Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Part of Things is a gathering place and ideas hub for young people in Barmera in the Riverland region of South Australia. They used a $10,000 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant to adopt and adapt their own version of the Skillin’ It project idea that was developed at the 2020 Heywire Regional Youth Summit. 

Riverland Skillin’ It was a 12-month project that brought together a leadership ‘squad’ of four local young people from across the Renmark Paringa, Loxton Waikerie and Berri Barmera local government areas to create a series of online and live workshops aimed at inspiring, connecting and upskilling young people. 

Despite being impacted by the uncertainties of COVID, including a full lockdown in June 2021, the project culminated in the Skillin’ It squad members curating and delivering Symposium – a two-day festival in September 2021 for local young people aged 18 to 26. Held in Barmera, Symposium featured in-person workshops to support participants develop small business, creative and life skills, while also encouraging knowledge sharing between individuals and community members. 

Across the life of the project, the Skillin’ It squad and festival presenters were actively mentored and supported by Part of Things founder and project mentor, Alysha Herrmann, who is an award-winning producer, youth arts worker and ‘doer’ who has been delivering community, arts and youth projects of varying scale across regional South Australia for over ten years. 

Kelsey Hogan from the Barmera District War Memorial Community Centre, which auspiced the application on behalf of Part of Things, said Riverland Skillin’ It was instrumental in providing a dedicated project with intensive and tailored mentoring for local young people to connect with each other and their community. 

“Young people are under-represented in leadership and decision making across the Riverland. This project has developed positive relationships between young adults and their community and provided a safe space for people to connect, develop confidence, try something new and community build,” Ms Hogan said. 

“We can’t plug all the gaps and overcome the challenges our region presents for young people. However, what we have done with Riverland Skillin’ It, is invest in a core group of local young people to ensure that they were able to successfully deliver a project for their community and now feel inspired, supported and ready to make greater things happen for themselves and others.” 

Together they were able to leverage the success of the Heywire grant to partner with all three Riverland councils, and attracted an additional $22,100 of funding. This increased the resources available for the project and added additional paid opportunities for the young people who participated, and also removed fees for participants to attend the final festival workshop weekend. 

A legacy of the project is The Knowledge Hub, an online resource housed on the Part of Things website that features downloadable resources, curated links, blog posts and other content, which exists to share and build ideas, skills and knowledge across a range of genres, disciplines and interest areas.

$208,000 in grants awarded to 23 projects

Twenty-three projects in remote, rural and regional Australia have been awarded grants through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program to bring to life ideas developed at the Heywire Youth Ideas lab. These projects will tackle a range of issues such as discrimination, youth-led peer support, multigenerational connection, mental health and career opportunities for young people.

FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grantsfor 2021 awarded

These grants will mean that community organisations and local not-for-profits can implement community-led initiatives that will have a lasting impact.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said she is impressed by how all those connected with the program managed to pivot to respond to COVID-19 conditions.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ABC was unable to hold the usual Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. Instead, they adapted and ran the first Heywire Youth Ideas Lab in Broken Hill. The determination of the young people of Broken Hill, and their willingness to make a difference inspired these projects, which will create meaningful change when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, skills development and equality in our remote, rural and regional towns.

“These grants highlight the importance of both providing support on the ground and ensuring that young people are driving the conversation about their priorities. These community-led initiatives, which all involve young people, will facilitate events, training and mentorship that will bring people together and ensure that our remote, rural and regional communities continue to thrive,” Ms Egleton said.

Youth Ideas Lab participant Emerson said that she feels proud to have been a part of a program that will make a difference for so many Australians.

“When we were telling our stories and developing our ideas at the Youth Ideas Lab, it was such an inspiring experience, but it was difficult to imagine our ideas actually being put into practice. Now, hearing and reading about all the wonderful projects that are going to actually happen because of the ideas that we brought to the table is amazing!”

The involvement of young people also extended to the assessment of the applications. For the last three years, the FRRR Program Advisory Committee, which reviews the assessments made by staff and recommends grants to FRRR’s Board, has been made up of former Heywire participants. The group learns about committee processes and governance, before participating in the assessment committee. FRRR directors, staff and some donors are on-hand with ABC staff to provide support. This is a deliberate approach to continue to invest in young people, so they can play an ongoing role in strengthening their communities.

