Community groups in Victoria were awarded just over a quarter of all grants funded in FY22 (261). More than half of the $4.7M went out via three programs (Future Drought Fund: Networks to Build Drought Resilience; Strengthening Rural Communities; and Tackling Tough Times Together), as grant recipients focused on building community resilience and developing organisational resilience and capacity (41% and 21% respectively of funding awarded).

Support for the 2009 Victorian Bushfires is coming to an end, with the closure of the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) program during FY22, and the final round of GR&W Kinglake to be awarded in FY23. This will mark the end of more than 13 years supporting the recovery of communities and organisations impacted by the fires.



Strengthening Rural Communities | The Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation | $9,000

Cycling without age in Portland

On Gunditjmara Country

On the Southwest coast of Victoria, the residents of Portland and beyond have been enjoying the ‘wind in their hair’ thanks to Cycling Without Age (CWA) Portland and their specialised bikes called trishaws.

CWA created a safe and enjoyable way for elderly people and people living with disabilities to reconnect to their community and fight loneliness and social isolation. The program started in Portland, and CWA wanted to expand the service to other parts of the Glenelg Shire.

In partnership with the local Rotary Club, CWA successfully applied for a $9,000 Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant, funded by the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, to purchase a custom-built trailer.

Thanks to the trailer, CWA has been able to transport the bikes to surrounding areas to spread the joy of weekly rides around the community.

Slide 1: Bruarong Community Centre

GR&W | VBAF | $9,420

Bruarong stories remembered, history displayed

On Waveroo Country

The Bruarong Community Centre in Victoria’s north east is a central meeting space in the region, which was severely affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

The local volunteer committee saw an opportunity arising from bushfire renewal to strengthen community engagement and enhance community engagement and understanding of the area’s history, at the same time as improving the acoustics and appeal of the Centre.

The hard work and enthusiasm of the community and volunteer committee was supported by a $9,750 Grant for Resilience and Wellness, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. They undertook research, collated images and curated objects, documents and stories, then designed interpretative panels explaining the multi-faceted history of the community, strengthening community spirit, creating strong connections and reducing social isolation along the way through several community events.

Slide 2: Wonthaggi Citizens Band

Gardiner Working in Dairy Communities Program | Gardiner Foundation | $5,000

Brass tuition creates a legacy

On Boonwurrung Country

A $5,000 grant through the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants program has left a lasting legacy, in more ways than one.

The Wonthaggi Citizens Band used it to provide subsidised music education using brass instruments to achieve multiple goals. They introduced ten young people to the physical and emotional benefits of music, affording them an opportunity that many in this community, two hours south-west of Melbourne, might otherwise not experience.

Of the participants, eight have continued playing, building strong connections that helped them through COVID lockdowns. In addition, students are more engaged in learning, there are connections across three generations and the community is more resilient.

Perhaps best of all, it proved the effectiveness of this model and the Band is set to work with 20 ‘at risk’ primary school students, using brass band music to re-engage them.

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