Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Nestled in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, a two-hour drive from Sydney and just over the Great Dividing Range, lies the small town of Tarana. It is surrounded by local state forests and important historical sites such as the Jenolan Caves. The Tarana Volunteer Bushfire Brigade protects the Tarana community and surrounding districts from fires that threaten life and land. During the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, the brigade worked tirelessly at this task.

The Black Summer fires underscored the need for brigades to be ready and prepared for urgent fire defence. However, a review into the fires found that loss of power to brigade sheds affected the ability of emergency services to be as responsive as was needed.

An incident in 2021, where a power pole was damaged near their shed, further highlighted this issue for the Tarana Brigade, as they went without power for several weeks. A small group of volunteers was left to man a generator to keep power going, tying up valuable resources needed elsewhere.

Through the Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) grant program, the Tarana Brigade found a solution to their power problem. Installing a solar powered battery backup system ensured ongoing continuity of their power supply, with the added benefit of producing green energy and reducing operational costs.

Thanks to the generous contribution of a private donor, a $25,000 VESF grant provided the brigade with the certainty of running their fire shed unencumbered: trucks will stay charged, roller doors and fast fill pumps will remain operational, security systems and fridges for crew supplies will continue to run. This means that the Tarana Volunteer Bushfire Brigade will be ready to support their community whenever they are needed.

First responder organisations encouraged to apply for funding to strengthen their emergency response capabilities

FRRR is encouraging eligible groups to apply to its Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program to support local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in communities affected by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.

HEADING: Grants available for Volunteer Emergency Services in Black Summer impacted areas
IMAGE: Tionee Rural Fire Brigade

Thanks to the generous contribution of a private donor, grants of up to $25,000 are available to strengthen local emergency response capabilities, based on identified community need and priorities, including to support volunteers’ wellbeing and mental health.

The VESF grants are available to local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Danielle Griffin, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager – Corporate, said that funding from this grant program had already provided much-needed support, funding 54 projects across 66 communities.

“We have seen local groups upgrade their equipment and infrastructure, improve their service to communities and enhance support for their volunteers.

“This funding is a timely reminder that these communities need continued support and investment. The funding will contribute to remote, rural and regional communities’ confidence in the capacity and capability of their local volunteer first responder and emergency services groups to implement solutions for adapting to changing conditions and planning for future disasters. The volunteers themselves are critical to these outcomes and we encourage projects that build not only the skills of this unpaid workforce but wellbeing support to sustain their efforts.

“Many of these communities have endured multiple disasters in recent years, including the current floods. We encourage any groups impacted by the Black Summer fires who are also affected by recent flooding to get in touch and discuss their needs so we can support applications being developed in these difficult conditions,” Ms Griffin said.

The VESF grant program is now open. Applications close 5pm AEST 28 April 2022, with grants to be announced in July 2022. You can find out more about the program at: https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/  

35 first-responder organisations awarded grants

Thirty-five volunteer emergency services organisations supporting remote, rural and regional communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires are sharing $447,323 in grants for projects that will assist in their recovery and strengthen their emergency response capabilities ahead of the 2021/22 bushfire season.

Volunteer Emergency Services given Black Summer recovery boost ahead of fire season

Funded through FRRR’s Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program, thanks to a generous private donor, grants range from $2,232 to maintain fire-crew hydration through the installation of a car fridge, to $25,000 to increase access to life saving equipment with the purchase

The VESF supports the ongoing bushfire recovery and preparedness taking place in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that these grants will support rural communities and protect the volunteers who are leading the path to recovery.

“Programs like this are crucial to the long-term resilience of these communities. Providing the necessary resources and support for these volunteers will not only bolster the preparedness of these fire-affected areas but will also enable our volunteers to recover, both physically and mentally, as they continue to serve rural Australia in the safest and most effective ways possible.

“In this round, we saw a lot of requests for support in purchasing and upgrading emergency equipment. Whether it’s additional firefighting trailers, community emergency messaging systems or emergency medical equipment, these organisations will be better equipped to save lives,” says Ms Egleton.

