Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Tableland Community Link Association (TCL) in North QLD provides person-centred support for people with disabilities and/or mental illness to have opportunities that increase their connection and sense of belonging within their community.

They used a $15,000 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant to build an enclosed verandah extension at ‘The Grove’ activities centre, which is used on a daily basis by their clients. The extension has added extra cooling, further weather protection and increased the capacity of the centre, which has allowed TCL to increase the number of participants in the activities they hold for clients each weekday.

‘The Grove’ hosts daily activities for clients like chair yoga, craft classes, bingo, games and karaoke items, and has a full industrial kitchen for cooking classes and many more activities. The Atherton Tablelands community, and in particular Atherton, is expanding rapidly and the increase in clients has followed this trend. Through the expansion of the back verandah ,more outdoor activities are now possible and more clients can visit and participate at the centre. 

Carrie de Brueys, Services Manager of ‘The Grove’, said, “This activity centre is the only one of its kind in Atherton and on the Atherton Tablelands. Clients must travel almost one and a half hours to Cairns to have access to similar facilities – so expanding our capacity has been critical.

“For people with a disability or mental illness, a sense of community and belonging is very important in their day-to-day routines, as it creates a sense of independence and stability. It enables clients to interact with like-minded people, whilst also feeling safe and comfortable. It also allows them to have a sense of independence in a community environment.”

This renovation project aligns with one of the ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant program criteria under the theme of ‘Improving Housing Access’. For organisations that offer housing support and services for people living with a disability, funding is available to improve disability access to community facilities.

One local organisation that is very active around Lake Eacham, 100 km west of Cairns in Queensland, is Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT), a community-based tree planting organisation of some 600 volunteer members. Members work together to revegetate degraded lands and create corridors for wildlife on the Atherton Tablelands.

Volunteers key to success of organisation

TREAT has a wonderful working relationships with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (Restoration Services), as well as with landholders and local landcare and community groups. Up to 60 or so members (come along each week to prepare seeds, pot or re-pot seedlings, and perform other necessary jobs before enjoying morning tea together. Their efforts peak each wet season, up to 240 volunteer hours a week tree planting at various private or public revegetation sites.

Grant enhances safety of operations

TREAT received a $3,000 grant, funded by the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, via FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program to retrofit purpose-built rack stands to the existing hardening off bays at their rainforest tree seedling nursery. The new racks have made the working height more comfortable, so older volunteers can work safely without bending down.

TREAT President, Angela McCaffrey, said that these ergonomically designed pipe racks that support the bays of seedling trays have made such a difference to the use, comfort and safety of the volunteers. 

Photo courtesy of TREAT website.