Grants support ongoing recovery of communities affected by Black Saturday

Media releases: 12 July 2018

Bendigo, 12 July 2018: Thirty community groups impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires have received grants to support the ongoing local needs that continue to emerge.

Thanks to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), these community groups will share in $341,438 across two grant programs to implement their locally-led projects.

Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) will fund 19 community groups, distributing $244,667 for 21 local projects. To date, the GR&W program has now funded 173 projects and distributed over $2 million.

Community Group Futures (CGF) will distribute $96,771 across 10 community groups. To date, CGF has now funded 34 projects, valued at $382,775.

It’s been nine years since Australia saw the highest-ever loss from a bushfire. More than one million acres of land were decimated: lives changed forever, and the aftermath continues to be felt in families and communities affected by the fires.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, explains that despite the time that’s passed, the recovery is ongoing.

“Grants from the VBAF were first distributed in 2010. Rebuilding a community does not happen overnight, it takes time. This is why we continue to provide support to the communities impacted by fires, nearly a decade on. Both these programs are flexible and designed to meet the evolving needs of the fire-affected communities.”

In the latest round of the GR&W program, the majority of applications FRRR received were for projects focused on strengthening community connectedness and enhancing local community identity and sense of place.

For example, Firefoxes Australia have received $15,620 for their Murrindindi Women’s Forum and Women’s Health and Wellbeing Expo to employ an events co-ordinator. This will help relieve fatigued volunteers, as well as support catering, venue hire and transport. These events have proven important in connecting women from across the Shire and tackling the challenges of isolation, thereby helping to deal with the mental health issues that have arisen due to the devastation of 2009.

Earlier this year Community Group Futures was awarded an additional $338,237 from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund Panel, bringing the total funds for this program to $898,237. Its aim is to ensure there are strong, sustainable and focused local community organisations and leaders that can support their communities and the activities they wish to engage in.

Projects such as the Toolangi Castella District Community House – C J Dennis Hall project – will use a $2,240 grant to support the creation of processes and procedures and to increase their capacity and readiness to assume the management of the local community hall. The C J Dennis Hall continues to be an asset to the Toolangi community, serving as a meeting place that encourages community connectedness, and in the event of future disaster events, as a place of refuge.

Ms Egleton noted that there is still funding available for communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires with the next GR&W and CGF grant rounds opening on 6 August 2018.

“As the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires occurs in February 2019, any community organisations in the impacted areas that wish to hold commemorative activities should apply in the next round of GR&W, which will open on 6 August.”

The projects funded in this round are listed below.  GR&W Program | Community Group Futures Program

Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Round 13 recipients




Alexandra Indoor Heated Pool Inc.

Alexandra Indoor Heated Pool
Support health and wellbeing through access to swim classes, hydrotherapy and aqua aerobics by constructing an indoor heated pool for the local community.


More Murals
Alexandra Primary School

Alexandra’s Beasties
Improve connection to place, the natural environment, and engagement in cultural activities, through delivery of youth focused community mural project.


Boolarra South Landcare Group

Mechanical Weed Control for Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Boost access to the local environment and management of noxious weeds through the purchase of a Billy Goat mulcher to support local volunteer to maintain public areas and walking trails at the historic Boolarra Mill site.


Chapter Seven Ltd.

Fun Mudder Project Planning and Delivery
Develop work ready skills and experience for local disengaged youth, through participation in a program of activities that will contribute to the delivery of a major community tourism event, Fun Mudder.


Clonbinane Community Action Group

Paving the Road to Resilience
Improve access and additional space for community activities, through sealing of uneven carpark at Clonbinane Hall.


Coleraine & District Development Association Inc.

Toolang Walk
Increase safety and amenity for the local community and visitors to the area who access the area for wellbeing activities by repairing local walking track.



Stem Makerspace
Reduce barriers to educational opportunities and support engagement with science and technology for primary school aged students, by creating a “STEM makerspace” at Ellimatta Youth Service.


Firefoxes Australia

Women of Murrindindi
Support the recovery of women in Murrindindi Shire with community events and activities through the employment of an event coordinator and funding event costs.


Flowerdale Community House

And So, We Sew!
Build social connections and practical skill development by purchasing sewing machines and equipment enabling the delivery of low cost sewing classes.


