Rural communities continue to fall through funding gap

Media releases: 6 June 2024

More flexible support needed to ensure sustainable, vibrant and empowered communities

FRRR is calling for individuals and organisations to help meet the unmet needs of remote, rural and regional communities, which continue to grow despite FRRR distributing a record $22.5 million in grants in 2023 financial year (FY23).

Alpha District Tourism & Development Association is a previous recipient of an FRRR small grant

In FY23, FRRR’s flagship program, Strengthening Rural Communities, awarded more than $3.7 million via 466 small grants, valued at $10,000 or less, that directly benefited remote, rural and regional communities across Australia. The total value of those projects was more than $15.1 million, showing a remarkable leverage of a relatively small investment.

But this is only half the story. In FY23, for nearly every 10 projects that received a small grant, one missed out. In the last round of this program alone, there were 85 funding-ready projects that FRRR couldn’t support because it didn’t have enough money.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, says that FRRR’s small grants empower people in remote, rural and regional Australia to create communities that are vibrant and sustainable places to live and work, for the long-term.

“Rural people want to see their communities thrive. They want to be able to support those doing it tough or with special needs, like older residents; enhance community facilities to respond to the changing climate; provide access to music and cultural experiences for younger people; host events that bring a remote community together to celebrate what makes it unique or to recover after difficult times, just to name a few.

“But every small grants round we offer is oversubscribed, meaning with few alternative funding options, many community projects are left unfunded and critical needs are left unmet.

“It’s not just the dollars that are missed. Groups also say that FRRR’s funding has helped them to build capacity and confidence in their ability to test, learn and develop future other project ideas.

“Small grants help to bridge these gaps and make a lasting difference to remote, rural and regional Australia. By donating to FRRR, you help remote, rural and regional groups – many of whom can’t access funding elsewhere – to create vibrant, sustainable and empowered communities for the long-term,” Ms Egleton explains.

For example, previous small grant recipient, Alpha District Tourism & Development Association, in Queensland, explains, “FRRR has allowed us to achieve something that would have taken us years of fundraising for. Being a very small town fundraising is difficult due to the number of other small clubs and the small population. FRRR Grants are vital to help small communities.”

In Donald, Victoria, the St Arnaud Neighbourhood House used a small grant to improve social participation and the health and wellbeing of aged care residents, by getting local volunteers to record the resident’s life stories. Beyond the monetary value of the grant, the impact of this project was felt deeply throughout the community.

As the organisation shared with FRRR, “We believe this project created a community with a stronger social fabric, where young people were able to gain insights into the lives of those who came before them, and where the residents felt appreciated and respected, and that their life story was being honoured. We were most proud of the effect this project had upon the residents, many of whom were feeling isolated and forgotten. By demonstrating to them that they and their history still had meaning and importance, they felt a connection to the community and to the young people involved in the project.”

Meanwhile, in Morawa, Western Australia, the local playgroup was able to grow educational enrichment opportunities for 0-5 year olds by creating a shady nature play space. with the support of an FRRR small grant. In their project acquittal, Playgroup WA wrote that, “By completing this project it shows that despite being a small, low socio-economic town we can make life better for ourselves. We deserve nice facilities and can create them with the help of organisations like FRRR.”

It’s not just community groups that attest to the critical role of FRRR small grants. Natalie Devlin, Chief Experience Officer at Charter Hall, explains, “Having worked with FRRR since 2020, we have seen first-hand the difference they can make through their local understanding, and connection to grassroots organisations that often can’t access support otherwise.”

To enable FRRR to award more small grants, donate at: here. Contributions of $2 or more are tax deductible.

Find out more about the impact of small grants at: