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Community Meals Subsidy Program

Through this program, we're partnering with community organisations to promote more opportunities for social connection for older people.

Three older women stand together in a kitchen in front of two trays of cooked food. The woman on the far left is serving up a plate of food one of the trays. The woman in the middle also holds a plate of food.

Applications are currently open.

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About the program

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Council Plan 2021–25 describes the community’s long-term vision for Melbourne. Through the Community Grants and Partnerships Framework, the Community Meals Subsidy Program provides funding and support to not-for-profit organisations that deliver outcomes aligned to the Council Plan 2021-25 and the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan, including:

  • opportunities for social cohesion and connection
  • wellbeing programs and events
  • access to nutritious, safe, fair and culturally appropriate food
  • safe and independent living.

Getting together to share a meal contributes to wellbeing, friendships and builds stronger communities. Food encourages attendance and participation in programs. It removes barriers, helps build trust and can be an introduction to other cultures. Bonds and social connections between individuals and communities are strengthened and can lead program participants to connect with other support programs.  

Melbourne: A Great Place to Age 2020-24, a strategic plan to guide our work aims to deliver four outcomes for older people in Melbourne.

  • Respect: Older people are celebrated, valued and respected for their unique life experiences.
  • Safety: Older people live in safe and accessible homes and communities.
  • Connection: Older people are welcomed and connected with their community.
  • Support: Older people have access to quality services and supports.

The Community Meals Subsidy Program contributes to Action 12 in the strategic plan: “Provide support to community organisations to promote more opportunities for social connection for older people”.

The program aims to:

  • Strengthen the community’s capacity to address loneliness and social isolation and support access to affordable meals, recreation, activities and other community services for older people. 
  • Encourage older people to participate in activities that improve their health, wellbeing, social connections and celebrate cultural diversity.
  • Encourage opportunities for community volunteers to develop skills, self-confidence, and sense of community.
  • Partner with community organisations and groups offering a range of services and activities for older people. 
  • Encourage community organisations to welcome new participants by encouraging inclusive practices and policies that foster a safe and welcoming environment.
  • Contribute to food security for everyone, especially the most vulnerable and enable older people to enjoy a community meal in the company of friends.

Subsidy funding level

A subsidy of $6.00 per meal is available, with the funding level based on the average number of participants at a usual group meeting, up to a maximum of 140 participants per session.​​


Applications for community meals taking place in 2025 open at 9am Monday 1 July 2024 and close at 5pm Saturday 31 August 2024.​


To be eligible to apply for a community meals subsidy, an organisation must:

  • be a not-for-profit community organisation, incorporated association or similar type of entity
  • offer the community meal within the City of Melbourne municipality, or have a minimum of eighty per cent of the participants residing in the City of Melbourne municipality if the program is located outside of the municipal boundaries (please see attached map in guidelines). 
  • have a majority participants in the proposed community meals program aged 55 and over 
  • maintain public liability insurance of no less than $10 million on terms accepted by Council and provide a certificate of currency of insurance 
  • have complied with previous funding and grants or subsidies including acquittal, have no outstanding acquittal reports or debts to the City of Melbourne and have a good reputation.​

Public health – flexible delivery arrangements

The City of Melbourne recognises that public health pressures including extreme heat, influenza, COVID-19 and other conditions present a range of specific risks for older people.

These challenges can lead to difficulty with planning and delivering activities and meals, while adhering to health advice and prioritising community safety.

The 2025 community meal subsidy will continue to accommodate flexibility to adapt to changing community circumstances.

If face to face group meal sessions cannot be delivered, alternative program delivery options can be considered (see guidelines for more information).

How to apply

Apply online using SmartyGrantsOpens in new tab. Please read the guidelines below before you apply.

​If you are unable to complete the application form online due to access issues or you have difficulty using technology, please contact us at and we will discuss how we can assist you to complete it.

Download the guidelines

Previous grant recipients

our acknowledgement

  • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • Aboriginal People Flag

The City of Melbourne respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we govern, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past and present. 


We acknowledge and honour the unbroken spiritual, cultural and political connection they have maintained to this unique place for more than 2000 generations.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and are committed to walking together to build a better future.