Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The beautiful Mid-North Coast of NSW is Gumbaynngirr country, with 15,000 Aboriginals living across the region. COVID had significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of local Gumbaynngirr women in particular: local services found it difficult to meet the needs of community, while research conducted with Gumbaynnggirr people on the ramifications of COVID reported that the restrictions on social connection had serious negative impacts on social and emotional wellbeing and overall health.

Based in Toormina at the southern end of Coffs Harbour, Happy Boxes Project Ltd aims to alleviate barriers to accessing self-care items for Aboriginal women in remote communities by providing packages of self-care products such as soap, deodorant, and shampoo – otherwise known as ‘Happy Boxes’). Recognising the impacts that COVID-19, Happy Boxes capitalised on their connections to the local community to significantly scale up services and programs at their new community hub: Nyami Gawbarri (Women Gathering).

Nyami Gawbarri was able to support local community members to volunteer their time in the space to pack Happy Boxes for remote communities. Together they were able to pack and distribute 689 Happy Boxes to 22 remote communities throughout Australia. This meant that at least 689 women didn’t have to go without essential hygiene products.

In addition, the Happy Boxes team hired a number of local Aboriginal women to provide programs for hub users and consequently the hub went from being open one day per week to five days, offering programs on topics ranging from cultural meditation, Aboriginal art and cooking, to a five-week program called ‘Mob Radio’ – teaching local teenagers how to be radio presenters.

Critical health services that have traditionally had social barriers to access, such as cervical screening programs, also ran out of the hub. Another outcome of being open five days per week was the creation of an Intensive Support Reintegration Program for teenagers consistently being suspended and disengaged from school. Local schools are now referring their students to Nyami Gawbarri as the organisation can provide a culturally-safe space to spend their suspension, giving back to the local and national communities.

The impact that the project had was described by a local participant:

“The programs for these young women will positively change lives. Providing opportunities for connection and supporting our young women to develop their identity and sense of belonging will have such a huge life lasting impact for them, their families and our Community. Nyami Gawbarri is supporting the development of proud, determined and connected young Jindas.” ~ Anonymous

The level of need for Nyami Gawbarri, and the positive impact that the program of activities over the last twelve months has had for the hub has meant that Nyami Gawbarri is now evolving to become a separate entity and permanent community hub for Gumbaynnggirr women. Critically, throughout this period the project coordinator was able to secure government funding for their role, and hence will be able to continue Nyami Gawbarri’s commitment to provide a culturally-safe space and a plethora of programs beyond the completion of the FRRR-funded project.

Emma Sullings, Chief Executive Officer of Happy Boxes Project Ltd, explains the impact that this grant has had for the hub and the community:

“We are extremely proud of the establishment and succession of a community hub. Nyami Gawbarri stands as a testament to the significance of creating dedicated spaces for women to access a range of services and programs tailored to their unique needs. It is a symbol of community strength, unity and empowerment.”

This inspiring hub has capitalised on opportunity and scaled for the community good – and in the process, showcased how support for locally designed and led initiatives can have long-running positive outcomes. These impressive efforts were supported by a $50,000 grant from FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities – Rebuilding Regional Communities program, funded by the Australian Government.

Grants awarded to 176 community groups for COVID recovery, climate-related impacts and Small & Vital projects

IMAGE: Kinder aged child exploring a puddle. HEADING: Rural groups awarded a record-breaking $2.3 million
Goulburn Region Preschool Association Inc

FRRR has awarded $2,309,331 in grants to 176 community projects across remote, rural and regional Australia as part of the Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

This is the largest SRC round on record in terms of both funding awarded and the number of projects being funded.

Collaboratively funded by a number of donors, this program gives small communities across rural Australia access to funds for a broad range of initiatives that directly and clearly benefit the local area and people. The program is split into three streams: Small & Vital (S&V), Prepare & Recover (P&R) and Rebuilding Regional Communities (RRC), which supports recovery from COVID-19.

Small & Vital stream

In total, $527,636 in grants have been awarded to 61 grassroots organisations and NFPs through the S&V stream. Grants of up to $10,000 will support initiatives that local leaders and community members feel are a priority when it comes to strengthening the community.

An example of an organisation being funded in this stream is the Cervantes Community Men’s Shed in WA. They will use their $10,000 grant to develop the group’s new shed site, which will support and service the community.

Prepare & Recover grants

The SRC program has long supported disaster recovery, most recently through the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfire Recovery stream. However, with disasters affecting more of the country, the program has been renamed the Prepare & Recover stream. It offers grants of up to $25,000 to support projects that prevent and prepare for future climate related impacts, or recover from existing disasters in the medium to long-term. In addition to ongoing recovery from Black Summer fires, this round supports recovery from flooding in 2021/22, as well as some other storms and flood events across the country.

A total of $883,940 will be shared among 62 initiatives through this stream. An example is the Victoria based Boort Resource & Information Centre’s initiative to support flood recovery and boost local connections by bringing the people together to share a free community meal.

Rebuilding Regional Communities – supporting COVID-19 recovery

Funded by the Australian Government, the RRC grants are divided into micro grants, which are up to $10,000 and larger grants, which are up to $50,000. In this round, 53 organisations have received $897,755 funding that will help remote, rural and regional communities recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Among the recipients in this stream is the Regional Food Security Alliance, who will use a grant of $47,050 to develop resources that will support volunteer recruitment and retention at food relief agencies across regional Victoria, after demand for their services has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Jill Karena, Place Portfolio Lead at FRRR, said that this record-breaking SRC round is a clear indication of the level of support that remote, rural and regional Australia needs.

“In the history of the SRC program and its predecessors dating back to 2000, we’ve never awarded this amount of money or this many small grants. That in itself speaks volumes about the need for resources and support in rural communities around the country.

“What we saw in the applications in this round, across each of the streams, was a strong emphasis on individual and community health and social wellbeing. This is a reflection of how the last few years have impacted remote, rural and regional areas. Back-to-back natural disasters, the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis have left people with limited resources when it comes to prioritising their wellbeing.

“We also saw a high number of applications for creative and wellbeing activities, like festivals and community events. These initiatives are wonderful to see because not only are they helping to bring people together and giving them a creative outlet, but they also often provide a boost to the local economy.

“Similarly, we continue to see a demand for support in maintaining or upgrading community spaces, halls and hubs. This kind of infrastructure is so important when it comes to keeping small communities connected, particularly during the ongoing recovery and resilience-building process that rural Australia is currently facing,” Ms Karena said.

Some more of the 176 projects funded include:

  • Gainmara Birrilee Preschool Association Inc – NSW – Enhance the COVID-19 recovery of 117 Brewarrina Aboriginal families by providing practical assistance, building social connections and cultural identity, wellness activities and a community garden. $46,092 (Rebuilding Regional Communities stream)
  • MacDonnell Regional Council – NT – Prepare youth for leadership roles through the expansion of the council’s youth app to include governance and project management information and functions. $9,702 (Small & Vital stream)
  • FNQ Aviation Museum Ltd – QLD – Build young people’s job readiness for careers in engineering industries by constructing a new hanger at the aeronautical museum to run a program with students restoring vintage airplanes. $10,000 (Small & Vital stream)
  • Bridge to Nowhere Arts Association Incorporated – SA – Enhance the process of recovery from the pandemic and encourage greater participation of seniors in activities by providing a comfortable environment at a local community arts facility through heating and cooling upgrades. $7,405 (Rebuilding Regional Communities stream)
  • Surf Life Saving Tasmania – Central Coast Marine Rescue – TAS – Enhance community safety and boost volunteer capacity through expansion of training and lifesaving equipment. $9,383 (Small & Vital stream)
  • Upper Murray Performing Arts Inc – VIC – Encourage community connection and generate economic growth by delivering a creative dance festival that will increase tourism in a township recovering from bushfires. $10,000 (Prepare & Recover stream)
  • Shire of Carnamah – WA – Improve the community’s resilience for future emergency responses during cyclones by upgrading the medical centre’s electrical switchboard, enabling connection to back up generators during power outages. $10,000 (Prepare & Recover stream)

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by many generous donors, who are acknowledged on the FRRR website under each of the SRC grant streams:

This program always accepts applications. Local NFPs and community groups are encouraged to review the program guidelines and apply. More information about the SRC program is available at

