Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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:

OrganisationLocationsGrant
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

First responder organisations encouraged to apply for funding to strengthen their emergency response capabilities

FRRR is encouraging eligible groups to apply to its Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program to support local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in communities affected by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.

HEADING: Grants available for Volunteer Emergency Services in Black Summer impacted areas
IMAGE: Tionee Rural Fire Brigade

Thanks to the generous contribution of a private donor, grants of up to $25,000 are available to strengthen local emergency response capabilities, based on identified community need and priorities, including to support volunteers’ wellbeing and mental health.

The VESF grants are available to local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Danielle Griffin, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager – Corporate, said that funding from this grant program had already provided much-needed support, funding 54 projects across 66 communities.

“We have seen local groups upgrade their equipment and infrastructure, improve their service to communities and enhance support for their volunteers.

“This funding is a timely reminder that these communities need continued support and investment. The funding will contribute to remote, rural and regional communities’ confidence in the capacity and capability of their local volunteer first responder and emergency services groups to implement solutions for adapting to changing conditions and planning for future disasters. The volunteers themselves are critical to these outcomes and we encourage projects that build not only the skills of this unpaid workforce but wellbeing support to sustain their efforts.

“Many of these communities have endured multiple disasters in recent years, including the current floods. We encourage any groups impacted by the Black Summer fires who are also affected by recent flooding to get in touch and discuss their needs so we can support applications being developed in these difficult conditions,” Ms Griffin said.

The VESF grant program is now open. Applications close 5pm AEST 28 April 2022, with grants to be announced in July 2022. You can find out more about the program at: https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/  

117 community-led projects funded

One hundred and seventeen projects set to strengthen small remote, rural and regional communities across Australia have received a much-needed boost, with the community-driven initiatives sharing in $1,382,453 in grants.

HEADING: Rural communities awarded a $1.4 million boost
IMAGE: Roger Edwards, presenting a talk at the Celebrating Red Gum Forum. in Cavendish.

Funded through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program these grants support projects led by local people in small communities throughout the country.

In this round of funding, 59 Black Summer bushfire recovery initiatives are sharing $894,313 in grants for recovery and preparedness projects. This includes expanding the iconic Horsepower Highway tourist trail to kickstart Gnowangerup’s local economy in WA by adding two new installations, and installing a kitchen at the Big Swamp Community Centre in Coomunga, SA to support the community during future bushfire events.

There are also 58 projects spread across Australia sharing in $488,140 in this round of grants through the Small & Vital stream. These grants range from $1,595 to improve internet access for the local museum and its volunteers in Chiltern, VIC, through to a $10,000 grant for filmmaking workshops in Wilcannia, NSW.

Jill Karena, Place Portfolio Lead at FRRR, said that as COVID lockdown restrictions have eased and communities adapt to a new COVID normal, people are eager to connect, engage, celebrate and recover, but they are also keen to ensure that their community is stronger and more resilient for what may come.

“Our Heartbeat of Rural Australia study last year highlighted that among the biggest challenges for people was not being able to connect, so it was no surprise that many of the applications we saw in this round of SRC were about bringing people together. This ranges from making facilities more comfortable and welcoming, such as air conditioners or new furniture, to better IT equipment, internet connections or communication tools to engage with their communities. We have also seen some wonderful arts-based projects, which again bring people together, especially for those who were affected by the Black Summer bushfires.

“Underlying most of the requests however is a desire to be stronger in the future – to be more resilient. Sadly, some of those communities that are receiving grants, have felt the effects of another disaster. For those who have to put their projects on hold because of the floods, we understand. FRRR will be here to work with you, and if there is now a higher priority for your community, do get in touch as we are keen to assist,” Ms Karena said.

Some of the 117 funded projects include:

  • Richmond Valley Council – Rappville, NSW – Supporting Community Recovery by Honouring Rappville’s Military History – Commemorate sacrifices of Rappville community with replacement of WWI, WWII and Vietnam War Honour Rolls destroyed in fires. $25,000 (Bushfire Recovery)
  • Red Dust Role Models Limited – Nauiyu, NT – Red Dust Community Art Collaboration – Strengthen community and support healing with the creation of three murals celebrating and connecting community to culture. $5,000 (Small & Vital)    
  • Muckadilla Community Association Inc – Muckadilla, QLD – All-abilities Access to Muckadilla Community Hall – Provide access to the Muckadilla Community Hall for all by installation of a disability access ramp and safety handrails. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Peterborough History Group SA Incorporated – Peterborough, SA – Wiring Upgrade for YMCA – Provide a safe environment for volunteers and support visitor engagement through the upgrade of electrical wiring. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Seymour Community Action Group Inc – Seymour, TAS – Seymour Community Wetland Restoration and Reclassification Project – Support volunteers to restore natural habitat and strengthen community connection to the environment through the development of a weed eradication project. $10,000 (Bushfire Recovery)
  • Brookton Community Inc – Brookton, WA – White Goods for New Shared Buildings – Increase community participation and capacity by fitting out kitchens in two new shared community buildings. $7,370 (Small & Vital)
  • Corryong College & Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc – Corryong, VIC – Enabling digital storytelling in the Upper Murray – Support college students to recover from a natural disaster through creative storytelling and technical skill development. $16,671 (Bushfire Recovery)

A full list of grant recipients is available on FRRR’s website.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by many generous donors, which are acknowledged on FRRR’s website.

This program always accepts applications and thanks to recent support from the Australian Government, there is now a COVID-recovery stream – Rebuilding Rural Communities. Local NFPs and community groups are encouraged to review the expanded program guidelines and apply. More information about the SRC program is available at www.frrr.org.au/src.

