Building Stronger Communities Grants Program guidelines

Program update

Brisbane City Council has prioritised funds to create the new Lord Mayor’s COVID-19 Direct Assistance Program in 2020-21. This Program will support our community organisations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Refer to the Lord Mayor’s COVID-19 Direct Assistance Program to check your eligibility and to find out more.

The Building Stronger Communities Grants Program will return in 2021-22.

The Building Stronger Communities Grants Program will provide funding to community-based, not-for-profit organisations to deliver projects that develop or improve their facilities, or improve their governance and long term organisational sustainability.

Applications for this grant are closed. This program will return in 2021-22.

Learn about the Building Stronger Communities Grants Program:


The information in these guidelines is for use by community organisations who are seeking financial assistance for community facility based improvements and to improve organisational sustainability.

Brisbane City Council recognises the significant contributions of community organisations in promoting and linking residents to recreation and wellbeing opportunities that positively impact the broader community.

By undertaking a project suitable for the Program your organisation is helping to achieve the Brisbane Vision 2031 for a city that is friendly and safe, active and healthy, and vibrant and creative.

A community facility is a facility that supports sport, recreational, cultural and social activities and in doing so, helps provide for the physical, cultural, mental and social wellbeing of the community.

The Program will provide funding to community-based, not-for-profit organisations to deliver projects that develop or improve their facilities, or improve their governance and long term organisational sustainability. Preference will be given to organisations on Council-leased sites or Council-owned land.


The Program aims to deliver outcomes in alignment with the Brisbane Vision, which plans for the future of the city.

Projects must deliver one or more of the following objectives:

Categories one and two

  • Improve the quality of a facility.
  • Increase, maintain or enhance participation and community access.
  • Improve the flexibility of the facility so it encourages the development of multi-use, sharing and co-locating facilities.

Applicants must demonstrate that the organisation has the capacity to maintain the improvement works.

Category three

  • Improve performance across key organisational management capabilities. For example: strategic and operational planning, governance, education and training, management systems to improve finances and membership, or marketing and promotion plans.

What can be funded?

There are three categories for funding, with category one and two focusing on facility development and maintenance. Category three focuses on improving organisational development particularly in the area of effective committee management. The categories are:

  • Category one: Community Facility Maintenance
  • Category two: Community Facility Development
  • Category three: Organisational Development.

To be eligible for funding, the application must address the Assessment Criteria.

Eligible applications

Applicants must be:

  • organisations located within the Brisbane City Council local government area where the project outcome benefits Brisbane residents; and
  • a not-for-profit incorporated organisation, or be auspiced/sponsored by a not-for-profit organisation that is incorporated and able to accept legal and financial responsibility for the project or activity.

Preference will be given to organisations on Council-leased sites or Council-owned land.

In addition:

  • applications that involve extending the use of school facilities by the broader community can be made by school-based organisations (including Parents and Citizens’ Associations), protected under the Education (General Provision) Act 2006 (Qld), with an open membership. Applicants with project proposals on school properties must have in place long-term Memorandum of Understanding or Usage Agreement letters from the school detailing the agreed usage arrangements. 
  • applicants must not have outstanding debts, overdue or un-acquitted grants with Council or outstanding issues with Office of Fair Trading at the time of application.

Ineligible applications

Individuals and organisations NOT eligible to apply include:

  • national sport and recreation bodies
  • political organisations
  • state and federal government departments (excluding the Queensland Government’s Department of Education and Training, state schools, who are eligible under the Program to apply for funding for work that would support existing agreements and local community groups)
  • for-profit groups
  • tertiary education institutions
  • non-incorporated organisations
  • church or religious groups, unless the proposed project or activity can be considered to be in addition to the core business of the church
  • Men’s Sheds (funding available under separate Men’s Shed Grant Program).

Council will NOT fund equipment or items used for the general operation of the facility. Council reserves the right to determine what constitutes equipment and general operating costs that ought to be carried out by the organisation on a regular basis, or is a compliance requirement.

Examples of ineligible projects and items:

  • electrical appliances
  • uniforms
  • sport safety equipment
  • portable generators
  • sports medical supplies
  • dinghies, canoes and boats
  • white boards, tables and chairs
  • bats, balls, gloves, saddles
  • training not provided by an independent third party
  • research projects
  • sponsor (auspice) fees
  • events and programs
  • grant writing fees
  • catering
  • single use plastics
  • membership fees
  • conferences and accommodation
  • landscaping
  • musical instruments

The following will NOT be funded:

  • projects that have already commenced or where your organisation has committed to expenditure prior to the notification date
  • projects that are considered to be the core responsibility of other levels of government, e.g. the Queensland Department of Education and Training (such as a new school hall or pool facility) or Queensland Health
  • general public liability costs for the organisation however public liability costs that are specific to the project are eligible
  • staff wages
  • debt payment
  • event or conference sponsorship, prizes or award ceremonies
  • general operating expenses - funding will not cover expenses such as electricity, lease or rent payments, telephone, playing equipment etc. that are part of the organisation’s ongoing expenses
  • primarily commercial or fundraising ventures
  • projects where funding contributions are not supported in writing.