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at

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

Small & Vital
Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society - Narrabri North West District IncLecturer Fee Contributions
Sustain the capacity of the organisation to deliver accessible arts activities for the whole community by contributing to lecturer fees.
Carcoar Community AssociationRiver Yarn Fibre Festival
Provide opportunities for social connection and cultural enrichment by supporting the inaugural River Yarn Fibre Festival.
GRASP - Goulburn Regional Association of Sustainable ProducersGrowing the GRASP Hub on the Open Food Network
Support a community-owned online produce shop to provide access to healthy local produce and promote sustainable agricultural practices through purchasing equipment, recruiting / training volunteers and holding events.
Henty Public School Parents and Citizens AssociationBush Tucker Precinct
Enhance the thriving community garden by linking it to the Wiradjuri Bush Tucker and Yarning Circle cultural area to increase community knowledge of local Aboriginal traditions.
Inverell Art Society IncorporatedInverell Art Gallery - Supporting, Engaging and Developing Local Ceramic Artists
Foster skill development for local and emerging ceramic artists in Inverell by purchasing a new kiln and reference books.
Lansdowne Public Hall Reserve Land ManagerInstallation of Security Cameras and Solar Security Lights to the Outside of the Lansdowne Community Hall
Enhance security for valuable historical works and items displayed at the Lansdowne Community Hall by installing solar powered external lighting and cameras.
Parkes Bowling and Sports Club LimitedParkes Bowling and Sports Club Kitchen Oven Upgrade
Enhance the Parkes Bowling and Sports Club kitchen by removing the current industrial gas oven and installing a new one to increase the safety and capacity for use by the many non-sporting community groups that use the facilities.
Peak Hill Preschool Kindergarten IncPeak Hill Preschool Expansion
Improve day care access for disadvantaged families by contributing to the development of a community-run long day care facility and community room in Peak Hill.
Peak Hill$10,000
Riding for the Disabled Assoc (NSW) - The Coonabarabran CentreFacilities Maintenance Program - Stage One
Enable programs to continue running by addressing safety issues at riding centre through repairs to the training hall.
Warren Chamber Music Festival IncorporatedBetter with Age!
Provide opportunities for social connection and cultural enrichment by holding a "Better with Age" event for the elderly, featuring a shared meal, live musical performances and poetry readings.
Prepare & Recover
Adavale Lane Community Centre IncorporatedBuild Up the Grounds Around our Community Hall to Stop Flooding
Contribute to recovery and disaster preparedness by raising the ground level around Adavale Lane Community Centre to stop the hall flooding, ensuring community events can continue and enhancing community connectedness.
Arts North West IncNew England North West Creative Flood Response Project - 'A Letter to My Returning...'
Engage artists from flood-affected communities to create artwork that responds to their flood experiences and interpretations for a public exhibition that will support community recovery.
Wee Waa$24,752
Bay FM Community Radio IncBroadcast Equipment Replacement to Build Organisational and Community Resilience
Build organisational capacity and bushfire resilience by upgrading the ageing broadcasting equipment, ensuring a reliable broadcast transmission service, particularly in the event of an emergency.
Byron Shire$24,920
Bombala Preschool IncBombala's Ngulla Garden Project
Support recovery from the impacts of the Black Summer bushfires and unprecedented rain by establishing a food forest garden, restoring the community and Indigenous gardens, and engaging experts to educate preschool families and community about food sustainability.
Bowraville Arts Council IncBowraville Theatre Equipment and Technology Upgrade
Enhance Bowraville Theatre and contribute to bushfire recovery by investing in up-to-date equipment and technology, allowing a broader scope of events for the community, and encouraging new arts, performances and productions.
Broke Residents Community Association IncorporatedBroke Wellbeing Program 2023
Support the recovery of Broke residents after flooding through an ongoing well-being program to improve the mental health and resilience of community members.
Burringbar School of ArtsReplacement Roof for Burringbar Hall Disaster Distribution Centre
Enhance the Burringbar School of Arts Heritage Hall by replacing the rusted roof, ensuring the hall can continue to be used by the community for events and as a distribution centre for those in need during natural disasters such as bushfires.
Circartus Incorporated Reaching for Solid Ground
Increase organisational capacity by establishing a new position to support organisation sustainability and provide inclusive, healing, creative and fun circus skills opportunities for young people in the Manning Valley who are recovering from the impact of bushfires.
Connecting Communities Australia LtdMogo - Aboriginal Lands Council Storage Shed
Contribute to the recovery of Mogo after losing several buildings in the devastating Black Summer bushfires by constructing a storage shed for the Aboriginal Lands Council to store essential documents.
Deniliquin Business Chamber Incorporated Do it in Deni Street Bazaar
Strengthen community connections and boost tourism after the flood with 'The Deni Street Bazaar' a family-friendly event, celebrating the rural culture and lifestyle.
Drake Village Women's Shed IncorporatedTrailer
Increase disaster resilience in the Drake community that was impacted and often isolated after the 2019/20 bushfires through purchasing and fitting out a trailer to provide residents and their livestock access to food and water in emergencies.
Early Links Inclusion Support Service IncorporatedPhysiotherapy Equipment
Address increased demand for therapeutic support since the 2019/20 bushfires and increase social inclusion and support for people with disabilities and developmental delays through additional physiotherapy treatment and equipment.
Kurri Kurri$10,000
Eden Community Access Centre IncEnabling Conversations That Matter: A Prepared Community
Provide an online resource to enable ongoing community conversations that support disaster resilience in Eden and surrounding villages after the 2020 bushfires.
Emerald Beach Fair IncEmerald Beach Fair
Strengthen community connectedness and recovery from the bushfires, floods and COVID through restarting the Emerald Beach Fair.
Emerald Beach$10,000
Granite Borders Landcare Committee IncorporatedStrengthening Rural Communities - Diverse Workshops that Educate, Engage and Improve Social Connectedness
Build community resilience, social connectivity, and environmental improvements through a series of free, landscape regenerative workshops for bushfire-affected residents in remote communities around Tenterfield.
Kangaroo Valley Historical Society IncorporatedPreservation of Kangaroo Valley's History and Heritage through Quality Photographs
Support community resilience by purchasing a camera and macro lens used to capture Kangaroo Valley's bushfire recovery for local historical records.
Kangaroo Valley$1,650
Kempsey Showground Association IncorporatedLighting Upgrade
Upgrade to LED lighting in the hall to reduce operating costs and foster opportunities for people in West Kempsey to come together and support their bushfire recovery.
West Kempsey$6,836
Marine Rescue NSW - Kioloa Unit Volunteer Marine Rescue NSWAir Conditioner for Kioloa Unit
Support bushfire recovery and build organisational capacity by replacing or adding air conditioners to ensure the comfort of volunteers all year round.
Narooma Men's ShedMetalworking Safety Initiative and Activity Enhancement
Purchase appropriate lifting equipment and tools for the Narooma Men's Shed to reduce the risk of injury for members and enhance organisational capacity to support bushfire recovery projects for the community.
Narooma Surf Life Saving Club IncProvision of Storage for Emergency Search, Rescue and Disaster Response Equipment at Narooma Surf Life Saving Club
Building preparedness in the event of a bushfire through the installation of mobile, modular storage cabinets enabling safe and organised storage of the club's 24/7 emergency response equipment, ensuring the club is rescue ready.
Northern Rivers Food Incorporated2023 Harvest Food Trail
Enhance recovery of the flood-impacted Northern Rivers by supporting the Harvest Food Trail event, which brings the community together to socialise and enjoy local produce whilst supporting local businesses.
Tweed Heads$10,000
Resilient Lismore IncorporatedResilient Lismore Impact Measurement and Organisational Sustainability
Enhance the recovery process in flood-impacted Lismore by periodically collecting community recovery data through surveys to measure the impact of Resilient Lismore's work and inform new projects and sustainability planning.
Resilient MurwillumbahMurwillumbah Get Ready
Support the flood-impacted Murwillumbah community to be more disaster ready by establishing a tools and equipment library for community-led disaster clean up and recovery.
River of Art IncorporatedMunggara-dha / My Home
Support community recovery and foster leadership and social connection after the devastating Black Summer bushfires by combining Aboriginal dance storytelling with contemporary art forms in a community driven process that will culminate in a live performance.
Mogo Village $23,100
Southcoast Health and Sustainability AllianceBrightening Batemans Bay Heritage Museum's Future Stage One
Support bushfire preparedness and enhance the viability of the Heritage Museum by installing solar panels that will provide energy to stabilise environmental conditions for the preservation of museum collections, reduce operating costs and enable the museum's continued operation in a power outage.
Batemans Bay$22,578
Twofold Aboriginal CorpThe Twofold / Jigamy Cultural Gardens & Syntropic Food Forestry Project (Stage Two & Three)
Develop a series of intergenerational and cross-cultural initiatives through creation of climate-resilient cultural food gardens to foster collaboration in mitigating the impacts of the Black Summer bushfires and future climate changes.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Contact Inc Gainmara Birrilee Preschool Association IncMurra in Murra (Hand in Hand) Brewarrina - Planning for a Stronger Future
Enhance the COVID-19 recovery of 117 Brewarrina Aboriginal families by providing practical assistance, building social connections and cultural identity, wellness activities and a community garden.
Contact IncorporatedBuilding Foundations for a Stronger Future
Build organisational sustainability through a series of professional development workshops facilitated by a skilled expert to support Contact's work to reduce negative impacts of isolation during COVID-19 for children and families.
Gilgandra Community Garden Network Gilgandra CouncilGilgandra Cultural Precinct > Community Garden
Support COVID-19 recovery by establishing a community garden to reduce social isolation, providing an inclusive, tranquil setting that supports active and passive recreation for local children, youth, seniors, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people culturally and linguistically diverse, those living with disability, and LGBTQIA+ community members.
Turbans 4 AustraliaLismore Resilience Project
Enhance the process of COVID-19 recovery of disadvantaged members of the Lismore regional community through delivering food and personal care hampers with a new mobile food trailer and pantry, which will support and expand the organisation's outreach services.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Blue Mountains Artists CompanyLithgow Lowdown - Reimagining and Reinvigorating Community
