Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

FRRR and Bega Valley Shire Council recently announced that a new initiative was being rolled out in Bega Valley, thanks to funding from the $1.3 million Australian Government Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Program.

Building on the foundations laid by the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC) program that FRRR has run in the region over the last two years, the new program is called Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) Bega Valley – Resilience Connection and Place Project.

Recently, FRRR kicked off the IRCF program in the Bega Valley with a roadmapping workshop, which was attended by 33 local community members and leaders. The purpose of the session was to identify the gaps that exist within the local community, to discuss the needs of locals and to begin building a plan for how local not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) can work together to better fulfill those needs.

Carolyn Ardler, FRRR’s IRCF Program Manager for the South Coast, said the workshop was a great way to bring the community together and identify common areas of need.

“The workshop was really well-attended and everyone who participated had a lot of valuable insights and knowledge to contribute. It was a great opportunity for the community to come together to discuss the needs of the community and identify some tangible projects that can be worked on moving forward. 

“We worked on six projects using the Designing For Wiser Action process facilitated by Campfire Coop. These are projects that the community sees as a priority and will support the Council in the implementation of the next steps.

“We also introduced Bree and Leah- the new community facilitators, who are based at the Bega Valley Shire Council – to the group. Representatives from the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation were also there, explaining the Regenerate Leadership Program, which is a key part of the program. It will offer free leadership training to 24 community leaders,” Ms Ardler said.

To find out more about the IRCF program or to get involved, visit or contact FRRR Carolyn Ardler, IRCF Program Coordinator – South Coast on 1800 170 020.

Pictured: FRRR’s IRCF team, Bega Valley Shire IRCF team alongside Alli from ARLF and Bega Valley’s local community and NFP leaders.

Regenerate Bega Valley and Regenerate Shoalhaven – two leadership development programs designed in response to the 2019-20 bushfires – are currently open for applications.

Leaders of local not-for-profit organisations in the Bega Valley and Shoalhaven region are invited to apply for locally-delivered leadership development programs, designed to build their capacity to help with ongoing bushfire recovery and response.

There are 24 scholarships offered in each location for local leaders who’ll get access to some of the best leadership thinking and practice available, plus practical tools and skills via experiential learning.

The Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery grants program is funding the programs, to be delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).

FRRR’s Acting CEO Sarah Matthee explains they’re part of FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures program which aims to build confidence, ability, skills and longer-term sustainability of the region’s NFPs.

“We know local not-for-profits are often leaned on significantly, especially in the event of a natural disaster as was the case with the Black Summer bushfires,” she says.

“Pressure on programs, services and volunteers is leading to fatigue and a depletion of local resources. From our work over the last few years in both these communities, we’ve seen an overwhelming appetite for cross sector collaboration and planning within the community. The ARLF leadership programs will help boost their capacity and impact.”

ARLF Chief Executive Matt Linnegar says the Regenerate Shoalhaven and Bega Valley programs will help local leaders to collaborate, build networks and lead community initiatives.

“When future emergencies, or opportunities occur, this network will be invaluable. They won’t be just names and positions; they’ll know and trust each other and be able to work through the challenges in front of them, to build resilience.

“This leadership network will guide and empower communities to address bushfire recovery priorities aimed at rebuilding and growing their local economy.”

For Carina Severs, manager at Eden Community Access Centre and chair of the Eden Recovery and Resilience Alliance, resilience is about knowledge.

“I’d like people to know what’s available, to know the ‘capability and capacity’ of frontline emergency services, as well as the support services such as Red Cross, CWA have. Resilience is about learning skills and being able to look after yourself as best you can, but it is also about showing care for those around you – your neighbours, friends and others.”

Also welcoming the Regenerate programs, Kangaroo Valley community champion Nat Harker reflects: “No lives were lost, but our community has changed. Some people have since left, most are still carrying trauma but we are working closely together to build resilience for the future – to strive, survive and then thrive.”

Applications for the Regenerate Bega Valley and Regenerate Shoalhaven leadership programs are now open. Each program is open to volunteers or employees in the not-for-profit sector. There will be two four-day residential sessions starting in August. For more details and to apply, visit (regional programs). Applications close on 18 June.

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal today welcomed the expansion of the place-based Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program to the Bega Valley, thanks to an injection of $1.3 million through the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Program.

IRCF is a grassroots program aimed at building and supporting the capacity of not-for-profits so they in turn can support social, economic and built environment recovery. By working locally over the next two years, it aims to strengthen local not-for-profit (NFP) organisations and ultimately enable them to thrive, which in turn will have a positive impact on community wellbeing and sustainability. It is based on a mix of local on-the-ground support, access to workshops and training and collaboration with local community groups.

The IRCF Bega Valley – Resilience Connection and Place Project builds on the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity program, which FRRR has been running in Bega over the last 18 months.

The investment will allow for two community development project officers to be appointed – one full time, one part-time – in partnership with the Bega Valley Shire Council. They will work closely with local NFP organisations and community groups, including the three Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALC’s).

