Project Robin Hood

What is Project Robin Hood?

Project Robin Hood is a participatory budgeting program that provides a total funding pool of $100,000 ($20,000 per project) for community ideas, projects or events that bring people together and build better neighbourhoods. 

If you have ever had a great idea to make your community more vibrant, safe and connected, Project Robin Hood can help make it happen by providing funding, support and connecting you with like-minded individuals.

So how does it work? You need to spread the word and bring together a team of people who can help you bring your idea to life. You can do that by speaking to friends, family and people in the community. The City can help too by providing a place for you to share ideas, suggestions and comments and connect with others who share your passion.

Once you’ve developed your idea, you will need to is pitch it to the community who will then vote on what projects they would like to see happen. If you are successful, then it’s time to work together to make your idea into reality with the City supporting you every step of the way.

Project Robin Hood rounds happen every two years. The last round was in 2019 and the next round will be in 2021. Register your interest in future rounds on our Project Robin Hood page on Melville Talks and we will let you know when it's happening next.

Project Robin Hood IV - Recipients announced

The votes are in and eight community projects have received a share of more than $120,000 through the City’s fourth round of Project Robin Hood. Visit Melville Talks to find out more about the successful projects and to keep up to date as they progress! 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

How do I get involved?

Get together with your neighbours, community group or other businesses in your area and brainstorm ideas for local projects, such as a community verge garden, seating and event or activity or even a wall mural. Why not book the free Friendly Neighbourhood BBQ Trailer and make an afternoon of it? 

Can I submit more than one application for different projects?

Yes! You can submit as many applications as you, your business or your community group like, BUT only the most popular project (most votes) per group, individual or business will be funded. Remember you only have 12 months to start your project, so one per year is a great start!

For example: if a community group (local residents in a street), submit four applications, one for a water fountain, one for a community garden, one for a park bench and one for a portable library in the park, and the portable library in the park gets the most votes, this will be the project that is funded by Project Robin Hood for this round.

We’ve got a great idea but it may be a bit too big, what should we do?

Easy, just start small! Break the project into steps and set your targets for half or a quarter of whatever your ideal might be. Then apply for funds accordingly.

You’ll be amazed at what can happen once you get started. People show up out of nowhere to help. Someone will have exactly what you need lying unused in their garage and they’ll be delighted to give it to you.

One Project Robin Hood group generated so much momentum in the planning of thei idea that they didn't even need community funding at all.

I love the idea but I can’t think of what to apply for. Can you help?

We sure can. Just visit the Project Robin Hood page on Melville Talks, closer to the date when Project Robin Hood V is due to open, and you will be able to see what other people are thinking and drop a pin on the spot where you think a Robin Hood project should happen. We can also put you in touch with previous grant recipients and you can have a chat to one of them.

What is my role?

You are a citizen and the ‘creator’ of the project. Your role, along with members of your group is:

  1. Devising project ideas
  2. Identifying people in the community to work with
  3. Costing the project and making sure you include everything – e.g. tradespeople, ongoing maintenance, a launch or celebration of your project
  4. Putting the application together
  5. Applying for Project Robin Hood funding
  6. Encouraging people to vote for the project!

If/when your project gets funded:

  • Working out what needs to be done, when, how and who will do what - remember – it’s your community project
  • Spending Project Robin Hood money responsibly
  • Encouraging others to get involved and donate time, money or supplies
  • Managing the project, problem solving
  • Involving and communicating with the community
  • Liaising with the City (if building on public land) to make sure infrastructure’s not damaged
  • Completing the project
  • Celebrating when you are finished
  • Sharing successes!
  • Maintaining the asset/structure into the future
What is the role of the City of Melville?

The City of Melville is the ‘facilitator’. Their role is:

  • Administering the voting process
  • Engaging with the wider community and encouraging them to enter or vote for their favourite projects
  • Facilitating project funding
  • Finding ways to say “yes” to the spirit of your project
  • Providing an Ombeardsman to each Robin Hood project. Ombeardsmen will be points of contact and people to bounce ideas off. Ombeardsmen will encourage the groups if required, but will not be directly involved in managing or completing Robin Hood projects
  • Helping with location of underground infrastructure if required
  • Helping groups keep things “safe and legal”
  • Helping unfunded groups find other sources of funding
  • Facilitating contact between groups
Will all submitted applications appear on the website for public voting?