Reduce social isolation and foster a stronger, more resilient community after COVID-19 by staging a live music and poetry slam / dance competition to bring together and reinvigorate youth and families through the arts.
Carries Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services IncorporatedStrengthening Service Delivery through Secure and Innovative IT Solutions
Sustain and enhance Carries Place's work with increased IT support over six months to improve internal capability and enable provision of reliable and secure remote services to vulnerable clients hesitant to engage face-to-face due to COVID-19 impacts.
Creative Gunning IncCrafting Connections
Support Gunning's community and economic recovery from COVID-19 by delivering a series of art workshops and exhibitions to increase community connections, build volunteer skills, and increase visitation.
Kempsey Flying Club LtdRural Community's Amenities Upgrade
Support COVID-19 recovery and sustain the activities of a range of community groups that use the Kempsey Flying Club facility by upgrading the space and purchasing a fridge, commercial vacuum, BBQ and projector equipment.
Manning & Great Lakes Early Intervention IncEarly Connections Playgroup
Re-establish a playgroup closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance the process of recovery for young children.
Nimmitabel Show Society IncUrgently Needed Equipment
Support community connection after COVID-19 by replacing damaged and ageing seating and purchase new equipment to sustain the work of the Show Society and enable the smooth running of the Nimmitabel Show and other community events into the future.
Sanctuary Point Public SchoolSing and Grow Singing Therapy Group
Enhance social and developmental recovery from COVID-19 for Sanctuary Point children and their families through establishing a singing therapy group.
Sanctuary Point$9,020
The Showground Workshop IncorporatedTaree Showground Mens' Shed COVID-19 Recovery
Boost the Men's Shed membership after COVID-19 by developing a new website.
Wentworth Area Landcare IncorporatedTrees for Pomona
Enhance COVID-19 recovery of the Pomona community by bringing residents together for a native tree-planting event to increase their feeling of belonging and community pride.
Small & Vital
MacDonnell Regional CouncilEmpowering Indigenous Youth Leaders to be Tomorrow's Community Leaders
Prepare youth for leadership roles through the expansion of the council's youth App to include governance and project management information and functions.
MacDonnell Regional Council's 12 communities$9,702
NT Writers' Centre IncRemote Writers' Development Workshops
Support new and established writers living in remote parts of the state by running satellite events and online workshops as part of the 2023 Northern Territory Writers' Festival.
Victoria Daly Regional CouncilNoise Reduction at the Pine Creek Multi Resource Community Centre
Enhance public participation at meetings in a remote and under-resourced community by improving the acoustics at the community centre with the installation of heavy echo-reducing curtains.
Pine Creek$9,973
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Brown's Mart Arts LimitedConnecting Communities at Brown's Mart
Sustain Brown's Mart and their work through improved connections with the COVID-19 impacted community by upgrading communication technologies and increasing First Nation peoples' engagement and participation in the performing arts.
The YMCA of the Northern Territory Youth & Community Services LtdCommunity Hub Project
Create a safe, welcoming community space at the Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) swimming pool for children, young people and families to re-connect after social isolation experienced during COVID-19, improving the community's physical and social health and fostering a stronger and more resilient community.
Santa Teresa$20,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Gupulul Marayuwu Aboriginal CorporationGupulul Community Homeland - Food Storage, Access and Security Project
Address food security challenges exacerbated by COVID-19 and sustain the work of the corporation through the installation of a commercial cool room storage unit on the community homeland.
Gupulul Homeland$10,000
Small & Vital
Blackall Cultural Association IncorporatedBushman's Gallery Electrical Upgrade
Boost and strengthen the local economy by upgrading electrical wiring for better lighting at the Bushman's Art Gallery to increase engagement with, and acquisition of, local art.
Border District EisteddfodBorder District Eisteddfod 2023
Cultivate young people's confidence, artistic endeavours and public performing capabilities by providing a local Eisteddfod.
FNQ Aviation Museum LtdMultipurpose Aviation Museum Hangar - Celebrating 80 Years of Mareeba Airport
Build young people's job readiness for careers in engineering industries by constructing a new hangar at the aeronautical museum to run a program with students restoring vintage airplanes.
Gold City Country Music Club IncBose Amplifier Tower
Improve the club's ability to provide free community entertainment by upgrading sound equipment.
Charters Towers$4,160
Gordonbrook Rural Fire BrigadeGordonbrook Rural Fire Brigade Station (Stage Two)
Improve comfort and amenity of the facility for emergency volunteers and community gatherings by installing floor coverings and painting internal walls.
Hillview Memorial Hall and Recreation Grounds IncLawn Mower Purchase
Support volunteer ability to maintain a welcoming community space by purchasing a ride-on mower to care for the grounds.
Ingham Coast Guard - The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association IncorporatedImproving Access
Improve the Coast Guard's ability to support and service the community by building an accessible ramp and handrails.
Julatten State School Parents and Citizens AssociationCelebrating 100 Years Julatten / Bushy Creek / Euluma Creek State Schools Centenary 1923-2023
Encourage new community members and past students to come together to foster a sense of identity and community connection by jointly celebrating the schools' centenary anniversaries.
Low Isles Preservation Society IncorporatedSupporting Local Student Visitation to the Low Isles Education Centre
Support students from disadvantaged outer regional schools to take part in a citizen science project and experience the Great Barrier Reef firsthand, integrating environmental awareness and STEM learning into the curriculum.
Port Douglas$10,000
Mount Morgan Citizens Club IncKitchen Compliance
Improve functionality of club's workspace for social connection and community gatherings by modernising the kitchen by adding stainless-steel bench tops and energy efficient appliances.
Mount Morgan$10,000
QCWA Branch CliftonInstallation of Air Conditioning to CWA Clifton Hall
Expand the use of the CWA hall by installing a heating and cooling system to make the community meeting space more comfortable and welcoming.
Retreat Creek Campdraft Association IncConnecting Power to the Community Shed at Roy Day Park, Sapphire
Help locals come together and connect by installing electricity at the park's community shed to provide the first 'powered' public meeting space in Sapphire.
Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch)
Emu Park Sub-Branch Inc
Emu Park RSL Mural
Creating a commemorative mural to help residents and visitors better understand the impacts of past conflicts on returned service people.
Emu Park$4,500
Roma Historical Precincts IncRoma Butter Factory - Workshop Building Upgrade
Improve volunteer experience and safety by installing accessible roller doors that enable local artisans to demonstrate old time trades and skills more easily for an interactive visitor experience.
U3A Cairns IncorporatedHealth, Wellbeing and Social Interaction through Low Impact Sports
Enhance older people's wellbeing through supporting physical activity and social connection by purchasing low impact activity equipment.
University of Southern QueenslandAllora and the Australian Silo Art Trail: Enhancing Community Wellbeing
Boost tourism, amenity and community engagement in Allora through the co-design and installation of a mural representing important stories of the town.
Prepare & Recover
Mulgowie Public Hall Association IncorporatedLets Get it Happening at Mulgowie!
Strengthen the lifesaving capacity of a bushfire-impacted community by purchasing a defibrillator to enhance preparedness.
Withcott & District Progress Association IncKitchen Renovation & Storage for the Community Hall
Improve functionality of volunteers' catering and working spaces, and comfort of users with renovations to an 88-year-old hall in a community impacted by bushfires and floods.
Postmans Ridge$21,150
Community Information and Resource Service Association IncorporatedCoolaFlix
Build community resilience and foster social connectedness after flooding in Rainbow Beach through the purchase of cinema equipment and film licensing fees to facilitate a series of community fundraising movie nights.
Rainbow Beach$17,510
Goomeri Pumpkin Festival IncPumpkin to Power Economic Recovery in Gympie Region!
Stimulate the community and economy post-flooding by hiring equipment to re-start the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival.
Murgon Primary P&C AssociationMurgon Community Fair
Encourage people to come together and celebrate for mental wellbeing after the floods by establishing the Murgon Community Fair.
North East Downs Landcare Group IncRehydrating to Regenerate the Landscape
Build environmental resilience to flood through encouraging the restoration of landscape hydrology cycles by providing 'natural sequence' education workshops in the communities of Peranga, Brymaroo and Maclagan.
Tamrookum Memorial Hall IncorporatedRoof Repairs
Enhance the recovery of the Tamrookum community by providing a safe and dry community space through repairing the hall's roof damaged during a flooding event.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Boulia Camel Races IncorporatedLegacy - Boulia
Enhance the process of COVID-19 recovery, reconnect residents, reignite tourism and stimulate the economy in Boulia through the establishment of a community cooperative.
Bundaberg Regional CouncilIntegrated Pathways at Kepnock (IP@K)
Enhance the process of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic for disengaged youth in the Bundaberg area by facilitating work placement with the local agricultural industry and facilitating reengagement with educational activities and the broader community.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Cape York InstituteMayi Market COVID-19 Resilience Project
Sustain the work of the Mayi (food) Market by purchasing and installing freezers in four remote Cape York communities to boost food security in the event of future isolation such as that experienced during the pandemic.
Innisfail Community Band IncorporatedEnhancing Performance Capability at Outdoor and Large Open Space Community Cultural Events
Improve the band's capability to perform in a COVID-safe outdoor environment and sustain their work through the purchase of foldback speakers and the provision of appropriate sheet music.
Mossman State School P&C AssociationCommunity Navigator - Douglas Community Early Childhood Hub
Reduce social isolation and foster a stronger, more resilient Mossman community after COVID-19 by engaging a 'Community Navigator' to support families to learn about and access early years services and learning pathways.
Rockhampton Women's Shed IncTool Kits
Reduce social isolation following COVID-19 and foster a stronger, more resilient community by providing basic start-up tool kits to establish the women's shed as a place of connection, and for developing skills and capabilities.