Some of the projects funded this round include:

  • Wantagong Bushfire Brigade, NSW – Firefighting trailer and PMR Handheld Radio – $16,188 – Increase firefighting capacity with the provision of an additional tanker trailer and a handheld radio.
  • Flinders Peak Rural Fire Brigade, QLD – Flinders Peak Station Security & Access Control – $13,682 – Improve facility access and security for local fire and SES organisations by installing a new integrated security and roller door system.
  • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network, SA – Fire Awareness Session and 4WD training – $5,580 – Build capability and equip a local wildlife organisation to operate effectively in a disaster with fire awareness and 4WD training, and new disaster response equipment.
  • Wendoree Park Rural Fire Service, VIC – Wendoree Park Rural Fire Station Generator – $19,854 -Increase emergency power supply capability with the installation of an emergency backup generator ensuring continued access to power supply during emergencies.
  • St John Ambulance Australia (Vic) Inc, Vic – Mental Health, Crisis and resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events – $14,250 – Boost first responder wellbeing by delivering Mental Health, Crisis and Resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events.

For more information, visit FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/. The next, and last, round of this program is expected to open in February, but details will be confirmed in the new year.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bumbalong Valley Progress AssociationBumbalong Community Fire Unit 2021-2022
Strengthen emergency fire response capacity and communication with the provision of smaller mobile water storage solutions, pumps, hoses and radio equipment.
Bumbalong$19,301
Gulgong DC Rural Fire Brigade Going Digital - A New Age for Gulgong DC RFB
Enhance training and communications equipment by upgrading digital equipment to enhance operations.
Gulgong$25,000
Long Flat / Ellenborough Rural Fire BrigadeKitchen Upgrade
Improve kitchen facilities at the local RFS site to provide volunteers and community members with disability access and conditions to support serving safe, healthy food during disaster activations.
Long Flat$20,503
Narara Rural Fire BrigadeRefurbishment After 2019/20 Fires
Increase brigade visibility and emergency communication by providing additional lighting towers, torches and fireground radios for use during emergency response activities.
Narara$15,572
RFS - Central Coast District Captain, Central Coast Trail Bike Unit Enclosed Trail Bike Trailer for Rapid and Efficient Deployment
Build organisational capacity with an additional trailer for transporting bikes increasing operational effectiveness.
Kariong$18,244
RFS - Blackheath Mt Victoria Rural Fire Brigade Operational & Technology Capability Enhancements
Enhance emergency response capability to provide volunteers with an appropriately appointed facility including turn out bay roller doors, air conditioning, technology upgrades and hose drying equipment.
Blackheath$19,641
RFS - Mount Fairy Rural Fire BrigadeStation Upgrade & Fit-Out
Boost operational capacity and response capability by fitting out the facilities extension including training, kitchen and laundry areas.
Mount Fairy$23,552
St John Ambulance Australia (N.S.W.)St John Ambulance Northern NSW Defibrillator Project
Increase access to life saving equipment by providing Defibrillators for northern NSW communities impacted by Black Summer bushfires.
Armidale, Tamworth, Cessnock & Port Macquarie$25,000
Towamba Rural Fire BrigadeCapital Equipment for Fire Shed
Strengthen volunteer vitality by upgrading Fire Brigade facilities to support efficient emergency response activities including attachment of the generator, lockers and training space.
Towamba$10,500
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW Marine Rescue Bermagui Base Refurbishment
Upgrade the facilities of Marine Rescue Bermagui to improve operations for radio communications, training and power loss risk mitigation.
Bermagui$24,933
Wantagong Bushfire Brigade Fire Fighting Trailer and PMR Handheld Radio
Increase fire fighting capacity with the provision of an additional tanker trailer and a hand held radio.
Wantagong$16,188
Wendoree Park Rural Fire ServiceWendoree Park Rural Fire Station Generator
Increase emergency power supply capability with the installation of an emergency backup generator ensuring continued access to power supply during emergencies.
Wendoree Park$19,854
Bega District Volunteer Rescue Group IncorporatedBattery Operated Rescue Tools and Associated Equipment
Strengthen organisational capacity by providing battery, charger pack and charger chords for power tools used in emergency response activities.
Bega Valley$3,482
Midcoast Aviation BrigadeMidcoast Aviation Airbase Support Equipment
Increase organisational capabilities in the field and support volunteers safety from the sun with the provision of a heavy duty gazebo and all terrain pallet jack.
Taree, Forster, Tuncurry, Wingham & Old Bar$5,007
RFS - Berkeley Vale Rural Fire Brigade IncorporatedBattery Operated Rescue Tools and Associated Equipment
Enhance emergency response activities by providing hand held radio's, updated GPS units and a backpack resuscitator enhancing community safety.
Berkeley Vale & Broader Central Coast $5,822
RFS - Bredbo Rural Fire BrigadeImproving First-Aid Capability
