Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) across the South Coast are sharing more than $360,000 across 27 projects that will strengthen their capacity to support their local communities.
The funding comes through FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, in partnership with The Snow Foundation and Community Enterprise Foundation, which has been operating across the South Coast since 2020.
Carolyn Ardler, FRRR’s Program Manager for the IRCF South Coast program, said that the premise of the IRCF program is to encourage local groups to engage in greater collaboration, skill-building and, where possible, share resources and learnings for the benefit of the whole community.
“The IRCF program is all about helping local groups to be better able to support the communities and causes they were set up to assist. It involves a mix of grants directly to individual NFPs and workshops and training (usually led by a local group on behalf of other NFPs), all supported by a facilitator in each community who works alongside the groups. The program is entirely community driven, starting with a co-designed community roadmap that’s updated regularly, which helps FRRR and our partners prioritise where to direct investment in each community.
“Over the last three years, there’s been significant investment in strategy and planning, and now we’re seeing more projects around efficiencies, systems and processes, alongside continued investment in people and their capacity. As we head toward the culmination phase of the program, we’re also seeing communities establishing the systems and processes to sustain the networks, connections and collaborative ways of working they’ve established in recent years, so that’s exciting,” Ms Ardler said.
The Snow Foundation was the first donor partner to support the program on the South Coast and local resident and Chairman of the Foundation, Terry Snow, said that it’s so rewarding to see the long-term changes that have come about.
“While there’s still a few months until the program formally concludes, it’s been wonderful to see how well the local not-for-profit and community groups have embraced the chance to come together, agree where they could all benefit from upskilling and sharing their experiences, and to then put it into action. There are several organisations that are now much stronger and they are better able to support not only their chosen beneficiaries, but also other not-for-profit organisations. We’re delighted to have been part of this and look forward to seeing these projects that are being announced today also make an impact,” Mr Snow said.
Bay & Basin projects
In the Bay & Basin area, seven projects are sharing $76,749, thanks to the support of Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation. The focus in this round of funding was strongly on youth-aligned organisations and projects. This part of the South Coast is one of the more recent areas to come on board the IRCF journey, so the groups are still building connections and working closely with the local IRCF facilitator.
David Impey, CEO of the Community Enterprise Foundation, said it’s really pleasing to be able to support more projects that will strengthen the future of these local organisations and the region.
“It’s exciting to see a diverse range of projects continuing to come forward from local NFPs. This round, we are pleased to see several that focus on engaging young people, which is great to see as they are critical to ensuring a strong future in these regions. But there are also a number of projects that will enhance the capacity of these organisations, such as better systems and processes, upskilling staff or volunteers and creating assets and resources that can be shared across NFPs. This goes right to the heart of ensuring strong communities and we are delighted to be part of it.”
Ten projects in and around Nowra are sharing $114,911, thanks to support from The Snow Foundation. This is the final round of grants for Nowra and we’ve seen increased networking activities and discussions about how to collaborate on projects. This tranche of projects has a strong focus on supporting people and developing systems.
Batemans Bay projects
This is also the final round of funding for Batemans Bay and five projects will share $94,946, with support from The Snow Foundation. With these grants there is a focus on creating efficiencies and most projects are collaborative, with more than one organisation benefitting.
Thanks again to The Snow Foundation, five projects are sharing $76,125, most of which focus on enhancing administration systems and procedures to improve capacity and better support the community.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn Parish of Moruya||Moruya Commons Community Hub - Fostering Participatory Culture |
Foster collaboration, reducing duplication and strengthening networks across the not-for-profit sector by providing IT equipment and governance for a shared office space.
|Arts Council of Eurobodalla Inc||SASI - Shared Administrative Systems Implementation |
Ease volunteer working conditions through employing a co-ordinator to develop procedures and policy manuals for three organisations - Arts Council, River of Art Festival and Sustainable Agriculture Eurobodalla (SAGE).
|Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance||Governance In Action - Enhancing Sustainability and Collaboration for NFPs |
Support organisation to proactively tackle climate change, with training for volunteer committee in financial management, governance and administrative systems.
|Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla||Policies, Procedures and Capacity Building for SAGE Volunteers |
Support development of strong local food systems, offering events and training opportunities for community, by establishing an event management / coordinator position.
|The Family Place Inc||Building a Resilient Future: Advancing Sustainable Growth through Fee for Service Expansion |
Expand access to support services by growing organisation's capabilities, through increased staffing resource to enable CEO to focus on building sustainable OOHC model.
|BAY & BASIN|
|Bay & Basin Community Resources Limited||Work Re-Design to Thrive and Grow |
Upskilling staff to re-design workflows and tasks to increase the efficiency of a community organisation.
|Bay & Basin region||$29,734|
|Changing Tide Wellness Ltd||Community Connect: Empowering Wellness |
Creating an accessible, inclusive website, so those with disabilities can more easily access information about appropriate services.
|Bay & Basin||$5,426|
|Community Champions - SP&SGB Inc||Community Champions - Bay & Basin Community Growth and Empowerment Workshops 2023/24 |
Encourage collaborative community conversations to explore ways to better support the community across the not-for-profit sector.
|St Georges Basin / Sanctuary Point||$4,000|
|Noah's Ark Centre of Shoalhaven Inc||Building Bay & Basin |
Administration support for a service provider that is focused on children with disabilities and special needs, so they can expand and embed their services.
|Sanctuary Point Community Pride Incorporated||Sanctuary Point Nexus: Fostering Pride and Unity |
Bolster community engagement and pride in Sanctuary Point by creating a comprehensive visual of community assets.
|Sussex Inlet Foundation for Community Development||Building Youth-focused Services for Sussex Inlet |
Encourage youth engagement and involvement in the community through the development of a Youth Advisory Group.
|yiliga-miraral Wellbeing Team Vincentia High School P&C Association||walawaani-ngarn Into The Future |
Measuring the impact of a program that provides wellbeing support to students and families to help attract additional funding, so it can continue.
|Beyond Empathy Limited||BE Studios Capacity Building Project |
Strengthen organisational capacity in Nowra and the Shoalhaven region by engaging someone to develop a business plan, marketing strategy and promotional materials to support employment pathways for young artists.
|Kangaroo Valley Voice Incorporated||Kangaroo Valley Voice Capacity Building and Longevity Project |
Enhance organisational capacity and sustainability by employing part-time staff and developing a website for The Kangaroo Valley Voice newspaper to better connect the community.
|Noah's Ark Centre of Shoalhaven Inc||Our Workforce - A New Way |
Boost organisational capacity by creating a tool to help a children and family service provider transition to flexible working.
|Nowra Community Food Store Incorporated||HR Plan Implementation |
Strengthening operations by providing training and capacity building for staff and volunteers at a low-cost grocery store, which is run as a social enterprise.
|Nowra Local Aboriginal Land Council||Strong Board Foundations |
Strengthening operations through training in IT, cyber-security and financial record keeping for staff and Board members to support their transition to digital record-keeping.
|Shoalhaven Business Chamber Incorporated||Resource Hub Shoalhaven |
Upgrading a website to create a central hub for policies, procedures and tools for members.
|Nowra, North Nowra, Bomaderry, West Nowra||$11,490|
|Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services Inc||Creating Efficiencies: Streamlining Policies and Procedures |
Creating efficiencies by streamlining processes, policies and practices to comply with current regulations.
|Shoalhaven Womens Resource Group Ltd||Strategic Aim 2 - Successful and Sustainable Operation of ROCC |
Build organisational stability by engaging a HR consultant to review HR and WHS policies, as well as conduct team building and wellbeing activities to strengthen an organisation’s culture.
|South Coast Beef Producers Association Incorporated||Upgrading the South Coast Beef Website |
Upgrading a website to handle financial transactions such as invoices and taking payments, thereby streamlining processes and freeing up staff.
