tomaree Library was very diligent in contacting Land Care Council, and people from Worimi to make sure that the list of animals was relevant. We were also mindful of the fact that the mural needed to be enthralling and whimsical for kids. 

How did the collaboration with Tomaree Library come about?  
Mitzi and I had met previously and had remained in contact, so when we found out about this opportunity the collaboration came together pretty quickly and things went from there.

Grants such as these are obviously hugely beneficial to creatives, what advice would you provide to anyone thinking of applying? 
I would say that even though you're the artist receiving the funding, it's important to think about who will be receiving the artwork, who the viewers and businesses are in the local area so whatever it is you're creating it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Kim Burbridge of Burbridge and Burke in Nelson Bay was another funding recipient and provided some insights into how she worked together with a collective of local businesses on their funding project. 

"I am part of Business Port Stephens and within that group, there is a precinct committee and all these businesses got together prior to Christmas 2019 to organise a promotion where we extended our trading hours and created Shop Local Win. In total the local businesses contributed around $2,500 worth of gift vouchers which were offered as prizes.

"We had heard about the grants whilst we were in the planning phase and thought the money would help turn it into more of an event, as well as allow us to give back to the creative industry by paying some local musicians and performers. It was also nice being able to put an event on for the community, as well as encouraging people to shop local for Christmas.

"I heard about the grant the day before it was to close so I put my hand up to complete the application, which I had never done before. The fantastic thing was that Council wants people and businesses to be using the grants and were happy for people to submit their application and work with you to flesh out all the details to try and make it as easy and accessible as possible which was great." 

Interested in applying but don't live in Port Stephens? Don't worry you can still apply. As long as your idea benefits the local community, Council wants to hear from you.

Key dates: Applications open 1 February 2021 and close 14 March 2021.

Funding available: You can apply for up to $6,000 per grant application.

Who can apply?

  • incorporated, not-for-profit organisations or charities
  • registered businesses with an ABN
  • sole traders
  • schools
  • artists
  • community and volunteer groups (for example, Landcare groups)
  • service organisations.
  • For unincorporated community groups or individuals, we recommend you partner with a local business to participate in this program. 

How to apply

  1. Read the Funding Guidelines on our website for full details about the grant
  2. Call us to discuss your project on 02 4988 0255 or email [email protected]
  3. Complete the online application. Make sure to upload any supporting documentation including your Certificate of Incorporation, budget, and any required quotes.

To view the full range of funds available, read the guidelines and apply, visit