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at frrr.org.au/giving/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bushfire Recovery
Adelong Patrol and Agricultural Society Inc.Adelong Show: Bringing us Together
Boost community connectedness and recovery from natural disasters by providing entertainment at Adelong Show event.
Adelong$5,000
Black Head Surf Life Saving Club Inc.Expansion of Disability Program and Inclusive Beach Access
Support community bushfire recovery by expanding inclusive access for all, for beach attendees and surf life saving volunteers with the purchase of specialized equipment.
Hallidays Point$10,470
Braidwood Community Arts Association Inc.The Sustainable Farmedian
Support capacity building and recovery of natural disasters by creating a documentary of Black Summer through experience of a sustainable farmer.
Braidwood$24,840
Bundjalung Tribal SocietyYoungman Creek Rehabilitation Volunteer Wellbeing Program
Promote connection of place and culture, as well as rejuvenating and strengthening volunteerism through providing training and tools to support community recovery.
Alstonville$9,997
Burra District Bushfire BrigadeBurra Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade Pergola
Increase capacity for response to fire attacks via improving volunteers and firefighters' recuperation during rest breaks with building a pergola and providing shade for meal breaks.
Burra$17,771
Burringbar School of ArtsReplacement of 15 Step Treads for Rear Stairway Access
Strengthening disaster preparedness by rejuvenating place of gathering and mitigate safety risks by repairing stair treads of local community hall.
Burringbar$8,284
CTC Robertson Inc.Installation of Automatic Doors at CTC Near Disabled Access
Supporting community recovery by enabling easier access to community building with removal of old heavy doors and replacement with automatic sliding doors.
Robertson$6,180
Eden Creek Fairymount Preschool Inc.Improved Space for Families and Children of Kyogle
Encourage children's learning and development by increasing preschool space with building refurbishment that will support town recovery.
Kyogle$25,000
Eurobodalla Shire CouncilEurobodalla Shower + Laundry Project for People Experiencing Homelessness
Support community bushfire recovery by installing pay-wave system at three laundromats and provide vouchers through homelessness service providers.
Batemans Bay$25,000
Fling Physical Theatre Inc.Refurbishment of New Premises for FLING Physical Theatre to Deliver Inspiring Cultural Activity to the Region
Encourage youth to be active and explore their creative potential through dance and performance with conversion of building to an inclusive dance studio space following the events of the Black Summer bushfires.
Bega$25,000
Horse Sense for Humans Open Harts Inc.Wellbeing With Horses
Enable people to develop stress relieving, mental health and wellbeing techniques via equine assisted therapy sessions to support community recovery.
Mogendoura$18,200
Kyogle Writers Festival Kyogle and District Arts CouncilKyogle Writers Festival 2022 (KWF2022)
Boost local economy and support literary development with funding guest speakers for the Kyogle Writers Festival to support town recovery.
Kyogle$10,000
Lawrence Historical Society Inc.Fit Up for the Future
To support community bushfire recovery with the restoration of historical artefacts and passing on woodworking and metal work skills to volunteers at the Lawrence Museum.
Lawrence$7,796
Marlee Rural Fire BrigadeMarlee Fire Station Facilities Upgrade
Provide a safe place for RFS staging areas and the small community of Marlee to evacuate to in the event of an emergency, with upgrade of facilities at the Marlee Fire Station and Hall complex.
Marlee$11,600
Merriwa Preschool and Activity Centre Inc.Forty for Flooring
Improve hygiene and create a healthy play space by replacing ash impacted carpet with vinyl flooring at Merriwa Preschool & Activity Centre to support community recovery.
Merriwa$25,000
Monaro Community RadioInstallation of a Solar PV system for Monaro Community Radio - 2MNO
Support community recovery and to reduce 2MNO community radio's power bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions with installation of a 3.3kW solar system.
Cooma$8,145
Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine Historical Society Inc.Mount Wilson Historical Village Walk & Digital Archive
Support community bushfire recovery by encouraging visitors and new arrivals to appreciate local history and understand the characters who have made the community what it is, with digital app featuring 22 local stories.
Mount Wilson$10,000
Nambucca Valley Phoenix LtdPhoenix Rising - Fostering Resilience through Creative Communities
Support and enhance community recovery through creative community activities with replacement of ageing ceramic kiln, flue and corroded roof.
Bowraville$25,000
One Vision Productions Ltd.MPOWER Online Education Engagement and Mental Health Toolkit and Mobile App
Youth mental health and wellbeing support with tailored 12 month program in three schools and production of videos for subscription website service to support community recovery.
Clarence Valley$25,000
Raise the heART Ltd.Raise the heART - A Creative Arts Mental Health Project for 16-17 year-olds and the Broader Community
Support bushfire recovery in the community by encouraging youth to participate in a year-long arts program, via creation of a youth-led theatrical performance, a youth wellbeing forum and a pop-up art exhibition.
Byron Bay$10,000
Richmond Valley CouncilSupporting Community Recovery by Honouring Rappville’s Military History
Commemorate sacrifices of Rappville community with replacement of WWI, WWII and Vietnam War Honour Rolls destroyed in fires.
Rappville$25,000
Rotary Club of Pambula Inc.Community Support and Recovery through Music and Entertainment
Support community recovery and engagement via entertainment events across fire-affected communities using the Sapphire Entertainment Pod.
Tathra$25,000
Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens Ltd.Picnic Setting for the Community in a Safe Environment
Create a quiet space in nature, for contemplation and social gatherings with addition of picnic tables at Botanic Gardens to assist community recovery.
Bowral$25,000
Taylors Arm Hall Committee of Management Nambucca Valley CouncilTaylors Arm Reunited - Kitchen Upgrade and Hall Interior Painting
Support bushfire recovery by expanding the use of the community hall by painting hall interior, updating kitchen, and installing vermin proof cupboards to make the community meeting space more functional and suitable for holding workshops.
Taylors Arm$16,950
The Lions Club of Tenterfield Inc.Tenterfield Lions' Junior Choir
Introduce children to the creative arts to foster a love of music and performing, with support for Children's Choir, following the Black Summer bushfires.
Tenterfield$18,109
Tumut Regional Chamber of Commerce Inc.Adventure Snowy Valleys
Support bushfire recovery by diversifying local economy with the development of outdoor adventure tourism website.
Tumut$25,000
UCA - Life Line MacarthurMental Health First Aid Training
Build community capacity to support and respond to people experiencing stress and mental health problems with provision of mental health first aid training to support community recovery.
Wollondilly$10,000
Yuin Folk Club Inc.2022 Cobargo Folk Festival: Festival Restart Event Producer
Reduce volunteer burnout and support recovery from fires, through revitalisation and renewal of Cobargo Folk Festival.
Cobargo$25,000
Z-Net Uralla Inc.Uralla Working on Waste (Uralla-WOW)
Build capacity of local community to mitigate climate change challenges and support recovery from fires, and build a connected supported sustainable community, with community-led waste reduction strategies.
Uralla$19,970
Small & Vital
A Sound Life Coonabarabran High School P&C AssociationSound Mentoring - Coonabarabran High School
Inspire engagement and resilience by providing students of Coonabarabran High School with the transformative program 'Sound Mentoring'.
Coonabarabran$9,900
Carcoar Village Assocation Inc.Murals at the Belubula
Increase opportunities for cultural connection and tourism through printing and installation of four murals by revered Indigenous artist Aunty Nyree Reynolds onto pylons on the Mid-Western Highway
Carcoar$10,000
Contact Inc.Making the Wanaaring Community Hub Happen
Revitalise the very remote community of Wanaaring by supporting the development of a new community hub.
Wanaaring$9,577
Forbes Public School P&C Association Inc.Community Conservation Corner
Increase community participation and resilience through supporting the establishment of a Community Conservation Corner at Forbes Public School.
Forbes$10,000
Holbrook Community Garden Greater Hume Shire CouncilRelocation of Holbrook Community Garden
Increase usability and sustainability of a much loved community garden by providing new garden beds, watering system and fruit trees.
Holbrook$8,555
Holbrook Meals on Wheels Service Inc.Safe Food Service
Boost food security and support the elderly to live independently by purchasing a freezer van for Holbrook Meals on Wheels.
Holbrook$10,000
Macleay Valley Arts Council Inc.South West Rocks Community Art Gallery
Boost cultural vibrancy and tourism by supporting South West Rocks Community Art Gallery to display artworks from local and regional artists in a professional and engaging manner.
South West Rocks$10,000
Murrumbidgee Landcare Association Inc.Creating a Community Garden in Carrathool - Knowledge Sharing About People, Place and the Environment