Increase volunteer skills and knowledge and capacity to respond to local emergencies with training in first aid and CPR and by providing first aid and snake bite kits for the Bredbo Rural Fire Brigade.
Bredbo$3,860
RFS - Buxton Volunteer Fire BrigadeBreathing Apparatus Cleaning Requirements, PPE and First Aid Supplies
Strengthen the ability of volunteers to respond to emergencies by purchasing a hot water system and washing machine to wash members breathing apparatus, uniforms and personal protective equipment and providing PPE and first aid kit supplies.
Buxton$9,150
RFS - Colinton Rural Fire BrigadePurchase of an Automated Emergency Defibrillator (AED) for the Training Room, and Training to Use
Strengthen ability and skills to respond to sudden cardiac arrests in the community by purchasing an Automated Emergency Defibrillator for the Brigade training room and provide training for Brigade members and community members in its use.
Colinton$2,650
RFS - Wollondibby Fire Brigade Wollondibby Bushfire Brigade Emergency Power Supply
Ensure continuous power supply for an Emergency Power Supply for the Wollondibby Fire Shed by way of a backup Generator.
Jindabyne & Crackenback$4,525
RFS - Wyee Point Rural Fire BrigadeCommunity Awareness Notice Board and Online Training Television
Boost community emergency messaging and volunteer training capabilities with the provision of a Community Notice Board and television for the Wyee Point RFB.
Wyee Point$5,000
Rylstone Kandos & District Volunteer Search and Rescue Organisation Inc Defibrillator Upgrade
Increase community safety with the provision of defibrillators to be housed at the Rescue Complex.
Rylstone & Kandos$7,485
QUEENSLAND
Flinders Peak Rural Fire BrigadeFlinders Peak Station Security & Access Control
Improve facility access and security for local fire and SES organisations by installing a new integrated security and roller door system.
Peak Crossing$13,862
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network Fire Awareness Session and 4WD Training
Build capability and equip a local wildlife organisation to operate effectively in a disaster with fire awareness and 4WD training, and new disaster response equipment.
Kingscote$5,580
Mawson CFS GroupThermal Imaging Camera for Community Safety
Improve firefighting equipment to enhance operational effectiveness and safety through a Thermal imaging camera that assists with thorough management of fires on site, reduces volunteer risk in smoke filled environments.
Clarendon, Happy Valley, Kangarilla & Chandlers Hill$2,525
Mount Barker SES Unit Emergency Response Equipment
Strengthen volunteer emergency response capability by providing additional trauma and emergency medical treatment kits and a lifting bridle to support patient emergency treatment and evacuation.
Mount Barker, Woodside & Brukunga$3,885
VICTORIA
CFA - Violet Town Country Fire ServiceSafe Powered Haven for the Violet Town Community
Ensure constant power supply during emergency events and mains power outages with the provision of a diesel generator ensuring access to Emergency response facilities during power outages.
Violet Town$19,592
CFA - Nagambie Country Fire ServiceCommunity Emergency Information
Enhance community emergency messaging with a LED display board to be placed in the towns main thoroughfare for year round use, particularly during emergency events.
Nagambie$13,000
St John Ambulance Australia (Vic) IncMental Health, Crisis and Resilience Training for Volunteers Deployed to Bushfire Events
Boost first responder wellbeing by delivering Mental Health, Crisis and Resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events.
Wodonga, Sale, Bairnsdale & Regional Victorian Divisions$14,250
Upper Murray Innovation Foundation - Thowgla Community Recovery Committee (CRC) Thowgla Valley Fire Preparedness Project
Strengthen emergency response capacity and increase emergency activity communication by providing additional fire fighting trailers and hand held radios.
Thowgla Valley$22,928
Victoria State Emergency Service Authority - Wodonga Unit Update the Computer Hardware and Accessories at the Wodonga Unit
Increase organisational capacity with the provision of upgraded IT equipment, software and accessories.
Wodonga$19,957
Victoria State Emergency Service - Bairnsdale Unit Enhancing Response Capability
Build operational capacity through battery and charger equipment to support portability of battery powered emergency equipment.
Bairnsdale$25,000
Victoria State Emergency Service Yackandandah UnitResilient Emergency Services in Yackandandah - Phase 3
Increase consistency of power supply with the provision of a diesel generator ensuring access to back up power during emergency response periods.
Yackandandah$13,176
CFA - Killawarra Country Fire Service Cool Under Pressure
Improve volunteer safety and wellbeing with the installation of a car fridge on the fighting tanker to maintain crew hydration.
Killawarra$2,232
CFA - Ruffy Country Fire ServiceFire Truck Driver Refresher Training
Support emergency response safety with the delivery of volunteer driver training for members of the Ruffy Fire Brigade.
Ruffy$3,600
CFA- Upton Hill Country Fire ServiceIT for Upton Hill to Boost Volunteerism and Volunteer Retention
Boost organisational capacity by providing IT equipment supporting the day to operations and completion of administration functions for volunteers.
Upton Hill$2,467


Yuin Nation

Professional artists from the Bega Valley are invigorating Pambula Village with vibrant and colourful large-scale artworks, thanks to a bushfire recovery initiative.