Some of the 23 projects being funded are listed below:

  • CareSouth Deniliquin in Deniliquin, NSW, received $5,080 to develop the Support Squad idea bycreating a youth peer support network that will run an art therapy mentoring program.
  • Nganmarriyanga School Council Incorporated in Nganmarriyanga, NT, received $10,000 to develop the Open Field Fest idea by developing students’ creative skills with song writing workshops that showcase community, culture and language.
  • Heal.ed Tribe in Coombabah, QLD, received $5,400 to develop the Contribute to the Change ideaby supporting young women with a lived experience of an eating disorder to share their story and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
  • Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association in Port Augusta, SA, received $10,000 to develop the Open Field Fest idea by growing the number of young first nations artists participating in music festivals in Port Augusta through a skills development program.
  • Beacon Foundation in Hobart, TAS, received $9,640 to develop the Discover your Future idea by encouraging secondary school students to adopt an entrepreneur mindset with a program to imagine, design and develop new businesses and products.
  • Youth Live 4 Life in Maryborough, VIC, received $10,000 to develop the Contribute to the Change ideaby developing a network of youth who are trained in mental health first aid and knowledgeable about the support services available to them.
  • Derby District High School in Derby, WA, received $10,000 to develop the Discover your Future idea by developing youth skills in horsemanship to broaden their career aspirations and provide a pathway into the pastoral industry.

The grants are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Sally Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, MaiTri Foundation as well as several private donors.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

The StoryLink Project
Council of the City of Broken HillCreate an inclusive community where diversity is celebrated through videos of young people highlighting the rich cultural makeup of the region.Broken Hill, NSW $10,000
GiveOUT IncSupport the young LGBTIQ+ community with a capacity building project, empowering them to tell their stories and create vibrant sustainable organisations.Online, VIC $10,000
Satellite FoundationImprove community understanding of the difficulties faced by youth who have a family member with a mental illness, with a video series highlighting the everyday prejudice faced by these youth.Gippsland, VIC $10,000
Support Squad
CareSouthCreate a youth peer support network by running an art therapy mentoring program.Deniliquin, NSW $5,080
Human Nature Adventure TherapyEmpower youth to share their mental health journey with their peers through a mental health training and storytelling workshop.Ballina, NSW $10,000
Young Men’s Christian Association of SydneyEstablish an LGBTIQ+ support group for the youth of Cooma and provide training to create leaders within the group.Cooma, NSW $9,878
Rascal Robot Art SpaceSupport youth to develop the skills and connections to establish an arts and culture festival that is fun, safe and inclusive for the community.Beaconsfield, TAS $9,800
Wimmera Development Association IncorporatedDevelop leadership skills for young multicultural youth in Wimmera to help them develop their own support networks.Horsham, VIC $10,000
Open Field Fest
Greater Hume Shire CouncilIncrease social opportunities for youth through the development of a fun and inclusive youth event.Culcairn, NSW $10,000
Nganmarriyanga School Council IncorporatedDevelop students’ creative skills with song writing workshops that showcase community, culture and language.Nganmarriyanga, NT $10,000
Umeewarra Aboriginal Media AssociationGrow the number of young first nations artists participating in music festivals in Port Augusta through a skills development program.Port Augusta, SA $10,000
Food is Free Inc Support Ballarat youth to create a community festival that celebrates sustainability through workshops, emerging artists and recycled art.Ballarat, VIC $9,904
Contribute to the Change
Snowy Monaro Regional CouncilImprove mental health literacy and awareness, by training a series of mentors to provide one-on-one support and guidance to youth.Cooma, NSW $9,200
RichmondPRA LimitedBuild the mental health literacy of Broken Hill youth through wellbeing workshops.Broken Hill, NSW $3,500
Heal.ed TribeSupport young women with a lived experience of an eating disorder to share their story and reduce the stigma surrounding it.Coombabah, QLD $5,400
Riverland Youth TheatreEmpower youth to explore their identity through performance art and costume design to image their best, bravest future self.Renmark, SA $10,000
Youth Live 4 LifeDevelop a network of youth who are trained in mental health first aid and knowledgeable about the support services available to them.Maryborough, VIC $10,000
Hindmarsh Shire CouncilCreate meaningful conversations about mental health with a youth presented podcast series with mental health professionals.Nhill, VIC $10,000
Discover your Future
Far West UCPrepare Broken Hill youth for their future careers by holding a networking event with local experts and education providers.Broken Hill, NSW $7,269
Sydney School of EntrepreneurshipInspire the youth of Dubbo to explore new pathways beyond school with a challenge-focused innovation and entrepreneurship program.Dubbo, NSW $9,150
Beacon FoundationEncourage secondary school students to adopt an entrepreneur mindset with a program to imagine, design and develop new businesses and products.Hobart, TAS $9,640
Food & Fibre Great South CoastInspire Geelong youth to explore a career in the food and fibre industry by connecting them with young leaders in the field.Geelong, VIC $10,000
Derby District High SchoolDevelop youth skills in horsemanship to broaden their career aspirations and provide a pathway into the pastoral industry.Derby, WA $10,000

Students Against Racism (SAR) is a youth organisation based in Hobart, Tasmania. They believe that ‘in diversity lies strength’ and they seek to build a stronger more welcoming and supportive community by sharing stories and addressing misconceptions.