Promote environmental health and sustainability through bringing the community together to build a Community Native Garden.
Carrathool$9,886
Shine for KidsBelonging To Family Community Engagement
Build a stronger social fabric by supporting Aboriginal people who are released from custody at the Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre to re-connect successfully with their families and community.
Kempsey$9,950
Warren Chamber Music Festival Inc.Oldies Only!
Provide opportunities for social connection and cultural enrichment by supporting Warren Chamber Music Festival to deliver an "Oldies Only" music event for the elderly in Warren, NSW.
Warren$5,095
West Darling ArtsFilm Making Workshop for the Wilcannia Students
Unlock opportunities for career pathways and increase cultural vibrancy through providing filmmaking workshops for students in Wilcannia.
Wilcannia$10,000
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Jawoyn Association Aboriginal CorporationReconnection through Songlines – Healing People, Healing Country
Encourage youth involvement and grow cultural knowledge through three bush camps to learn and then perform two traditional Corroboree Dances - the Wanga and the Lirriga Dances.
Katherine$10,000
Ngukurr Language Centre Aboriginal CorporationResourcing Equipment for Ngukurr Language Centre
Help students and broader community to learn and retain traditional languages with the purchase of a printer for the Ngukurr Language Centre.
Ngukurr$4,785
Red Dust Role Models Ltd.Red Dust Community Art Collaboration
Strengthen community and support healing with the creation of three murals celebrating and connecting community to culture.
Nauiyu$5,000
The Trustee for Karrkad-Kanjdji TrustExpanding Remote Bi-cultural Education
Fostering connection to language and education on Country through the provision of IT at remote bi-lingual schools in Arnhem Land.
Manmoyi$10,000
Tiwi Enterprises Ltd.Essential Machinery and Equipment for Tiwi Enterprises Garden Maintenance Team
Expand the services of a garden maintenance program to better protect the community against bushfires with purchase of whipper snippers and mower.
Wurrumiyanga$10,000
QUEENSLAND
Bushfire Recovery
Beaudesert Quilters Group Inc.Quilters Crafting 4 Community
Build capacity of local art and craft group by supporting attendance at specialised workshops and purchase of equipment upgrades to support community recovery.
Beaudesert$5,500
Boonah & District Landcare Association Inc.Website for Boonah and District Landcare Inc.
Support community fire preparedness by broadening the networking reach and information sharing through developing online presence and website for Boonah and District Landcare.
Boonah$9,525
Boonah Activity Shed Inc.Construction Earthworks for New Activity Shed
Supporting community bushfire recovery by supporting the foundational works for a community shed and gathering space, by providing earthworks equipment hire.
Boonah$5,379
Destination Scenic Rim Inc.Farm Gate Trail
Empower community-led initiatives through providing event resources and entertainment for regional farm trail event to support community recovery.
Boonah$25,000
Happy Chat Support Groups Queensland Inc.Happy Chat Peer Support for Mental Health in Stanthorpe
Strengthen mental health peer to peer support group by engaging with therapeutic services to support community bushfire recovery.
Stanthorpe$6,400
Kanyini Connections Ltd.Pony Tales Program
Strengthen community recovery by enabling vulnerable children to improve their literacy skills by providing volunteer mentors with teaching resources.
Doonan$2,000
Killarney Show and Rodeo Society Inc.Purchase Lawn Mower
Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.
Killarney$10,000
Rotary Club of Beaudesert Inc.Acquire Lawn Mowing and Grounds Maintenance Equipment and Storage to Enhance Places Where Communities Gather
Enhance capacity of volunteers and community spaces by purchasing garden maintenance equipment and storage to support recovery within the community.
Beaudesert$4,597
Small & Vital
Atherton Tablelands SAO Cycle Riding Tablelands Outdoor Recreation Association Inc.The Seven Sisters Trail - Stage One
Boost tourism and build on the community's sense of place by providing informative, interpretive and safety signs for the Seven Sisters Trail in Yungaburra.
Yungaburra$8,000
Bowen Old People's Home SocietyOur Yarning Circle
Enhance residents’ opportunities to connect with their culture, each other and the wider community by installing a Yarning Circle at Murroona Gardens aged care facility.
Bowen$8,000
C&K Jellybean The Creche and Kindergarten Association Ltd.Reviving Our Outdoor Learning Program at C&K Jellybeans
Support lifelong learning by replacing worn out outdoor children's equipment and provide new outdoor tables and mats for children to enjoy meals and activities outside the classroom.
Alpha$6,497
Creative Country Association Inc.Point of Sale (POS) Equipment
Support the establishment of the Murgon Creative Centre by providing Point of Sale equipment and volunteer T-shirts.
Murgon$10,000
Eacham Community Help Organisation Inc.Tech Training for Volunteer Tutors
Accelerate digital access and inclusion for vulnerable and disadvantaged community members by training volunteers to provide technological support.
Malanda$3,980
Gayndah and District Tennis Association Inc.Upgrade Outdoor Furniture and Clubhouse Appliances
Increase useability and functionality of the Gayndah and District Tennis Club by contributing to upgrading outdoor seating and purchase of new appliances.
Gayndah$4,000
Gungarde Community Centre Aboriginal CorporationCooktown Youths Super Heroes
Develop youth life skills and reduce harms related to alcohol, drugs and bullying by supporting the delivery of the Cooktown Youths Super Heroes program.
Cooktown$8,500
Hope Reins Inc.Connecting Communities, Strengthening Lives: The Horse Ride from Gympie to Longreach
Strengthen community resilience and social inclusion through supporting a mental health awareness program.
Nanango$10,000
Innisfail & District Men's Shed Inc.Fence Repairs at the Innisfail & District Men's Shed (IDMS)
Encourage community cohesion and increase functionality of the Innisfail & District Men's Shed by repairing the boundary fence.
Innisfail$7,000
Maleny and District Men's Shed Inc.Provision and Installation of a Water Tank and Pump for the New Community Shed for Maleny Men’s Shed
Build capacity to support volunteer membership and strengthen community connections through the installation of a water tank.
Maleny$3,000
Muckadilla Community Association Inc.Disability Access to Muckadilla Community Hall
Provide access to the Muckadilla Community Hall for all by installation of a disability access ramp and safety hand rails.
Muckadilla$10,000
Numabulla Men's Shed Inc.Numabulla Men's Shed Development
Foster community engagement and connection through the renovation of a new facility for Numabulla Men's Shed.
Brooloo$10,000
Performing Arts (Goondiwindi) Inc.Gundy Gathering
Build resilience and encourage participation in the arts by contributing to provision of youth performing arts boot camp, Gundy Gathering.
Goondiwindi$4,690
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
Big Swamp Community Centre Inc.Upgraded Kitchenette Area
Build capacity to support community during bushfire events through the installation of a kitchen at a community centre.
Coomunga$21,025
Charleston Community Centre Inc.POWERING Our Community Resilience
Provide a fit for purpose emergency support facility and improve comfort of a community hall through the installation of a diesel run generator unit to support community recovery and preparedness.
Charleston$25,000
Jabuk Community Hall Inc.Mowing Down the Burden
Support bushfire preparedness and increase community safety through purchase of a ride on mower.
Jabuk$9,999
Price Soldiers Memorial HallPrice Soldiers Memorial Hall Kitchen Upgrade
Increase community connection and disaster preparedness by improving kitchen facilities at a community gathering space.
Price$20,339
Small & Vital
Blanchetown District Hall Inc.Health and Wellness for Women
Boost health and social wellbeing of women in Blanchetown, through the continuation of a physical fitness class.
Blanchetown$7,870
Community Care and Transport Inc.Cloud Based Fully Integrated Telephone System
Boost an organisation’s capability to support community health and wellbeing, through the upgrade of a telephone system.
Minlaton$10,000
Crystal Brook Community Men's Shed Inc.Responsible Power Solutions for the Crystal Brook Community Men's Shed
Establish cost effective, environmental practices while supporting community health, through the installation of a solar storage system at a Men’s Shed.
Crystal Brook$10,000
Peterborough History Group SA Inc.Wiring Upgrade for YMCA
Provide a safe environment for volunteers, supporting visitor engagement through the upgrade of electrical wiring.
Peterborough$10,000
TASMANIA
Bushfire Recovery
Seymour Community Action Group Inc.Seymour Community Wetland Restoration and Reclassification Project
Promote community bushfire recovery by supporting volunteers to restore natural habitat and strengthen community connection to the environment through the development of a weed eradication project.
Seymour$10,000
Small & Vital
Geeveston Community Centre Inc.Scrubby Hill Farm Amenity Improvements
Enhance food security, provide employment opportunities, and support the health and wellbeing of communities through the development of a micro-farm project.
Geeveston$9,419
The RESEED Centre Live Well TasmaniaYOUth LEADing Tasmania (YLT) 2022
