Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

FRRR and VFFF today announced their partnership to expand the reach and impact of the Backing the Future program, which VFFF launched in 2022.

Group of young people celebrating
Backing the Future 2022 NSW recipient Jae Brieffies (centre) with her Bright Generation team

Backing the Future supports individuals and groups of individuals working to enhance the lives of people aged 12-30 who live in remote, rural and regional NSW and QLD. It offers grants of $50,000 over 12 months to support projects that align to one or more of four focus areas.

The grants are designed as seed funding for new ideas that support young people in their community. The funds can be used to assist in researching, piloting or accelerating early-stage ideas and can be used for a range of purposes such as paying a salary, purchasing technology or covering rent for office space, as long as it supports the approved initiative.

FRRR and VFFF have a history of collaborating for greater impact in remote, rural and regional communities, and are joining forces again to ensure that more young people benefit from the Backing the Future program.

VFFF CEO, Jenny Wheatley, said that by working together, the organisations know that they can enable more great ideas to come to fruition.

“VFFF established Backing the Future to provide focussed support for youth. In our first three rounds, we’ve seen some passionate people make wonderful progress on issues that matter to them and their community and which enhance the lives of young people. By partnering with FRRR, we want to extend our support into more remote, rural and regional communities.

“By working together and leveraging FRRR’s network, we hope to see more applications from more individuals who can make a difference in the lives of young people. In addition, with a larger team than VFFF, FRRR will be able to provide more support to those leading these projects, building their capacity and strengthening community for the future,” Ms Wheatley explained.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that the timing is great, as FRRR has recently committed to doing more to support the next generation of remote, rural and regional leaders.

“Young people want to make a difference to their communities and to the success of regional Australia, but they don’t always want to do it in the traditional ways.

“Great ideas are often hindered by funding that requires a proof of concept. In contrast, this program emphasises great ideas and the enthusiasm and energy of the individual pitching the concept. It allows them to take on leadership roles and can be a catalyst to real change.

“It’s not just open to young people though – anyone who has an idea that will benefit young people in remote, rural and regional communities can apply,” Ms Egleton explained.

A great example of how FRRR and VFFF are already having an impact on young people together, is through Backing the Future grant recipient, Jameson Harvey, founder of Red Dirt Robotics.

Red Dirt Robotics had received funding through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants to deliver two STEM workshops in remote schools. After seeing the impact of that program, Jameson used his Backing the Future grant to undertake a three-month intensive tour across rural and remote QLD teaching robotics and coding to young people.

The next round of the Backing the Future program will be for projects that benefit young people in NSW, with the grant round opening 26 July. The 2024 QLD round is currently being assessed, with the 2025 QLD round opening early next year.

A webinar will be held on 7 August, where VFFF and FRRR will share more about the program, including some case studies of the impact of past grants. Register for the webinar at: https://events.humanitix.com/backing-the-future-webinar.

In the meantime, to learn more, head to frrr.org.au/backing-the-future-by-vfff-and-frrr/ or call 1800 170 020 and speak to FRRR’s Youth Futures Manager, Lauren.