Tully Nursing Home IncOutdoor Area Improvements
Encourage the COVID-safe reconnection of nursing home residents with family and friends through the purchase of outdoor furniture for visitation, reducing social isolation and fostering a stronger, more resilient community.
Small & Vital
Orroroo Regional Tourism Group - District Council of Orroroo CarrietonChats Over Charcoal
Enhance a men's support program and strengthen community wellbeing by providing a facilitated mental health and wellbeing workshop.
The Beltana Progress Association IncorporatedBeltana 150 Years On - A Celebration of Our Township
Boost local economy by increasing visitation to a remote location and support local cultural connections by engaging a bush band to perform at the Beltana 150-year milestone event.
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network IncorporatedAboriginal 715 Health Check Incentive Shirts
Improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal people living in rural and remote regions by providing Aboriginal designed polo shirts to connect community members to a vital health check program.
Prepare & Recover
American River Buick Orchard Reserve (ARBOR) - American River Progress Association IncAmerican River Community Garden
Support bushfire recovery on Kangaroo Island by enhancing a culturally significant orchard garden for broader community access.
American River$10,000
Berri Barmera LandcareThe Environmental Connection
Strengthen community connections and engagement to the local environment in a region severely impacted by recent floods, by holding six biodiversity education workshops.
Friends of Port Moorowie IncPurchase of a Ride-on Mower
Increase the capacity of volunteers to support bushfire preparedness and safeguard Port Moorowie by purchasing a ride-on mower.
Port Moorowie$5,000
Hardwicke Bay & District Progress AssociationProviding Cooking Facilities at Our Planned Beach Shelter / Lookout
Support community to live well in a remote place and strengthen recovery post-bushfires by installing a barbeque at an outdoor recreation shelter.
Hardwicke Bay$5,000
Marble Range Community & Sports Centre IncMarble Range Community and Sports Centre - Playground
Develop a safe space for children's play and provide a health and wellbeing activity to enhance community recovery from bushfires, through the development of a playground.
Rotary Club of Onkaparinga IncOnkaparinga Rotary Fencing Project
Boost volunteer capacity to support community recovery post-bushfires through purchasing equipment to rebuild damaged fencing.
The Pine Village Land & Services Management Association IncorporatedImprove Access to Life Saving Equipment: Installation of a Defibrillator at Pine Village
Provide emergency first aid equipment to strengthen community recovery and support health outcomes for the Murray River flood-affected region by installing an external automatic defibrillator system.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
District Council of Tumby BayYouth Empowerment and Skate Activation Program (YESAP)
Reduce social isolation and build young people's resilience in a remote community impacted by COVID-19 by establishing a sustainable skate program designed to empower and connect young people.
Tumby Bay$39,820
Pine Point Progress Association IncorporatedConstruction and Establishment of a Community Shed to be Primarily Used for Storing Equipment and Undertaking the Sorting of Recyclable Deposit Containers and Modifying an Existing Shed for Cooking of BBQ's
Reduce social isolation and foster a more resilient regional community post-pandemic through establishing a community shed for community gatherings and storage of community assets.
Pine Point$17,321
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
BMW Football Club IncBuilding Successful and Resilient Leaders in the Upper North Community through a Champions Academy
Sustain the work of community organisations across the region and reinvigorate volunteering after COVID-19 through community-wide volunteer engagement and skill-building workshops.
Bridge to Nowhere Arts Association IncorporationBTNArts Community Infrastructure Project: Enhancing Creative Space Usability Year Round
Enhance the process of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a comfortable environment for seniors and encourage greater participation in activities at a local community arts facility through heating and cooling upgrades.
Community Care and Transport IncorporatedMelrose Office Upgrade
Sustain the work of the organisation post COVID-19 and improve amenity and comfort for volunteers through the purchase of new fit-for-purpose office furniture.
Orroroo Recreation Group - Orroroo Football Club IncorporatedRoasting in the Roo - Camp Oven Cook Off 2023
Enhance the social and economic recovery of the Orroroo community from the COVID-19 pandemic by staging a two-day family-friendly festival.
Southern Yorke Peninsula Agricultural Society IncorporatedSYP Show Pavilion Salt Damp Project
Sustain the organisation and its work following the pandemic through building repairs to a local heritage building to provide a safe, fit-for-use community meeting place.
The Booleroo and Districts Men's Shed IncorporatedInstallation of Reverse Cycle Air-Conditioning to Meeting Area of Facility
Sustain the Men's Shed and its work after COVID-19 by improving conditions in the facility through the purchase and installation of air conditioners.
Booleroo Centre$10,000
Small & Vital
Central Coast Marine Rescue and Training - Surf Life Saving in Tasmania IncAquatic Emergency Preparedness for Volunteers at Central Coast Volunteer Marine Rescue
Enhance community safety and boost volunteer capacity through expansion of training and lifesaving equipment.
St Helens Online IncSafety and Training for Volunteers at St Helens Online Access Centre
Support and boost volunteer participation through the delivery of appropriate IT training and security upgrades to provide a safe work environment.
St Helens$1,459
Turrakana Tasman Arts IncLightwave Festival 2023
Boost community social wellbeing and foster increased visitation to Nubeena by supporting community workshops and musical performances at a mid-winter creative arts festival.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Launceston City Mission IncThe Ark - Youth and Community Hub Outdoor Area
Reduce isolation and foster a more resilient community post-pandemic through developing of a community youth hub for disadvantaged young people.
St Leonards$45,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Motherland LtdMotherland Village - Reducing Crippling Social Isolation & Connecting Rural Mums
Reduce social isolation after the pandemic for new mothers and foster stronger, more resilient regional communities through the creation of an innovative online rural mother's group.
Mount Roland Land Care IncReconnecting with Community and the Mount Roland Environment - Part Two
Reduce social isolation in Mount Roland by facilitating a public tree planting festival, creating new connections to foster a stronger, more resilient community after COVID-19.
Small & Vital
Bendigo Science and Technology Museum IncThe New Bendigo Planetarium
Enable rural and regional school students to access a science education program that will feature Djaara First Nations astronomy knowledge, through the development of a new planetarium.
Cowwarr Recreation Reserve Committee of Management IncorporatedCowwarr People's Shed
Boost social engagement activities and support capacity of volunteers to maintain a community space through the purchase of a storage shed.
Daylesford Neighbourhood Centre IncCommunity Co-Working Spaces
Expand organisational capacity of a Neighbourhood House to support community members working remotely, through the establishment of a co-working office space.
Donald 2000 IncDonald Social Housing Strategic Plan
Engage with community and stakeholders to develop a social housing strategic plan for social and affordable housing solutions for disadvantaged people in the community of Donald.
Fairfax Youth Initiative
Swan Hill Rural City Council
The Marruk Project
Support youth and First Nations people's engagement in the creative arts and promote wider community connection to local culture through the development of a theatre program.
Swan Hill$10,000
Fishy Stories Fabelo IncorporatedFishy Stories: The Fish Creek Children's Festival of Stories
Engage young people in a creative writing and skill development program and improve literacy outcomes through the delivery of a children's storytelling festival.
Fish Creek$10,000
Golden and Paradise Beach Ratepayers and Residents Association IncorporatedGolden Paradise Beach Community Tourist Park (Facilities Toilet Block)
Increase visitation to a community precinct and improve access and inclusion for all-abilities through an upgrade of toilets to meet disability standards.
Golden Beach$8,336
Grampians HealthEssential Aids and Equipment Loan Service
Empower older people in the West Wimmera district to live safely and independently at home through access to a disability equipment loan program.
Loch & District Bowling Club IncAll Welcome @ Loch
Improve access to social activities for all abilities by upgrading a bathroom to current disability standards at a key community venue.
Macedon Ranges Further Education Centre IncCommunity Social Space
Provide a comfortable environment for older people participating in wellbeing activities by providing accessible furniture and a smart TV to engage in online group sessions.
Minyip Progress Association IncWest Wall Repairs to Emma's Building
Foster connection to place and opportunities for social engagement by repairing a salt-damaged wall in an iconic community-owned building.
Morwell Historical Society IncImprovements to Upgrade a 70-year-old Kitchen - Stage Two
Provide a fit-for-purpose venue for older participants and volunteers by upgrading the 70-year-old kitchen.
Next Gen Theatrical IncNext Gen Presents...
Provide a social wellbeing program to support marginalised communities in Gippsland and enhance the creativity of a theatre company through the provision of performance venue hire.
Numurkah Toy LibraryNumurkah Toy Library Building Capacity Project
Support children's early education and development by providing a safe and efficient storage area for toys and equipment.
Pomonal Men's Shed IncorporatedBetter Access and Storage
Support men's health and wellbeing activities by constructing a slip-resistant pathway and storage area to enhance the maintenance workshop.
Pomonal Progress Association IncorporatedCommunicating, Our way Forward
Strengthen capacity of the Pomonal community to collectively support each other, particularly during community emergencies, by engaging a consultant to facilitate a community resilience workshop.
Stanhope & District Development Committee IncRSL Seating and Montevideo Mural All Weather Shelters
Encourage visitation and community engagement by installing shelters at two outdoor gathering spaces in Stanhope.
Tarrangower Village IncVillage Living
Improve access to affordable housing for older people by engaging a consultant to develop a financially sustainable masterplan for a community-owned and managed retirement village.
The Patch Community Garden
The Trustee for The Salvation Army (Victoria) Property Trust
Enhancing our Community Space
Encourage participant engagement and promote greater nutritional health outcomes for disadvantaged community members, by providing a rotunda to shelter volunteers from weather extremes at a community garden.
Wodonga Senior Secondary CollegeCommunity Pathways Connections
Foster lifelong learning and promote community connections through the establishment of an arts and vocational skills project to support disengaged school students.
