Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Multicultural services in the Geelong area have been strengthened this week with the announcement of a $150k grant to Geelong Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (Diversitat). The cash will be used to expand its reach across the Barwon South-West region. Diversitat – a registered charity whose history reaches back more than 35 years – represents over 45 ethnic groups working with disadvantaged communities from all backgrounds. Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras joined Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos on Wednesday to announce the new funding, as part of the Victorian government’s Peak Multicultural Organisations Grants Program. Mr Kotsiras said that in making the award, the Victorian government “recognises Diversitat’s outstanding service to the Victorian community, delivering a range of much-need settlement, training, education and employment programs within Geelong and surrounding areas”. In 2013-14, the program awarded over $1,450,000 in grants to eleven multicultural organisations across Victoria. Grants from the program support peak multicultural organisations to run their core operations, program development and strategic planning. “This funding will assist Diversitat to build on its achievements over the coming years, particularly to support the diverse range of emerging and established multicultural communities throughout the South-West region,” said Mr Kotsiras. Mr Katos acknowledged the positive contribution that the Geelong Ethnic Communities Council had made to new migrants over many years, and that the state government acknowledged “the enormous contribution that migrants and refugees have made to regional Victoria, and the important role peak multicultural organisations have played in assisting them to settle and participate fully in society”. Minister Kotsiras added that the program was “a compelling example” of how the Victorian government was working to improve the scope and reach of the services being provided to Victoria’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.