Six commissioned pieces now complement a 22-site historic walking tour and are providing a boost to morale, employment and tourism.

The Bega Valley LGA was among the most impacted by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, with 465 houses destroyed, 1,279 rural landholders impacted and around 60 per cent of the area burnt. Pambula has also experienced drought and COVID-19. The cumulative effects of all this have resulted in the loss of livelihoods, employment, prospects, wealth, environment, sense of security and mental wellbeing.

The Waislitz Family Foundation, in partnership with Australian Community Media, joined forces with FRRR after the Black Summer bushfires to support recovery. The Pambula arts project was granted $25,000 through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program, funded by the Waislitz Family Foundation in partnership with Australian Community Media.

Pambula Business Council President Michelle Pettigrove said the road back from the region’s losses is long and daunting and the ongoing Pambula Art Project gives this community a strong sense of unity, pride and direction.

“There is a discernible buzz on the street, tourists talk about the great community spirit of the town,” she said.

Artists get to exhibit their work to a large audience while helping increase Pambula’s profile and attract visitors to the Village and extended Bega Valley region. It’s boosting sales for local businesses and creating a more culturally vibrant community.

The Art Project was also mentioned frequently by voters when Pambula was named a finalist in the NSW Small Top Tourist Town awards.

While many buildings in Pambula have some historic significance, plain brick walls of newer buildings were identified as perfect ‘canvases’. Some artworks were painted directly onto buildings, and a clever solution using Laminex and aluminium panels meant others could be installed to building facades without causing damage.

Ms Pettigrove said the artworks were not designed to overpower the existing streetscape “but rather to illuminate and amplify Pambula’s historic, cultural and environmental identity, including the history and connection to country of the Yuin People – the original custodians of our region”.

A self-guided history walking tour map has also been produced, featuring 22 of Pambula’s historic buildings and sites to shine a spotlight on the fascinating and quirky history of the village and local identities. Pambula was the birthplace of Sir William McKell, the second Australian-born Governor General, and his home is now an art gallery. Syms Covington, who served with Sir Charles Darwin on ‘The Beagle’ retired to Pambula and continued to send Darwin samples of Australian flora and fauna for many years. Covington then served as postmaster in Pambula and his house is now a popular restaurant/gallery.

Future plans for the project include adding and celebrating more Yuin Nation history in the original self-guided History Walk, following ongoing extended consultation with both the Bega Aboriginal Land Council and the Twofold Aboriginal Corporation.

Wiradjuri Country

When bushfires move through towns placing lives, homes and income at risk, the emotional and financial recovery can take years. In the wake of the 2019/20 bushfires, many communities continue to feel stress and anxiety from the loss of employment and the trauma of evacuating and leaving their homes behind. In Tumbarumba, in New South Wales, many people lost their homes, sheds, fences, stock, and other assets in the fires creating a financial burden that has left much of the town physically and emotionally exhausted. However, the residents are trying to rebuild.

The members of local organisation Artists on Parade Co-op Ltd wanted to help their town reconnect to their home, and with each other after the fires. Thanks to a $7,000 grant from the VISY Tumut Region Recovery Fund, funded by The Pratt Foundation, Artists on Parade held 16 workshops over several weekends in October 2020.

Throughout the year, Artists on Parade are responsible for hosting exhibitions featuring local artists. Their gallery space is often used for community activities and events. With access to this fantastic space, it became a perfect location for their hands on workshops to take place. Children, teenagers, and adults in the community participated in activities – not just art – that were specifically chosen to increase relaxation and inspiration among the attendees.

Artists on Parade wanted to ensure the residents of Tumbarumba didn’t miss out on interests and pursuits that were deemed as “non-essential” or “unnecessary” due to financial restraints. They therefore kept workshop fees low to allow as many people as possible to participate.

The workshops were a success, with 115 people from a wide demographic participating. The activities included pyrography workshops, canvas work, cardmaking, sketching, bike maintenance, pastel portrait painting workshops and cakes, coffee, and milkshakes as well.

The workshops provided a safe and relaxing space for the residents of Tumbarumba to gather and meet new people who have the same lived experiences. There were many examples of attendees meeting for the first time after realising they lived on the same street and had gone through very similar experiences in the fires. By the end of the workshops, they had started carpooling together to attend more sessions.