Applicants must contact Council (a Council officer from the Community Facilities Operations Team) to confirm their organisation’s eligibility, and to discuss their project proposal.

Funding available

For the Program, Council has allocated funding amounts for each of the three categories, with funding amounts and applicant contribution outlined below below:

Category Examples Proposed

Category One

Community facility maintenance

Applications will be assessed on how the facility maintenance project addresses the Assessment Criteria. Maintenance is defined as work on existing infrastructure undertaken with the intention of:

  • reinstating the physical condition to a specified standard or replacement of like for like
  • preventing further deterioration or failure
  • undertaking repairs for health, safety and/or security reasons.
For example: clubhouse, community hall or building, sports field refurbishment, canteen, kitchen and flooring repairs, court resurfacing, replacement of field lights and irrigation systems.
  • maximum grant amount up to $100,000 (excluding GST)
  • minimum organisation contribution of 25% of total project cost.

Category Two

Community facility development

Applications will be assessed on how the facility upgrade project addresses the Assessment Criteria. For example:

  • development of new infrastructure e.g. sports fields, clubhouses, change rooms, water tanks, irrigation systems, solar panels, field lighting, practice training nets and storage facilities
  • replacement or upgrade of infrastructure e.g. clubhouses or buildings, canteens or kitchens, sports fields, indoor sports flooring, storage facilities, court conversion to multi-use and new or energy-efficient light installation.
  • maximum grant amount up to $100,000 (excluding GST)
  • minimum organisation contribution of 25% of total project cost.

Category Three

Organisational development

Applications will be assessed on how the organisational development addresses the Assessment Criteria.

For example: professional services to develop a strategic plan, conduct governance and committee training, undertake an organisational review and succession planning, and develop policies and procedures, marketing and membership development, deliver volunteer and coaching programs, conduct referee recruitment and education, website and database development.
  • maximum grant amount up to $7500 (excluding GST)
  • no minimum organisation contribution.

Contributions from the applicant may be cash, other funding assistance, or ‘in-kind’, e.g. voluntary labour or materials. ‘In-kind’ contributions must not exceed a maximum of 50% of the total required contribution.

Other funding assistance includes other agencies who are contributing to the overall cost, e.g. 50% funding from the Queensland Government and/or other agencies.

In some instances, successful applicants may not receive the requested amount of funding, but a percentage of the total sought. If your project cannot proceed without full funding, this should be stated in your application.

As resources are limited, not every application that meets the assessment criteria will necessarily receive a grant.

How many categories can I apply for?

There is opportunity for eligible applicants to benefit with funding assistance from up to two categories.

Eligible applicants can apply for facility funding in either category one or category two.

Eligible applicants can also apply for organisational development funding in category three independently or in conjunction with an application for facility funding.

Financial arrangements


If you are successful in obtaining a grant, you will be sent a Funding Agreement that must be completed and returned to Council before funding is provided.

Progressive payments may apply for larger grants. Progressive payments will be outlined in the Funding Agreement, which will be sent to you if your application is successful.


If your organisation or your auspice/sponsor is GST registered 10% GST will be added to your grant as an itemised GST gross-up.

If your organisation or auspice/sponsor is not GST registered 10% GST will be added to your grant, but will not be itemised as GST.

For advice on GST, please contact your tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 24 78 or via their website at

Assessment process

Assessment criteria

Applications submitted for any category must be for projects that address the following criteria. Effective planning and understanding of the need from an organisation and community perspective will assist in the development of an appropriate project.

After eligibility is established, each project will be scored on the following Assessment Criteria:

Criteria number Criteria Percentage
  All applications  
1. Ability to contribute to the objectives of the Building Stronger Communities Grants Program (as outlined in Objectives) 25%
2. Demonstrated need for the project and anticipated community benefit 25%
3. Evidence of consultation and partnerships undertaken during the project development 10%
  Category one and two applications only  
4. Evidence of project readiness including a comprehensive budget, site plan, sketch designs, confirmed funding contributions and detailed quotes to demonstrate value for money for Council 25%
5. Demonstrated maintenance planning for the community facility 15%
  Category three applications only  
6. Demonstrated implementation strategy 40%

Application process

Before commencing your application please contact a Council officer from the Community Facilities Operations Team to discuss your application, by phoning 07 3407 0000.