Support youth engagement and build leadership skills through a facilitation training program encouraging young people to challenge world issues.
Penguin$10,000
VICTORIA
Bushfire Recovery
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodshareFoodShare Cloud Project
Support community recovery by boosting organisational capacity of a food relief organisation through implementing a customer relationship management system.
Wodonga$9,944
Bairnsdale Recycling Enterprise Inc.Bairnsdale Repair Café: Reaching Out
Foster opportunities for social connection and skill development for bushfire-impacted communities across East Gippsland.
Bairnsdale$18,873
Better Place AustraliaWatercolor Workshops for Recovery, Reconnection & Referral
Encourage people to come together to recover from bushfires and gain access to support services through creative arts workshops.
Benambra$25,000
Bright Court House Committee of ManagementBright Court House Portable Staging Upgrade
Supporting local arts events through the purchase of a portable stage for indoor and outdoor productions, to support community recovery.
Bright$10,000
Bright Croquet Club Inc.New Tables and Chairs for Club House
Provide a fit-for-purpose facility and support community connectedness and bushfire recovery through the upgrade of furniture.
Bright$2,500
Cabbage Tree Public HallGovernance Training for Cabbage Tree Creek and Bemm River
Foster a more participative community and improve organisational capacity in two local committees through the delivery of governance training in the bushfire-affected area.
Cabbage Tree Creek$6,115
Corryong College Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc.Enabling Digital Storytelling in the Upper Murray
Support college students to recover from a natural disaster like bushfire, through creative storytelling and technical skill development.
Corryong$16,671
Deddick Valley Isolated Community Group Inc.Building Healthy and Resilient Communities Through Service Equity
Building capacity to access healthcare in remote bushfire-impacted areas through a research and pilot program in far East Gippsland.
Tubbut$24,680
Great Alpine Gallery Inc.The Voice of Video
Encourage community to be active and creative, while recovering from disaster through a video sharing platform.
Swifts Creek$3,729
Happy Valley HallTank Fantasia
Foster social connectedness and community cohesion through a mosaic arts project at the Happy Valley Hall to support community recovery.
Rosewhite$4,500
Harrietville Historical SocietyRevitalising Harrietville's Heritage
Encourage visitation and strengthen the local economy through the installation of signage interpreting local history in Harrietville that will support bushfire recovery within the community.
Harrietville$16,700
Jingellic Hub Inc.Postcards From The Past @Jingellic & Postcards From The Past @Walwa
Support bushfire recovery within the area by fostering community connection to local history and expand opportunities for tourists and visitors to the region.
Walwa$25,000
Parklands Albury Wodonga Ltd.Improving Accessibility to Upper Murray Historic Trestle Bridge Reserves
Provide safe infrastructure for emergency services and the broader community through the upgrade of an historic trestle bridge to improve disaster preparedness.
Berringama$21,000
The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival Inc.Upper Murray Agricultural Field Days
Strengthen community recovery and encourage people to come together and access support by enhancing entertainment at the inaugural Upper Murray Agricultural Field Days.
Corryong$24,859
Small & Vital
Boolarra Men's Shed Inc.Shed Extension
Support men’s health and social connection opportunities through the expansion of the Boolarra Men’s Shed building.
Boolarra$10,000
Boolite Recreation & Public Hall ReserveUpgrade of Amenities Block
Improve accessibility and amenities at a local hall and reserve through the installation of an all-abilities bathroom and toilet.
Boolite$9,000
Carinya Lodge Homes Inc.Carinya Dementia Care
Enhance social wellbeing and health of people living in aged care by providing a dementia-specific interactive games program.
Korumburra$10,000
Chiltern Athenaeum MuseumExtension of Data Cabling and Internet Connection from Chiltern Athenaeum Museum to the John McEwen Annexe
Enhance an organisation's capacity to support volunteers and preserve local history through providing an internet connection.
Chiltern$1,595
Cobram Community House Inc.Community Kitchen Upgrade
Expand the use of a community house by refurbishing a kitchen to increase the capacity to deliver educational and wellbeing activities.
Cobram$10,000
Djerriwarrh Employment & Education Services Inc.Moorabool TAC L2P Program Vehicle Replacement
Upskill youth to improve access to employment, further education, and social services through the purchase of a vehicle for a learner driver program in the Moorabool Shire.
Moorabool$10,000
Dunolly & District Neighbourhood Centre Inc.Dunolly Neighbourhood Centre Backyard Rejuvenation
Increase community learning opportunities by installing shade sails in an outdoor area at the Dunolly & District Neighbourhood Centre.
Dunolly$6,096
Fight Cancer Foundation Ltd.Shepparton Accommodation for Regional and Remote Cancer Patients
Support rural community members to access vital medical treatment through the establishment of affordable outpatient accommodation.
Shepparton$10,000
Hallston Mechanics Institute Inc.Hallston Hall Door and Window Replacement - Repair and Paint
Expand the use of a community owned hall and preserve the district's history through the replacement of timber windows.
Hallston$7,706
Hopetoun and District Men's Shed Hopetoun & District Neighbourhood House Inc.Replacement of Asbestos Shed
Provide a safe environment, creating opportunities for men to engage and support skill development by installing a new shed and undercover work area.
Hopetoun$9,550
Jarvis Creek Landcare Group Mitta to Murray Landcare Inc.Revitalisation of the Jarvis Creek Community
Strengthen community connection and volunteer engagement through the restoration of the Jarvis Creek Hall.
Jarvis Creek$10,000
Lions Club of Katamatite Inc.Katamatite Lions Silo Art Project
Strengthen cultural connection and the local economy through the installation of two art trail murals in Katamatite.
Katamatite$9,667
Minyip and District Historical Society Inc.Replacement of Heritage Plaques in Minyip
Celebrate local culture, and boost community engagement and tourism in Minyip by installing historic plaques within the township.
Minyip$4,700
Moorabool Shire CouncilPower Back Up for STAND Project Sites
Increase community safety and disaster preparedness through the purchase of batteries to support satellite infrastructure.
Dunnstown$4,640
Murtoa and District Historical Society Inc.Murtoa Museum Website Design & Build
Increase access to local history, support volunteers and boost community participation by establishing a website.
Murtoa$9,362
Tarnagulla Urban Fire Brigade Country Fire AuthoritySolar and Battery Installation at Tarnagulla Urban Fire Brigade
Boost a fire brigade’s ability to respond to future disasters by installing a solar power and battery system to provide a backup in case of power failures.
Tarnagulla$10,000
Trust for Nature (Victoria)Fostering Local Community Connection with Nature - Henriksen Sanctuary, Apollo Bay
Increase community wellbeing and connection with nature through the construction of pedestrian tracks at a significant conservation reserve.
Apollo Bay$10,000
Winchelsea Community House Inc.Expansion into Shire Hall
Improve employment opportunities for youth through the purchase of new kitchen equipment for a community café.
Winchelsea$9,000
Yackandandah Creek Landcare Group Kiewa Catchment Landcare Groups Inc.Connecting Community with Wetlands for Wellbeing, Culture and Learning
Boost the community’s ability to learn about conservation management and increase connection to place through the development of wetlands.
Yackandandah$5,750
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
Denmark Community Foundation (WA) Inc.Denmark Community Foundation Next Steps - A Transition Towards Building Capacity and Operational Potential
Building organisational capacity and a strong bushfire resilient local community through the development of a strategic plan for the Denmark Community Foundation.
Denmark$10,000
Katanning and Districts Pool Association Inc.Pool Hall Revamp
Support community bushfire recovery by providing a safe space for youth and community support clients to connect and socialise by installing a kitchen for meal preparation.
Katanning$10,000
North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources Inc.Fire Brigade & Landcare Representation on the Horsepower Highway
Strengthen and kickstart the local economy impacted by bushfires by expanding an iconic tourist trail with two new installations.
Gnowangerup$11,666
Small & Vital
Beemurra Aboriginal CorporationYued Youth & Astronomy Project on Yallalie Downs
Encourage Indigenous youth's education and leadership skills through attending astronomy camps on Country.
Dandaragan$10,000
Brookton Community Inc.White Goods for New Shared Buildings
Increase community participation and capacity by fitting out kitchens in two new shared community buildings.
Brookton$7,370
Murlpirrmarra Connection Ltd.Indigenous Tennis and Learning Program
Increase educational outcomes for Indigenous youth by providing tennis clinics and educational support.
Wiluna$10,000
Red Shed - Derby Women's Collective Shire of Derby West KimberleyRed Shed: Derby Women's Collective Community Hub
Enhance women's access to skills development opportunities through training opportunities and upgrades to their new facility.
Derby$10,000

