Grants available to connect rural communities

Media releases: 27 February 2024

NFPs and local organisations can apply for up to $10,000

FRRR and Telstra are inviting applications for funding through Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program to provide access to information, technology, education and facilities to strengthen social capital and digital capability.

Collinsville Connect Telecentre was awarded a grant in 2023 to boost digital capability for older people through a cyber security workshop to enhance skills and risk management.

The program aims to boost support for communities across remote, rural and regional Australia to build resilience, improve environmental sustainability and enhance liveability through the power of connection.

In the second round of this program, there is $200,000 available through grants of up to $10,000 to community-led organisations.

The program aims to foster:

  1. Liveable communities that have digital capability and help to equip individuals with the skills to live, learn and work in a digital society;
  2. Sustainable communities that are diverse and inclusive, planning for the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of their people and the planet; and
  3. Resilient communities that are well prepared and socially connected when disaster strikes, with the ability to renew and recover together.

Loretta Willaton, Regional Australia Executive and Regional Customer Advocate at Telstra said that last year’s projects are connecting communities and helping them thrive in a range of ways, both online and offline.

“We’re proud to have been able to enhance community connectedness through last year’s grants, with projects as diverse as upgrading Wi-Fi connectivity, new digital equipment, upskilling volunteers and community members in cyber security, social media and using new systems to support their organisations.

“This year, we look forward to supporting more grassroots groups as they do their important work and keep their communities connected,” Ms Willaton said.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that programs like this one help to create more equitable access to the services and support many in urban areas take for granted.

“While there have been improvements, there is still a significant digital divide for remote, rural and regional not-for-profit organisations, particularly when it comes to accessing digital resources and the opportunity to improve knowledge and skills to harness technology to maintain and create connections.

“This partnership with Telstra means that more community groups can find local solutions to these complex problems, thereby creating more sustainable places to live, work and play.

“I look forward to reading this year’s funding requests,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications close at 5pm AEDT on Wednesday, 27 March. Successful grants will be announced in June 2024 and applicants will have 12 months to complete the funded projects.

Potential applicants are encouraged to register for an online Grantseeker Webinar at 12pm AEDT, Tuesday 5 March to learn more about the program and useful tips for applying.