Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Workshops for women
Goomalling Aboriginal Corporation in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, used their $19,605 In a Good Place grant, funded by CCI Giving for their project called Maangart Yorga (Jam Tree Woman) – a workshop series delivered over the course of a year to impart both traditional and life skills to Aboriginal women and girls.
The program was created for Aboriginal women experiencing poverty, isolation, domestic violence and mental health concerns, and Aboriginal girls, from twelve years old, who are at risk. The program aimed to increase social participation by providing relevant and culturally appropriate workshops and a culturally safe space for connectedness. The workshops enabled the re-emergence of yarning circles and connection to Country that has helped foster relationships with young Aboriginal girls and Elders and provide an ongoing support network.
Maangart Yorga was an initiative to provide a safe space for women and girls to come together, learn, share and connect. Delivered through a series of workshops over a year, the aim was to increase participation in social activity, enhance the sense of community connectedness, improve outlook and help participants make healthier choices.
The workshops included a wide variety of traditional art, yoga and meditation, and health and wellbeing presentations. A series of practical skills sessions and workshops were held for women to have greater confidence, such as:
The organisation reported that participants would come to the workshop filled with apathy, tiredness or stressed, but always left feeling fulfilled and empowered after each workshop. The workshops provided a set of skills that can be transferred amongst the community.
While the workshop roll-out was interrupted by maternity leave for the program manager, the silver lining was that her leave coincided with movement restrictions due to COVID, so there was no additional impact from the pandemic.
Sadly, participation rates were lower than expected due to deaths in the community of two female elders and the suicide of two young Aboriginal men. Grieving periods were long and resulted in non-attendance from some members. For some members, the Maangart Yorga was a saving grace and gave them something positive to focus on.
Overall, 16 women participated across the program (including 2 non-Indigenous ladies), with a good cross section of ages from 21 years to 61 years old. Four female Aboriginal facilitators, three local female non-Indigenous facilitators, and two local female-owned food businesses also benefited from the project.
The greatest success of the program was providing a consistent and safe space for women to meet and yarn about their experience, which assisted healing and created lasting connections. The group plans to continue to meet monthly to use some of the skills they’ve learned and to continue connecting with each other. The Council is working with the Goomalling Aboriginal Corporation to create a permanent space for the women to take ownership of so they can create and share culture.
The close knit community of Quorn has been impacted by closure of local industrial businesses, prolonged drought, changes to lifestyle and isolation due to COVID-19, and recent deaths of long term residents. Service provider changes and short staffing had reduced available local support services. Things were seeming pretty bleak, so the town decided it was time to do something about it.
The Quorn Community Sporting Association requested funds to provide two free community events – one for the fellas and one for the ladies – providing an opportunity to come together, have a catered meal and listen to Stephanie Schmidt from ACT for Ag on building skills in psychological flexibility, gain some skills to help manage in times of stress, and take home some resources. While COVID-19 interrupted the original schedule, the events finally took place.
The Men’s Night Out was held on a Friday night at the new Quorn Pioneer Machinery Pavilion. The attendance of 93 men aged 10-96 exceeded expectation. All were able to enjoy the BBQ catering provided. The presentation was tailored for the men with plenty of opportunities for questions and conversation. A group of young Aboriginal men from the APY lands attended. They mentioned that they chose to come to the event as there weren’t any other events in the region. They engaged in the conversations and the presentation. Afterwards, Elders gave the following feedback:
‘The fellas had a great night thank you. We really need more of these nights for the area. We are also finding the lack of culturally appropriate services around and hope to network more with you all. We would love to do more and we can maybe host onsite where we are in the future.’
The next day, the Ladies High Tea took place at the Quorn Town Hall and was attended by 100 local women, including the local catering team. The hall was abuzz with conversation, whist cakes, sandwiches, tea and coffee were served in the good china! The ladies enjoyed their own tailored presentation from Stephanie which generated lots of questions and discussion.