An important part of the program will be to develop a ‘roadmap’ for the local not-for-profit and community sector, to identify common areas of interest, shared assets and needs for capacity building. Once these needs are identified, the IRCF Community Development Project Officers will develop relevant resources and help facilitate training and other support to help NFP’s to maximise the impact of their work. They will also provide support in accessing other grant funding for the various groups that get involved.

The program will also deliver leadership training into the community, thanks to a partnership with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.

FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead Deb Samuels says that this really is a collaborative, community-driven program.

“FRRR has worked hand in hand with community groups over the last 20 plus years, so we know that locals are best placed to know what they really need. Our role is simply to help facilitate the support that they need – and that’s exactly what this program is going to do.

“We’ve rolled out this model successfully now in seven other locations across NSW, so we know that this approach of bringing local NFPs and community groups together really works, especially when you combine it with on-the-ground facilitators. Together, they can identify common issues and opportunities and collectively prioritise where investment is needed, and what form it should take – including paying particular attention to ensuring it’s inclusive and culturally appropriate – to build their capacity as a sector.

“We’ve seen some fantastic spin-off investment and leveraging of resources and we fully expect the same to happen in Bega Valley communities. We’re really excited to get started!” Ms Samuels said.

Applications are now also open for the two facilitator roles, with details on the Bega Valley Shire Council site.

Designing and tailoring the IRCF program is a highly collaborative process. The next step is for FRRR, Bega Valley Shire Council and Australian Rural Leadership Foundation to meet with some key local leaders and start to map out how to harness this opportunity to build on what is already happening in the Bega Valley.

To find out more about the IRCF program or to get involved, visit or contact FRRR Carolyn Ardler, IRCF Program Coordinator – South Coast on 1800 170 020.

Two free capacity building workshops for people volunteering or working in Bega Valley’s not-for-profit and community sector are now available, thanks to FRRR’s Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW program.

The Program, a partnership between the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Paul Ramsay Foundation, aims to support the resourcing and capacity of grassroot not-for-profits, helping them to respond and thrive in the face of current challenges. It offers a program of activities including local workshops, skill development and networking to help create local solutions to local issues. Grants were also awarded through the program in 2021. 

FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager, Jo Kemp, said the workshops aim to add value beyond grants awarded last year.  

“Over the last nine months, we have been talking with and listening to the Bega Valley community. These workshops will explore the themes of growing a flourishing volunteer community and will also help local organisations to develop strategies for responding to community needs across Bega Valley. The sessions have been designed around the suggestions that have been raised during our conversations with community members and have been received with enthusiasm by local leaders.

“During a workshop held last year we were excited to hear about the interest among local groups to find ways to collaborate and develop a shared vision to best respond to community priorities across the Valley. We hope that these workshops will help to build on those ideas,” said Ms Kemp. 

Topic: Engaging and Sustaining Volunteers 
Date: Tuesday 17 May 2022 
Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm  Venue: Gulaga Room, Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre 
Topic: Collaboration & Strategy Development  
Date: Wednesday 25 May 2022 Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm Venue: Biamanga Room, Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre 

The sessions are free and numbers are limited. 

In 2021 the Bega Valley Shire Business Forum received a $60,000 grant to strengthen the resourcing of the seven members Chambers of Commerce in the Bega Valley. Nigel Ayling, President Merimbula Chamber of Commerce, said that the funds made a huge difference. 

“The funds received from FRRR for a Coordinator and Grant Writer have been invaluable in supporting our Chambers and sourcing extra funds. The workshop exploring strategies for volunteer engagement will definitely be of interest to our members and I look forward to attending. We really appreciate the support from FRRR and look forward to working with them again in the future,” he said. 

Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW is an 18 month place-based program running in three bushfire affected communities, being Bega, Taree and Wingham, and Glen Innes. For more information visit

For queries about the workshops, email or call 1800 170 020. 

Eight organisations sharing $280,000

FRRR has awarded eight grants totalling $280,000 to a range of local community groups across Bega Valley and Glen Innes Severn through the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC) program, which is supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

Bega and Glen Innes community groups receive funding

Funding was requested for a range of initiatives including economic and strategic planning, support for groups to build systems and processes, and undertake staff training, and business skills development.

The grants awarded will benefit newly formed and existing groups as they build their capacity to meet the needs of their communities and support the ongoing recovery of these fire-affected areas.

The INFPC program supports local community groups and not-for-profit organisations and is specifically designed to help create local solutions to local issues. The program includes workshops, skill development and networking, in addition to the grants. It kicked off in May, with workshops in the Bega Valley and Glen Innes.

Joanna Kemp, FRRR’s INFPC Program Manager, said that the sessions were well attended, but with different issues emerging during the discussions.