Nearly $750,000 committed but more needed

Nearly $750,000 has been committed to FRRR’s Flood Recovery Appeal, launched last week, thanks to generous contributions and promotion from donor partners including AMP Foundation, Frasers Property Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Suncorp and Wilson Asset Management, as well as many other private and individual supporters.

FRRR ready to support community-led flood recovery

However, FRRR is continuing to seek further donations to meet the recovery needs of the growing number of communities outside metro regions that will require support well into the future. This includes the unfolding disaster in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as areas that have already experienced severe flooding.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the Foundation has already seen local people mobilising, with information being shared via community-based networks and, where waters are receding, local people are already looking ahead to what’s going to be needed.

“It’s hard to understate the impacts of these floods, which in many places follow years of drought, bushfires, COVID restrictions, and previous floods – and from which many are still recovering. The social and economic impact on many rural communities will be severe.

“Communities will have different concerns and needs, so recovery will happen at different rates, depending on the community and local priorities. Our focus is to make sure that once local leaders identify what their recovery needs are, there is support available.

“FRRR’s strong networks and relationships with community groups and not-for-profits in impacted areas, coupled with programs already in place, mean we will be ready to offer support when they are ready.

“Donations to our Flood Recovery Appeal will help to fund a diverse range of initiatives. That could be rebuilding infrastructure, supporting vulnerable community members, addressing the overall mental health of locals, providing opportunities for locals to reconnect and share their experiences, or improving resilience for future disasters,” Ms Egleton explained.

People can support FRRR’s Flood Recovery Appeal by donating to either the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund or the Strengthening Rural Communities program.

Donations to the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund are pooled and invested to ensure that remote, rural and regional communities affected by natural disasters can access flexible, fit-for-purpose funding to support local preparedness and recovery efforts, when it’s needed.

Alternatively, donations can be made to FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program, with FRRR making grants to support community organisations in these flood-impacted regions.

FRRR has supported remote, rural and regional communities across the country prepare for and recover from natural disasters since 2006. To date, FRRR has distributed more than $40 million for community-led disaster recovery and resilience initiatives, including more than $7 million for projects supporting recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires.

To donate to FRRR’s Flood Recovery Appeal visit – https://frrr.org.au/giving/flood-recovery-appeal/

Three regional communities to take part in multi-year initiative

FRRR’s Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) Victorian program continues to build steam, with three regional communities selected to partner with the Foundation to strengthen the resilience and preparedness of their regions.

FRRR partners with Victorian communities to support community-led resilience

Korumburra, Myrtleford and Whittlesea township and surrounds will receive support as part of a multi-year, community-led program that is supported by a number of philanthropic organisations.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that the DR:FR initiative works to better prepare communities to address the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and broader disruptions that affect the sustainability, vitality and resilience of remote, rural and regional communities across Australia.

“This is a place-based initiative, whereby FRRR works at a hyper-local level with grassroots organisations and community representatives who are interested in collaborating and leading initiatives to increase community preparedness and strengthen resilience capacity.

