Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

FRRR and Charter Hall are pleased to announce the expansion of their partnership, signing a three-year agreement to drive further investment in disaster preparedness and recovery efforts across remote, rural and regional communities. The funding will be distributed through FRRR’s flagship Strengthening Rural Communities small grants program.

Two yellow aeroplanes
Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome Inc received an SRC grant, funded by Charter Hall, for their Tenterfield Aerodrome Disaster Resilience Project

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that with rural communities increasingly at the forefront of the impacts of climate change, it’s more important than ever that communities can access flexible funding to support preparedness efforts, especially in smaller remote, rural and regional communities.

“We’re grateful for this commitment from Charter Hall, as it means that there will be more funding to empower local communities to shape and lead their preparedness, disaster recovery and resilience building projects in a way that makes the most sense in their community.

“After decades of working alongside remote, rural and regional communities, we know that no two are the same. Our small grants program has proven a critical source of funding, as it’s always open and ready when the time is right. For some, it’s helped them purchase emergency equipment or upgrade the place of last refuge so it’s safe, accessible and fit for purpose; for others, it’s supported a whole of community planning process, while for others it’s enabled leadership and local capacity development.

“With Charter Hall’s support, we will be able to support more communities be better able to respond to whatever comes their way. We also look forward to sharing the importance of this kind of support among their networks and colleagues,” Ms Egleton said.

Natalie Devlin, Charter Hall’s Chief Experience Officer, commented on the importance of its partnership with FRRR in having an enduring impact on its communities.

“At Charter Hall we have always focused on actively partnering for mutual success. Our approach to community investment is no different, focusing on creating lasting change by partnering where we can make the most difference to individuals and communities. We are pleased to be expanding our partnership with FRRR, ensuring relief and recovery solutions are funded in the community to deliver the greatest community benefit.

“Through this partnership, we will enable local people and organisations to shape and lead their disaster relief, recovery and resilience building processes. Having worked with FRRR since 2020, we have seen first-hand the difference they can make through their local understanding, and connection to grassroots organisations that often can’t access support otherwise.”

The first grants to be made with Charter Hall’s support was announced 30 April 2024.

Rural community groups and not-for-profit organisations that want to apply to the Prepare & Recover stream can find out more on FRRR’s website.

The list of Charter Hall-funded grant recipients and their projects are below.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
ADRA Wauchope Community Connect led by ADRA Wauchope Community Connect Adventist Development and Relief Agency Australia LtdADRA Wauchope Community Connect
Support bushfire recovery by purchasing a food trailer to continue delivering a food service to vulnerable local residents.
Wauchope, NSW$25,000
Courabyra Public Hall Land ManagerCourabyra Hall Storage Infrastructure
Contribute to bushfire preparedness and increase capacity to serve as a central resource hub by building new storage areas for food, perishables, and additional safety equipment.
Courabyra, NSW$20,237
Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome IncTenterfield Aerodrome Disaster Resilience Project
Enhance bushfire preparedness by constructing a shed to store aerodrome maintenance and firefighting equipment.
Tenterfield, NSW$10,000
Narooma Surf Life Saving Club IncVideo and Audio Conferencing System 
Enhance bushfire recovery and improve communication during emergencies with a new by video and audio conference system at Narooma Surf Life Saving Club.
Narooma, NSW$1,500
Wujal Wujal Aboriginal CouncilWujal Wujal Prepare and Recover Project
Build preparedness for future climate related disasters in a community impacted by Cyclone Jasper by purchasing emergency generators, lighting, portable cooking equipment and swags.
Wujal Wujal, QLD$25,000
Freycinet Volunteer Marine Rescue Association IncPE-ER: Protective Equipment - Efficient Radio
Support community safety and enhance organisational capacity during emergencies by upgrading communication equipment and protective clothing.
Swansea, TAS$9,968
St Helens Marine Rescue Association IncorporatedMarine Rescue Capability Extension
Strengthen capability of an emergency service and support the work of volunteers through the upgrade of telecommunication equipment and safety jackets.
St Helens, TAS$7,260

First round of Small Network Grants benefit 29 NFPs

FRRR has awarded $737,774 in Small Network Grants to 29 not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) working in remote, rural and regional Australia for projects that will strengthen the capacity and capability of their communities to prepare for, and be resilient to, the impacts of future droughts.

The District Council of Orroroo Carrieton will use their Small Network Grant for upgrades to the Orroroo Community Church Hall so that it can be used as a family daycare

The Small Network Grants program is supported by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund through the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative.

Funded projects are diverse, including a Mental Health forum in Junee, NSW; a series of community connection and education events in Alice Springs, NT; a portable toilet to support small-scale community infrastructure projects in Boonah, QLD; a demonstration day for the new digital weather station and soil probe network in Kingscote, SA; Accidental Counsellor training for the Tasmanian community of Triabunna; a Field Day for local secondary students in Birchip, VIC; and a series of natural resources management and drought education sessions in the Great Southern WA region of Kendenup.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said strong interest in the program indicates that organisations and local leaders are actively seeking ways to inspire their communities to connect, communicate and strengthen social capital, so they can better withstand the impacts of future drought.

