Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Grants of up to $10,000 available nationwide

Grants of up to $10,000 are now available to fund community-led projects, developed by young people, to respond to the six issues identified at this year’s ABC Heywire Youth Summit, including mental health, accessibility, youth voices, addressing costs of living and creating safe spaces – all issues that concern youth.

IMAGE: ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra. HEADING: Empowering and addressing issues that matter to rural youth

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural, and regional youth since 2013, providing them with the opportunity to not only identify the issues that matter most to them but also take action to combat them.

This year, there is $115,000 in grants available nationally and an additional $35,000 specifically to fund projects in Queensland, thanks to a new partnership with The John Villiers Trust.

The six ideas respond to common issues of concern identified by the 39 regional youth who attended the ABC Heywire Youth Summit, a youth leadership and skills development event held last month in Canberra.

FRRR and its partners will fund grants that enable activation of these ideas across rural Australia, enabling community organisations and not-for-profits that work with young people to either implement these ideas or to develop their own projects to address the issues raised, which include:

  • Boredom Relief: How might we create safe spaces for youth?
  • Easy Access: How might we empower regional youth to take charge of their mental health and support their mates?
  • Homegrown Hub: How might we create cost of food relief in communities across Australia?
  • Idea 4 Change: How might we provide resources to ensure young people are supported and engaged in their education, with their diverse learning needs catered for?
  • Hear Our Voices: How might we ensure that all youth voices are heard and represented on issues that matter to them?
  • We are not Alone: How might we create a better future for all young people living with a disability to feel understood and supported in regional Australia?

More details about each of these ideas can be found on the ABC Heywire website.

Kadee from Barcaldine, Queensland, Iningai Country, is a 2023 Heywire Winner and was part of the group that developed the Idea 4 Change project. Kadee said it was inspiring knowing their idea would become a reality in rural Australia.

“I’ve already had educators of my school asking heaps of questions and having me go into depth about our idea. I’m feeling intrigued to see how everyone’s ideas evolve over time and how they impact our country.”

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that to truly create impact for young people, they need to be at the table in making decisions and the Youth Innovation Grants program facilitates this.

“From idea development, through to assessing grant applications that are recommended to the FRRR Board for funding, the Youth Innovation Grants program is led by rural youth, at all stages of the program. This process ensures that funding is allocated to create impact where it matters most for young people in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“Our long-term partnership with ABC has been instrumental to the success of this program. The ABC Heywire Summit is such a powerful platform for young Australians to share their voices and ideas to policy makers, and across the nation. To be able to invest in these ideas with funding that allows communities to act on these ideas is such a phenomenal opportunity.

“We encourage rural community groups to connect with local young people, consider the six issues and work together to develop a project and application that addresses one of the issues, in a local context. Our Youth Assessment Panel and I look forward to exploring all the innovative ideas developed,” said Ms Samuels.

This is the 11th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to once again partner with FRRR to invest in youth ideas across remote, rural and regional Australia,” said Warwick Tiernan, ABC Director, Regional and Local.

“We know that young people are keenly aware of the issues that affect them and given the chance, they have the skills to develop solutions to them. Being able to back these ideas with grants to make them come to reality shows young people we are doing more than just listening, we are acting on them.

“We’re excited to see what pioneering projects come to life this year and share these stories through the ABC network.”

To date, more than $1.4 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 174 projects in more than 130 communities. This round of FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, AMP Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, David Mactaggart Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Wednesday 7 June, and recipients will be announced in September. More information is available on the Youth Innovation Grants page.

Image is of ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra, by Bradley Cummings.