“The model is designed to help communities identify and then enact solutions that are held in local knowledge and the intersections of people and place. It creates space, facilitates processes, builds relationships and provides resources for community-generated resilience conversations and initiatives to be held at a pace and style that is appropriate for each local community,” Ms O’Brien explained.

Community driven

Late last year community representatives were invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to become partner communities. Over the past eight months, FRRR’s DR:FR Program coordinator has engaged with representatives from the shortlisted communities, listening and learning about what is unique and important to each place and exploring their readiness, willingness, and capacity to participate in this intensive process.

This process helped FRRR understand their shared aspirations, what they believe is important about their community and demonstrated the commitment and interest in participating in the program.

“The emphasis is on the communities being actively engaged and involved in the process. Our aim is to empower local people to build and adapt the strengths, tools and resources that already exist in each community to further strengthen the resilience and preparedness of each place. It will be community-led and tailored to each community, with support and resources provided to allow them to identify, create and sustain their own resilience-building approaches,” Ms O’Brien said.

The program will start in the next month, beginning with a series of activities to bring interested community members together and start engaging with the broader community around aspirations for the future. In addition to the facilitation support from FRRR, the communities will have access to funding for community activities that support community engagement activities and a seed funding pool to engage a local community connector and activate priority actions identified through the DR:FR journey.

More communities waiting in the wings

“While three communities have been selected, there is strong interest from other places to participate in this program,” Ms O’Brien said.

“We have several communities keen and ready to jump on board and we would love to work with them. Our hope is to expand this program to at least one other Victorian community, and we also have groups in other states wanting to be involved.

“But this requires further funding, so we and our partners can work alongside and support local leaders to create meaningful and lasting change that means they can endure, adapt and evolve from disruptions and disasters more quickly, positively and strongly.

“We are grateful to our current partners for making the Victorian DR:FR program possible. We’d love to hear from others with the capacity to partner with us to expand the program,” Ms O’Brien said.

The DR:FR initiative is kindly supported by the following partners: Sidney Myer Fund, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, Maple-Brown Family Foundation, Simon Kucher and Partners, Ronald Geoffrey Arnott Foundation, H & L Hecht Trust, Suncorp, Pinnacle Charitable Foundation and the Doc Ross Family Foundation.

For more information about the program, visit https://frrr.org.au/drfr-victoria/.

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 https://frrr.org.au/SRC. Applications close 31 May 2022 at 5pm AEDT.

FRRR has awarded five grants totalling $150,152 to a range of community groups in Taree and Wingham. These grants will enable local groups to invest in resources and build their capacity to support their communities’ ongoing recovery following the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires and floods earlier this year.

Taree and Wingham community groups share in more than $150,000

Funded through the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC) program, which is generously supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and a Taree-specific donor, these grants are part of an 18-month program. The program kicked off with a community workshop in October, where FRRR and local groups discussed local issues and how they could be resolved with community-led solutions.

This round of applications saw requests to support many of the issues raised during that session, including strategic and operational planning, marketing, revenue strategy and a digital solution to support volunteers and NFP organisations.

Joanna Kemp, FRRR’s INFPC Program Manager, said that there were many common themes among participants and community groups.

“Uncertainty and volunteer fatigue are real concerns for NFPs in Taree and Wingham, and in fact it’s something that FRRR is consistently hearing from rural organisations across the country. The cumulative impacts of disasters like fires, floods, the mouse plague and COVID-19 mean that community groups simply don’t have the volunteers, resources and training that they need in order to tackle the issues in front of them.

“The applications for this funding also align with what we heard in our recent Heartbeat of Rural Australia study – volunteer fatigue, excessive red tape in many grant application processes and a lack of resources are making it challenging for rural community groups. These are all issues that also came up during our community workshops, which is why we are delighted to be able to offer programs like INFPC that help address some of these issues.

“From engaging with these organisations, it’s apparent they have an unwavering commitment to bringing positive change to their communities’ and to becoming more prepared in the days ahead. The grants will allow these not-for-profit organisations to scale their operations and continue to provide essential services to their community as they recover from successive disasters,” said Ms Kemp.

The five grant recipients are:

  • Circartus Incorporated, Wingham – Making the Most of What We Have – Boost the capacity and future sustainability of local circus school, Circartus Inc, through the development of a strategic plan and webpage design. $10,152
  • First Steps Count Incorporated – Genuine Co-design with Community, Taree – Engage community in the development of the operational plan for a new community hub servicing children and families in Taree by resourcing a Co-Design Coordinator role. $25,000
  • Mid Coast Outreach Incorporated, Wingham – Mid Coast Outreach – Office and Marketing Support – Grow the capacity and profile of newly established organisation, Mid Coast Outreach, through support for human resources, branding & marketing, and IT infrastructure. $34,000
  • Mission Australia, Taree – Mid Coast 4 Kids Revenue Strategy – Boost the operational capacity of ‘Mid Coast 4 Kids’, collective impact project seeking positive social outcomes for children, young people and families, through the development of a revenue strategy. $6,500
  • Wingham Chamber of Commerce, Wingham – Not-for-Profit Portal – Build the capacity of not-for-profit organisations in Taree and Wingham through consultation and development of shared digital tools to improve volunteer efficiency and effectiveness, and overall organisational capacity. $74,500

For more information about the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW program, visit – https://frrr.org.au/investing-in-not-for-profit-capacity-nsw/.

Having worked at a community level for 5 years now, most recently as a Program Coordinator and Community Development Officer for Blackall Tambo Regional Council, Jaimee-Lee Prow has experienced first-hand the generosity and good intentions that relief agencies have when it comes to drought in remote, rural, and regional communities. However, these good intentions often don’t translate into practical and accessible support at a grassroots level. Here she shares her story.

To paint a picture of what I mean, I’ll explain a bit about what our experience has been with relief agencies within the central western Queensland drought space. Off the top of my head, I can name at least 20 organisations that offer much the same kind of assistance. This overlapping service provision is driving a state of competitiveness among these organisations and, from a community perspective, has led to a matrix of issues that prevent community groups from taking them up on their offers of assistance. This, on top of a disconnect at a community level, has meant that these relief organisations are actually hindering themselves from reaching the goals that they set out to achieve.

We rural people are a stoic breed. This over-supply of relief support has led to a lot of miscommunication, confusion, and apprehension, resulting in people abstaining from seeking assistance. Or else people become overwhelmingly confused about how to navigate the many systems with most deeming it as an added stress that they simply don’t need. Another familiar scenario is that of individuals, community groups and local-not-for-profits who don’t apply for assistance through one organisation because they’ve already applied for similar assistance through another organisation, and they fear that it will be seen as ‘double dipping’.

Beyond the confusion and burdensome processes, rural communities often feel that these relief agencies fail to properly consider the demographic that they’re dealing with. A large portion of our graziers, primary producers, small business owners and community members are over the age of 65 years with many of them either being extremely hesitant about social media or else completely oblivious to it. Yet, many of these relief organisations use social media as their main tool for promotion and one of their primary platforms for getting information out there. It’s also common that applications for grants will exist predominantly online and even requests for assistance are virtual. As a result, a large portion of our drought impacted population are missing out on the valuable financial assistance offered by the relief agencies. So, a word of advice – this generation still rely on good old-fashioned word of mouth, and mainly prefer to trust “the local bloke”.