Foggy Mountain Inc.

Foggy Mountain Music Project
Increase sense of place and connectedness for local children, through participation in song writing about community and performance at local festival.


Freedom Care Inc.

Project Squirrel II
Improve access to stock for clients and volunteers at local food relief service by purchasing and installing shelving.


Healesville Interchurch Community Care Incorporated

A bus of new beginnings – HICCI Community Bus Project
Increase capacity and safety of the volunteer transport service for disadvantaged residents in Healesville and Yarra Glen through the purchase of a bus.


Kilmore District Men’s Shed

General And Disabled Toilet Facilities
Support accessibility for all community members by adding an accessible toilet block at the site of the new Kilmore Men’s Shed.


Men’s Shed at St Andrews Inc.

Safeguarding the health of members

Protect the health and safety of all users and remove barriers to participation for members of the community with health concerns with the installation of dust and fume extraction systems at the Men’s Shed at St Andrews.


Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre Inc.

Kitchen Upgrade
Ensure Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre availability for community activities, courses and initiatives with the renewal of the kitchen floor to meet OH&S requirements.


Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges

Kinglake Ranges Community Stadium Project
Increase capacity to deliver large locally driven community activities and events through purchase of floor covering, heating and lighting to enable use of basketball stadium.


St Matthew’s Church
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc.

The People’s Pantry Long Gully
Increase food security and social connections in the disadvantaged and fire affected community of Long Gully by purchasing storage and support for start-up costs for the cooperative food share program.


St Andrews Community Centre Inc.

St Andrews Recovery and Community Building
Drive participation in community events and activities, through delivery of special interest classes, community meals and events at St Andrews Community Centre.


Toolangi Castella District Community House Inc.

Upgrade of Maternal Health rooms
Provide additional space for community activities and initiatives with upgrade of disused community building.


Traralgon South and District Association

Community access to defibrillators
Increase perception of safety and access to life saving equipment, through installation of Automated External Defibrillator at Traralgon South.


Traralgon South and District Association

Traralgon South and Callignee Youth Group – “Place to be Me”
Support local youth in small community to remain connected, through the provision of subsidised social activities.


Community Group Futures (CGF) Round 6 recipients




Bushfire Education Foundation Inc.

Bushfire Education Centre and Museum Project Officer
Support local volunteers to establish feasibility and support the development of a National Bushfire Museum, Education and Research Centre in Marysville through the engagement of a Project Officer.


Firefoxes Australia

Firefoxes Future Focused (FFF)
Increase individual board member and organisational capacity and enhanced direction, through the facilitation of training and planning workshops for the Board of Firefoxes Australia.


Healesville Community Renewable Energy Inc.

Strategic Planning and Implementation Support for Healesville CoRE
Support more sustainable living for the Healesville community through the development of a strategic plan to guide renewable energy strategies.


Healesville Toastmasters Club Inc.

Good Governance in Healesville
Improve skills and capacity for grass root Committees, through the delivery of governance training to 10 community groups in Healesville.


Mitchell Shire Concert Band

Reduce energy costs and increase the viability of an entity that supports community events and fundraising opportunities with the installation of solar panels for the Mitchell Shire Concert Band Hall.


Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre

Myrtleford – Building Sustainable Community Futures
Strengthen planning and direction for Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre through the engagement of external support to lead strategic planning and a review of management systems.


Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges

Communications and Innovation
Build capacity for volunteers supporting the initiatives of the Rotary Club of Kinglake, through the purchase of a computer and iPad.


Taggerty Community Progress Group Inc.

Setting up training on a Financial System for CH@T
Improve capacity to support the establishment of the Community Hub @ Taggerty (Neighbourhood House) through the purchase of accounting software and the engagement of professional training and implementation support.


Toolangi Castella District Community House Inc.

C J Dennis Hall
Increase the capacity of the Toolangi District Community House to assume management of the local community Hall by creating processes and procedures, and clean-up of storage areas.


Whittlesea Showgrounds & Recreation Reserves Committee of Management

Strategic Plan Development and Implementation
Create direction and support for volunteer Committee of Management to manage the Whittlesea reserve facility for the use of the wider community through the development of a Strategic Plan.