Every participant at both events received an Act for Ag Toolkit which included an Act for Ag Handbook, Noticing Map notepad, Shared Purpose notepad, Values Cards and online resources to help build psychological flexibility and wellness.
Organisers received resounding positive feedback after both the events, with the community indicating they are very keen for more. The common theme from the feedback received was that the community valued was being connected with others in their community and looking out for each other.
$250,000 in grants awarded
FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program has awarded $250,000 in grants to 17 local organisations from remote, rural and regional Australia, for initiatives that will support and promote the mental health and wellbeing of locals in their communities.
Funded in partnership with CCI Giving, the IAGP program gives small rural communities across Australia the opportunity to access funds of up to $20,000 for community-driven projects that support vulnerable community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues. Since 2018, the IAGP program has helped to fund 70 mental health-focused projects across remote, rural and regional Australia.
This year, the 17 funded initiatives include community activities to help people feel connected, training to help people identify those who are at risk of harming themselves, mental health first aid courses, and one-on-one mentoring.
Jeremy Yipp, Chair of CCI Giving, said support for mental health projects is vital for effective recovery to take place.
“In this round, we saw a notable increase in the number of expressions of interest that referenced community recovery from the accumulative economic, social and emotional impacts of successive natural disasters and the pandemic.
“We’re in a crucial period of recovery and now is the time to support mental health initiatives in rural Australia and make sure that communities have the resources they need to recover from all that’s gone on in the last few years,” Mr Yipp said.
Jill Karena, FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead, said that loneliness is prevalent across rural communities and that many people are feeling disconnected from their community.
“In the applications for this round, we read about a lot of projects explicitly addressing loneliness and social isolation. For example, in the Queensland community of Stanthorpe, Happy Chat Peer Support Group will use a $20,000 grant to expand the organisation and provide facilitated support to vulnerable community members living with mental illness, helping to reduce their social isolation and loneliness, and to provide access to meaningful community-based activities.
“There is a clear need for social connection within remote, rural and regional communities and we’re grateful for our continued partnership with CCI Giving, as it allows us to provide much needed funding to help combat the loneliness we’re seeing in communities throughout rural Australia,” Ms Karena said.
Some of the 17 initiatives being funded include:
- Community Housing – Kempsey, NSW – Treasured Insights (Mental Health – Inside Out Recovery) – Build the capacity of community housing staff and tenants to understand hording and domestic squalor disorders to assist recovery and improve the lives of vulnerable people living in social housing. $14,588
- Sisters of Charity Community Care – Toowoomba, QLD – Dragonfly Health & Wellness Retreat – Enhance the mental health and wellbeing of rural women by providing a three-day retreat to enable participants to connect, learn self-care, and seek support. $11,000
- Yankalilla Youth Arts – Yankalilla, SA – Sunday Sessions – Provide a creative and nurturing space for young people to engage in guided arts and theatre-based activities, with the presence of a counsellor and support therapy dog to support mental health and wellbeing. $12,260
- Goulburn Valley Suicide Awareness Group Inc – Yea, VIC – GVSAG Walk and Talk – Support the local community to connect and develop trusted relationships that create greater understanding of mental health issues and address the stigma surrounding suicide by upskilling volunteers, establishing facilitated support groups and holding a suicide awareness walk. $20,000
- Enterprise Partnerships WA Limited – Balgo, WA – Piriwa Wellbeing Project – Develop individual resilience, confidence, group leadership and planning skills through intergenerational activities and regular yarning circles to strengthen cultural identity, self-agency and mental wellbeing of Aboriginal women in a remote community. $20,000
To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at https://frrr.org.au/giving/.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|In a Good Place - Round 7 - 2023|
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Community Housing Limited||Treasured Insights (Mental Health - Inside Out Recovery)|
Build the capacity of community housing staff and tenants to understand hording and domestic squalor disorders to assist recovery and improve the lives of vulnerable people living in social housing.