Charities, not for profits and non-government organisations can take action to shift from their traditional roles as relief agencies and move towards becoming partners who walk in lockstep with resilient and prepared communities. These relief agencies are, of course, well-meaning but most, if not all of them, are based outside of our region. Some of them even have a strictly virtual presence. Which is why, despite the obvious devastation of drought that surrounds us, they often walk away scratching their heads at the low levels of relief uptake after briefly popping up in our communities. The lack of local coordination and sharing of information on the ground is, ultimately, failing our rural communities.

Jaimee-Lee Prow presenting at the Red Cross Drought Resilience, Relief & Recovery Forum in December, 2021. WATCH from 30:32.

So, how do we fix the problem?

The solutions aren’t necessarily innovative or complex. In fact, they’re quite simple. Below is a list of steps that relief agencies can take to provide effective support to our drought effected communities:

Step one: listen to the locals

As mentioned in the Red Cross Drought Resilience discussion paper, projects and program delivery from organisations need to be locally focused to meet the needs of the region they are working with. When it comes to providing assistance for our communities, blanket approaches simply don’t work and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution doesn’t exist.

Step two: we need more than just a plan for the future

We are really at a critical point within the community drought recovery process where we need to keep the momentum going and continue to create or maintain partnerships. Within my local community. I have recognised a shift away from the initial panic and knee jerk reactions to the disaster. Local individuals, groups, businesses, and farms are now ready to accept and explore actions they can take to prepare for future drought- something that wasn’t possible in the initial stages of drought response.

Our initial response was to flood funds upon our drought impacted communities. And this was evident in the amount of overlapping we saw in service provision from our relief agencies. Don’t get me wrong, to a degree we certainly needed it. But what we are starting to see or recognise now is that drought funding is starting to dry up, and services are beginning to wind back in our rural communities. This imbalance between community readiness and resources, and the funding now available is a major concern moving forward. In the disaster recovery and planning phase, we need the resources now more than ever to be ready for next time.

Step three: simple applications and greater flexibility

We need to ensure application processes are simplified and easy to access. This will benefit all sections of the community but is crucial if organisations want their programs to be accessible to applicants aged 65+. Secondly, because each region is different, the criteria grants need to be made more flexible so that projects can be locally defined by the communities themselves and can be used to support a cross section of activities such as infrastructure, events, training, capacity building and network development.

Step four: recognition of the role that local organisations play

Local organisations are the backbone of remote, rural, and regional communities. Therefore, programs need to be modelled around their goals and needs. In order for partnerships to be successful and meaningful to our communities, agencies must be personable within the community, and the program itself must be driven by the community that the agency is working with.

During my time working at Blackall Tambo Regional Council, I have worked closely with FRRR on a number of drought resilience initiatives. FRRR have championed solutions that have been led by our community and that are driven by the needs and abilities of those living in our region. I believe that this approach to disaster recovery is the way of the future.

Step five: events and projects should be led by trusted locals

This is the valuable way to connect, respond, recover and plan ahead. While some are of the belief that the community barbecue or the local arts and cultural workshop are a band-aid solution to relieving the impacts of drought, those from rural communities would actually beg to differ. We come from significantly isolated areas. These types of community events, particularly during drought, are a necessity for creating touchpoints, social check ins, networking opportunities, and they keep our communities connected.

Some of the most brilliant ideas for future proofing and planning are sprouted through general chitchat amongst like-minded people at these types of events. We are already seeing some relief organisations which have come into our region, begin to recognise these events and spaces as the perfect platform for informal networking and building a rapport with our community members. As a result, partnerships have become stronger, and we find that these organisations who take these extra steps have a better understanding of our community’s needs which results in a greater uptake of their services.

Step six: continued government and philanthropic support

As I’ve already mentioned, it’s crucial that relief agencies don’t simply pull the plug and let funding dry up. Our rural communities are now more than ready than ever to prepare and build resilient regions through planning and projects. We just need the continued commitment to fund and provide resources.

Step seven: build local champions

As an NFP, charity and non-government organisation you should be an active collaborator, but you should essentially be led by locals. Start building your local champions in the communities you were working with. They will be your best investment.

Finally, I’ll finish with something I heard once that I believe perfectly sums up the attitude we must approach the future with if we’re going to continue to build prepared and resilient communities: “You don’t need to be strong to survive a bad situation. You just need a plan.”

Much needed boost for 17 initiatives in affected NSW and QLD rural communities

FRRR, in partnership with Suncorp Group, has awarded $200,000 in grants to 17 community groups and local not-for-profits in rural areas impacted by the March 2021 floods and storms for initiatives that will support their recovery from the disaster.

$200,000 in grants for ongoing recovery from March ‘21 floods

Funded through the Rebuilding Futures program, grants awarded range from $1,573 to $15,000. This funding will help with projects such as restoring damaged infrastructure, improving buildings and maintaining equipment needed for future disaster events, developing local disaster-response knowledge and skills, and providing access to services that foster recovery.

These grants are the first to come from Suncorp Group’s $1 million pledge to FRRR to support rural Australian communities impacted by, or vulnerable to, significant natural disasters.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the grant recipients have showed a sense of resolve and strength when it comes to rebuilding.

“Recovery is not a quick process – not every community is going to have the capacity to take the same steps at the same time. Despite this, and the challenges of COVID-19 and volunteer fatigue, we’ve been genuinely impressed by the drive of local groups to actively seek support and funding to help their communities recover from the floods. It’s this kind of resilient spirit and motivation that will see these communities thrive once again.

“More than 50 percent of the applications we received for this round were for infrastructure and equipment, which shows not only the extent of the physical damage from the flooding, but also the long-term approach that these organisations are taking to the rebuilding of their communities,” said Ms Egleton.

Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston, said these grants will enable recipients to overcome challenges and take control of their futures.

“The recipients of these grants are determined to make sure their communities recover and bounce back from the March 2021 floods. Natural disasters can turn people’s lives upside down, but the challenge has become even greater with the added pressure of the pandemic.

“Our remote, rural and regional communities know how to come together and work to rebuild their own futures. That’s why grant programs like these, that champion community-led recovery, are so crucial,” said Mr Johnston.

Among the 17 projects funded this round are:

  • Bumbalong Valley Progress Association, NSW – Bumbalong Emu Project – $12,490 – Boost community connection and support the conservation of the local emu population by replacing infrastructure damaged during the March 2021 floods.
  • Hawkesbury City Council, NSW – Hawkesbury Community Tech Connect – $14,836 – Enhance access to internet and mobile phone coverage with the creation of community technology hubs across the Hawkesbury region reducing isolation and supporting disaster recovery activities.
  • Weemelah Hall, NSW – Beautification and Infrastructure Upgrade Project – $13,358 – Enhance community spaces with the installation of a BBQ for community use and beautification of the Weemelah Hall.
  • Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association Incorporated, QLD – Repair Rain-damaged Equestrian Arena and Make it Flood-resistant – $15,000 – Upgrade community infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Ground.

