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Community at heart of 2024 Love Water Grants


Survivor’s R Us founder Ann-Maria Martin is full of adoration for Hunter Water’s annual Love Water Grants program.

The non-profit organisation was one of 18 recipients to benefit from the initiative in 2024, with more than $125,000 being awarded in its fifth year.

In fact, schools, preschools and community groups throughout the region – including Kurri Kurri, Dungog, Vacy, Rutherford, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Gresford, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Maitland and Raymond Terrace – were successful applicants.

The one-off windfall, valued at up to $10,000, primarily supports water conservation and efficiency projects with an education, environmental or sustainability focus. 

Hunter Water managing director, Darren Cleary with Stephanie Martin and Ann-Maria Martin at Survivor’s R Us in Cardiff.

Survivor’s R Us, which raises awareness of family and domestic violence while working to minimise the effects of abuse, homelessness and unemployment, pocketed $3,500.

It will use the funding to make water-efficient upgrades to its bathroom amenities, restoring the dignity of those using the service.

Ms Martin was thrilled, and grateful, to receive a Love Water Grant.

“We’ve worked with Hunter Water previously at some of our events,” she said.

“So, we are excited to continue our partnership.

“It’s very important that the people who visit us feel safe and welcome.

“By making these upgrades to our bathroom facilities, we will be taking steps to provide dignity and comfort to our community.

“Thanks to the funding, we’ll also be able to install water-efficient appliances that can help us not only save water but also save on our water bill.

“We know the Love Water Grant will make a real difference to the people we support.”

Hunter Water managing director Darren Cleary said the Survivor’s R Us project captured what the program was all about.  

“Supporting our community is at the heart of Hunter Water,” he explained.

“The Survivor’s R Us initiative promises significant water savings and enhanced facility functionality, fostering positive community outcomes.  

“Well done to all of the successful recipients and thank you to all of the applicants.

“We’re proud to support our community as we work together to ensure a sustainable and resilient water future.”

Minister for Water, Housing, and Homelessness Rose Jackson commended the Lower Hunter for its inventive water-saving initiatives. 

“The overwhelming response of 71 applications underscores the local community’s dedication to finding innovative solutions to preserve our most precious resource,” she said.

“In light of the current economic environment, supporting our community is more vital than ever.

“The array of projects – from infrastructure upgrades to community garden initiatives – all contribute to water conservation efforts and will significantly benefit the residents of the region.”

2024 Love Water Grants recipients:

  • Kurri Kurri Men’s Shed: $6,000 (Planter boxes and irrigation)
  • Dungog District Community of Schools: $10,000 (Water surveying education program)
  • Vacy Country Carnival: $8,000 (Water tank and solar pump)
  • Hunter New England Health: $7,600 (Water tank for existing gardens – Yallarwah Place)
  • Rutherford Technology High School: $4,850 (Wicking beds for STEM education program)
  • Survivor’s R Us: $3,500 (Bathroom upgrades, including showers and toilets)
  • Glen William Public School: $9,785 (Water tank and vegetable garden)
  • Canvas Events PR Marketing Co: $9,360 (MeetPats for local events)
  • Cessnock West Public School: $10,00 (Water tanks – part of larger school upgrades)
  • Gresford District Community Group: $7,000 (Water tank and gutter repairs)
  • Cooks Hill Surf Life Saving Club: $2,700 (Replacing old taps at the clubhouse)
  • Merewether Surf Life Saving Club: $5,415 (Water tank for equipment wash down)
  • Fingal Beach Surf Life Saving Club: $4,637 (Replace showerheads, taps and dishwasher)
  • Maitland Community Preschool: $8,700 (Wicking garden beds and Aboriginal mural)
  • RDA Raymond Terrace & Lower Hunter (Riding for the Disabled): $10,000 (Repair stormwater system, such as downpipes)
  • Arcadia Vale Public School: $2,850 (Water tank pump and garden irrigation)
  • Charlestown East Public School P&C Association: $7,560 (Water tank and native garden)
  • Newcastle Rowing Club: $10,000 (Water tank for equipment wash down)

For further details on the Love Water Grants program, visit www.hunterwater.com.au/grants.

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