“In the Bega Valley, there was a lot of interest among local not-for-profits in working more closely together and sharing resources where appropriate. There was also a shared need for strategic planning within organisations, and more support on things like governance training. We also heard that there are lots of challenges with volunteer and funding fatigue, and in maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing across the community in general, which isn’t surprising given the challenges this community has faced.

“In Glen Innes Severn, the participating organisations shared a common need for governance support and training in areas such as succession and strategic planning, ways to overcome challenges in volunteer recruitment and retention, and a desire to upskill in marketing activities, such as maintaining websites and social media,” Ms Kemp explained.

“We look forward to continuing to work with these communities and to learning more about their needs and priorities in the target communities to understand how FRRR might best add value into the future.”

The INFPC program will also be rolled out in Taree, although the kick-off was delayed due to the floods. It is expected the launch workshop will be help in the next couple of months.

Among the organisations supported in the Bega Valley is South East Arts for their project to support First Nations Cultural Tourism. The $10,000 grant will support the capacity of individuals and organisations working in the First Nations arts and cultural space in the Bega Valley by providing business skills training and ongoing practical support.

In Glen Innes Severn, Glenrac has been awarded $126,500 for a project that will benefit a wide range of local organisations. Their Creating Confident and Capable Committee for the Future project will involve a series of workshops, one-on-one support and resources to increase the capacity of local not-for-profit organisations.

For more information about the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW program, visit –

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

Bega Valley Shire Business ForumBega Valley Business Forum Coordination
Strengthen the capacity and networks of the seven member Chambers of Commerce of the Bega Valley Shire Business Forum through engagement of a contractor to address strategy, resourcing, and collaboration across the network.
Bega - Cobargo - Tathra$60,000
Cobargo Wellness GroupRaise the heART - Expanding the Capacity of the Cobargo Wellness Group
Grow the capacity and direction of Cobargo Wellness Group through support for strategic planning, staff development, branding & marketing, and feasibility for future projects.
Far South Coast Family Support Service IncTransforming Trauma
Expand the skills and capabilities of staff at Far South Coast Family Support Service to deliver a wider range of programs to their community through a series of accredited trauma intervention training.
Fling Physical Theatre IncBuilding the Capacity of FLING Physical Theatre through Strategic Development
Grow the profile and determine the future directions of FLING Physical Theatre in the Bega Valley through development of a marketing and strategic plan.
Mumbulla FoundationMumbulla Foundation Systems, Strategy and Community Engagement Project
Boost the capacity, profile, and effectiveness of Mumbulla Foundation through strategic planning, investment in systems, and community consultation.
Bega Valley$40,000
South East Arts (NSW) IncFirst Nations Cultural Tourism Development
Build the capacity of individuals and organisations working in the First Nations arts and cultural space in the Bega Valley through business skills training and ongoing practical support.
Arts North West IncorporatedCreative Arts Recovery Expertise (CARE)
Boost capacity and awareness in mental health and creative disaster recovery of Arts North West staff and the Glen Innes arts community through targeted training sessions.
Glen Innes$13,500
Glenrac IncorporatedCreating Confident & Capable Committees for the Future - Glen Innes
Build the capacity of not-for-profit organisations in the Glen Innes region through a series of workshops, one-on-one support, access to information, tools, and resources.
Glen Innes$126,500

Local NFPs invited to learn about FRRR’s new capacity building grant program

FRRR is inviting local leaders of not-for-profits (NFPs) and community organisations across select New South Wales regions to join in a series of online workshops to learn about the Foundation’s new grassroots program, Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC).

Investing in regional NSW's not-for-profits

The INFPC program, which is supported the Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF), is a 12-month place-based program that will provide NFPs in the bushfire-affected regions of Bega Valley, Glen Innes Severn and Taree with a capacity boost for their vital work in their communities.

Through the INFPC program, FRRR will support regional NSW NFPs and community organisations to respond and thrive in the face of current challenges. The program will include access to grant funding, workshops, skill development and networking to help create local solutions to local issues.

The workshop will introduce the program and give local community leaders the opportunity to brainstorm the key priorities and challenges they are facing and identify how INFPC can support them to address these resourcing and capacity needs.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the program recognises the vital work of these grassroots organisations and community groups and intends to offer assistance that can add strength to the support and service they provide to the community.

“We were fortunate to meet with a number of regional NSW NFPs recently and it was clear how passionate they are about their community and its people. Their resilience and positivity were inspiring. What was also evident though, was the toll that having to face successive disasters has had on their capacity to do their job,” Ms Egleton explained.

“From drought, to bushfires, to COVID-19 restrictions, we heard how local NFPs, many of which are run by volunteers, are experiencing fatigue. The need to rethink, reschedule or pivot projects to meet changing needs has added additional pressure to their ability to support their communities.

“We are grateful for their openness and willingness to share with us the very real challenges they are facing as well as their goals and aspirations for their organisations and community.

“We look forward to working with local leaders and supporting them to develop local solutions to overcome these challenges,” Ms Egleton said.

For more information about the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW program, or to register for an online workshop, visit –