|Key Assets The Children's Services Provider|
NI-Connect Child and Family Wellbeing Unit
|Norfolk Island Youth Centre Project|
Providing basic furnishings and equipment to facilitate the development of a local youth focused space promoting mental health and wellbeing and providing access to preventive and supportive programs.
|Narrabri & District Community Aid Service Incorporated||R U OK Day and Suicide Prevention Business Evening|
Increase community awareness of mental health and reduce the stigma associated with help seeking behaviour by providing a community event with a guest speaker and take home resources.
|Queer Family Inc||Resourcing Our Youth|
Increase community understanding and improve the confidence of young queer people to respond to homo/transphobia through the development and distribution of posters and local LGBTQIA+ mental health resources.
|Rotary Club of Iluka Woombah Incorporated||Mental Health Warriors: Building Resilient Preteens|
Cultivate confidence and resilience in primary school children by supporting the development and delivery of a locally facilitated program to enhance student social and emotional wellbeing.
|Southern Women's Group Incorporated||Recovery Sanctuary|
Support the development of facilitated creative workshops and provision of materials to enable trauma informed workshops to take place in a safe and appropriate environment, supporting mental health, wellbeing and trauma recovery for women.
|Little Sparklers Ltd||Mental Health First Aid Training for Peer Support Volunteers and Volunteer Leaders|
Increase the knowledge and skills of rural-based peer volunteers, and increase the capacity of the organisation, by enabling Mental Health First Aid and Instructor training for those who provide phone crisis support for families during the postnatal period.
|Sisters of Charity Community Care Limited||Dragonfly Health & Wellness Retreat|
Enhance the mental health and wellbeing of rural women by providing a three day retreat to enable participants to connect, learn self-care, and seek support.
|Support Groups Queensland Inc|
Happy Chat Mental Health Peer Support Group
|Happy Chat Mental Health Peer Support Stanthorpe - Building a Safe and Happy Place for People with a Lived Experience of Mental Ill Health|
Increase the capacity of a peer support group to expand and provide facilitated support to vulnerable community members living with mental illness to reduce social isolation, and to provide access to meaningful community based activities and nutritious food.
|Tumby Bay Area School||Tumby Bay Area School G.E.M. Festival|
Build knowledge of, and community engagement with, the Gratitude, Empathy, Mindfulness (GEM) personal resilience initiative through a school based community event to highlight positive mental health and wellbeing.
|Yankalilla Youth Arts Incorporated||Sunday Sessions|
Provide a creative and nurturing space for young people to engage in guided arts and theatre based activities, with the presence of a counsellor and support therapy dog to support mental health and wellbeing.
|Highways and Byways Ltd|
Support isolated, vulnerable and disadvantaged young women to be confident and resilient through a one to one tailored mentoring program.
|Castlemaine Safe Space Inc||Strengthen and Grow the Castlemaine Safe Space|
Increase organisational capacity and community awareness of available local mental health and social support by providing mental health training for lived experienced volunteers and increased promotion of the Castlemaine Safe Space.
|Goulburn Valley Suicide Awareness Group Inc||GVSAG Walk and Talk|
Support the local community to connect and develop trusted relationships that create greater understanding of mental health issues and address the stigma surrounding suicide by upskilling volunteers, establishing facilitated support groups and holding a suicide awareness walk.
|HALT Hope Assistance Local Tradies||Older Adults Matter Too|
Increase the capacity and confidence of local community groups to better understand what a developing mental health problem or crisis looks like in older males and to have the skills and confidence to offer help-seeking information in an effort to reduce the incidences of suicide.
|Enterprise Partnerships WA Limited||Piriwa Wellbeing Project|
Develop individual resilience, confidence, group leadership and planning skills through intergenerational activities and regular yarning circles to strengthen cultural identity, self-agency and mental wellbeing of Aboriginal women in a remote community.
|Newdegate Community Resource Centre Inc||Men's BBQ Masterclass Workshop|
Enable men living in two farming districts to come together through a BBQ cooking demonstration and shared meal to hear a mental health presentation designed to reduce isolation and encourage open discussion about the importance of mental health self-care.