Tassie Youth teach Anti-Racism

It was formed in 2008 by multicultural youth with lived experience in just how damaging direct acts of racism from their community can be. Recognising that ignorance was a big part of these acts, they sought to change the way their community saw people from different cultures through the path of education.

For over a decade SAR have developed and delivered integral and multi award-winning learning tools that have since been incorporated into various organisations – including schools and community groups, the Tasmanian police recruit training program and a number of TasTAFE courses. A part of these programs involves teaching participants about the issues and challenges facing multicultural youth who are new to the Tasmanian community. 

As the proud recipients of a $7400 grant from FRRR’s HEYWIRE program, supported by the Sally Foundation, SAR attended the 2019 HEYWIRE Conference and made some long-lasting and vital connections that have since flourished into a greatly beneficial foundation for interstate learning. 

The funding allowed 18 SAR representatives from various cultural backgrounds to travel from Hobart to Bendigo and present their flagship educational anti-racism program ‘Living in Between’ to 110 local youth at Eaglehawk Secondary College in the Bendigo region. The workshop involved presentations, small group work, activities and training, and allowed a safe environment to ask questions in order to foster understanding and compassion for those with multicultural backgrounds.

“The program gives the students the platform to explain why they left their homelands, the journey that brought them to Australia, and their lives now.”

Seeing the deep-seated impact that the SAR representatives could make via their anti-racism program, the students and youth from the Bendigo region indicated that were inspired to hold their own similar workshop and have since done so with great effect. 

Through delivering this invaluable program, the youth of SAR have significantly gained self-confidence, increased teamwork and support, and have fostered deeper connections not just within their group but with the greater community. Helen Hortle who has been integral in the coordination of the educational adventure is pleased as punch with the outcome.

“It has been a fantastic experience for young members of SAR – one that wouldn’t have been possible without FRRR funding and support. Thank you!”

$175,000 available to bring youth-led initiatives to life

FRRR is inviting remote, rural and regional community groups apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help fund projects that provide innovative solutions to five priority issues identified by participants at the inaugural Heywire Youth Ideas Lab, held recently in Broken Hill.

Grants on offer to address issues that matter to young rural Australians

Since 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural and regional youth to address issues that matter most to them. To date, more than $1 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 130 projects in over 160 communities.

This year, due to COVID-19, the ABC needed to pivot their approach to how the ideas were generated. Typically, they come from the annual Heywire Youth Summit in Canberra, but instead, over three days 27 young local leaders from Broken Hill and surrounding regions came together. Broken Hill was chosen as the host town because it had the most entries in the annual Heywire story-telling competition. The young leaders learnt new skills, shared their stories, and workshopped ideas to help make rural and regional Australia an even better place for young people to live and work.

These ideas now form the basis of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants, and include:

  • Discover Your Future: Giving young people a chance to explore and learn more about their future career options.
  • Open Field Fest: Bringing music, art and people together to help create a community-run music and arts festival.
  • Support Squad: Training young leaders to provide support, knowledge and companionship to peers who may be struggling with a variety of challenges.
  • The Story Link Project: Tackling discrimination through sharing diverse stories that help people within regional communities understand the impact of discriminatory language.
  • Contribute to the Change: Helping young people improve their mental health knowledge and understanding, so they are confident to seek the help they need.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said each year she is impressed by the ideas that Heywirers bring to the table, and this year is no exception.

“The five ideas developed by Broken Hill’s young people are insightful and meaningful and provide a snapshot of the issues currently faced by young rural people across Australia. The beauty of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants is that they fund projects driven by these young Australians’ ideas.

“We encourage community groups to engage with local youth when considering which idea to adopt and adapt. These capable young leaders understand local context and can help adapt an idea to best suit the priorities of local youth and assist in leading a meaningful project that will make their community more inviting and inspiring for other young people to live and work,” Ms Egleton said.

Youth Ideas Lab and Heywire participant Ashlyn speaks of how proud she is of herself and her Broken Hill community for coming up with the five ideas which were designed to combat challenges they themselves have faced. 

