Grants awarded to help communities rebuild and reconnect

Media releases: 22 December 2020

Funding for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday fires

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded nearly $725,000 in grants to support 31 projects that will help communities impacted by the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires continue to rebuild, reconnect and recover.

Supported by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), these grants are funded through three grant programs – Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W), GR&W Kinglake Ranges and the final round of Community Group Futures (CGF).

The VBAF funding comes from the generous contributions by the general public following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. More than a decade on from Black Saturday, FRRR has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to local groups through these programs.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness

The GR&W program is tailored to support community-led projects that focus on strengthening and building the resilience of those places impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Now in its nineth year, this round of GR&W sees $233,089 in grants awarded to 15 community groups. The funded projects will support and improve the wellbeing, resilience and mental health of community members, help people keep coming together, and help build community capacity and preparedness for future disasters.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that this round, there were many communities wanting funding for projects that help people connect and also retain their sense of place and community identity.

“Many communities reach a stage in their long-term recovery where reconnecting with place, the environment, and community becomes an important part of the healing process,” explained Ms O’Brien.

“Rediscovering and rebuilding these connections can happen in many different and meaningful ways, and this round of GR&W is a perfect example of that. For some communities, it involves improving community meeting places and venues for activities. Others are using arts and cultural projects to both increase community connectedness and grow community identity and awareness of local history. Other places are helping their community to connect through events and activities like concerts and walking trails.

“Recovery takes time and the process is different for every place, so it’s important that we listen to communities and their local leaders and let them decide what priorities need to be addressed, as things evolve,” Ms O’Brien said.

Some of the projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:

  • Buxton Primary School, Buxton – Buxton Bush Tucker Trail – $15,000 – Enhance curriculum through delivery of an innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
  • Yarra Valley ECOSS, Wesburn – Crops for Community to Market – $20,000 – Build a vibrant resilient local food economy through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges

The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program gives community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges the opportunity to work together and increase local capacity to get initiatives off the ground. This round, $461,993 has been awarded to 14 projects in the region.

A great example of the collaborative and innovative local thinking is Bees for the House, which will increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.

Among the other GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:

  • Flowerdale Community House, Flowerdale – Flowerdale Playgroup Program – $26,250 – Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
  • Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre, Kinglake – Indigenous Sensory Bush Tucker Garden with Community Mural – $17,530 – Increase cultural and environmental learning through establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural at a newly developed bush tucker garden.

The next rounds of GR&W and GR&W Kinglake Ranges open early March 2021 and close April 2021. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are now invited from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

Community Group Futures

The CGF program focuses on not-for-profit groups in communities impacted by Black Saturday. It was designed to provide them with the tools to create strong and lasting improvements within their organisation. This is the final round of the CGF program, with $898,237 granted across ten rounds.

Some $29,483 has been awarded to two projects to support the Yackandandah Fire Station and the Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room. The funds will increase their capacity through the purchase of equipment and by funding professional administrative support.

Ms O’Brien said that more than a decade on, these community organisations continue to experience operational and service delivery challenges due to the 2009 bushfires.

“For these community groups, they have had to face the challenge of managing their own recovery while also continuing to provide support and services the people in their communities. The CGF program has supported these organisations to look ahead to the future and implement longer term climate resilience initiatives that will help them achieve their aspirations,” said Ms O’Brien.

“For some community groups, these goals have included greater organisational capabilities, for others it’s been about long-term viability and sustainability, while others looked for ways to improve cost efficiencies for community infrastructure.

“The CGF grants have helped strengthen and sustain these community groups so that they can continue to do what they do best and support their community,” Ms O’Brien explained.

The final projects funded through the CGF program are:

  • Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Yackandandah – Yackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply – $9,983 – Increase the capacity of the organisation to reduce costs and remain available during emergencies through the purchase of a generator that will enhance the Fire Station’s new battery and solar system’s capacity.
  • Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room Indigo Shire Council, Stanley – Prepare and Protect – $19,500 –Increase organisational capacity by employing professional support to catalogue and preserve Stanley Historical Space’s significant local collection. The project will include training that will leave a legacy in the organisation.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

