Grants to address the tough topics facing rural and regional youth

Media releases: 22 August 2018

More than $154,000 shared across 20 community groups

Rural youth in communities across Australia will be implementing home-grown projects to address some of the biggest issues facing young Australians, thanks to grants from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants will help 20 communities pilot ideas that were developed at the 20th ABC Heywire Regional Youth Summit in February 2018. The Heywire program helps young people use their lived experience to generate meaningful and impactful change in regional communities.

The 2018 projects tackle issues ranging from mental health and drug prevention, to youth disengagement and learning about healthy relationships, celebrating Indigenous culture, connecting new Australians to agricultural careers and aligning medical professionals with their communities.

The communities benefiting from the grants are spread right across Australia, from Alice Springs NT, to Riverside TAS, Theodore QLD, Victor Harbour SA, Orange NSW, Albany WA and Foster VIC.

Heywirer Hamish Austin, from Manjimup in WA, was part of the team that develop the ‘Yeah The Boys’ idea, aimed at keeping boys aged 12-18 away from drugs. Hamish explained that he has seen what drugs can do to a regional town.

“They seized $250,000 worth of methamphetamine and this has made my home seem like the most terrible place in Australia. I’ve seen good friends go from loving school to coming to school about once a week. Yeah The Boys needs to happen because I want to live in a town where my family and friends feel safe,” said Mr Austin.

Three grants are being made to enable communities in WA, SA and TAS to adopt the Yeah the Boys idea and run programs to engage young men.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants enable young people to work with community groups to tackle real, and at times confronting, issues that are impacting their local area.  

“The Summit provides a platform for young people to come together from every corner of the country, talk about the issues that matter to them and then workshop solutions. These grants then enable local leaders to work with local youth to implement these solutions in a way that will resonate in their communities,” Ms Egleton said.

“With Australian youth developing the ideas and local youth being supported to lead the implementation, the grant recipients have a fantastic opportunity to make a real and lasting difference. This is the sixth year that we have seed-funded projects with FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants and I am thrilled to say that there are a number of projects still going strong, and continuing to have an impact.”

The grants are possible thanks to support from the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities; The Sally Foundation; Findex Community Fund; the Myer Foundation; and several private donors.

Patrick Myer, a donor and Director of FRRR, has been involved in the Heywire program since 2014 and has attended several of the Heywire Summits held in Canberra. Mr Myer explains that the Heywire Summit brings together incredibly engaged young people from Australia’s rural and regional communities and it is great to see people passionate about telling their story, making it in the bush and maintaining that connection with their home towns even if they go to city.

“Philanthropy can take risks that aren’t governed by commercial considerations. Heywire is a genuine investment in the future of people in those areas, these people are Australia’s future leaders. As a donor, you know that your funding will go toward initiatives that support our future leaders,” said Mr Myer.

Below is the full list of grant recipients.

Bridging Agriculture
Australian Migrant Resource CentreEncourage career opportunities in the agricultural sector by providing work experience and training for six youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds.Bordertown, SA$8,600
C2C (Connecting To Culture)
Dunghutti Elders Council (Aboriginal Corporation)Impart knowledge of traditional food and cooking techniques, Dunghutti languages, and Dunghutti cultural and spiritual stories to the local youth during four days of workshops and cultural celebrations.Kempsey, NSW$9,748
headspace Murray Bridge


Murray Mallee General Practice Network

Increase cultural awareness and promote reconciliation through a one-day festival event for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.Murray Bridge, SA$10,000
Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Assoc.Connect youth with Elders to pass on knowledge of traditional cultural hunting and food preparation practices through a ‘Culture in Country’ community event.Mornington Island, QLD$10,000
Yirara College of the Finke River MissionStrengthen community resilience and cultural awareness through ‘Welcome to Country’ events and cultural Arrente tours for Yirara College students.Alice Springs, NT$10,000
Country Education Project IncImprove community awareness and knowledge of mental health issues through mental health workshops for students, community forums, the development of resources and an online blog.Towong Shire, VIC$9,500
headspace Orange, through Marathon Health LimitedImprove mental health awareness through youth-led school based mental health initiatives, reaching 600 Year 9 & 10 students.Orange, NSW$10,000
St Andrew’s Men, through


St Andrew’s Catholic College

Support community resilience and build strong social support networks through a series of events including White Ribbon Day breakfast, Strongman Competition and mental health speakers at four BBQ’s.Redlynch, QLD$3,560
West Tamar Youth Advisory Council, through West Tamar CouncilBuild community resilience and raise awareness of youth issues through the creation of five short videos.Riverside, TAS$6,000
headspace Whyalla, through Country & Outback Health IncIncrease community cohesion by hosting a Meet ‘n’ Greet event for youth, health professionals and headspace Whyalla.Whyalla, SA$4,500
Theodore Community Link IncIncrease health literacy through ten community quiz night events, co-hosted by allied health professionals.Theodore, QLD$10,000
Step Up
City of Victor HarbourIncrease youth participation through the planning, development and implementation of an Artisan Market and Street Festival event showcasing youth opportunities in the region.Victor Harbour, SA$9,320
Eden Game Development Centre, through Eden Community Access Centre IncBuild community connectedness and support youth engagement in volunteer opportunities through a ‘Step Up’ community street party, featuring local volunteer organisations, video and virtual reality games, bands and activities.Eden, NSW$9,262
Greater Hume Shire CouncilIncrease youth awareness of local employment and engagement opportunities through workshops in Culcairn and Lockhart, and a ‘Festival of Possibilities’ showcasing youth achievements and opportunities.Henty, NSW$5,500
Manna Gum Community House IncIncrease awareness of local youth employment and training options through a one-day street market.Foster, VIC$6,786
Taking Control
Multicultural Communities Council of IllawarraIncrease knowledge and awareness of healthy relationships and domestic violence through a mini conference for multicultural young people aged 12-18.Wollongong, NSW$5,300
Tennant Creek High School Council IncReduce the incidence of domestic violence through an education campaign produced by Tennant Creek High School students, using community network maps, posters and videos.Tennant Creek, NT$9,938
Yeah The Boys
District Council of Streaky BayBuild strong local networks and upskill youth with mentoring from the Streaky Bay & District Drug Awareness Action Group and Council’s Community & Economic Development Team to organise ‘Streaky Sk8z”, a skate and scooter event and activity series.Streaky Bay, SA$6,300
Margaret River Senior High SchoolBuild community connectivity and individual resilience and well-being by offering drug free, healthy lifestyle activities for teenage boys.Albany, WA$8,250
Waratah-Wynyard CouncilMinimising harm and developing life skills through a youth program for 13 to 24-year-old young men at the new 7Up Youth Centre.Wynyard, TAS$2,000