|Waminda South Coast Women's Health and Wellbeing Aboriginal Corporation|
Blak Cede Social Enterprises - Pathways to Cultural Employment
|Growing Together South Coast Incorporated||Growing Stronger Together |
Support skills development with training in market gardening and first aid, developing an e-commerce platform and sourcing funding streams for new NFP growth.
|Safe Waters Community Care Inc||ASES Accreditation for Financially Sustainable Homeless Services in Ulladulla |
Build expansion of homelessness service, allowing access to longer term government funding with formal Australian Service Excellence Standards (ASES) accreditation and policies and procedures update.
|South Coast Bookclubs Incorporated||Growth of Services |
Foster literacy, social connections and engagement by collaborating with three organisations, pooling resources, and providing local book access.
|StoryFest Incorporated||StoryFest Sustainable Schools Program |
Encourage youth to develop a love of reading and writing, by building an ongoing sustainable financial model to host the Annual Literacy Festival for school students.
|The Dunn & Lewis Youth Development Foundation Limited||Connected Space |
Develop youth employability / life skills via inspiring stories / achievements, through creating a communication strategy and building a website.
And support from new IRCF Program Manager and facilitator
Seven not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) are sharing in $135,471 for projects that will strengthen the NFP sector and inter-organisational relationships in Nowra, helping the community to thrive and achieve long-term stability. Nowra NFPs will also have on-the-ground support from a new South Coast Program Manager and local facilitator.
Funded through FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, in partnership with The Snow Foundation, these grants will allow Nowra NFPs to properly develop the tools, resources and skills they need to achieve longevity and create permanent change in their communities.
IRCF is a multi-year grassroots program aimed at building the capacity and connectedness of NFPs in select communities in regional New South Wales. As well as grants, these recipients will receive organisational support and coordination in the form of workshops that will help them to implement more effective systems, processes and training within their organisations.
Among the seven projects funded, there is a focus on developing leadership and business skills, technological transformation, cultural immersion and community engagement. These projects address needs highlighted through a community-led Roadmap, the development of which was facilitated by FRRR.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that these initiatives will have a lasting impact on the people of Nowra.
“It’s fantastic to see the not-for-profit organisations in this round of grants collaborating and learning from their peers, and successfully applying that knowledge to the unique needs and circumstances of their own communities.
“It’s wonderful to see local organisations prioritising community engagement and creating safe cultural spaces. This includes the South Coast Women’s Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, which is using their funding to deliver cultural immersion sessions to 30 Nowra NFP representatives in response to vision identified in the Nowra Community Roadmap,” Ms Egleton said.
Terry Snow, Founder of The Snow Foundation, said partnering with FRRR has allowed his Foundation to have a significant impact on regional NSW areas such as Nowra.
“Having a home and running a business on the South Coast, I understand how important it is to support these not-for-profit organisations. They provide crucial support and fill gaps that help to keep these communities vibrant and self-sufficient. With the resources provided by this program, these organisations will create real change.
“A great example of this is the Nowra Community Food Store, which is using their grant to set up an E-commerce website with an option for contactless delivery, so that families in the Shoalhaven region who don’t own a car can still access fresh food.”
The five other grant recipients in the Nowra region are:
- Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre Aboriginal Corporation, Nowra – Laying the Foundations for the Future of Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre Aboriginal Corporation – Support the Centre’s future vision and rapid growth by appointing a temporary Community Centre Team Leader to support the CEO in an operational capacity. $30,000
- Nowra Sub-Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia New South Wales Branch, Nowra – Nowra RSL Sub-Branch Upgrade Project 2021 – Accelerate digital transformation and enhance client experience through upgrades to IT equipment and furniture. $16,469
- Shoalhaven Community Preschool Inc, Nowra – The Growth Strategy Project – Strengthen the leadership capacity of the Centre during the Preschool’s relocation and expansion by providing a wage subsidy, expert consultants and professional development. $22,000
- Shoalhaven Health and Arts Inc, Bomaderry – Capacity Building for SHAA’s Future – Strengthen the capacity of SHAA to respond to community demand for their mental health, arts and events programs by paying wages for the currently volunteer-based managers. $14,112
- South Coast Beef Producers Association Inc, Nowra – Governance Training for South Coast Beef Management Committee Members – Strengthen the governance and strategic vision of South Coast Beef through the training of the management committee in governance foundations. $10,590
New IRCF Program Manager – South Coast and Nowra facilitator
Helping Nowra’s NFPs to make the most of the IRCF program is IRCF South Coast’s recently appointed Program Manager, and South Coast local, Carolyn Ardler.