Yea Community Service Group IncThe Community Sufficiency Project
Educate community members in self-sufficiency skills and build resilience to climate challenges through the facilitation of 12 workshops.
Prepare & Recover
Alpine Multi Skill GroupUpskill Community Workshops
Support recovery from bushfires and develop networks between community groups through the provision of craft and skills workshops.
Ardoch LimitedSupporting the Wellbeing of Children in Regional Victoria through the Arts
Support the mental health and wellbeing of children impacted by bushfires through the development of a creative arts program.
Arts Council of MansfieldMansfield Arts Collective Studios (MACS) Future Proofing Upgrade
Support recovery from the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires through upgrades to a community facility to provide a fit-for-purpose and comfortable arts activity centre.
Boort Resource and Information CentreBoort Meet and Eat
Support flood recovery and boost local connections by bringing the people of Boort together at a free shared community meal event.
Committee for Echuca Moama IncorporatedLet's Get Connected
Build group connections and support social and economic recovery of flood-impacted communities by providing a business networking event for women.
Coonooer Bridge Fire Brigade Country Fire AuthorityCoonooer Bridge Fire Brigade Wildfire Thermal Imaging Camera Project
Enhance volunteer capacity and community safety by providing volunteer fire fighters with vital safety equipment to detect fire hotspots.
Coonooer Bridge$3,614
East Gippsland Festivals LtdOn Foot in the High Country
Support the social and economic recovery of bushfire-impacted communities by providing three curated walks in the Omeo region, as part of the East Gippsland Winter Festival.
Swifts Creek$7,100
Goulburn Valley Sports Assembly IncOn the Front Foot
Enhance the recovery of flood-impacted communities and improve wellbeing outcomes by providing a mental health referral and support program.
Indigo Valley Landcare Group IncConnecting on Country: Building a Relationship Between Landcare and Traditional Custodians through Exploration of the Cultural Landscape
Build First Nations recognition and boost bushfire recovery by filming Duduroa Dhargal workshops to share cultural geography knowledge with Landcare groups and the wider community.
Yackandandah $9,970
Koondrook Development Committee IncorporatedCelebrating the Paddleboat Heritage of Koondrook
Enhance regional recovery and promote community resilience by supporting a paddleboat centenary-heritage project and community festival to bring people together.
Life! Central Services IncoporatedRural and Remote Digital Suicide Safety Initiative
Enable a suicide safety organisation to expand their reach and support communities recovering from bushfires by providing workshops and an online interactive program.
Mansfield Historical Society IncMansfield Heritage Museum - Mansfield Historical Society - Mansfield Courier Restoration Project
Enhance community connection and celebrate local identity in a bushfire-impacted region by restoring and safeguarding local historical artefacts.
Meredith Community Centre IncIntergenerational Community Lunch
Provide activities that support bushfire recovery and encourage community engagement by running a series of community lunches to bring different age groups together.
Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry IncAlpine Outreach Mobile Facility
Provide a mobile health and wellbeing service to support community recovery from bushfires in Victoria's Alpine region through the purchase of a vehicle.
Raymond Island Community Association Inc - East Gippsland Shire CouncilDisabled Amenity Upgrade as Part of Raymond Island Hall Extension and Renewal
Provide an inclusive venue for all abilities and enhance bushfire preparedness by improving disability access at a community gathering space.
Raymond Island$25,000
Rochester & District Horse and Pony Club IncRebuilding our Community Kitchen
Boost community wellbeing outcomes and enhance the process of recovery from a flood event by replacing water-damaged kitchen equipment and walls in a key community facility used by a number of organisations.
South West Alternative Medium Project IncTwo Rivers Gallery and Artspace Upgrade Project
Strengthen First Nations Gunditjmara culture and expand opportunities for bushfire-affected community members to participate in art and craft activities to assist their recovery through the repair of a gallery roof.
Startup Shakeup LtdTown Teams for Innovation
Support recovery from the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires and strengthen community connections by providing an IT training initiative.
Up2Us Landcare AllianceNew Volunteering Models to Help Transform Volunteering in Mansfield
Boost Landcare memberships and provide younger participants with training and leadership skills to support bushfire recovery by delivering a two-day leadership and mentoring workshop.
Upper Murray Performing Arts IncSnowy Mountain Tango Festival 2023
Encourage community connection and generate economic growth by delivering a creative dance festival that will increase tourism in a township recovering from bushfires.
Warracknabeal Action GroupEaster In the Beal
Encourage visitation and support community recovery after devastating floods by expanding the Easter festival to provide additional entertainment and activities.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Regional Community Vet ClinicBuild Our Not-for-Profit Community Vet Clinic
Reduce social isolation, provide volunteer opportunities, and foster resilience post-pandemic through supporting the establishment of a low-cost vet clinic for the companion animals of disadvantaged community members.
Regional Food Security Alliance IncGrowing and Strengthening Volunteerism in the Food Relief Sector in Country Victoria
Sustain the work of the Regional Food Security Alliance (RFSA) by developing resources to support volunteer recruitment and retention at food relief agencies across regional Victoria, with demand for services exacerbated by COVID-19.
Tonimbuk East HallReconnecting, Rebuilding and Reimagining our Community
Enhance the process of community recovery from the pandemic by upgrading the outdoor space of a local hall to encourage community re-engagement.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Budgeree Hall Reserve Committee Inc- Budgeree Hall ReserveBudgeree Hall Shed
Encourage greater usage of a community hall to reduce social isolation after COVID-19 through the purchase of a shipping container for the safe storage of equipment.
Destination Phillip Island IncHire an Operations Coordinator to Grow the Island Whale Festival
Revitalise tourism after COVID-19 and inform visitors about sustainable conservation by hiring a coordinator to run a three-day festival during Phillip Island's winter whale migration.
Destination Rupanyup IncorporatedS.A.T Fest Rupanyup (Silo Art Trail Festival)
Collaborate and connect people, community and business to enhance the process of COVID-19 recovery by staging a community festival.
Dimboola Town Committee - Hindmarsh Shire CouncilWimmera Steampunk Festival 2023
Strengthen and enhance the economic and cultural recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by staging a community festival.
Jumbunna Public Hall IncorporatedFix Jumbunna Hall Structural Problems
Ensure the continued use of the community hall following the pandemic through essential structural subfloor repairs.
Laharum Public HallSmall Halls Festival
Celebrate community, reduce social isolation and foster a stronger, more resilient Laharum after COVID-19 through hosting a Festival of Small Halls event.
Merton Recreation and Memorial Hall Reserves IncorporatedRefurbishment, Repair and Renewal of Merton Recreation Reserve Pavilion
Encourage increased community use of the Reserve building through vital upgrades and repairs, to enhance the process of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ouyen Festivals Committee IncorporatedMallee Root Festival
Enhance the process of recovery of regional communities from the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging reconnection through staging a community festival.
Poowong Public Hall IncReplace and Purchase New Chairs for Seating at the Poowong Hall
Enhance the process of recovery of the community from the pandemic by increasing the amenity and capacity of the hall through the purchase of new seating.
Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room Indigo Shire CouncilRevitalise and Reinvigorate
Increase capacity and amenity to sustain the work of the Stanley Athenaeum volunteers after COVID-19 through the construction and installation of new work benches and storage.
Small & Vital
Cervantes Community Men's Shed IncClearing and Fencing, Step One in Building Our Men's Shed
Improve the Men's Shed's ability to support and service the community through the development of the group's new shed site.
Great Southern Employment Development CommitteeWheels for Work Great Southern
Strengthen employability of disadvantaged job seekers with expansion of a successful driver licensing program into additional outer regional communities and the translations of resources into different languages.
Kununurra Agricultural SocietyClowning Around with Science
Cultivate young people's wellbeing and education through play by running a series of free science and circus skills workshops at the 2023 Kununurra Agricultural Show.
Moore Clothes IncVerandah Curtains / Blinds
Encourage people to come together and connect by creating a space for community gatherings and volunteer events with the addition of outdoor blinds to enclose a verandah.
Shire of Mt MarshallMt Marshall Community Gardens
Encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote inclusion for a small remote community struggling with mental health issues through the development of two community gardens.
Prepare & Recover
Shire of CarnamahContinued Connectivity
Improve the community's resilience for future emergency responses during cyclones by upgrading the medical centre's electrical switchboard, enabling connection to back up generators during power outages.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Large
Autism Camp AustraliaHelping Hand WA
Strengthen the skills and abilities of financially disadvantaged and remotely located autistic children and their families, as a vulnerable cohort impacted by COVID-19, to reduce social isolation and foster resilience by attending a strength-based capacity building camp.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Harvey Community Resource Centre IncHarvey CRC Outdoor Cooking Adventure
Encourage community groups to have safe outdoor gatherings and enable fundraising activities to sustain the organisation's work following the pandemic through the purchase of an outdoor kitchen that will be available for hire.
Newman Neighbourhood Centre Inc2023 Newman Pride Festival
Reduce social isolation experienced by LGBTQIA+ people following COVID-19 and foster a stronger more resilient and inclusive community through holding a Pride Festival.
Teach Learn Grow IncRural Program
Enhance the process of recovery for remote primary students experiencing educational disadvantage exacerbated by the pandemic through providing free one-on-one tutoring and mentoring support.
Wyalkatchem Community Resource Centre Inc2023 Wylie Arts Expo
Reconnect residents after the pandemic through an inclusive arts expo with a focus on First Nations culture, reducing social isolation and fostering a stronger, more resilient community.
Yongernow - Ongerup Community Resource Centre IncDon't Lose your Head
Reduce social isolation and foster community resilience after COVID-19 by providing a free program of mental health and wellbeing activities for adults, children and youth.

