Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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 –  https://frrr.org.au/investing-in-not-for-profit-capacity-nsw/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
BEGA VALLEY
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.
Cobargo$10,000
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.
Bega$10,000
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.
Bega$10,000
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.
Bega$10,000
GLEN INNES SEVERN
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

Tackling stigma around youth mental health

Mental health difficulties are the most common health challenges for young people, with between 20-25% of Australian adolescents experiencing a mental health or substance abuse issue in any given year. In the Bega Valley, youth mental health has been identified as a major issue facing the region. With a lack of public transport, limited education opportunities and few social spaces for young people – outside of playing a sport – a youth dance organisation has become an important alternative and a vital hub for self-expression and creativity.

Bega-based fLiNG Physical Theatre provides opportunities for young people to work with local and visiting professional artists to create original contemporary performance projects. They aim to give voice to regional perspectives, and designed a powerful youth-centric research and performance project called ‘My Black Dog”, which set out to learn about and support the mental health of young people living in the Bega Valley.

The project had two components; the creation of a moving, original performance exploring youth mental health, and the design and delivery of wellbeing workshops for high school students exploring how they can creatively and practically support their wellbeing. But to deliver it, they needed increased resourcing and capacity.

A grant of $17,700 from FRRR’s In a Good Place program, funded by CCI Giving, was awarded and spread across the project to help realise the final performance outcome. It enabled the employment of two fLiNG Alumni, who returned to the Bega Valley to perform in the work, demonstrating potential future pathways for younger fLiNG Company members, who look to these people as role models. Funds also supported a local year 12 fLiNG Alumni to be employed to co-deliver the Art & Wellbeing workshops in schools around the region, ensuring the program is relevant and speaks on the level of those it’s being delivered to.

The live performance, entitled ‘My Black Dog’, was co-created with fLiNG Company members (14-18yrs) across all aspects of activity. The work’s themes – isolation, disconnection, grief and bullying – were set in a school context, and recognisable for many in the young audience. The uncomfortable territory also revealed the characters’ resilience and capacity for them to reach out and support one another.

It ran for a season of eight performances. This project reached more than 750 individuals, and the Art & Wellbeing workshops were delivered to 152 students in local schools. It all helped to break down stigma, learn about what is occurring in the community, and help generate conversation on an issue that is often difficult to talk about. Each performance was supported by local mental health professionals.

The community response to the show was exceptional, and many were inspired to share their own stories. Exploring and talking about the difficulties that young people come up against is the best way to begin to solve and heal them, and fLiNG Physical Theatre is contributing to the conversation in a highly creative and collaborative way. It was the recipient of the 2019 WayAhead Mental Health Matters Award for Youth, and shortlisted for an Australian Dance Award.

Gabriella Rose, fLiNG’s Co-Artistic Director, explained that the project has enabled a deeper understanding of how mental health issues may present in a young person, and what things can be done to support them.

“It has also revealed the enormity of the problem in regional areas, the lack of infrastructure and support available to isolated people. Through round table discussions with school welfare officers, mental health workers, parents and teens, it revealed how overwhelming the situation can be, but also how hard people are working to build better support structures around vulnerable young people in our community.”

The project’s final report also notes:

“Ultimately the My Black Dog project reiterated that within our community, mental health issues are common, and they can impact everyone. fLiNG’s Artistic Directors saw the Bega Valley community take up the offer to connect with this work and to start a conversation. The more we talk about mental health, the better we will become at looking after ourselves, recognising when we need support, and helping each other get through it.”