In addition to creating connections between the residents of Tumbarumba, many attendees were also able to take home a finished art piece to mark the occasion and close off a terrible year.

Grants available for first responder organisations in places impacted by Black Summer bushfires

Porepunkah was just one of many communities that was badly affected by the 2019/20 bushfires, but a recent grant is helping ensure that the local Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigade has the resources it needs to better prepare and serve the community when the next emergency occurs.

Volunteer Emergency Services encouraged to apply for funding

Porepunkah CFA was awarded a $10,875 grant through FRRR’s Volunteer Emergency Services Fund to support volunteer training and wellbeing through IT training technology and appliance upgrades for the kitchen at the Porepunkah CFA Shed. Porepunkah was one of 19 emergency services to share in $311,049 in grants, through the Volunteer Emergency Services Fund’s first round of funding.

Renee Lee, Porepunkah CFA’s Secretary said the funding will also help the group to facilitate community outreach during non-disaster times.

“While our volunteers take pride in our role and are committed to make Porepunkah a safer and better place for the community, we cannot express how much this grant means to us. As volunteers, it means recognition for our time and sacrifices.

“In addition, the grant approval came in a timely manner as it will uplift the spirit of community as we are faced with the numerous lockdowns,” Ms Lee said.

Made possible thanks to a significant private donation, the Volunteer Emergency Services Fund provides grants to local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

FRRR is encouraging local volunteer emergency services groups serving rural communities affected by the 2019/20 bushfires to apply now for the second round of grant funding to support their recovery needs and/or strengthen their emergency response capabilities ahead of the 2021/22 bushfire season.

Grants of up to $25,000 are available to meet local agencies needs, and we want to encourage groups who may not have a large project in mind to consider making a small grant application of up to $6,000 to be better prepared with small essential equipment, i.e. Go bags that might contain torches, fire blankets and traffic wands. At least $100,000 in funding will be provided to meet such essential requests.

Danielle Griffin, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager – Corporate, said that with this summer’s bushfire season fast approaching, first responders should feel confident in their preparedness and volunteers should feel supported, especially those in regions that are still recovering from the 2019/20 bushfires.

“Preparing for future disasters and adapting to changing conditions after a disaster are integral parts of the recovery process. In practical terms, preparedness can mean upgrades to infrastructure and equipment and providing up-to-date training, which can have a big impact on the security and safety of first responders.

“These grants can fund important projects to care for the mental health and wellbeing of volunteers that generously give their time to support and protect their communities.

“The Volunteer Emergency Services Fund is specifically designed to support the disaster recovery needs and priorities of first responder organisations at a local level, and we look forward to funding initiatives that will assist these vital community members and services,” Ms Griffin said.

The Volunteer Emergency Services Fund grant program is now open. Applications close 5pm AEDT 20 October 2021, with grants to be announced November 2021.

For more information, visit FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/.

FRRR has awarded $311,049 in grants to volunteer emergency services organisations impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires for projects that will help them to respond to local disaster recovery needs and address preparedness priorities ahead of the 2021/22 bushfire season.

Volunteer Emergency Services Fund awards more than $300,000 in grants

Funded through the Volunteer Emergency Services Grant Program, grants range from $4500 for Audio Visual Equipment, to $25,000 for the installation of a solar power battery backup system.

Made possible thanks to a generous private donation, funded initiatives will support fire-affected local volunteer emergency services and first-responder organisations in communities across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria. 

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that she was pleased to see this targeted funding going to initiatives that will build and strengthen the capacity of these vital members of impacted communities.

“We saw strong demand for equipment and infrastructure improvements through this round of applications. Providing safe and secure facilities and equipment not only allows these services to better support their communities and respond to emergencies and future disasters, but they are also important to the recovery of the volunteers, building their resilience and caring for their mental health and wellbeing.

“The mental health and wellbeing of the volunteers will also be supported through funded training and education projects. These initiatives will increase the capacity of these volunteer-run emergency services, so that they are better equipped to care for their local community as they continue to recover from the bushfires,” Ms Egleton said.

