Victorian dairy communities share $100,000 in grants to build stronger local communities

Media releases: 6 July 2017

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced that 24 recipients will share $100,000 from the 2017 Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program.

The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for projects that aim to strengthen Victorian dairy communities, build their capacity to deal with local issues, and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mary Harney, has outlined that the dairy industry is a fundamental component of Australia’s economy and hence support of the communities in which it operates is integral.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been a proud supporter of the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program for the past 15 years and looks forward to seeing the numerous grass-roots community driven projects being implemented across Victorian dairying regions,” said Ms Harney.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said small grants play an important role in rural and regional Australia and FRRR is pleased to be supporting the Victorian dairy communities, particularly in light of the current industry challenges. Rural and regional communities experience many gaps in local support services and infrastructure. A small grant helps to address local issues and enable community groups to implement local solutions to local problems.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s support of communities through this program ensures the locals have control over what their community needs, and at the moment, this level of control in dairy regions is particularly important.

“The most common types of projects that funding was requested for were infrastructure, equipment and furnishings, and we saw an increase in the number of projects focusing on mental health and wellbeing, which is quite telling of the levels of stress still being experienced by farming communities,” said Ms Egleton.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s investment of $100,000 is widely and evenly distributed across Victoria’s three principal dairying regions. Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.6 million in this program, having supported a total of 418 community projects.

Details of the projects they are undertaking are available below.






Airly/Clydebank Public Hall Inc.

Need To Use The Loo
Installation of an accessible toilet at the Airly/Clydebank Hall, enabling all members of the community to participate in local events and activities.



Dymocks Children’s Charities Limited

Library Regeneration for Loch Primary School
Replace and upgrade the inadequate Loch Primary School library, improving educational outcomes for children attending this small school.



Farmers for Climate Action Ltd

Climate Change, Cows and Creating Change: A Workshop

Two-day climate leadership workshop for Gippsland dairy farmers, supporting participants and the wider industry to adapt and mitigate against the impacts of changing climate patterns.



Grow Lightly Connect Ltd

Growing Together

Undertake rigorous market research and a business planning project to enable Grow Lightly Connect to extend its operations in a sustainable manner, benefiting customers, growers and the local agricultural sector.



Manna Gum Community House Inc.

Foster Community Energy Project

Installing renewable energy infrastructure on two community facilities in Foster, reducing overheads and contributing to the long-term viability of the participating organisations.



Meeniyan Pre-School Inc.

Bad Weather Gone Forever!

Upgrading the pre-school facility to include an all-weather outdoor play area, ensuring children have access to fresh air and an active play space all year round.



Poowong Public Hall Inc.

Washing Away the Work

Installation of a commercial dishwasher, reducing volunteer labour and improving facilities at the public hall.



Tinamba Public Hall Inc.

Tinamba Community Meeting Room

Purchasing chairs, tables and other equipment, to enable this new community facility to be used for community meetings and other functions.








Bendigo Diocesan Trust Corporation – Anglican Parish of Cohuna

Men’s Breakfasts

Deliver six men’s breakfasts to improve health and social outcomes for local men.



Community Leadership Loddon Murray Inc (Central Victorian Rural Women’s Network)

Relief from Dairying

A day of personal and professional development activities for women who work in or are connected to the dairy industry, to improve health and well-being outcomes for this community.



Leitchville & District Progress Association Inc.

Let’s Mow

Purchase a mower to maintain the town’s environment at a high standard, while generating local pride and attracting visitors.



Merrigum Memorial Hall Reserve

Stop the Echoes and the Rubbish from Above

Replace a disintegrating ceiling and install acoustic panels at the Merrigum Public Hall, to ensure it remains accessible to the community as a fit for purpose facility.



Murrabit Advancement Assoc Inc.

Eating Places, Talking Spaces!

Construct an undercover eating area at the Murrabit Market, increasing the amenity of this public space and enhancing the visitor experience to this important long-running community event.



Tatura Children’s Centre Inc.

Community and Family Engagement for Our Children

Purchase new equipment, tables and chairs, to create new opportunities for activities to link the children with the wider community.



Tatura Civic Halls Committee Inc.

Keeping Our Community Comfortable in Tough Dairying Times

Install split system air conditioners, improving the amenity and comfort of two regularly used public spaces.



Whorouly Memorial Park Committee (Wangaratta Rural City Council)

Connected Communities Build Strong Communities

Install age-appropriate play equipment, improving the health and well-being of young children, their families and carers.








Anam Cara House Colac Inc.

Our Greenfields Project

Purchase a ride-on mower to better enable volunteers to efficiently maintain the grounds at Anam Cara hospice.



Basalt to Bay Landcare Network

Growing Shade and Shelter For Dairy Properties

Develop and distribute a short guide to shelterbelts, enabling farmers to adapt to changing climate patterns and build more resilient businesses, as well as supporting the long term survival of threatened native fauna.



Camperdown and District Community House

Strengthening Community Engagement

Develop a website and social media page, increasing communication and community engagement in activities and initiatives delivered at the Community House. 



Camperdown Playgroup

Tumbling Tots

Purchase indoor play equipment encouraging active play and contributing to better health and development outcomes for participating children and their carers.



Coragulac & District Kindergarten Inc.

Sheltering Our Children for a Bright and Happy Future

Constructing an undercover veranda at the rear of the kinder, providing additional outdoor space appropriate for children on days of inclement weather.



Friends of St Brigid’s Assoc.

Rejuvenating Our Circa 1878 Historic Supper Room Building

Rejuvenating the St Brigid’s Supper Room to improve the amenity of this community-owned venue, as well as the user-experience and ultimately increase local connectivity and engagement.



Simpson & District Community Centre Inc.

Helping Our Kids Cope

Deliver two fun days for children and associated workshops for parents, to improve the health and well-being of families affected by, and recovering from, the dairy crisis.



WestVic Dairy Inc.

Dairy Farming Ladies Luncheon

Deliver a luncheon for local women involved in the dairy industry, enabling them to relax, reflect, rejuvenate and focus on mental health.