For 33 years families from Singleton and surrounding areas experiencing life challenges – from domestic violence to anxiety in young people – have been coming to Singleton Family Support for therapeutic counselling, family capacity building, education and wellbeing programs.

Situated on the banks of the Hunter River, Singleton is in NSW, some 197 kilometres north-north-west of Sydney. A major coal mining centre, the rural region has limited public transport options, a transient and often isolated population linked to the mining industry and limited support services.

Supporting this community, Singleton Family Support Services has a passionate, capable and qualified team of professional workers. Together, they offer support to more than 50 families in a one-to-one setting and approximately 30 individuals in a group setting at any given time.

Since the COVID pandemic and critically in the last few months as restrictions have eased, the Service has been inundated with referrals from individuals, families and other service providers. Over the last six months, referrals have increased more than 50% on the same time the previous year. The Service’s ability to refer onto other professionals, such as GPs, Psychologists, Housing services and Mental health providers, has also been impacted, with many professionals’ books closed and long waiting lists. This has placed a significant strain on the Singleton Family Support’s ability to respond to each referral appropriately. While there are many issues and people needing support, the Service is particularly concerned about the mental health of young people. COVID created a pandemic of anxiety and uncertainty with this group. There are no youth-specific mental health services in Singleton.

A $49,500 COVID Regional Community Support Program grant, funded by Resilience NSW, will allow the service to increase staff time. This equates to 80 additional referrals to Family Works, including 10 additional counselling places for youth. An additional six support groups can be offered to the community and it means further support for the organisation’s wellbeing programs. The funding reduces the pressure on the organisation. For families, this will mean timely assessments of the family’s needs, earlier interventions, greater access to counselling, educational programs and support groups, building awareness in parenting theories, domestic and family violence and mental health. This will all lead to increased family capacity to build resilience and safety for children and families.

Twenty-seven community-led groups in remote, rural and regional NSW will share in $912,505 awarded through the Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program.

Funded by the NSW Government and administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), the grants were allocated to grassroots community groups and not-for-profit organisations that helped their communities navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the funding stream would help these groups build resilience and better mitigate the impact of pandemics and other disasters across their communities.

“We awarded between $3,363 and $50,000 to organisations, to support a wide range of regional capacity building initiatives to help enhance community wellbeing, create stronger local economies, and enable a greater ability to respond to future challenges,” Ms Cooke said.

“The pandemic has posed plenty of difficulties for people and families in remote and regional areas over the past two years, and community-led organisations played an important role in navigating those challenges.”

Ms Cooke said some of the common requests from community groups involved facility improvements, food security and assisting with the increased demand on local services in flood-devastated areas such as the Northern Rivers.

“We’ve been able to address some of these needs through this funding stream, to ensure these groups and the communities they work with are in better stead for the future.”

Some of the 27 funded projects include:

  • Agape Outreach Inc in Tweed Heads to improve staff and volunteer resilience and increase capacity to support the community through mental health and wellbeing training – $36,600.
  • Forster Neighbourhood Centre Inc in Forster to promote organisational capacity and support local access to essential services by contributing to the fit-out of the new Forster Neighbourhood Centre – $50,000.
  • Gunnedah Meals on Wheels Association in Gunnedah to improve the capacity of Gunnedah Meals on Wheels to support vulnerable community members through a hamper program and the purchase of a large deep freezer – $8,150.
  • LeaderLife Ltd in Dubbo to grow organisational resilience and support skills development in local youth through a new syntropic farming system – $50,000.
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla in Moruya to increase organisational capacity and promote food security in the Eurobodalla Shire through the hiring of a Business Manager – $50,000.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the grants acknowledge and will strengthen the capacity of regional organisations in NSW who played such a critical role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19 challenges. 

“The impact of the pandemic has been significant and is still being felt,” Ms Egleton said. “The flexibility of this program recognised that every community is different and requires tailored support and funding to ensure that they can continue to provide vital services, bring people and community organisations together and enable locally-led responses as and when required.

“Being able to support the many community organisations and not-for-profits who have gone above and beyond for their communities during such difficult times and enable them to be better prepared in the future is important to the ongoing sustainability and vibrancy of these communities.”

A complete list of the projects supported is below.

Agape Outreach Inc

Upskill Disaster Support & Resilience Project
Improve staff and volunteer resilience and increase capacity to support community through mental health and wellbeing training.

Tweed Heads $36,600
Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare

Community Pantry
Increase organisational capacity and service reach through the employment of a project coordinator. 

Albury $25,000
Armidale Care for Seniors Inc

Installation of Solar Panels and Implement a Senior's Wellness Activity
Improve capacity of Armidale Care for Seniors to support seniors by running a wellness program. 

Armidale $35,280
Bega Valley Shire Business Forum

Growing Volunteer Participation in Local Business Chambers
Support economic recovery by strengthening the volunteer base and upskilling committee members across the Forum’s seven member organisations. 

Bega $50,000
Boys To The Bush Ltd

Boys to the Bush (BttB) Young Up and Coming
Support Boys to the Bush to establish a presence in Young NSW through the delivery of camps for disadvantaged young males and associated community engagement.

Young $49,970
Carevan Wagga Incorporated

Carevan Continues to Care
Support Carevan Wagga to provide meals to people experiencing food insecurity through the purchase of take-away food containers and gloves.

Wagga Wagga $3,363
Carries Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services Inc

Establishing Client Centric Spaces within a Community Hub to Support the Provision of Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services in the Hunter Community
Grow the capacity of Carrie’s Place to support domestic and family violence victims in the Hunter through a trauma-informed fit-out of a new hub.

Maitland $23,188
Community College-Northern Inland Inc

Human Resources Project
Improve the capacity of CCNI to provide targeted and relevant education to rural and regional communities through improved HR processes and policies.

Barraba $30,000
Coonamble Cancer Survival Fund Inc

Governance Training
Strengthen and support community groups by providing current and future volunteer committee members with governance training. 

Coonamble $4,095
Emmanuel Care Centre Inc

Business Continuation
Improve organisational sustainability through hiring of new staff member. 

Dubbo $26,508
Forster Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Futureproofing Forster/Tuncurry
Promote organisational capacity and support local access to essential services by contributing to the fit out of the new Forster Neighbourhood Centre. 

Forster-Tuncurry $50,000
Gundagai Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Fridays for Friendship
Support organisation to empower local recovery and resilience building through weekly wellbeing sessions.

Gundagai $42,766
Gunnedah Meals on Wheels Association

Our Elderly are Resilient and Deserved to be Looked After
Improve capacity of Gunnedah Meals on Wheels to support vulnerable community members through a hamper program and the purchase of a large deep freeze.

Gunnedah $8,150
Home-Start National Inc

Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Volunteer Resilience Project
Build the capacity of Home Start in the West Lake Macquarie region through bridging funding for a part-time project coordinator.