Some of the projects awarded this round include:

  • Tinonee Rural Fire Brigade, NSW – Disaster Response Go Bags for Support Vehicles – $6,713 – Improve the capacity and enhance the safety of volunteers through the provision of fire safety equipment for community evacuation notifications and emergencies.
  • South Eastern Region QLD Rural Fire Service Division, QLD – Upgrade Emergency Services Response Command Vehicle – $25,000 – Boost operational capacity of the Beaudesert RFB Group through the upgrade of the Group Command vehicle.
  • Country Fire Authority – St Arnaud CFA, VIC – Connecting Our Group – $5,000 – Support volunteer capability through the provision of a laptop computer for operations at the St Arnaud CFA.
  • Onkaparinga CFS Group, SA – Onkaparinga CFS Group Tablet Grant – $19,628 – Enhance organisational capacity through the provision of information technology equipment at the Onkaparinga CFS.
  • Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch Incorporated, NSW– Provision of emergency response equipment for frontline lifesavers during bushfire emergencies – $25,000 – Improving preparedness and capability for Surf Life Saving volunteers in the Lower North Coast.

The next round of the Volunteer Emergency Services Fund Grant program will open 24 September 2021. For more information, visit – https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Emmaville Rural Fire BrigadeLockers for Firefighters at Emmaville RFS Shed
Enhance emergency response times through the provision of volunteer lockers at the Emmaville Rural Fire Brigade.
Emmaville$6,200
Far South Coast Branch Surf Life Saving Association of Australia IncDisaster Preparedness for Volunteer Lifesavers and the Community
Increase organisational capacity through the provision of Bushfire Response Kits for South Coast Surf Life Saving clubs.
Bermagui$23,411
Merriwa and District Rescue Squad IncIt's a Long Way to the Top, if You've Tripped and had a Fall!
Increase organisational capacity through the provision of vertical rescue equipment for the Merriwa and Districts Rescue Squad.
Merriwa$22,000
Liverpool Ranges RFS
NSW Rural Fire Service
Group 1 Liverpool Range
Strengthen local volunteer emergency groups and their activities through facility and equipment upgrades for the Cassilis RFS.
Merriwa$16,587
Pambula Beach Surf Life Saving Club IncExpansion of Pambula Surf Life Saving Club Patrol and Emergency Search and Rescue Capabilities
Increase organisation capacity with an additional IRB Zodiac to ensure timely volunteer emergency response.
Pambula$24,979
Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch IncorporatedProvision of Emergency Response Equipment for Frontline Lifesavers During Bushfire Emergencies
Improve volunteer emergency response capability wiith items including a defibrillator and portable radios.
Forster$25,000
Tarana Volunteer Bushfire BrigadeInstall Solar Power Battery Backup System
Boost organisational capacity through the provision of a solar power system including backup battery.
Tarana$25,000
Tinonee Rural Fire BrigadeDisaster Response Go Bags for Support Vehicles
Improve the capacity and enhance the safety of volunteers through the provision of fire safety equipment for community evacuation notifications and emergencies.
Tinonee$6,713
QUEENSLAND
Beaudesert Rural Fire Brigade Group
South Eastern Region QLD Rural Fire Service Division
Upgrade Emergency Services Response Command Vehicle
Boost operational capacity of the Beaudesert RFB Group through the upgrade of the Group Command vehicle.
Scenic Rim Regional Council Area$25,000
Gatton State Emergency Service Social Club IncCapability Enhancement Program
Boost organisational capacity through the replacement of electric tool, batteries and radio holsters at the Gatton SES.
Gatton$10,178
Maroochydore State Emergency Service Support Association IncorporatedAudio Visual Equipment for Volunteer Training
Boost capacity of the Maroochydore SES with the provision of technology equipment to enhance the training of volunteers.
Maroochydore$4,500
Woodhill Rural Fire BrigadeFirefighting ATV
Increase community safety with the provision of an off road ATV and emergency response trailer for Woodhill Rural Fire Brigade.
Kooralbyn$25,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Onkaparinga CFS GroupOnkaparinga CFS Group Tablet Grant
Enhance organisation capacity through the provision of information technology equipment at the Onkaparinga CFS.
Lobethal$19,628
VICTORIA
Buffalo River CFA
Country Fire Authority - Headoffice
Buffalo River Scrolling Electronic LED Notice Board
Increase community awareness by installing a scrolling notice board for public safety announcements and information sharing at the Buffalo River CFA shed.
Myrtleford$12,400
Porepunkah CFA
Country Fire Authority - Headoffice
IT Training Equipment and Kitchen Appliances
Support volunteer training and wellbeing with technology and appliance upgrades at the Porepunkah CFA Shed.
Porepunkah$10,875
St Arnaud CFA
Country Fire Authority - Headoffice
Connecting Our Group
Support volunteer vitality through the provision of upgraded information technology equipment at the St Arnaud CFA.
St Arnaud$5,000
Corryong Ambulance and Walma Ambulance
Ambulance Victoria
Corryong Ambulance Community Officer and Walwa Community Emergency Response Team Uplift
Support organisational capacity of the organisation through the provision of training and operation equipment.
Corryong$17,928
Mallacoota SES
Victoria State Emergency Service Authority
Mallacoota-Genoa Community Emergency Preparedness and Resilience Project
Enhance community safety through the provision of portable fire fighting equipment and PPE for emergency volunteers in the Genoa community.
Genoa$12,650
Tallangatta SES
Victoria State Emergency Service Authority
Turn Out Bay Upgrade
Boost community safety through turn out bay upgrades at the Tallangatta SES.
Tallangatta$18,000