“Most of the applications we saw in this round of the Small Network Grants program were for projects designed to improve communication, social connection and collaboration within and between communities, as a way of strengthening and preparing for drought.

“Far North West Joint Organisation’s Drought Resilience Community Action Group is a great example of this type of initiative. With a $50,000 grant, the Action Group will help the communities of Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar to increase knowledge and resource sharing and promote collaboration, so that the NSW Far West region can be better prepared.

“More than half of the applications we received have never been funded by FRRR. This means we are reaching grassroots organisations and responding to the increased priority around drought preparedness in many remote, rural and regional communities, many of which are still recovering from other climate-related disasters like cyclone and flooding.

“We look forward to seeing how these projects help community groups be better connected, informed and resourced in the next drought,” Ms O’Brien said.

Applications for Round 2 of Small Network Grants are open now and close 26 March 2024, with recipients announced in June 2024.

Potential applicants are encouraged to watch this recorded webinar to learn more about the program and the eligibility requirements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DHpeNQqPeI.

For more information, including the list of eligible LGAs, and to apply, visit: https://frrr.org.au/small-networks-grants.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Small Networks Grants Round 1 - March 2024
Stream 1
NEW SOUTH WALES
Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Fund LtdCommunity Capacity Building Drought-Ready Workshop
Support the Batlow community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a two-day workshop focused on skills development and increasing awareness of drought and drought preparedness activities for up to 20 emerging leaders across the community. This will enable the development and learning initiatives to facilitate professional, personal and leadership-related development and learning to support drought preparation.
Batlow$16,169
Far South Coast Dairy Development Group IncAutumn Break: Supporting Community in Tough Times
Improved communication, social connection, and collaboration within and between communities to support drought preparedness and improved implementation of place-based practices by communities to build and enhance resilience to drought.
Bega$20,000
Junee Community Centre IncDrought Resilience - Junee Mental Health Forum
Support the Junee community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a Mental Health forum, that will facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Junee $15,600
Karuah & Great Lakes Landcare IncPreparing for Drought
Support the Stroud community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of two one-day workshops providing education and demonstration in drought preparation for mitigating the impacts of dry spells, facilitating professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Stoud$20,000
Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council IncCCC Community Wellbeing Project Condobolin
Support the Condobolin community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a Mentally Fit Classroom Initiative and community engagement dinner, enabling the facilitation of professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Condobolin$15,695
Southern New England Landcare LtdCommunity Connection for Outlying Areas
Support the Walcha and Billy Creek / Hernani communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of six community events to bring people together, meet neighbours, strengthen networks and increase knowledge and capacity around drought preparedness.
Walcha and Billy Creek$19,984
Western Rural Connect Inc on behalf of Narromine Small Business NetworkRural Women in Business Luncheon
Support the Narromine community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a luncheon for local women with an interest in business that will facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Narromine$20,000
QUEENSLAND
Boonah & District Landcare Association IncPortable Toilet Project
Support the Boonah community to be more prepared for and resilient to the impacts of drought through the purchase of a portable toilet to use at events enabling small-scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing and facilities.
Boonah$6,008
Mitchell & District Landcare Assoc IncAn Honest Look at Drought - A Hard Day's Work
Support the Tooloombilla, Mitchell and Dunkeld communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of three, guided workshops in three communities which will include wellbeing and support professionals and government agencies to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social, or community networks.
Tooloombilla, Mitchell and Dunkeld$6,285
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
54 31 Collective IncThe 5431 Connect, Create, Celebrate Project
Support the Orroroo community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a series of resilience-building workshops and a Rural Women’s celebration event to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Orroroo$17,630
Agriculture Kangaroo Island IncOn Farm Decision Making Resources & Demonstration Day
Support the Kangaroo Island community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the development of training resources and the delivery of a demonstration day for a new digital weather station and soil probe network, to improve skills and capacity in community risk management, planning and project delivery.
Kingscote$13,830
Coonalpyn Golf Club IncThe Club in the Scrub
Support the Coorong community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the installation of a new roof on the Coonalpyn Golf Clubhouse, a small-scale community infrastructure project to improve connectedness and wellbeing.
Coonalpyn$9,800
District Council of Orroroo Carrieton Orroroo Community Church Hall Upgrades for Family Day Care
Support the Orroroo community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through minor infrastructure works to the Community Church Hall so that it can be used as a family daycare and family-friendly community venue enabling small-scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing and facilities.
Orroroo$20,000
TASMANIA
Rural Alive & Well IncDrought Resilience and Suicide Prevention for Rural Communities
Support the communities of Smithton and Wynyard in the North / Northwest Tasmania region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of early intervention mental health training enabling initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Smithton and Wynyard$18,000
Spring Bay Suicide Prevention NetworkACT - Accidental Counsellors Together