The community group I’m Not Afraid To Talk (INATT) partnered with the University of South Australia (UniSA) to deliver a mental wellbeing program through Greater Flinders and Eastern Eyre football leagues / clubs to help adolescent and adult men in rural communities to improve their mental health and reduce the risk of suicide.
Working around COVID restrictions, cancellation of the football season, harvesting and extreme weather events, workshops were held in Kimba, Tumby Bay and Cowell, with a joint follow up session via Zoom. The workshops were supported by a $19,900 In a Good Place grant that was funded by CCI Giving.
Each four-hour workshop featured local key speakers sharing their lived experienced, followed by a series of activities that focused on how men may be perceived by others and how they perceive themselves, share experiences, and the importance of ongoing open conversations about mental health. A Toolkit Resource was collaboratively developed by UniSA and INATT after the workshops to guide clubs in planning activities to promote mental wellbeing.
The steps and strategies listed in the resource are based on community development principles and give clubs ideas on how to get started with planning mental wellbeing activities. This was introduced during the follow up session and made available to each group.
Due to the changes to the program, there was an underspend of funds. With the permission of FRRR, INATT ran an additional workshop for women in Kimba. This was a great success with approximately 80 women attending from Kimba and surrounding communities.
The workshops were the greatest success of this project as was evident by the high praise received by participants. The workshops assisted in improving attitudes towards mental health and help seeking. Participants also reported an increase in confidence and comfort in discussing mental health. Some of the comments included:
- “Mental health discussion rarely starts without a major poke”.
- “Probably will never be comfortable to do this but more equipped to have a go”.
- “Eye opening and is going to help myself and community”.
- “Very well done to get tough blokes thinking and talking”.
- “We don’t have many supports, apart from each other at the moment”.
- “Reassuring to know you not alone, great advice on how to deal with mental health”.
- “Was a great night, confronting at times but that made it so worthwhile and a good laugh at the end”.
The achievements of this project have been numerous with the strengths of both collaborators on this grant put to best use. INATT has extremely strong links with the Greater Flinders and Eastern Eyre communities which was evident by their excellent leadership and facilitation of the workshops and the level of attendance.
Grants up to $20,000 on offer
Remote, rural and regional communities across Australia can apply now for grants up to $20,000 for community-driven mental health and wellbeing projects, through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program.
Community groups are invited to apply for up to $20,000 to support activities that empower locals to talk, connect, learn, participate and foster help-seeking behaviours.
FRRR and CCI Giving are offering $250,000 in IAGP grants, a boost of $50,000 on prior grant rounds, thanks to a new five-year partnership.
Jeremy Yipp, CCI General Manager, General Insurance Claims and Chair of CCI Giving, said that since partnering with FRRR in 2018, CCI Giving has seen the direct impact made to 53 mental health-focused projects funded across remote, rural and regional Australia.
“Seed funding is critical for the smaller community projects so that they can develop a proof of concept for their activity model and see what works and what doesn’t, and why. Without assistance from grant programs, such as In a Good Place, these projects may never have the opportunity to really get off the ground and reach their full potential,” Mr Yipp explained.
Jill Karena, FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead, said that, now in its sixth year, the In A Good Place program continues to provide vital funding to support the mental health and wellbeing of communities across remote, rural and regional Australia.
“Projects funded through the In a Good Place program typically bring people together, sometimes to heal, always to learn.
“The program has a definite and important role to play in supporting rural communities in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and help-seeking behaviours. It helps to bring mental health and wellbeing out in the open – making it OK to talk about and OK to reach out and ask for help,” Ms Karena said.