Alexandra Football & Netball Club IncReserve Development
Enhance facilities that support community connectedness and fitness, via upgrade of power supply for new community hub at Alexandra Football & Netball Club
Art Resource Collective IncPottery and Print Equipment Fund
Increase access to the arts, and local connectedness through, upgrade of ceramics equipment and infrastructure for community arts group
Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade
Country Fire Authority – Head office
Spreading the Knowledge-Bushfire Education Program 2020
Build community resilience, through development of resources to deliver local CFA bushfire awareness program across five schools impacted by the 2009 bushfires.
Bruarong Community CentreProtecting and Sharing – Developing the Bruarong Collection Research Resource
Preserve and protect the community’s heritage, through uploading and cataloguing images, objects, and documents.
Buxton Primary SchoolBuxton Bush Tucker Trail
Enhanced curriculum through, delivery of innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
‘Honour the Taungurung’ Community Project Group
Yea Community Service Group Inc
Honour the Taungurung
Work towards reconciliation and acknowledgement of traditional owners through creation of a community meeting place featuring Taungurung designed artwork celebrating local Indigenous culture.
Kilmore District Men’s Shed IncSolar Power
Enhance sustainability of local Men’s Shed, through the installation of solar panels.
Kilmore District Men’s Shed Inc  Plastering
Enhance sustainability of local group, through the completion to construction of a local Men’s Shed
Marysville Community Action Team
Murrindindi Cycle Club
Feasibility Study for more cycling options in the Marysville Area to increase tourism
Explore potential for ecotourism development and rejuvenation of community’s economy by extending visitor season with feasibility study into Cycle Trails
More Murals
Rubicon Forest Protection Group Inc
Life of a Leaf: Notes from the Forest
Enhance creative development and recovery, through creation of a 16-track compilation CD reflecting on the Black Saturday fires
Marysville Buxton Taggerty$15,200
Rotary Club of AlexandraMusic in the Park Increase local connection and enhance culture, through supporting the delivery of community music event.Alexandra$5,450
St Matthew’s Church
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc
Hope…It Grows! Renewal
Increase community access and renew facilities, through upgrade to community garden and space.
Long Gully$15,300
Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group IncProvide Seating along the Say G’Day trail at Wandong
Enhance local walking trail and increase accessibility for residents with different abilities, through installation of seating areas.
Whittlesea Men’s Shed IncDust Extraction and Air Filtration System
Improve the health and well-being of community participants, by upgrading the air filtration system in the wood working workshop.
Yarra Valley Ecoss IncCrops for Community to Market
Build vibrant resilient local food economy, through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Flowerdale Community House IncFlowerdale Playgroup Program
Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
Kinglake Football Netball ClubCommunity coming together with healthy mind and body
Increase local connectedness and reduce social isolation, through delivery of a family focused event at local Sports ground.
Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre IncIndigenous Sensory Bush tucker Garden with Community Mural
Increase cultural and environmental learning through, establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural, at a newly developed bush tucker garden.
Buzz of the Bees
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc  
Bees for the House
Increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncDindi Collective: Supporting Organisational Capacity of Neighbourhood & Community Houses across Murrindindi
Increase capacity and collaboration between seven Community Houses in Murrindindi Shire, though establishment of a supportive Network and delivery of professional development.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncKinglake Ranges Fund – Community Grant Development Officer
Increase local capacity to develop community projects and apply for grant funds, through employment of a Community Grants Officer.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncMakerspace Mates
Increase opportunities to support connection, reduce isolation, and learn about new interests, through the delivery of free, no skill needed, creative workshops.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncThe Matanya Effect – Healing with Horses – Skills for a Calmer Life
Increase access to locally based support for mental health, through the delivery of equine assisted learning to residents of the Kinglake Ranges.
Kinglake Trust Reserve IncEllimatta Centre Periodic Maintenance Project
Increase access to spaces where the community connect, through preservation and maintenance of community hub at Kinglake Trust Reserve.
Kinglake Historical Society
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute Hall and Reserves Committee Inc
Strengthening Community Understanding of Kinglake’s Heritage
Increase space and resources for Historical displays and research, through expansion to Kinglake Historical Society and purchase of additional equipment.
Middle Kinglake Primary SchoolProviding Opportunities for Positive Social Interaction
Increase use of outdoor areas at Middle Kinglake Primary School for learning and socialising, through purchase of outdoor cushions and beanbags.
Kinglake Central$1,000
Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges IncRotary and Lions Storage Facility
Reduce volunteer fatigue and increase local capacity, through the installation of a centrally located storage shed for community equipment.
Toolangi-Castella Local History Action Plan Working Group
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi-Castella Local history Action Plan
Increase local connectedness to culture and heritage, through development of an oral history and photographic display, and website for Toolangi-Castella.
Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi Tennis Court and Surrounds Re-development
Enhance local meeting space and increase safety, through upgrade of pathways, retaining walls, and landscaping at Toolangi Tennis Court reserve
Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room
Indigo Shire Council
Prepare and Protect
Increase awareness of local historical collections significance, and protect it from future disasters, through engaging a Collection Management Consultant.
Totally Renewable Yackandandah IncYackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply
Increase local resilience and preparedness through installation of a generator at the Yackandandah Fire Station.