Grants for youth-driven initiatives deliver change in rural, regional and remote Australia

Media releases: 19 August 2019

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced that 17 communities will share $135,516 in grants to pilot one of seven innovative ideas, thanks to the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.

Funded in partnership with The Sally Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, Rural Affinity and Private Donors, FRRR awarded the grants at an event held today in Melbourne, hosted by the ABC.

The projects are based on ideas developed by 50 young leaders at the 2019 ABC Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra in February. Thematically, they range from entrepreneurialism, mental health, agricultural education, connectedness, life skills, and reducing stigma around mental health. The communities receiving grants are located across Australia, including Mullumbimby in New South Wales, Longford in Tasmania, Lockington in Victoria, Normanton in Queensland, Karratha in Western Australia and Mount Gambier in South Australia.

Heywirer Elka Devney, from Moree in NSW, was part of the team that developed the ‘Our Place’ initiative which is about creating a safe space where young people between 12-18 can meet, socialise and do homework if they need to. Our Place projects use existing buildings or spaces refurbished or being adapted so that they can be used to their full potential, staying open when other youth centres close.

“In my hometown, youth crime is a massive issue,” explained Ms Devney. “The amount of abuse that businesses receive is disgraceful. I see it regularly at the shop where I work. I believe it stems from a lack of places for young people to go after school. Having somewhere safe and free to hang out would go a long way.”

The ‘Our Place’ initiative proved popular for many community groups, attracting 29% of applications received.

“FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants are a great example of our philosophy that locals – including younger people – know what will affect real change in their community,” said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton. “It’s fantastic to be able to fund projects where young people have identified the issues, designed the solutions and will be involved in delivering them in their community. We even involve Heywire Alumni in the grant assessment process because we’ve seen time and again that the grants create real and lasting change. That’s a direct result of the insights that these youth leaders have into the issues that impact them.

“The seven project ideas address issues that concern young people in rural and regional Australia, and it’s great to see communities receiving these grants have young people involved in the project to ensure that they are relevant and responsive to their specific needs within the local community,” said Ms Egleton.

Minister for Agriculture, the Hon Bridget McKenzie, in attendance at today’s announcement of the recipients of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants, said that initiatives like Heywire shine a light on the issues facing young people in rural and regional Australia.

“It’s an important opportunity, not only for politicians, but for everyday Australians to take the pulse of the next generation of rural Australians.

“These grants are about converting the experiences and new thinking into action – taking awareness and turning it into a force for change.”

The full list of grant recipients is below.





C.E.O – Conquer Every Opportunity

Eden Community Access Centre Inc

Provide young people with the knowledge to start their own business through workshops and a business kit.



Merimbula, NSW


National Young Writers’ Festival Inc.

Support emerging writers’ business skills development through a full day of workshops, classes and panel discussion during National Young Writers Festival.

Newcastle, NSW


The University of New England

Build project management and community engagement skills of Year 9 and 10 youth by the creation of a social enterprise toolkit.

Tamworth, NSW


Walk and Talk

Colac Area Health

Enable youth to access mental health support via an outdoor activity program in the Otways.

Colac, VIC


Northern Midlands Council

Build community resilience and strong mental health through outdoor and team building activities at a three-day youth camp. 



Longford, TAS


Human Nature Adventure Therapy

Build resilience and mental health wellbeing with expansion of outdoor adventure therapeutic program and counselling sessions for disadvantaged youth.


Byron Bay,


Murwillumbah, NSW


Shed Happens

Big hART Inc

Digital media and literacy skill development through production of digital workshops and creation of five films featuring stories of rural youth.


Wynard, TAS


Our Place

Manna Gum Community House Inc

Reduce social isolation and support increasing youth engagement through a 20-week youth club at Manna Gum Community House.

Foster, VIC


Carpentaria Shire Council

Support youth educational and mental health outcomes through the development of a youth chill out and homework room at Normanton Sports Centre.

Normanton, QLD


Ask Away


Tackle issues of racism through a series of visits to schools on the Limestone Coast.


Mount Gambier,


Port MacDonnell area, SA


Students Against Racism through Tasmanian Centre for Global Learning Inc

Increase understanding and support integration via training for youth from multicultural organisations to deliver workshops and host a presentation for 80 school children.

Hobart, TAS,

Bendigo, VIC



Camp Kulin Charities Inc

Support life skills development through the provision of intensive adulting skills workshop for youth at leadership camp.

Kulin, WA


Charlton Neighbourhood House Incorporated

Support youth transitioning to independent living through the provision of fortnightly ‘Life Skills for Charlteens’ programs at the Charlton Neighbourhood House.

Charlton, VIC


Kuruma Marthudunera Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate

Develop and implement a culturally appropriate financial literacy program for Robe River Kuruma youth.


Roebourne, WA


headspace Rockhampton through Live Better Services Limited

Adult Survivor will provide young people with practical skills to confidently transition into young adulthood and independent living.

Rockhampton, QLD


Lockington District Business Centre

Build youth capacity to navigate independent adult living through a six-month skills-based training program offering first aid, job readiness, cooking, and budgeting and basic car maintenance for 25 youth.

Lockington, VIC


headspace Wagga Wagga through Relationships Australia Canberra and Region Incorporated

Develop a support network to assist youth of Wagga Wagga and surrounding areas to transition into adulthood.

Wagga Wagga, NSW