More information on the Suncorp Rebuilding Futures grant program is available here.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism IncA Positive Future
Grow the organisations capacity to support the community with the provision of a portable projector and screen to enhance the delivery of community activities and events.
Bermagui$2,584
Bumbalong Valley Progress AssociationBumbalong Emu Project
Boost community connection and support the conservation of the local emu population by replacing infrastructure damaged during the March 2021 floods.
Bumbalong$12,490
Hawkesbury City CouncilHawkesbury Community Tech Connect
Enhance access to internet and mobile phone coverage with the creation of community technology hubs across the Hawkesbury region reducing isolation and supporting disaster recovery activities.
Bilpin, Colo & St Albans$14,836
Huskisson Public School Parents and Citizens AssociationHuskisson Public School Community Canteen
Boost community resilience and connection with upgrades at the Huskisson School canteen, providing appropriate cooking facilities for the community to cook, prepare and share meals.
Huskisson$10,000
Kempsey Singers IncorporatedKempsey's Bandbox Theatre Costume Conservation Project
Boost organisational capacity by repairing and mitigating future flood impacts at the Bandbox theatre and replace a portion of costumes damaged by the March 2021 floods.
Kempsey$5,000
Kendall Men's ShedNoise Level Reduction
Boost the service offerings at the Kendall Men's Shed with noise reducing machinery encouraging community participation and connection.
Kendall$1,573
Make a Difference PMQ IncorporatedMAD SHED
Boost the organisations capacity to support their community, particularly through recovery with the provision of a shed to house essential equipment and machinery.
Port Macquarie$15,000
Mission AustraliaThe Common Approach - A Whole of Community Response to Child and Youth Wellbeing
Grow community connection and wellbeing by providing activities through "The Common Approach" as a whole of community response to child and youth wellbeing across the Mid Coast region.
Taree$10,811
Unkya Reserve Committee of Management Nambucca Valley CouncilStay and Play - Unkya Reserve Playground Flood-Resilient
Upgrade Boost access to family oriented community spaces with the repair of stairs and the installation of picnic table, bench and shade at the Unkya Reserve.
Eungai Creek$15,000
Quambone Resources Committee IncQuambone Memorial Hall - Final Touches
Boost community connection by providing enhancements to the Quambone Memorial Hall, ensuring access to a comfortably appointed community facility for all to enjoy.
Quambone$12,500
River Cares IncorporatedTo Improve Emergency Preparedness and Resilience by Developing a Community Emergency Plan
Support emergency preparedness for Spencer and surrounding areas with the development of the Spencer Community Emergency Response Plan.
Spencer$14,832
UCA - Lifeline North Coast (NSW)Psychological First Aid Workers - First Response Volunteers
Strengthen community members mental health and wellbeing and assist in the training of community volunteer in Mental Health First Aid to support local recovery and resilience building.
Coffs Harbour$14,800
Upper Macleay Pre-School IncorporatedTranquil and Safe - Upper Macleay Preschool Flood Recovery Initiative
Support flooding preparedness by enhancing the Upper Macleay Preschool with repairs to flood damaged infrastructure and better preparing for future flooding events.
Willawarrin$12,487
Weemelah HallBeautification and Infrastructure Upgrade Project
Enhance community spaces with the installation of a BBQ for community use and beautification of the Weemalah Hall.
Weemelah$13,358
Young Men's Christian Association of SydneyThe Y NSW CoastTeen Project - Empowering Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support for Young People Living on the Central Coast
Support community wellbeing with the delivery on the Youth Mental Health Peer Support program in the NSW Central Coast region.
Lake Haven$14,729
QUEENSLAND
Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association IncorporatedRepair Rain-Damaged Equestrian Arena and Make it Flood Resistant
Support the mitigation of impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds by repairing, leveling and compacting the sand arena damaged during the March 2021 floods.
Rathdowney$15,000
Tamborine Mountain A H & I Society IncReplacement of Safety Rails on Access Ramp
Increase accessibility to the Tamborine Mountains Showgrounds Pavilion by replacing the handrails and the front of the pavilion.
Tamborine Mountain$15,000


Capacity building grants support long-term recovery initiatives of local not-for-profits and community organisations

FRRR has awarded grants to four Victorian community groups playing a central role in the long-term recovery of communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.

Local groups playing a critical role in Victoria’s bushfire recovery to receive $400,000 in funding

The grants are the first to be awarded through the Bushfire Recovery Fund established thanks to a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund. The program is designed to strengthen the capacity of local not-for-profit organisations and community groups operating in fire-affected areas to support the ongoing recovery of communities.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that having access to longer-term, multi-year support is vital when it comes to creating effective solutions on the ground to allow these communities to recover and thrive.

“These grants recognise the vital role of these organisations and invest in the skills, tools and resources they need to support their community as they rebuild, and to sustain their work beyond the recovery. With the additional pressure of COVID-19, this multi-year support will mean they can confidently plan, invest and be there to support their community as needs change,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust CEO, Debra Morgan, said that the Trust believes local organisations are best placed to understand local needs, and that this is particularly the case in bushfire-affected areas, where it’s critical that organisations have the support they need to sustain their operations.

“The four organisations have identified the needs specific to their communities, and each has a unique approach to the road to recovery. The projects reflect the local context of each community and the interventions required for long-term recovery. We are pleased to support these strong organisations seeking to build organisational capacity and resilience, and we hope they will serve to strengthen the communities into the future,” Ms Morgan said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO, Leonard Vary, said that the Bushfire Recovery Fund aims to strengthen the operations of ‘backbone’ organisations and give each the means to implement effective and innovative approaches in supporting impacted communities over the longer term.

“Local organisations must be given the tools to develop and implement plans for sustainability and growth so as to support bushfire-affected communities into the future. These grants will help enhance organisational capability and improve the services offered to communities including future preparedness efforts,” said Mr Vary.

The four groups funded are:

  • Alpine Valley Community Leadership (AVCL) – $90,000 – Build AVCL’s capacity to strategically plan and deliver leadership training that can more effectively support and build community recovery capacity in north-east Victoria.
  • Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc – $103,340 – Increase operational capacity by providing an additional .8 FTE to the core staffing levels. The increased resource will enable Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc to continue to progress its strategic social enterprise and community development work including participation in bushfire recovery work.
  • Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund Inc (CHIRF) – $113,230 – Enable the employment of a skilled local project manager, who will progress the current aims for developing the local mental health services offering through strategic planning, fundraising and project design and development.
  • Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre (MBNC) – $100,000 – Increase operational capacity of the organisation, which will allow it to develop a prepared and resilient community. The driving force behind this application is the volunteer-run Keep Calm Committee, which works alongside MBNC.

More information about the Bushfire Recovery Fund is on this website.