Making your application

A budget table is required to support your application. Before you apply, it is highly recommended you review a budget table example to assist you with developing your budget.

Applications are submitted online.

The online application system will allow you to develop, save and print out your application before you submit it. Support material can also be attached to your online application.

Applications will only be accepted if submitted on the online application form and associated templates.

Once an applicant has submitted an application:

  • the applicant will receive an email confirming receipt of the application
  • submitted applications will be kept confidential and the contents will not be disclosed to any person outside the application and assessment process. The list of successful applicants will be published on this website.

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • ensure continued compliance with the guidelines
  • deliver the approved project in accordance with the contents of the submitted applications approved by Council for the provision of a grant
  • fully comply with the terms and conditions set out in the Funding Agreement (including any special conditions) provided by Council to the successful applicants
  • fully acquit the grant to Council in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement.


You will receive a letter advising you whether your application was successful or not successful. 

Successful applicants

You will receive an Approval Letter, a Funding Agreement, and an online Acquittal Form with instructions.

The Funding Agreement will include Terms and Conditions of the grant, any special conditions attached to your grant and GST information. You will need to complete and sign the Funding Agreement before any funding will be released.


Your acquittal will need to demonstrate how your project has successfully addressed the key objectives of the Program outlined in the Objectives section of these guidelines.

Acquittal responsibilities and timeframes will vary according to the scope of each project, but the acquittal period will not exceed 12 months from the date of notification of your successful approval letter.

Unsuccessful applicants

Failure to receive funding is not necessarily due to a poor application but may be the result of the demand for funds. For feedback on your grant application, please contact Council using the contact telephone number in your notification letter.


All applicants are required to contact a Council officer from Community Facilities Operations Team on 07 3407 0000 to confirm their eligibility and obtain advice on their proposed project prior to submitting an application.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact us through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 07 3403 8888
  • speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 07 3403 8888
  • internet relay users connect to the NRS ( and then ask for 07 3403 8888.

If you require this information in other languages, please phone the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask to be connected to Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888.

All enquiry services are free.

Terms and conditions

Successful applicants must abide by Council’s terms and conditions which are contained in the Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement will be provided to successful applicants on notification of Council approving the application.

Applicants must also adhere to any special conditions set by Council.


The glossary contains a number of terms and phrases applicants may need to be familiar with when planning an application.

The online Acquittal Form is due within 12 months from the notification date and explains the outcomes of the project and how the funds were spent. It demonstrates that the funding has been used for the purpose for which it was provided, including a certified report of financial transactions, and whether the project achieved its intended objectives. Your acquittal will need to demonstrate how your project has successfully addressed Building Stronger Communities Objectives.

Assessment process
The process where applications are measured against the grant program criteria and a determination is made for recommendation of funding approval.

Audited financial report
A copy of your organisation’s most recent audited financial report.

Capacity building
The term that references the opportunity for organisations to identify training and capability development that will further benefit the aims of the organisation and its ability to successfully deliver its services.

Equipment (non-consumables)
Equipment purchased for use during the project that can continue to be used after the completion of the project. See – What can be funded?

Expected eligible costs, such as construction costs, professional fees, statutory fees and charges, contingency (allow approximately 5-10%), materials and audit costs for the acquittal of projects equal to or more than $20,000.

The way a committee works to inform, direct, manage and monitor the activities of the organisation toward the achievement of its objectives. This includes the committee’s structure and processes.

Expected contributions received including grants, donations, and your organisation’s own financial and in-kind support.

In-kind contribution
The dollar-value of non-cash contributions to a project, e.g. office space, staff time or voluntary labour that would otherwise have needed to be paid for.

Letters of support
Letters of endorsement or commitment to the project received from partners, other community organisations and elected members.

Materials (consumables)
Materials purchased to be used during the project but are used up by the completion of the project.

Notification date
The date of notification of the application outcome.

The term applied to organisations where the constitution states that any profits or surpluses must be used to further the objectives of the organisation rather than benefit an individual or group of individuals.

Organisational development
The term that references the opportunity for organisations to identify training and capability development that will further benefit the governance of the organisation.

Auspice/sponsor organisation
A not-for-profit incorporated organisation that accepts and manages the legal and financial responsibility of the grant on behalf of the unincorporated organisation.

Last updated:22 July 2020