A boost for community-driven efforts to refurbish Broomehill Village’s historic Imperial Hotel was among the more than $500,000 of grants awarded to Great Southern projects last week. Round five of the State Government’s Regional Economic Development Grants has seen $564,000 of funding allocated as five grants were announced on Friday. Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced two Albany-based projects, a Denmark business, one Katanning-based program and a Broomhill Village revitalisation project would share $564,000 in funding from round five of the RED grants. In one of her final ministerial announcements ahead of her retirement, Ms MacTiernan congratulated the grant recipients working to drive economic development. “To stimulate regional economic development, the best thing we can do is to work with local business, entrepreneurs and other social business enterprises to really give them an opportunity to scale up,” she said. “This has turned out to be a very successful program in achieving that.” The Broomehill Village Cooperative was awarded $151,000 towards its efforts to refurbish the town’s historic Imperial Hotel, which it took ownership of earlier this year. Cooperative chair Scott Thompson said the community made a decision to do something about the hotel after the previous owner closed its doors in May 2019. He said the cooperative of “about 75 members” were mostly from the Broomehill community, but others from outside the community had also joined. “We’ve just been sitting there waiting and this is certainly going to be the kicker that’s going to start the project,” he said. “This is predominantly going to go to the start of the accommodation and mainly the kitchen because — whether you like it or not — there is going to be a pub there. “It’s going to be very much needed and we’re very appreciative, so thank you very much.” The McGovern Foundation received $50,250 to help run its Wanderer Program in Katanning, which provides practical support to young Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders by helping them get a driver’s licence. McGovern Foundation’s Angela Murphy said the program delivered “stealth mentoring” while doing the 50 log book hours required to earn P-Plates. “If you can’t afford a normal driving school, and the cost of getting ID and your learning permit, we will cover all those things,” she said. “Hopefully we can make a big impact in Katanning and the surrounding region.” Family-owned King River business Direct Seeding and Harvesting Equipment received $150,000 to further bolster its in-house manufacturing capabilities through the purchase of a laser cutting machine. After being named business person of the year at the Great Southern Business Awards in October, Direct Seeding managing director Stewart Mactaggart told the Advertiser his company had made a concerted effort to improve its manufacturing capabilities. Direct Seeding’s Will Mahoney, who accepted the grant on behalf of Mr Mactaggart, said the company had been able to grow significantly over the past two years. “We’ve just established a second site so that we have separate fabrication and a separate assembly warehouse site,” he said. Denmark civil construction company MCC Contractors was awarded $149,000 to expand its facilities, which will enable it to compete for bigger tenders. Jaycees Community Foundation was awarded $64,250, which will allow the Australian Wildflower Gardens amphitheatre at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station to be upgraded.