Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Grants on offer to address issues that matter to young rural Australians

Grants of up to $10,000 are now open for local community groups that will help fund projects developed by youth and for youth. Adopting and adapting these projects will help create positive change by addressing priority issues such as career options, peer support, diversity and discrimination and mental health, which impact youth in rural communities.

HEADING: Funding available to bring youth-led initiatives to life. IMAGE: Riverland Youth Theatre member in rainbow feather boa.
Riverland Youth Theatre, who received funds to develop the Contribute to the Change idea in the Heywire 2021 grant round.

Since 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural and regional youth to address issues that matter most to them. This year, thanks to the generosity of FRRR’s partners,  $130,000 is available nationally, and $30,000 is available specifically for grants in or around the Shepparton region.

This year’s grant program ideas have come from the ABC’s Takeover Shepparton event in May. It brought together 44 young leaders from in and around Shepparton to share stories and workshop ideas on how to make rural and regional Australia a better place for young people to live and work.

The ideas they developed include:

  • The Allies Project: How might we celebrate the strength of regional LGBTQIA+ people and educate rural communities on the importance of being an ally?
  • Hands on Learning: How might we support young people to learn in ways that work for them?
  • Take Care: How might we promote healthier communities in regional Australia?
  • SPIN – Supporting People In Need: How might we improve morale in regional communities?
  • Triple H- Humanity Helping Homelessness: How might we reduce homelessness and support people who are experiencing it?
  • Fusion Festival: How might we raise cultural awareness and stop racism in regional communities?

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that young people always bring so much to the table, giving current issues a whole new perspective.

“I congratulate the ABC for running such a powerful event, where young people’s voices and ideas were able to shine and be celebrated. These incredible young people brought so much energy and heart to the table, and some fantastic ideas to address issues they face, which will no doubt be common to younger people all across the country.

“Thanks to our donor partners, we look forward to helping local community groups to adapt and adopt these ideas and bring them to life around the country. If you’re a local community group, I encourage you to reach out to your young locals and ask which of these ideas will help make a meaningful change for them. I look forward to reading the applications,” says FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton.

This is the 10th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to be working with FRRR to once again bring a set of incredible ideas to life, supporting regional communities to back their young people,” says Judith Whelan, ABC Director, Regional and Local. “We’re excited to see where these ideas go and to tell those stories through the ABC.”

To date, more than $1.2 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 150 projects in more than 130 communities. The program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, Greater Shepparton Foundation, The Collie Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Monday, 18 July 2022 and recipients will be announced in October. More information is available on FRRR’s website.

The Taromeo Rural Fire Brigade (TRFB) are a busy bunch. While you could be forgiven for thinking their remit was fire preparedness and firefighting, this group of volunteers actually take on a significant number of emergency service preparedness and response activities, as well as community education and outreach. After an increase in fires in the area, they were in need of more trained community volunteers, particularly young people and women, to support their efforts.

Alongside the challenge of more fires in the area, the TRFB were facing challenges with engaging with younger and older members of the community. They were concerned about their understanding of how bushfires can spread and their preparedness and resilience levels if a fire was to occur.

A grant of $4,170, donated by the David MacTaggart Foundation meant that the TRFB were able to create the ‘Don’t Burn the Butt’ community engagement campaign. The TRFB worked with other community organisations in the delivery of ‘Don’t Burn the Butt’ including South Burnett Regional Council, Blackbutt Benarkin Aged Care, SES, Qld Police Service, Blackbutt Medical Centre, Blackbutt Festival and Blackbutt Benarkin Aged Care Association.

The TRFB conducted a door to door engagement campaign, with volunteers knocking on every door in the community to talk about the importance of being prepared for bushfire season, and the benefits of becoming a volunteer. They also ran workshops for community members who were interested in becoming volunteers, to teach them the skills they would need, and were able to purchase equipment that they needed to ensure that they could respond effectively to any fires that occurred.

Les Lane, First Officer of TRFB, told FRRR; “The delivery of a Community Engagement Strategy was a very positive outcome for this project. We now have an additional 4 members of the brigade with truck licenses to respond to fires. This has already proven to be of benefit to the community and the brigade by enabling more team members to be active fire fighters when needed.”

Now, more community members are equipped with the knowledge and support they need to keep themselves and their families safe for this bushfire season, and many more to come.