Applications opened on 12 April 2023. There is a two-stage application process. To get started, a brief Expression of Interest must be submitted no later than 5pm AEST, Wednesday 17 May 2023. Full details are available on FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/in-a-good-place/. Applicants can also call 1800 170 020.
Jeremy Yipp and Lauren Clair from our partners at CCI Giving recently joined one of our team meetings as part of an overview of the CCI Giving / FRRR partnership, which supports mental health in remote, rural and regional Australia, to discuss the “awesomeness” that is the In a Good Place (IAGP) program.
IAGP is a national program that focuses on place-based, grassroots mental health and wellbeing. It supports community-driven projects, services, activities or initiatives, and targets vulnerable community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues. Like other FRRR programs, it supports communities doing it for themselves. Projects typically bring people together, sometimes to heal, always to learn. The program helps to bring mental health and wellbeing out into the open – making it OK to talk about, OK to reach out, OK to ask for help.
CCI Giving is a foundation established by Catholic Church Insurance in 2017, and in its relatively short history, has already distributed more than $1.8M in grants, to over 200 projects right across Australia.
A large part of these funds have been distributed via the IAGP program, which began as a five year partnership in 2018, distributing $200,000 annually. We were very pleased to jointly announce a continuation of the partnership earlier this year, with a subsequent agreement in place for a further five years, and distributions increasing to $250,000 each year.
In the session, Jeremy shared one of his favourite projects with us, which was a $20,000 grant awarded to Kanyini Connections. They have developed an equine-assisted therapy program specifically for young veterans, run by a qualified equine therapist who is a young veteran herself, with lived experienced of PTSD. Funds will support two 12-week equine-assisted therapy programs to provide intensive support to 48 young veterans.
Jeremy said, “It’s projects like these that need seed funding behind them to prove up their model, to see what works and what doesn’t, and why. Without assistance through programs such as the In a Good Place program, these projects may never have the opportunity to really get off the ground and reach their full potential, or it would take a lot longer for them to do so.”
The In a Good Place program has a definite and important role to play in supporting rural communities in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and the importance of promoting and supporting good mental health and wellbeing. While applications have closed for this year, perhaps now is the time to start planning your community’s project for the 2023 round.
Fourteen mental health initiatives across remote, rural and regional Australia will share in $204,607 in grants awarded through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program.
Thanks to CCI Giving, the charitable foundation established by Catholic Church Insurance (CCI), these grants will support grassroots, community driven projects that increase social participation, help to reduce social isolation and encourage community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues to seek help. FRRR and CCI Giving are now in the fifth year of their partnership.
This year, the grants range from $8,000 for an initiative that will build the confidence of primary school children in Mount Murchison, QLD to $20,000 for a project that will help various communities in the Northern Territory to better understand what a developing mental health problem or crisis looks like, and respond appropriately.
Jeremy Yipp, CCI Chief Risk Officer of CCI and Chair of CCI Giving, said that the sustained interest in the program is a sign of how essential it is.
“Each year, we receive applications and expressions of interests that really highlight the gap in funding when it comes to flexible grants that are geared towards grassroots mental health programs and services. The goal of this program is to help fill that gap and offer rural communities a say in how their mental health resources are used. After all, they are the people who are being directly impacted,” said Mr Yipp.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said this program is particularly crucial now because of the increase in mental health struggles in rural Australia stemming from pressures of the pandemic and other natural disasters like floods, bushfires and drought.
“The last few years have seen remote, rural and regional communities facing challenges like never before. Often these events occur one after the other – or even at the same time. This has meant that many people in rural communities have been unable to access mental health services or support at a time when they need it most.
“In this round, we were delighted to see an increase in applications from the Northern Territory. Remote communities are often the places with the most limited access to mental health services, so it’s great to be able to help fill that gap. We also saw more requests for funding to support initiatives focussed on young people, and again, we are pleased to be able to support several of those projects to help equip them with the skills and strategies to cope with the many challenges they face,” said Ms Egleton.