Carolyn comes to FRRR and the IRCF program with extensive experience in place-based delivery to support communities to build capacity and reach their aspirations from the grassroots.
“I am excited to be working on the IRCF program as I strongly believe rural and regional communities have the solutions and strength within them to face their unique challenges. This program allows small not for profits to build their capacity and be more sustainable in the long term.” Ms Ardler said.
Carolyn steps into her new position as Kate Dezarnaulds, FRRR’s previous Program Manager for IRCF South Coast, transitions into the role of IRCF facilitator for Nowra. In this role, Kate will be able to work more directly with Nowra NFPs to connect, build relationships and work together to improve their capacity and sustainability.
In addition to Nowra, the IRCF South Coast program is also working in Batemans Bay and Ulladulla with the support of The Snow Foundation, and in Bay & Basin with the support of Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation, and in Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley in partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.
For more information about the Investing in Rural Community Futures program visit – https://frrr.org.au/ircf-program/.
In the historic town of Wingham, in the Manning River Valley on the NSW Mid-North Coast, Circatus offers classes in general circus skills, stilts and aerial skills. It might sound very niche for a rural town, but the program actually fills an important gap –the need for non-competitive and expressive arts opportunities for the community to engage with.
Circatus gives the community – mostly young people – access to diverse and vibrant circus and creative arts in an inclusive and nurturing environment. Since 2009 just one trainer, founder Jill Watkins ran the show, averaging 90 students and 17 classes a week. Local catchment communities include Hallidays Point, Bobin, Elands, Mount George, Taree and Landsdowne, all within 20-50 minutes drive, however there were some families who would travel from as far as 75kms away to attend.
Rethinking the model for sustainability
Originally operating as a sole trader business, by the end of a decade of operation it became clear that the organisations’ structure needed to be rethought. Circatus had built quite a little community through classes at its Wingham space, performance projects at community events, delivery of circus as a sports elective at Wingham High School, weekly scheduled classes for a third of the 100 families in the Manning Valley Community who home school their children, and wellbeing workshops for teenagers with disability, Aboriginal youth and children in out-of-home care. One supporter wrote that “While training students in the physical circus arts, [Jill] also facilitates life skills such as confidence building and teamwork.”
Jill brought together a passionate group of five committee members and 18 volunteers and Circatus entered a new model of operation as a NFP, opening the doors for the beginning of Term 3 2020 and operating five classes a week. But building capacity to deliver more classes was a priority. Circatus needed a group of trainers to make the program sustainable into the future. Most performing arts work is in metropolitan areas, so regional circus programs find it very difficult to attract circus artists to teach.
A grant to build capacity
The group successfully applied to the Small & Vital stream of Strengthening Rural Communities to help fund a ‘Train the Trainer’ program. This would provide weekly mentoring and coaching for ten volunteer trainers, supported by a weekend intensive session for aerial skills. The funding will also cover documentation of a teaching manual, supported by videography to be utilised by these 10 future Circatus teachers. As of February 2021, the project is underway and there are six new trainers teaching a variety of circus skills to locals aged four years to adult.
What a win-win outcome! Trainer participants are supported to develop their leadership skills and an employment pathway, AND the general community has the opportunity to continue enjoying a vibrant and culturally enhancing experience, right on their doorstep. This circus can stay in town – watch this space for more great outcomes from this project!