Supporting capacity of organisations in Victoria’s bushfire-impacted communities

FRRR has announced a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund to build the capacity of local organisations playing a central, coordinating or networking role in the recovery of Victorian communities affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.

New partnership backs community-led recovery

The Bushfire Recovery Fund will award grants of up to $90,000 to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations working in Victorian fire-affected regions. The program will fund initiatives that enhance, improve or sustain operations of these keystone organisations for up to three years, and therefore strengthen community-led recovery over the medium and long-term.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the partnership is a result of a shared vision for aligning funding and support to community-led solutions that build resilience and continued viability and vitality.

“FRRR and our generous donor partners HMSTrust and the Sidney Myer Fund have come together to help local groups to be more viable, resilient, and sustainable. The program is designed to help address organisational needs, and strengthen capacity to adapt and respond to the changing or emerging needs of communities.

“FRRR’s role will be to act as a facilitator, to encourage and support these community groups so that they can continue to do the work that is so important to the ongoing recovery of their communities,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust Executive Officer Lin Bender said that the Trust believes the key program goal of building organisational capacity is critical to ensuring local groups can operate in what are challenging economic, emotional, and ecological conditions.

“By supporting applicants that are deeply engaged with their communities to sustain or adapt their model or way of working, we aim to ensure more viable, resilient and sustainable organisations that can support ongoing recovery efforts,” Lin said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO Leonard Vary said the broader intent of the program is to inform disaster recovery best practice by understanding and addressing the needs of critical community ‘backbone’ organisations.

“The capacity to manage normal day-to-day operations along with the demands of recovery has been identified as a challenge for many organisations in bushfire-affected communities,” Mr Vary said. “By engaging directly with these organisations, we can facilitate and fund not only the development of locally relevant, multi-year projects that build capacity and resilience but potentially identify new approaches to long-term community recovery.”

To reduce the burden on potential applicants, a shortlist of organisations from declared fire affected areas in Victoria, identified through broad stakeholder consultation, will be invited to apply for funding. The first successful grantees are expected to be announced in October 2021. Organisations who consider this opportunity to be aligned to their situation should contact FRRR to discuss their needs.

More information about the program can be found here.

More than 6,800 Back to School vouchers distributed

More than 6,800 students and families in places recovering from the 2019/20 bushfires will head Back to School in semester 2 with a little extra support, thanks to the generosity of donors from across Australia and overseas.

Support continues for students impacted by Black Summer bushfires

Funded through a special Bushfire Response round of the Back to School (BTS) program, FRRR has partnered with local community groups and Community Foundations in impacted regions to distribute 6,814 $50 gift vouchers to families in need.

Students can redeem the vouchers for school essentials such as winter uniforms, school bags, shoes or stationery. To date, BTS vouchers valued at more than $822,000 have been distributed to families in fire-affected communities since June 2020.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that for these students and their families, the vouchers provide a little extra help as they continue to navigate the recovery journey, which has certainly been complicated by the pandemic.

“Last year many of these families were home schooling throughout the colder months. So, with most back at school, some are only now realising there are items that still need replacing following the bushfires.

“Fifty dollars may not seem much, but for these families it can have a big impact, helping to cover the cost of a couple of school jumpers or a winter uniform, new books to start the term or even a sleeping bag that a child can use for school camp.

“We’re grateful to our Community Foundation partners and other groups that are working on the ground in the impacted regions. Their discreet distribution of the vouchers to those in need means families can receive support without having to ask for it,” Ms Egleton said.

Tenterfield Lions Club is one of the organisations helping to distribute the vouchers to students in their region. Club President, Lisa Dalton, said that the vouchers will help parents with the costs of winter school essentials and will also benefit the Shire when the vouchers are redeemed locally.

“We’ve been through the wringer over the last couple of years, and I hope this is just a small way of letting the wider community know we are all in this together,” Ms Dalton said.

