Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Media releases: 13 February 2023
FRRR announced today that they have appointed two facilitators in the Shoalhaven region to support the ongoing delivery of their Investing in Rural Communities Futures program.
These positions are being funded using part of the $1.3 million investment made by the Australian Government, through the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Program, which FRRR announced in November 2022.
The Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program has operated in the Shoalhaven and South Coast area since 2020, thanks to support from The Snow Foundation and Bendigo Bank, through their Community Enterprise Foundation. It is designed to help increase the capacity of the myriad of not-for-profit organisations who are so critical to the sustainability and vibrancy of the area.
Over the last three years, not-for-profits in Nowra, Ulladulla, Bateman’s Bay and more recently the Bay and Basin communities have come together to develop a roadmap of the assistance and skill-building that will help local NFPs to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters, as well as the opportunities in the community. The most recently Federal Government funding means that support can now extend to Lake Conjola and Kangaroo Valley, areas that were severely affected by the Black Summer Bushfires.
The appointment of the two facilitators is the latest stage in the roll out of the funding from the Australian Government. That funding is also being used to support leadership and skill development, such as participation at the Art of Hosting workshop which is underway at Willinga Park in Bawley Point this week.
Meg Stratti will be working with communities in Nowra and Kangaroo Valley. She has lived in the Shoalhaven for the last 10 years, working to support local communities primarily through roles in adult education.
Kate McBride, who will work with Bay & Basin communities has lived on Yuin Country for around 20 years, and brings more than 15 years’ experience in capacity building and community engagement within not-for-profits (NFPs), grassroots community organisations and local government sectors.
Meg and Kate join Monique Carson (looking after Ulladulla and surrounds) and Jules Klugman (Batemans Bay) in working with community groups across the South Coast.
FRRR’s IRCF Program Coordinator for the South Coast, Carolyn Ardler, says that the additional Government support is a great opportunity to build upon the work they have been doing in the local communities with the support of philanthropic partners through the IRCF program.
“This workshop is the first chance that we’ve had to bring the facilitators together with local community leaders. All of them are attending the Art of Hosting workshop, which will enhance everyone’s ability to engage in conversations about the issues that matter. Together with the roadmap, this will ensure we’re all on the same page and can continue to work together to ensure local leaders have the tools they need to work towards their goals and priorities.
“This session is just one example of how we will continue to use this program to make sure the communities themselves are leading the conversation when it comes to their recovery,” Ms Samuels explained.
Matt Dell, President of Business Milton Ulladulla and Community Connect Southern Shoalhaven, says it’s rewarding to see the funding having such a direct benefit on the Shoalhaven communities.
“Enormous progress has been made in our local areas to recover after the devastating Black Summer fires. The IRCF program has been vital in supporting the community to rebuild and reconnect. It is absolutely essential the ICRF program continues with additional resources to empower our recovery and future resilience.”
Other upcoming initiatives include a leadership training program, which is being led by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, plus other sessions prioritised by the local community.
To find out more about the IRCF program in your community or to get involved, visit ircf.frrr.org.au or contact FRRR on 1800 170 020.