Lake Macquarie $20,546
Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Connecting Community
Increase KNCs capacity to support vulnerable community members through the employment of a community engagement worker.

Kempsey $43,546
LeaderLife Ltd

LeaderLife with Syntropics: Let's Grow
Grow organisational resilience and support skills development in local youth through the implantation of a syntropic farming system.

Dubbo $50,000
Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services Inc

Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Wellbeing Space
Improve capability of Liberty to support domestic and family violence victims through the fit out of a new wellness space and the hiring of an onsite co-ordinator.

Port Macquarie $50,000
Louisa Johnston Centre Inc

Bonalbo Stay Connected with a New Computer Hub
Enhance organisational capacity to support Bonalbo’s residents to rebuild through the establishment of a community computer hub.

Bonalbo $40,648
Manning Support Services Inc

Keeping Families Connected
Improve service provision and client engagement while increasing organisational resilience to future pandemics.

Taree $12,581
Queer Family Inc

Queer Family Recovery Officer
Hire a Recovery Officer to support recovery and resilience building for an organisation focused on LGBTQIA+ communities in Northern NSW.

Mullumbimby $49,700
Rural Financial Counselling Service, NSW - Southern Region Ltd

Building Counsellor & Business Coach Capacity
Improve organisational capacity through targeted training in coaching and mentoring services for rural and regional businesses in financial difficulty. 

Wagga Wagga $50,000
Singleton Family Support Scheme

Singleton Family Support Scheme Incorporated
Build capacity of Singleton Family Support Scheme to assist families in crisis by increasing staff hours.

Singleton $49,500
Support for New Mums

Attracting, Training and Retaining Volunteers
Increase the capacity of support for  new mums to care for mums and babies in Tweed and Byron shires through the training of new volunteers.

Murwillumbah $10,204
Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla

SAGE NSW Inc - Building Capacity and Resilience Project
Increase organisational capacity to promote food security in the Shire through the hiring of a Business Manager.

Moruya $50,000
Third Sector Australia Ltd

The Meeting Place
Enhance the capacity of Momentum to support a low socioeconomic community through the fit-out of a community space. 

We Help Ourselves

WHOS Hunter - Day Program Fitout
Improve capacity of WHOS Hunter Valley to support patients requiring rehabilitation who are not under residential treatment, through the fit out of new premises. 

Wyee Community Hub Inc

Building Resilience after COVID at Wyee
Improve the capacity of WCHIA to support a more resilient Wyee through volunteer training.


Thirty-four local groups and not-for-profits that delivered food and care hampers to regional communities during the height of the 2021 COVID-19 restrictions will share in $300,000 from the NSW Government’s COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program.

HEADING: Regional NSW groups reimbursed $300,000 for COVID relief hamper delivery.
IMAGE: High angle view of a cardboard box filled with multicolored non-perishable canned goods, conserves, sauces and oils shot on wooden table. The composition includes cooking oil bottle, pasta, crackers, preserves and tins.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said more than 72,000 hampers were delivered to residents in regional and rural parts of NSW, including Ballina, Tweed Heads, Leeton and Albury.

“These groups and organisations dropped everything and dipped into their own funds to support isolated residents during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions by partnering with Resilience NSW to prepare and deliver food, essential items and relief packs to those in need,” Ms Cooke said.

“The $300,000 will cover expenses like fuel, couriers, and logistics costs, helping these groups and organisations to continue their wonderful work into the future, including at the Ballina Hot Meal Centre which is using its $5,024 grant to purchase new freezers.”

Each grant being provided through the CRCS program ranges from $1,000 to $30,000 and is administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal.

Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal CEO Natalie Egleton said the funding recognises the critical role that local community groups played during the pandemic.

“We’re delighted that 23 per cent of applications are from Indigenous community groups, all of which played such a vital role in ensuring that their community members were cared for, and we are pleased to be able to support them with this funding,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications are currently being accepted for grants of up to $50,000 for capacity building initiatives, such as attracting and retaining volunteers and staff, enhancing governance skills, building digital capacity and creating partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.

See the full list of recipients below:

Agape Outreach IncorporatedTweed Heads - Byron Bay$1,681
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodshareAlbury$13,500
Allambi Care LimitedLake Maquarie - Warners Bay - Central Coast - Cessnock - Newcastle$7,000
Armidale / Uralla Meals On Wheels IncorporatedArmidale$3,183
Ballina Hot Meal Centre IncorporatedBallina$5,024
Belong Blue Mountains IncorporatedBlue Mountains$1,000
Camden Haven Community at 3Lakewood$1,125
CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-ManningNewcastle - Tareer - Forster - Maitland$1,977
Christian Outreach CentreKempsey - South West Rocks - Macksville - Nambucca Heads$1,350
Community Resources LimitedWollongong$3,540
Coonamble Neighbourhood CentreCoomamble - Gulargambone - Quambone$10,810
Food For Life Community Care IncorporatedShoalhaven - Primbee - Wollongong - Kiama $13,500
Galambila Aboriginal CorporationNambucca Heads - Coffs Harbour - Woolgoolga - Bowraville$30,000
Gloucester Worimi First Peoples Aboriginal CorporationGloucester$1,000
Gunnedah Meals on Wheels AssociationGunnedah$5,514
Indigenous Futures Foundation LimitedTweed Heads South - Lismore - Ballina - Grafton$30,000
Ivanhoe Central SchoolIvanhoe - Balranald - Carrathool$6,100
Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health And Community ServicesBatemans Bay - Narooma - Bega - Catalina - Dalmeny$30,000
Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre IncKempsey$4,500
Leeton Community Care Development IncorporatedLeeton$13,500
Lions Club Of Raymond Terrace IncorporatedRaymond Terrace$1,420
Livefree Project IncorporatedNewcastle$13,500
Miyay Birray Youth Service IncorporatedMoree - Mungindi - Garah - Boomi$18,345
Moree Sports Health Arts And Education Academy Aboriginal CorporationMoree$5,723
Orana Support Service IncorporatedDubbo - Wellington - Narromine$21,000
Oxley Community Transport Service IncorporatedWest Tamworth$4,500
Queer Family IncorporatedMullumbimby - Byron Bay - Lismore - Kyogle$2,250
Salt CareUlladulla - Bomaderry - Nowra - Kangaroo Valley - Jervis Bay$20,460
Sapphire Community Projects IncorporatedBega - Tura Beach - Bermagui - Candelo - Quaama$4,703
Seventh-Day Adventist Church - South New South Wales ConferenceBathurst - Blayney - Mandurama - Cowra$5,600
The Heartland Foundation LimitedPort Macquarie$5,000
The Mend AND Make Do Crew IncorporatedSouth Grafton$6,750
Uralla Neighbourhood Day Care Centre 1Walcha$4,860
Weilwan Local Aboriginal Land CouncilGulargambone$1,585

Local community groups and not-for profit organisations in remote, rural and regional NSW are being offered grants to boost preparedness for future pandemics and other disasters.

Woman unloading fruit box out of the back of a van

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the program, funded by the NSW Government, was established to strengthen groups that have played a critical role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19.

“These grants are being offered through the Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program and are administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR),” Ms Cooke said.

“Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded toward regional capacity building initiatives such as those that attract and retain volunteers and staff, train to enhance governance skills, build digital capacity and create partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that regional organisations in NSW have gone above and beyond for their communities during the pandemic, especially when for many it was also on top of floods, fires and the mouse plague.

“Remote, rural and regional community groups and not-for-profits really stepped up in what were extraordinary times. We take our hats off to them for how they have persevered, especially in the face of so many challenges.

“The findings of our Heartbeat of Rural Australia study last year highlighted that many community groups were really fatigued and able to operate at only a fraction of their usual capacity. They were struggling to find volunteers and staff, and while many groups turned online, the digital divide that exists between urban areas and regional areas became really apparent, as did several other capacity constraints.

“This program has been designed in partnership with the NSW Government to enable community groups to address these issues and fill the gaps that became more evident during the pandemic. We know that every community is different, so it’s deliberately flexible and will support community groups to be better prepared in future,” Ms Egleton said.

To find out what can be funded through the capacity building stream, and to apply, visit

Applications close 5pm AEST on Friday 29 April 2022.

Significant funding to rebuild and recover from COVID

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has welcomed a significant boost to its flagship Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant program, following an investment of more than $5 million from the Australian Government.

New partnership boosts grants to strengthen rural communities

This funding, which will be available over the next two years, recognises the significant and long-lasting impacts of COVID and the localised effort needed to recover and rebuild vibrant remote, rural and regional communities.

From today, community groups and not-for-profit organisations in remote, rural and regional communities can apply for funding to support the recovery process, reduce social isolation, foster stronger, more resilient communities, or sustain these vital local organisations in their work.

The Australian Government’s support means that there will be $800,000 available in this round of SRC grants specifically for COVID-related projects. The COVID stream will have two tiers of funding  – one will offer grants of up to $10,000 to groups working in communities of fewer than 50,000 people, while a second tier will offer grants of up to $50,000 for groups in remote, rural or regional communities (as defined by Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Australian Geography Standards).