Some of the 14 initiatives being funded include:
- Trustee for St Francis Xavier Primary, Lake Cargelligo – Lake Cargelligo, NSW – Earlymind – $9,062 – Develop resilience, a positive mindset andawareness of self by implementing and embedding The Resilience Project School Partnership Program to support the social and emotional health and wellbeing of students and the broader community.
- Bluearth Foundation – Ltyentye Apurte, NT – Active Leaders Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) – $13,000 – Develop the confidence, resilience and self-awareness of senior students to enable them to create and guide physical activity and wellbeing programs for the primary school students to encourage and promote physical and mental health and wellbeing.
- Kanyini Connections Ltd – Doonan, QLD – Young Veterans PTSD Program – $20,000 – Support a tailored equine therapy program by providing funds for essential program materials, equipment and consumables to assist 48 young veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have not responded to other therapy options.
- Lameroo Forward Inc – Lameroo, SA – Southern Mallee Mental Health Presentations – $10,000 – Grow community understanding of mental health and increase awareness by bringing in a guest speaker to share vital tips and advice at two community presentations.
- Zoe Support Australia – Mildura, VIC – Mentally Healthy Mothers – $20,000 – Augment the current support for vulnerable young mothers by employing a case manager to provide support wrap around support, connections with community supports and knowledge around mental health for those who are struggling with their mental health.
- Tradies IN Sight – Dubbo region , NSW The Real Reconnections Tour $10,000 – Support tradies in rural communities to connect and develop trusted relationships that support, empower and encourage gain better understanding of mental health issues and break down stigma around dealing with emotional struggles.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|The Rural Woman Co-Operative Ltd||Mental Health Matters - Circles of Support|
Enhance the mental health and wellbeing of rural women by providing a series of professionally facilitated and moderated online groups and a training program to enable participants to connect, learn, seek support and thrive.
|Tradies IN Sight Inc||The Real Reconnections Tour|
Support rural communities to connect and develop trusted relationships that support, empower and encourage gain better understanding of mental health issues and break down stigma around dealing with emotional struggles.
|Dubbo, Tullamore, Narromine, Coonamble, Parkes||$10,000|
|Trustee for St Francis Xavier Primary, Lake Cargelligo||Earlymind|
Develop resilience, a positive mindset and awareness of self by implementing and embedding The Resilience Project School Partnership Program to support the social and emotional health and wellbeing of students and the broader community.
|SabrinasReach4Life Inc||Heads Up|
Increase the capacity and confidence of local communities to better understand what a developing mental health problem or crisis looks like, and develop the skills and confidence to offer and apply help offering behaviours to reduce the incidences of suicide.
|Darwin, Jabiru, Litchfield, Katherine||$20,000|
|Bluearth Foundation||Active Leaders Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa)|
Develop the confidence, resilience and selfawareness of senior students to enable them to create and guide physical activity and wellbeing programs for the primary school students to encourage and promote
physical and mental health and wellbeing.
|Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa)||$13,000|
|Chinchilla Family Support Centre Inc||Eating With Friends in Chinchilla|
Increase social connection and awareness of support services by initiating an Eating With Friends program to improve the mental health of isolated members of the community, particularly older people and
|Kanyini Connections Ltd||Young Veterans PTSD Program|
Support a tailored equine therapy program by providing funds for essential program materials, equipment and consumables to assist 48 young veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have not
responded to other therapy options.
|Mount Murchison State School||Game Changer: helping Students Achieve their True Potential|
Cultivate confidence in primary school children to cope with life and change by supporting five schools to implement a locally facilitated program, including staff development, to foster positive learning environments and enhance social and emotional wellbeing.
|Lameroo Forward Inc||Southern Mallee Mental Health Presentations|
Grow community understanding of mental health and increase awareness by bringing in a guest speaker to share vital tips and advice at two community presentations.
