Bega Valley and Shoalhaven’s not-for-profits to benefit from boost in leadership capacity to drive bushfire recovery

Media releases: 3 April 2023

Regenerate Bega Valley and Regenerate Shoalhaven – two leadership development programs designed in response to the 2019-20 bushfires – are currently open for applications.

Leaders of local not-for-profit organisations in the Bega Valley and Shoalhaven region are invited to apply for locally-delivered leadership development programs, designed to build their capacity to help with ongoing bushfire recovery and response.

There are 24 scholarships offered in each location for local leaders who’ll get access to some of the best leadership thinking and practice available, plus practical tools and skills via experiential learning.

The Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants program is funding the programs, to be delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).

FRRR’s Acting CEO Sarah Matthee explains they’re part of FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures program which aims to build confidence, ability, skills and longer-term sustainability of the region’s NFPs.

“We know local not-for-profits are often leaned on significantly, especially in the event of a natural disaster as was the case with the Black Summer bushfires,” she says.

“Pressure on programs, services and volunteers is leading to fatigue and a depletion of local resources. From our work over the last few years in both these communities, we’ve seen an overwhelming appetite for cross sector collaboration and planning within the community. The ARLF leadership programs will help boost their capacity and impact.”

ARLF Chief Executive Matt Linnegar says the Regenerate Shoalhaven and Bega Valley programs will help local leaders to collaborate, build networks and lead community initiatives.

“When future emergencies, or opportunities occur, this network will be invaluable. They won’t be just names and positions; they’ll know and trust each other and be able to work through the challenges in front of them, to build resilience.

“This leadership network will guide and empower communities to address bushfire recovery priorities aimed at rebuilding and growing their local economy.”

For Carina Severs, manager at Eden Community Access Centre and chair of the Eden Recovery and Resilience Alliance, resilience is about knowledge.

“I’d like people to know what’s available, to know the ‘capability and capacity’ of frontline emergency services, as well as the support services such as Red Cross, CWA have. Resilience is about learning skills and being able to look after yourself as best you can, but it is also about showing care for those around you – your neighbours, friends and others.”

Also welcoming the Regenerate programs, Kangaroo Valley community champion Nat Harker reflects: “No lives were lost, but our community has changed. Some people have since left, most are still carrying trauma but we are working closely together to build resilience for the future – to strive, survive and then thrive.”

Applications for the Regenerate Bega Valley and Regenerate Shoalhaven leadership programs are now open. Each program is open to volunteers or employees in the not-for-profit sector. There will be two four-day residential sessions starting in August. For more details and to apply, visit (regional programs). Applications close on 18 June.