All submissions are considered at a roundtable meeting before the public voting stage, and is made up of relevant City of Melville staff. If your project is in keeping with the ethos of Project Robin Hood and ticks these boxes: Is it safe, legal and in the spirit of the project?, then YES your project will be put up for public voting. If we need to contact you for more information or clarity, we will do this prior to the project going up for the community vote.

How do we submit an application?

You will need to complete a Submissions Template which is an online form on Melville Talks. Don't worry, it doesn't need to be fancy and it's very easy. Basically we just ask for a brief description of the project and a simple budget. The description is your sales pitch and is what the people will see when they vote, so it's important to get it right. We'll have lots of tips and tools about how to write your pitch on the submissions page, and City of Melville staff are more than happy to help.

How do we vote?

Voting is open to residents, school communities, not for profit agencies, community groups and business owners in the City of Melville.

Register on Melville Talks and you’ll be ready when voting opens. We will require your email address, but we promise we won’t spam you and you can unsubscribe when the project is over if you like. It will be one vote per email address. We encourage young people to vote too! So get the whole family involved. 

Due to the Budget Allocator being an online tool, we do not have any paper voting slips but one of our friendly libraries would be more than happy to help you access the site so you can still vote.

What happens if our project is successful?
  1. You will be contacted by the City of Melville in writing advising of your success. This letter will also include a simple contract.   

  2. You have 12 months to start the project. You will also be assigned an ‘Ombeardsman’ (a City of Melville staff member, who is your contact for your project if you require any technical advice or have a question).

What happens if our project is unsuccessful?

If your group is still keen to pursue the project, contact us and we can provide information about other funding sources.

We’ve run into a problem. Can someone at the City help us fix it?

We can sometimes offer limited technical advice but it’s far better if you think of ways to use (or expand) your own networks to solve the problem.

Let’s say you’re having trouble with your community garden. Maybe there’s someone else nearby who’s worked in a community project like yours before? Could you approach the local Men’s Shed or a nearby carpenter for offcuts to use as stakes? Is there an internet forum you could join? Maybe you could ask someone at the local nursery about how to get rid of cabbage moths?  Questions like that will win the day for your garden and they’ll build the long-lasting, deep-rooted connections that make a community strong.

We also strongly suggest you factor in a 5 year maintenance budget in your application. Say your picnic bench needs re-varnishing every six months, or your nature play needs re-mulching and re-planting, allow for this over a five year period.

What happens if our Project Robin Hood garden dies or our community gazebo is vandalised?

What would happen if the garden or gazebo were in your backyard? You’d make a decision about whether to replant the garden or repair the gazebo. You’d find your own funds and you’d press on. If you decided not to go ahead you’d simply pull out the dead plants or pull down the gazebo so it was safe. You wouldn’t call the City!

But maybe the setback is just the challenge you need? One of the most inspiring moments of 2013 was watching a group bounce back from the theft of thousands of dollars’ worth of crucial supplies. These folks asked themselves questions like: “How can we turn this around? How can we use this incident?” and almost all of the stolen goods were replaced in no time. They can be just as proud of their resilience as they are of their finished project.

We’re halfway through and we’ve run out of money/supplies. Can the City give us more? It’s for a good cause.

The real goal of Project Robin Hood is stronger communities. In the same way that lifting weights for your friend in the gym would not make your friend stronger, the City undermines community spirit if it puts money into every idea that needs help.

It’s good to think about it this way; “What can we do to make the idea work? Are there some local businesses that can help? What about we hold our own small fundraising event? Are there ways we can obtain our supplies cheaper?” You’ll be amazed at how effective these simple questions are.

What happens if we don’t spend all the funds at the end of the project?

Easy, just give back what’s left and we will put it in the pool for the next round of Project Robin Hood.

What happens if we don’t finish our project within 24 months?

Groups have two years (24 months) to finish their projects. We know you are all volunteers and have busy lives so if you’re finding it challenging to make sure your project is finished in time, just give your Ombeardsmen (technical advisor who will be allocated to your project) to talk about your options. We can always work it out.

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