|Crossenvale Community Group Inc||Yarn in the Park|
Create a safe, welcoming space for locals experiencing mental health issues to attend weekly support group sessions to receive support, connection, information and resources.
|Zoe Support Australia||Mentally Healthy Mothers|
Augment the current support for vulnerable young mothers by employing a case manager to provide support wrap around support, connections with community supports and knowledge around mental health for those who are struggling with their mental health.
|Let's Talk Foundation Ltd||LETS TALK, Woolshed to Clubhouse|
Build community engagement with the LETS TALK initiative through a series of local presentations that encourage helpseeking behaviour, and raise the level of community competence in supporting
someone with mental health issues.
|Terang, Hamilton, Port Fairy||$15,225|
|Northam Senior High School||Northam Senior High School Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program|
Improve the knowledge, skills, and selfefficacy of Northam SHS staff and parents/caregivers to teach, model and support social and emotional competencies to students, and support students to
improve their own social and emotional wellbeing.
|York District High School||Social and Emotional Learning Programs |
Improve the social and emotional wellbeing of K-Year 10 students through teacher training and purchase of resources to support the implementation across the school curriculum.
There are many elderly residents living there in aged care in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales who have limited financial support. In fact, the community-owned Harbison Memorial Retirement Village – which provides up to 50% of their residential places to residents who can’t afford to pay for their care and accommodation – receives no government funding for wellbeing, or capacity building programs.
In 2021, Harbison initiated the Grand Friends Pilot Program, an inter-generational community initiative connecting elderly residents with Kinder to Year 2 students, their families and the wider community. Partway through, the program was suspended due to COVID and a lack of funding. But the Southern Highlands Community Foundation – an organisation fostering local philanthropy to support community needs and initiatives – auspiced a grant application on behalf of Harbison, and received $20,000 through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program to complete their pilot.
Through the generous support of CCI Giving, this IAGP grant helped restart Harbison’s pilot program, which concluded in December 2021 following a short suspension. And with benefits for both aged care residents and children alike, the program has now begun to roll out to other local schools.
The weekly program involves Kinder, Year 1 and Year 2 classes hosting their Grand Friends, with everyone participating in structured activities, conversation and a shared morning tea. In between visits, the children write letters, make cards, rock friends and complete activities to prepare for the next Grand Friends visit – Grand Friends become part of the day-to-day discussions and activities in the classroom. Residents reported reduced loneliness and incidences of depression, improved memory, mood, confidence and mobility, and an increased sense of meaning and purpose in their life.. The program also saw evidence that participating children develop empathy, social confidence and language skills.
Harbison resident, Harold Griffin, believes it is a gift to be able to visit his junior class each week.
“I get a thrill out of attending the school visit. The energy and excitement the kids have, created by our group attending their school, is wonderful,“ Harold said.
$200,000 available to fund community-led mental health projects
Remote, rural and regional communities across Australia can apply now for grants through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program to support community-driven activities focused on mental health and wellbeing. Offered in partnership with CCI Giving, there is $200,000 available through grants of up to $20,000 for projects that support vulnerable community members at risk of, or experiencing, mental health issues.
The program supports a range of approaches that are preventative or responsive in nature, and clearly and directly focus on strengthening mental health and wellbeing. These include initiatives that increase social participation and connections with the community, and reduce stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging open discussion and supporting self-help-seeking.
Jeremy Yipp, CCI Chief Risk Officer and Chair of CCI Giving, said that greater access to mental health services and support is vital to those living in rural communities, particularly following times of crisis.
“Rural and remote communities continue to be affected by events such as fires and flooding, and in recent years the pandemic. It’s more important than ever to encourage people to stay connected and seek support, especially for those living in places with limited access to mental health services.
“Our partnership with FRRR helps CCI Giving reach remote, rural and regional communities, to build and nurture social connections and community participation, and provide access to mental health training and education,” said Mr Yipp.
Jill Karena, FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead, said that the events of the past few years have highlighted the need for rural Australia to have equitable access to mental health services and support.