“The Youth Ideas Lab was such an incredible and inspiring experience. I’m so glad our Broken Hill community was given the opportunity to come up with these ideas that will soon be turned into realities. These ideas were formed by our unique experiences; now it’s your chance to take them on in your own community. I can’t wait to see where they go and how they grow!”

This program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, and private donors. This year, thanks to their generosity, $175,000 in grants is available.

Applications close Thursday, 19 August 2021 and recipients will be announced in early November. More information is available here.

For high school students studying agriculture in South East NSW, hands on experience gives them the skills they need to gain employment when they finish their studies. For 200 students from across 11 different schools around Nowra, this meant having a go at the School Steer Spectacular at Nowra Showgrounds.

A $5,500 grant from the ABC Heywire initiative meant that South Coast Beef Producers Association (SCB) could spend three months mentoring students as they learnt how to feed and prepare steer for the Hook and Hoof competition. This involved hands on, industry-based learning with a pathway into the agriculture industry.

In addition to the steer competition, SCB conducted a number of skills-based workshops to build the students understanding of the techniques required in preparing and showing. These included the selection, grooming, parading and judging of cattle, and carcass assessment. Students were also expected to present a report on the project to a panel of judges. The presentations had to demonstrate: the hands-on preparation of the steer, the animal science and recording of the steer project, the agribusiness and commercial outcomes and how the project was recorded and reported.

The project mentored secondary school students who are studying agriculture and who are interested in a future career in the agriculture industry.

Some schools returned home to commence preparation for the next Spectacular with the students from Moruya High starting their own Beef Cattle Club and negotiating with a local beef producer to provide them with cattle to train for the 2019 Spectacular. Already, a number of students involved in the Spectacular are now studying agriculture at a tertiary level.

One of the teachers involved said of the day; “Thanks for providing the students with the fantastic opportunity, they really did enjoy and learn which was fantastic.”

Another teacher said; “There is more fruit from the Spectacular, more kids down at the ag plot breaking in cattle, older kids mentoring younger or inexperienced ones. Great stuff!”

“This project was driven and supported by young people every step of the way.”

Since Junior Mayor of Mt Isa and 2015 Heywire Youth Representative, Justice King, helped secure a $10,000 Heywire Youth Innovation Grant, a group of Mt Isa youth have been part of a program that has helped them to share stories of mental health, learn film-making skills, and ‘roll out the red carpet Mt Isa style’.

Kicked off in September 2015 at the Mt Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, the Raise Your Cards project included running four days of Digital Storytelling workshops for 19 young people. Professionals were brought in to help them develop skills in storytelling, scriptwriting, storyboarding, basic camera work and film making, film editing and sharing, communication, planning and team work. A young group ‘We Are One’ led the program throughout the application process and program design, while tapping into local Justice King, who chaired meetings and was actively involved along the way. Other support came from Vincent McManus of CuriousWorks, Chris Doyle and Jacqueline Olley of Headspace Mount Isa , James Cook University , Leann Shaw, Community Yarning Circles  and Alvin Hava Young People Ahead, Youth and Community Services Inc.

‘Raising cards’ raises confidence

Stephanie King, one of the project coordinators from the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, told of her excitement for the group’s opportunity to learn. “This has a flow on effect for their self- confidence and for what they would like to be and their future aspirations as young leaders in our community.” She said one young participant commented that “It was the most awesome thing I have ever done.”

“All 12 young people were super keen and excited to play their part, the young ones even turned up extra early on their school holidays and put in a mighty effort to produce some really amazing scenes.”

Flexible workshop delivery enabled the project to take different directions. Reducing stigma around youth and mental help isn’t easy and is often a difficult subject to broach for youth, especially with the end result being broadcasting of personal stories. The young group decided they wanted to make a joint film and worked collaboratively on a script that would include everyone. The result: Straight Outta Isa (WATCH). One girl, Sophie, took another approach and used whiteboard animation to tell her story.

The workshops culminated in sharing the stories through online channels and the team organised a free community screening night on October 9th 2015 to coincide with mental Health Week. It was attended by almost 100 people.

Ms Justice King commented for an ABC article that she was overwhelmed by how much the young people were willing to share at the workshop.

“With my experience, especially with youth of their age, they’re usually very enclosed in themselves and don’t talk,” she said. “It really did launch us out of the water, it was so surprising that they were open to discussion.

“It really shows that we’re exiting the era where discussing bad topics as youth [is taboo].”