The BTS program distributes vouchers to students and families across Australia, including those in regions not impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires. In total, 64 Community Foundations and locally-based community groups have helped FRRR to distribute $1,075,400 in vouchers to through the BTS program this year.

BTS vouchers are funded by FRRR and its donor partners, which include News Corp, Australia Post, Fire Fight Australia concert, Counter Point Community Services (Cycle Recycle), Portland House Foundation, UNICEF Australia, J & M Nolan Family Trust, Bertalli Family Foundation, June Canavan Foundation, and Origin Energy Foundation, as well as individual donors.

Vouchers were awarded to support the following bushfire-affected Local Government Areas:

Towong (VIC)
East Gippsland (VIC)
Wellington (VIC)
Greater Hume Shire (NSW)
Snowy Valleys (NSW)
Eurobodalla (NSW)
Mid-Coast (NSW)
Bega Valley (NSW)
Tenterfield (NSW)
Ballina (NSW)
Clarence Valley (NSW)
Lismore (NSW)
Richmond Valley (NSW)
Kyogle (NSW)
Kangaroo Island (SA)
Yorke Peninsula (SA)

Funding awarded for 33 recovery-focused projects

Through its Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program, FRRR has awarded $637,908 in grants for 33 initiatives prioritised by local communities to support their recovery from the 2019/2020 summer bushfires.

Rural communities recovering from bushfires
SRC Bushfire Recovery project – Eden Visitor Information Centre

The SRC program’s Bushfire Recovery stream is collaboratively funded and supports projects that are led by local people and address local recovery needs. The grants awarded will help promote the healing and renewal of these impacted places.

In this round of Bushfire Recovery funding, grants range from $2,500 to encourage locals to participate in recovery activities at the Maclean Spring Festival in NSW, through to $25,000 for the installation of local fauna sculptures that will increase connection to place and enhance public spaces in Marlow, Victoria.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the Foundation continues to support communities recovering from disaster, because it knows recovery is a long-term process that is unique for each affected place.

“Many impacted communities have faced multiple disasters beyond the bushfires, including COVID-19 and floods. The pandemic has made recovery all the more challenging for these regions. For community organisations, it’s hampered their capacity to deliver services that they would otherwise be providing to help their communities heal.

“Many groups have worked hard to support locals in safe and responsive ways but understandably, local volunteers are pretty worn out. In response, we have awarded a number of grants for projects that will relieve volunteer-fatigue and alleviate the pressures that many volunteer-led groups are dealing with.

“Recovery is a complex process that really hinges on local people coming together to support one another, to share and heal. We continue to see strong demand for projects that provide a safe space for communities to gather and connect by investing in local community assets and infrastructure.

“We are also seeing attention focused on more vulnerable members of the community, with local organisations using grants for projects that address the recovery needs of age-based groups, gendered groups and Indigenous groups,” Ms Egleton said.

Some of the 33 Bushfire Recovery projects awarded include:

  • Australian Outward Bound Development Fund Pty Limited, Tharwa ACT – Rebuilding from the Heat – $22,367 – Improve preparedness for future disasters at Australian Outward Bound’s Tharwa site through the renewal of aged firefighting and maintenance equipment.
  • Lansdowne Hall Reserve Trust, Lansdowne NSW – Ride on Mower for Lansdowne Community Hall – $5,107 – Reduce volunteer fatigue and increase preparedness for future fires through the purchase of a ride on mower for the Lansdowne Hall.
  • Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association Incorporated, QLD – Natural Disaster Preparedness – Electrical masterplan for emergency response facilities – $13,420 – Enhance community activities and support community preparedness for future emergency evacuations by developing an electricity supply masterplan for the Memorial Grounds.
  • Kingscote Mens Shed Inc, Kingscote SA – Connection Through Activity for Men Living on Kangaroo Island – $3,683 – Increase opportunities to support local connectedness and social recovery, through restoration of a local historic Wharf Trolley.
  • Bemm River Progress and Improvement Association Inc, VIC – Bemm River Men’s Shed Upgrade – Toilet and Kitchen – $16,422 – Boost community recovery and connection through upgrades to the Men’s Shed toilet and kitchen facilities.

In total, this round of SRC awarded $1,589,612 in grants across three streams – Small & Vital, Larger Leverage and Bushfire Recovery. The 112 projects funded will help build the resilience and long-term vitality of smaller remote, rural and regional communities across Australia.

A full list of SRC grant recipients across all three streams of funding is available here.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors, which are also listed here.

The current round is accepting applications until 24 August 2021, with funds to be awarded in December 2021.