Last updated: 16 Sep, 2020

Victoria spoke, we listened: new VicHealth funding responds to latest health needs

Local organisations are being invited to apply for up to $2.5m in grants to support the physical and mental health of Victorians, as a new survey shows the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on the community.


The Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) surveyed 2,000 Victorians about their health and mental wellbeing during the first lockdown and found:

  • Almost 1 in 4 Victorians didn’t feel socially connected to others, up from 1 in 10 before the pandemic in February 2020
  • 1 in 6 were worried about being able to afford to put food on the table, up from 1 in 11 in February 2020
  • 2 in 5 were less physically active in the first lockdown than they were in February 2020.

In response to the survey findings, VicHealth is announcing up to $2.5 million in Reimagining Health grants to support Victorians to create meaningful social connections, get active while staying safe from coronavirus, and access healthy, affordable food. 


VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s vital that we work quickly to support Victorians to achieve better health and wellbeing.  


“During the first lockdown, we asked Victorians about their physical health and mental wellbeing to really understand how the pandemic is affecting them,” Dr Demaio said.


“Many Victorians were already fighting an uphill battle before the pandemic hit, but now they are facing even greater challenges when it comes to putting healthy food on the table, keeping active and staying connected to others in their community – a precursor for mental wellbeing.


“These grants have been designed to give local organisations the support they need to continue making a difference to the health of their communities, as soon as possible.


Dr Demaio said local organisations, such as sports clubs and leagues, arts organisations, community gardens and theatre and community groups, were key to the coronavirus recovery.


“Our grants will help support Victorians facing the greatest health challenges, such as young people and families on low incomes” he said.


“These grants complement other funding offered by state and federal governments to help support people through this challenging time.”


The VicHealth Coronavirus Victorian Wellbeing Impact Study also found:

  • 1 in 3 Victorians ate takeaway food less often, while a similar number cooked dinner more often
  • Of those cooking more, almost 1 in 2 did so to save money
  • Of the 2 in 5 Victorians who exercised less,1 in 3 didn’t have regular access to a space to exercise at home
  • 1 in 4 Victorians were physically inactive (exercising on 0 or 1 days a week) 
  • Staying connected to others during the first lockdown was most difficult for: 
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Victorians (1 in 2)
  • Young Victorians aged 18-24 (4 in 10)
  • Victorians who speak a language other than English at home (4 in 10)
  • Victorians eligible forJobKeeper (4 in 10) orJobSeeker (4 in 10).


A summary of the key findings is available here.


About the VicHealth Coronavirus Victorian Wellbeing Impact Study:


During the first coronavirus lockdown of 2020, VicHealth surveyed 2,000 Victorians to explore how their health and wellbeing was affected. This survey covers general wellbeing, social connection, healthy eating and physical activity according to age, gender, income, location and community.


For social connection tips, read this VicHealth blog post on why we must keep our physical distance but stay socially

Applications for VicHealth’s Reimagining Health grants open today, with $3K, $10K or $50K grants available.


The grants will support new or existing ideas and help amplify projects already in place, in order to reach more members of the Victorian community and help them improve their health and wellbeing on the collective path to recovery. 


VicHealth has made it easier to apply and successful applicants will be notified in a short timeframe, so they can get to work fast. Local organisations are encouraged to apply for the grants through the VicHealth website as soon as possible for the opportunity to be funded early. 


For further information or to apply, visit Applications close 11.59pm Tuesday 27 October 2020.

Media enquires

VicHealth – Shannon Crane 0432 157 270 [email protected]