PORT of Newcastle has announced the launch of this year’s Your Port, Our Community sponsorship program to create a vibrant and thriving port community.

The annual sponsorship program was set up to support local organisations, groups and charities to deliver initiatives or projects that benefit the people who live, work and play in the harbour.

This year, $90,000 will be available to organisations whose projects align with the port’s goal to deliver a positive outcome for the community.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the port and the Newcastle community have a strong connection because of their proximity to each other.

“As a significant employment and economic contributor to the region, we are proud to be able to further support our surrounding community again this year through the Your Port, Our Community sponsorship program,” Mr Carmody said.

“Over the past two years the port has provided close to $170,000 in grants to 24 local organisations for projects that provide social, economic and environmental outcomes for the community of Newcastle and the city’s visitors.

“Last year we saw a record number of applications, with 13 successful local organisations receiving funding for projects ranging from wetlands rehabilitation and family-friendly sustainability events to historical signage and youth development programs.”

Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, a recipient of last year’s grants, used the funding to purchase new life jackets for a program that teaches children how to sail.

Jaqueline Ellis, Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club Sailing Academy manager, said the “Tackers” program welcomes more than 500 children into its courses every year, so the equipment is well used.

“The new lifejackets we purchased with Port of Newcastle’s support will enable us to continue to safely introduce kids to the fun of sailing for many years to come,” she said.

Port of Newcastle’s Your Port, Our Community sponsorship program adds to the $1 million the port provides annually through the Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund.

The Contribution Fund is administered by the New South Wales government.

Applications to this year’s round of funding close at 0500 on Friday 18 November.