With expert advice and strategic networking, Ashfords helped Down’s Community Farm secure the funding it needed to begin restoration of its
Down's Estate Community Project, familiarly known as Down’s Community Farm (DCF),
is a thriving community hub in Seaford, Victoria.
Down’s Community Farm is located within Down’s Estate, the former farm of world-renowned saddler Harry Down, on the traditional lands of the
Bunurong and Boon Wurrung people. These days, it’s owned by Frankston City Council, which has licensed the DCF community group to use the
land for community activities.
The farm is nurtured by a passionate and hardworking group of community members, whose activities are focused on urban agriculture,
community gathering, ecosystem regeneration and food sharing. The group also had a long-term goal of restoring the dilapidated farmhouse on
the property. This was a project that needed more than just grassroots support – it demanded substantial external funding.
A serendipitous meeting
DCF Secretary, Maureen Griffin, first met Ross Raymond, Director of Ashfords Business Advisory, at the opening of the new Frankston Social
“When I met Maureen at the launch of Frankston Social Traders, it was one of the first events post-COVID and they had not been able to do
any work at the farm, there was so much passion to get the project off the ground and something the community desperately needed,” says
When Maureen told Ross about DCF and the farmhouse project, he immediately knew Ashfords had the grant-writing expertise to help the
community group achieve their goals.
“When Ross offered us assistance for grant writing, after I explained our project’s goals, I was absolutely surprised, but extremely
pleased,” says Maureen.
“Finding ways to keep our volunteer organisation running and progressing is an ongoing challenge. Seeking grants is one way to do this, but
you need to put in competitive submissions.”
Making connections that count
Ross connected Maureen with Simone Goudie, Ashfords Grants and Funding Advisor. Maureen and Simone put their heads together, ably assisted
by Bernd Neubauer from Ashfords’ Mergers & Acquisitions team, to identify all potential funding sources.
With Simone and Bernd’s support, Maureen and the DCF Committee of Management put together a submission for the $200,000 Living Local
Suburban Grant in August 2022.
As the committee awaited the grant outcome, Ashfords also helped DCF make important local connections. We introduced Maureen as a
representative of Down’s Community Farm to Frankston Business Collective (FBC),
strong supporters of community projects and charities. They gifted the DCF committee a 12-month membership, allowing Maureen and other
committee members to attend events including:
- FBC Women in Business
- FBC Cyber Security Education
- FBC Networking Nights
- FBC Grant education session.
Over the last 12 months, the philanthropic relationship between Ashfords and DCF has been a productive one. Along with providing
grant-writing assistance, we have supported the DCF committee with accounting and financial advice, enabling them to focus on what they do
best – foster community connection.
“Having Ashfords assist us in this way as well as offering financial advice as we work on our future plans is a real asset and we are very
appreciative of this support,” says Maureen.
The committee says:
“Over the past 12 months Simone, as our liaison with Ashfords, has been very responsive and helpful in all our communications. Our
participation in the Frankston Business Collective has given us many relevant learning opportunities and a productive way to engage with our
local business community. Many thanks to Simone and Ashfords!”
The next chapter of Down’s Community Farm
The future is looking bright for DCF. We were delighted to hear recently that DCF’s Living Local Suburban Grant submission was successful.
While the $200,000 isn’t enough to complete the restoration, the money will be used to build an appropriate modular structure to provide a
shelter, respite and skill-sharing space for members, volunteers and visitors.
“I was so excited to learn Maureen and DCF had received two hundred thousand dollars in funding support,” says Ross.
“Projects like these are vital and the heartbeat in building healthy local community groups that bring people together, particularly after
COVID where people were desperate to get back to some normality in life, I think this project has done just that.”
“It’s a great example of collaboration providing significant outcomes for our community and local business. A chance meeting led to
connections forming valuable relationships that has made a massive impact – that’s the real purpose and meaning of what we do.”
The farm’s new website will launch this August, and the committee is currently focusing on their next project – the Market Garden.
“Our vision for the Market Garden is a place that provides skills development and training for young people in urban agriculture through
producing food on a commercial scale, whilst increasing availability to the community and local business of fresh, locally grown food,“ says
the DCF committee.
Ashfords is proud to have helped Down’s Community Farm achieve such positive momentum. If your organisation needs assistance in achieving
your goals, please get in touch with us online or call us on (03)