Insights from the bush – November 2021

Insights: 17 November 2021

Our Program Portfolio Leads recently presented to the FRRR board on some of the common issues and themes emerging in funding requests that we are receiving from community groups, and through conversations with local community leaders. They a presenting a picture of growing pressure on local service systems, depletion of capacity to adapt to constantly changing environments, and divergent experiences of community life in areas more and less impacted by COVID restrictions. Some highlights are shared below:

Investing in people to aid recovery after disruptions

  • There is emerging emphasis and interest in leadership initiatives in remote, rural and regional communities. There is a desire to develop, nurture and aide recovery efforts by investing in people after disruptions.
  • With everything young people have missed out on due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve noticed a strong focus on support for young people, including strong support for mental health, employment pathways, First Nations youth and amplifying young people’s voices – often this is with a real digital focus, via media skills.
  • With the varied roles that grassroots organisations play in the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in grants for organisational capacity building. For example, there has been an increase in demand to support internal infrastructure to relieve volunteer pressure.

Grantseeker workshops make a difference! 

  • Investing time in coaching and support pays off. Funding applications received to our flagship small grants program in this quarter from organisations in WA were of a high calibre, and 43% of those either participated in an FRRR workshop or received resources and tools presented in the workshop.
  • While the opportunities to visit communities in person were few and far between for the predominantly Victoria-based team, we’ve had a great response to our online grantseeker workshops. We have made a number of these workshop recordings available on the program pages on the FRRR website, so that potential applicants can access this as a resource in their own time.

Communities adapting and evolving

  • Through some of our recent granting activity and fundraising accounts, it’s obvious that women in agriculture are really stepping up when it comes to strengthening resilience, with several projects funding increased skill-building sessions, enabling women to get more involved.
  • Applications to the Future Drought Networks to Build Drought Resilience program also showed that agriculture-dependent communities are adopting technology more than ever and it’s great to see young farmers getting involved and finding support.
  • An increase in number of applications coming in around food insecurity, indicating growing pressure on supply and demand sides and on local volunteerism.