Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Bower is a town in South Australia, approximately half way between Eudunda and Morgan on the Thiele Highway, 130 km north west of Adelaide. For a small community it has a huge heart, led by the Bower Progress Association, which is committed to improving community facilities.

To assist them in their long-term endeavours, the Progress Association established a Project Donation Account with FRRR in 2008. Back then, they came to us with a very ambitious wish-list, the length of which was matched only by their determination. The focus was on improving facilities at the Bower recreation reserve to create a welcoming gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Ambitious plans matched with determination

We reported on their progress in our 2013 Annual Review, with their list of successes including:

  • upgrading the power supply, with solar support (completed 2009);
  • constructing an all-weather BBQ area (completed 2010);
  • installing a fence along the boundary between the neighbouring commercial dog kennels (completed 2012);
  • purchasing and improving the services of the local postal agency (completed 2013);
  • installing additional rainwater tanks (completed 2013);
  • obtaining accreditation as a registered RV campsite and completing the necessary associated infrastructure works (completed 2013);

So they are well on their way to ticking off the things that were on their list back in 2008. And the most recent update confirms this dynamic group is still on track.

Community engagement and connectedness increase

In January they reported that they have now undertaken ongoing stabilisation works to the reserve site, purchased and installed more parcel lockers at the postal agency, installed air conditioning throughout the hall (also replacing the unit in the kitchen that was originally funded by an FRRR grant in 2008), and researched early settlement history with a view to installing a pioneers’ memorial and flagpole.

There is no doubt that the improvements at the Recreation Reserve are benefitting the community, and enhancing its connectedness.

Nick Manos, who is on the management committee, said that the increased engagement by community members was a positive and exciting outcome of improving the community facilities.

“This year we’ve seen a number of social activities held at the recreation reserve. Our greatest social, cultural and welfare success to date is our Yack ‘n’ Snack event which continued during the last six months. New volunteers have ensured its continuation for 2015 and hopefully beyond,“ Mr Manos said.

“We’ve also seen the first wedding reception in living memory at Bower, thanks to the upgraded premises and loyalty of the locals. And in December we hosted 130 people at our Annual Christmas party / BBQ. Even though the weather was hot, the event was most successful from personal, social and financial perspectives.”

In addition to offering grants, FRRR also helps local community organisations fundraise, by ‘lending’ our tax deductible status. We do this by hosting a Donation Account, which enables the receipt of tax-deductible donations on behalf of a specific group or cause. Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status is often a great incentive to those willing to donate, and therefore it helps communities fundraise more quickly.