Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The Kimba district was among the hardest hit by the destructive rain and floods of January 2022, which battered most of regional South Australia. Our Town Kimba (OTK) is a community-led initiative dedicated to enhancing community resilience in the face of mental health and wellbeing challenges. Acknowledging the necessity for heightened community engagement following the floods, particularly with local youth, OTK leveraged the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant program to connect effectively with young individuals and empower them to lead a project within their town.

In collaboration with local high school students, OTK explored the 2022 Heywire Project Ideas, ultimately selecting the Fusion Festival idea as a resonant and beneficial initiative for local youth and the community. Fusion Festival posed the question of how to raise cultural awareness and stop racism in regional communities. OTK provided mentorship to the students throughout the grant application process, successfully securing a $10,000 to create their own community fusion festival, bringing together the tastes of Kimba to be shared through food, culture, dance and live music.

Kimba’s Fusion Festival was a youth-led, hands on experience from the very start. During the planning stages of the Festival, youth were given the opportunity to cultivate skills in event management. The project engaged mentors, educators and community members to guide the process and support the youth throughout.

The Festival, which was held in October 2023, had a profound impact on the 201 school students, kindergarten attendees and staff. Commencing with Indigenous cultural sharing, the day featured a diverse array of cultural experiences and activities, fostering conversations, learning and an appreciation for cultural diversity, all of which positively influenced individuals on personal and community levels. The Festival extended into the night, attracting over 300 people from the broader community. The lively atmosphere, diverse entertainment and communal meals contributed to a profound sense of belonging, pride and community unity.

Beyond providing a platform for cultural exchange, the Fusion Festival facilitated opportunities for local businesses, volunteers and community members to come together. The positive experiences shared during the Festival cultivated ongoing relationships, community pride and strengthened the sense of place.

The grant not only supported the realisation of the Fusion Festival but also served as an opportunity to model a youth-led project in the community, highlighting the substantial value young people bring to creating a resilient and vibrant community.

The Fusion Festival was honoured at the Kimba District Council’s 2024 Australia Day Awards as the Community Event of the Year, recognising the significant impact and lasting positive influence it had on the community.

Plus FRRR-supported coaching program gets underway

FRRR, in partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF), has awarded $276,963 in grants to four of Leeton’s not-for-profit organisations (NFPs). The funding will help these local groups build and strengthen the ways in which they are able to support the community.

Grants for Leeton

The grants are part of FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program – a five-year program to strengthen Leeton’s NFPs and support them to make lasting impacts in their areas of focus for the community.

As part of the program, FRRR works with the groups to roadmap their aspirations, and provides funding to help bring these plans to life.

Alli Mudford, IRCF Program Manager, said that the IRCF program, now in its second year, is helping Leeton NFPs become stronger.

“Leeton’s NFPs have been working hard to identify common issues and develop strategies that will support their long-term sustainability,” Ms Mudford said.

“These latest grants will help these local groups with much-needed resources to employ locally skilled people to support growth, organisational efficiencies and take the pressure off their amazing volunteers.

“For Western Riverina Arts, this means helping the six museums in the region to better serve the community by employing a Development Officer. Leeton Multicultural Group will also get some much-needed funding and be able to employ an Operations Manager to help support the rapid regional migration to the area. Both these projects are driven by a desire for long-term solutions, so with this in mind, the funding will be granted over three years.

“The Rotary Club of Leeton is addressing volunteer fatigue by coming up with new ways to encourage and diversify the number of local volunteers. While Leeton Community Op Shop is working to ensure their #oneleeton and #ngumbaayleeton projects are both sustainable and safety-compliant by using their grant to invest in new equipment.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Leeton NFPs, supporting them as they implement their community roadmap,” Ms Mudford explained.

Tailored NFP coaching program kicks off

As part of the IRCF program, FRRR and SEFA Partnerships have teamed up to pilot a tailored coaching program for the Leeton NFPs. The sessions will coach three groups to build skills in their local leadership teams and work on areas including effective communication, strategic planning and governance.

Leeton Arts Society, Leeton Community Op Shop and the Rotary Club of Leeton are the first three groups to be selected to participate, which begins in February.

The coaching program combines group workshops, followed by a series of tailored one on one coaching sessions with local FRRR IRCF Facilitator Claire Williams and Hannah Miller from SEFA Partnerships.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this support after such a trying 2020 and if successful we hope to expand the coaching support to others,” Ms Mudford said.

In addition to Leeton, the rural communities of Junee and Nambucca Valley are taking part in the VFFF-funded IRCF program. FRRR has also partnered with The Snow Foundation to expand the program into the Shoalhaven communities of Batemans Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla.

Ongoing Partnership Grants




Leeton Community Care Development Inc #oneleeton #ngumbaayleeton
Increase organisational capacity by enabling the upgrade and purchase of vital equipment to ensure compliance and sustainability of #oneleeton operations.
Leeton Multicultural Group Inc Organisation of the Leeton Multicultural Group
Enable locally-led solutions to regional migration by building organisational strength in the Leeton Multicultural Group through the recruitment of an Operations Manager.
Rotary Club of Leeton Step-Up Leeton: Building Capacity from the Ground Up
Respond to volunteer fatigue by building a diverse volunteer bank for the Leeton community through providing new pathways for partnerships and learning.
Western Riverina Arts Inc Leeton Museum Development Officer
Increase the capacity of six Museums in the Leeton region by funding the employment of a Museum Development Officer to provide pathways to sustainability.