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the Australian Government’s investment is sorely needed and will be greatly appreciated by local organisations that have been struggling with raising funds, and coping with the effects of volunteer fatigue.

“At the end of last year, FRRR commissioned the Heartbeat of Rural Australia study, which confirmed that the pandemic has weakened the ability of community organisations to play their various roles in the community, at a time when, for many, demand for their services has increased.

“Many community groups that took part in the study – especially grassroots organisations with revenue of less than $50,000 – saw significant reductions in income as a result of not being able to run fundraising events and income-generating activities and, in some instances, funders redirecting their support. It’s also impacted the number of people able to volunteer, meaning that those remaining have been called on to do more, for longer. It’s no wonder people are exhausted.

“This program will help to rebuild rural communities by funding projects that respond to the ongoing impacts of COVID and will help communities get back on their feet.

“We’ve deliberately kept the SRC program flexible, as we know needs will be different from place to place, and from group to group. Projects eligible for funding could include supporting, training or attracting volunteers; running events; enhancing community facilities; developing services that assist people experiencing disadvantage; or purchasing equipment or resources that strengthen local organisations. We are very grateful for the Australian Government’s support and the commitment that they are showing to strengthen and rebuild rural communities,” Ms Egleton said.

In addition to the COVID funding stream, the SRC program still has grants available to support communities affected by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires. There is $650,000 available this round, through grants of up to $25,000. A third, more general stream of funding offers Small & Vital grants of up to $10,000 for initiatives that strengthen and support communities of 15,000 or fewer in remote, rural or regional areas.

To learn more about the program, and to apply, visit Applications close 31 May 2022 at 5pm AEDT.

Each quarter, we ask FRRR’s staff to share some of their observations from speaking with community leaders across the country, and reviewing grant applications. Below are a few comments from looking back on the first quarter of FY21.

It’s a universal truth that communities that have strong local leadership are best placed to thrive. However, offering support for particular elements or activities perceived to be needed can create a deficit inference and shame. A recent comment caused the team to pause and reflect: “Conversations about capacity are complex because people can feel shame about not having capacity.”

It’s a good reminder, as often offering funding for a particular activity can infer a judgement. It can imply that ‘it’ is absent or ‘not up to scratch’ in that community or not-for-profit organisation. At FRRR, we take a strengths based approach to granting. Language and wording matters and we are grateful to have such honest conversations with our community partners.

ANOTHER strong theme that continues to come through is the extent of the impacts of the summer bushfires, and the impact of COVID-19 on recovery. For example, in a recent application one community leader wrote: “The conversations revolved around the effect of running on adrenalin for the months before and after Christmas and the feeling of emptiness that followed. There was no time to come together before the community was once again under threat. The fires had denuded the landscape and when the rains came, many roads and properties were further affected by mudslides. The cleaning up started again. The normal community celebrations were delayed or cancelled as COVID-19 forced individual distancing. Somehow there needs to be a way of marking closure for this community, most of whom were volunteers in one capacity or another.” 

COVID-19 and the ongoing drought are also affecting community groups’ fundraising capacity. For example, the Texas Kindergarten told us, “Annually we raise approximately $25,000 a year to help keep the Kindergarten open, pay staff, pay day to day expenses and purchase resources. Due to the ongoing effects of the drought individuals and businesses in our region are still really battling. It has become more and more difficult for our strong and resilient little community to help the Kindergarten financially. Now with COVID-19 we are unable to do any fundraising at all which will reduce our income this year dramatically. ” 

Volunteer fatigue and decline is also becoming more apparent in various communities. For example, as Dirranbandi Arts Council, in Queensland’s far south west, explained “Our precinct has three separate buildings, which we wish to have open on a more regular basis for our whole community and travellers to access. But this is impossible as we just do not have the numbers. We have tried in the past to open just one of the buildings with the help of volunteers but this has become increasingly difficult as our volunteer base diminishes and those available age.”  This presents new challenges and communities need to find new ways to engage volunteers, or source funds to pay for this service.

In other communities though, young people are stepping up and taking the reins. FRRR recently helped facilitate this blog from young community leader, Sam Kane, in which he tells the story about how he and some colleagues stepped up to get a pool in their community, and what they’ve gone on to do. 

However, in the medium to longer-term, it’s likely that COVID-19 will have benefits for remote, rural and regional Australia. There are strong signs of population movement toward regional centres, as reflected by the Regional Australia Institute’s recent work on regionalisation. International travel restrictions too mean that more Australians will holiday at home. This is good news for regional communities, but it will also be critical for rural areas to be ready to take advantage of both relocation to the regions and tourism. Regional tourist attractions, remote working opportunities, community connectedness, and cultural vibrancy are competitive advantages that smaller rural areas can harness, however, foundational infrastructure and services are needed to retain and build momentum. Unfortunately, there is significant long-term underinvestment in community assets and local services which improve liveability and quality of life, increase attractiveness and competitiveness, and foster innovation and revitalisation. This is why areas such as community halls, childcare services, aged care services and youth engagement activities are just some areas that FRRR seeks to fund across many programs and regions. We need more funds that are broad and will have multiple flow-on effects in communities. 

As the population in regional areas grows, there is more focus on issues relating to public transport. For example, Carroll is a small village within the Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Area. There is no bus service in the area and the residents are 20 km from services in the next town of Gunnedah. A local committee raised money to buy the bus, purely from local community fundraising and very generous support of many local businesses in Gunnedah and Tamworth. However, not all communities are able to do this, and we are seeing more and more requests to support this kind of service. 

If you would like to know more, contact FRRR.

COVID-19 has impacted rural communities in countless ways, with increased vulnerability and disadvantage being felt in many communities grappling with successive setbacks, including drought, bushfire and existing disadvantages exacerbated by imposed restrictions.

This means FRRR’s work is more important than ever, as Australia emerges from and transitions into new ways of working, living and delivering services.

While FRRR staff are still working from home, they are connecting daily with communities across the country. Below are some of the insights from the calls, queries and requests they are receiving day to day.

There have been high levels of caller concern around the mental health of their communities, given COVID follows several natural disaster events. NSW/ACT Program Manager Jacki Dimond says that there are also increased personal stress levels around not being able to deliver on approved grant activities and / or timelines. She has been spending much of her time considering more project variations than usual.

“Callers have reflected much relief for the support of our flexibility and desire to support them through the variations process to identify alternative activities or delivery mechanisms, such as the Gunning Arts Festival going online, or extending or deferring acquittal periods where needed, ” Jacki noted.

Vivienne McCrory, Grants Officer for Victoria, SA and Tasmania, echoes Jacki’s comments noting that bushfire affected communities are asking if programs will be assessed the same way due to COVID-19.

“They are still applying, but not sure if the project will still go ahead as planned due to restrictions and whether it would affect their grant chances. They have mentioned exhaustion and frustration over the flow of events since Christmas (on top of the drought).”

Another common theme is while some groups have the option to take activities online, inconsistent telecommunications access and mixed levels of digital literacy means it’s not a realistic option for some groups.

“For example, I received a phone call recently from the Yinnar Memorial Hall over 60’s Exercise group. We have funded the program for two years and up to 40 people were coming each week. They are now delivering the program via zoom and many elderly members are having issues connecting. The internet is also poor in the area!,” explained Hannah Jakab, who works on FRRR’s disaster recovery programs.

VIC/SA/TAS Program Manager Carlene Egan is seeing increased requests to fund local people to take on recovery coordination roles.

“Bushfire affected communities are taking charge of their own recovery with known and trusted people and ensuring funds are directed to where they identify as most needed.”

From a drought support perspective, Deanne Cavalier is seeing reduced volunteer capacity due to COVID-19.

“Conversations with community groups have identified a decrease in volunteering at this time due to the pandemic, as their focus turns towards their families and concerns of job security and general fatigue. Volunteers are often older and health and safety concerns relating to COVID-19 this naturally has had flow-on effects on the capacity of community groups to maintain continuity of services and their ability to maintain momentum on community-focused projects.”

While it’s no longer on the front pages, drought is still a very real issue in large parts of the country as this map of Queensland shows, and this story from WA. 

“Despite the wetter start to 2020, the long-term accumulated rainfall deficiencies continue in many parts of Australia and with these continued deficiencies over an extended period, drought continues to be prevalent across much of rural Australia and recovery will be a slow process,” explains Deanne. 

Meanwhile, Alli Mudford, Program Manager for the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program says that it highlights the importance of building capacity, not just funding ‘things’.

“Building good relationships within each community is a critical foundation for success. The benefits from regular facilitated connections (rather than just providing grants) must not be underestimated and the IRCF evaluation has processes in place to incorporate these learnings.

“We are also seeing that capacity change in the not-for-profit sector crosses generations. Insights show that the younger generation are more than willing to work with and across other not-for-profit groups in the community.”

Rural communities are eternal optimists and innovators and despite the challenges, community groups have been able to adapt their models to keep a source of income, such as offering delivery services, making hand sanitiser or face masks. We are inspired by the growing success of community-led solutions – especially the renewal of local media ownership, which is a reversal of media closure trends.