“The impact of the pandemic, and the subsequent isolation, is still being felt and understood. But clearly, access to mental health tools, services and support that are driven by community need, are critical to improving and strengthening the mental health of remote, rural and regional Australians, particularly younger members of the community.
“As an example, through the IAGP program, the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) in Swan Hill received funding of $13,480 to deliver a culturally specific Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program and establish a local support network – Deadly Yarning & Learning, targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
“Although initially intended to be delivered face-to-face, the COVID pandemic and lockdowns caused serious disruptions to the project. Instead, most training took place online. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people gained vital skills in MHFA, connected with each other, relevant workers and service providers, and increased their confidence and leadership skills while helping to shape local, culturally safe responses to mental health.
“Our partnership with CCI Giving means we can support these kinds of community-led approaches to mental health services that respond to community need and are accessible for people in rural areas who may otherwise have difficulty accessing services,” Ms Karena said.
Applications open on 20 April 2022. As in previous years, FRRR expects this will be a highly competitive program and so there is a two-stage application process. A brief Expression of Interest must be submitted no later than 5pm AEST, Wednesday 25 May 2022. The Expression of Interest form and more information is available on FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/funding/place/in-a-good-place/. Applicants can also call 1800 170 020.
The IAGP program is the centrepiece of a partnership between FRRR and CCI Giving which has just been extended for a further five years, to run until 2027. Since the partnership began in 2018, IAGP has awarded $800,000 in grants to 53 community-led initiatives that promote good mental health and wellbeing in remote, rural and regional communities.
$1.25m in grants to be made available
The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and CCI Giving have agreed to a five-year extension to their partnership and national grants program, In a Good Place (IAGP). This means that the grant program will now run until at least 2027.
CCI Giving has also made a commitment to increase the funding available each year by $50,000, meaning that there will be $250,000 available to applicants annually, starting next year.
The partnership between CCI Giving and FRRR began in May 2018 and, since then, $800,000 in grants have been awarded to 53 projects across remote, rural and regional Australia through the IAGP program.
This program strengthens mental health in rural communities by supporting locally-led initiatives that reduce social isolation, increase social participation and connectedness and encourage people to seek help in tackling mental health challenges.
Jeremy Yipp, CCI General Manager, General Insurance Claims and Chair of CCI Giving, said that they are committed to providing rural Australians with greater access to mental health care.
“There are many stressors when it comes to mental health and, sadly, the pandemic has exacerbated these, particularly among young people living in rural areas who don’t have the same access to mental health services as those living in cities.
“There are key groups working on the ground, at the local level, who we want to ensure have the support to implement initiatives that they know will make a difference.
“We are always stronger when we work with others, and we are delighted to be extending our relationship with FRRR. I know that working closely with FRRR is vital to the impact and effort of the many organisations who are supporting communities and people who are at risk of mental ill health. Five years and additional funds is something to really celebrate,” said Mr Yipp.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that this commitment from CCI Giving provides much-needed certainty to rural Australia.
“Historically, remote, rural and regional communities across Australia haven’t had the equity of access to the mental health and wellbeing resources that they need. With the added pressure of the challenges that these communities have faced in recent years, access to these kinds of services is now more crucial than ever before.
“Our Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey showed that as a result of consecutive natural disasters and the pandemic, there has been lowered resilience, increased fatigue and stress, and high levels of mental health illnesses in rural communities. CCI Giving’s commitment of increased grant funds and the certainty of it being on offer for the next five years, provides these communities with security and greater access to funding for community mental health projects that can have a profound impact for those involved.
“At FRRR, we have loved working alongside CCI Giving, providing support and tools to these vital, community-led initiatives. We couldn’t be more delighted to announce the five-year extension of our work together,” Ms Egleton said.
The next round of IAGP grant applications will open 20 April 2022. To find out more about this program go to https://frrr.org.au/funding/place/in-a-good-place.