Support the Triabunna community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through Accidental Counsellor training and other activities that improve skills and capacity in risk management and overall community wellbeing.
Triabunna$7,425
VICTORIA
Birchip Cropping Group IncBCG Main Field Day Secondary Student Stream
Support the Birchip community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the participation of secondary students from the North Central Local Learning and Employment Network (NCLLEN) cluster along with farmers, agronomists, and industry representatives at the Main Field Day in Birchip to help strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Birchip$19,130
Common Ground ProjectCommunity Drought Preparedness Network
Support the Freshwater Creek community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the development of a local Community Drought Preparedness Network, expanding into outer regional communities across the farming district to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Freshwater Creek$20,000
Rural Business and Community LtdShared Shops Trail
Support the Donald, Hopetoun, Boort and Quambatook communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the establishment of a Shared Shops Trail for up to six Shared Shops to strengthen the coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Donald, Hopetoun, Boort and Quambatook$20,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Facey GroupRegional Resilience
Support communities of the Wheatbelt South region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a community event that facilitates professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change-associated risks.
Wickepin $20,000
Stream 2
NSW Far West
Far North West Joint OrganisationDrought Resilience Community Action Group
Support the Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the creation of a Drought Resilience Community Action Group subcommittee that aims to strengthen coordination of local organisations and services, increase knowledge and resource sharing and promote collaboration to be better prepared for future drought in Far West NSW.
Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar$50,000
Mallee Sustainable Farming IncCrossroads: Developing Leadership Skills for Rural Women in Isolated Areas of Far-Western NSW
Support the Wentworth and Pooncarie communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a tailored leadership initiative for women strengthening the capacity, capability and coordination of community networks.
Wentworth and Pooncarie$50,000
NT Arid Lands
Kulgera Gymkhana Club IncCustom Made Cool Room
Support the Kulgera community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the purchase of a portable cool room with trailer to improve connectedness, wellbeing and usage of local facilities.
Kulgera$27,159
Landcare NT IncThe Arid Lands Agricultural Community Connections Project
Support the community of the Arid Lands region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a series of four, day-long community events that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Alice Springs$50,000
The Arid Lands Environment CentreProject Manager for the Arid Lands Environment Centre and Alice Spring Community Gardens Network
Support the Alice Springs community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the engagement of a Project Manager, enabling initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of two community gardens.
Alice Springs$50,000
NT Tablelands
Charles Darwin University Building Social Drought Resilience Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Groups in Katherine
Support communities of the Katherine region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of three drought resilience focussed workshops and support resources that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Katherine$44,300
Northern Territory Farmers Association IncNorthern Australia Food Futures Regional Roadshow - Preparing For The Future Support the Mataranka community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a two-day roadshow with approximately 60 attendees that promotes drought preparedness using targeted engagement with agricultural stakeholders and the broader community to facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.Mataranka $47,232
WA Great Southern
Oyster Harbour Catchment Group IncMega Community Toolbox: Improving the Community's Capacity to Connect
Support the communities of the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of natural resource management and drought-themed learning sessions enabling initiatives that strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social and community networks.
Kendenup$48,620
Stirlings to Coast Farmers IncFit for Farming - Building Social, Mental, Physical and Financial Fitness
Support the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through participation in physical health and wellbeing activities / events to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social and community networks.
Mt Barker $31,525
Wellstead Community Resource Centre Choosing Wellness in Wellstead
Support the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a range of learning and wellbeing focussed community activities to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Wellstead$33,382

The work of the Wardell Community Organised Resilience Effort (CORE) is an example of how a small town can rally in the face of a natural disaster and be ready for disasters to come. Most days, Wardell is an idyllic spot to live. Lush, green and quiet on the banks of the Richmond River in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. But in 2022, floods devastated the town and others nearby. Wardell had never flooded before, and no one was prepared.

Wardell CORE was set up as a resource centre for emergency donations. Bedding, blankets, clothes, food, medical supplies, water, torches, batteries and tents were all gratefully received. The need was immense. Two years on, Wardell CORE’s primary purpose is still helping affected people. Some are still homeless and many struggle with mental health issues, including PTSD. Their other main aim is to make sure the community is never impacted in the same way again.

Planning for the way forward

During the 2022 floods, mobile and internet telecommunications were impacted, meaning Wardell and the surrounding communities had limited or no communication in many areas until power could be restored or services fixed. Having no communications during a disaster created all kinds of problems – the emergency services people couldn’t share vital information, residents were cut off from family and friends, and there were any number of complexities around ongoing recovery.

After the flood receded, Wardell CORE immediately started planning for the next one, and detailed planning identified a need for a way for the community to stay informed, given the power outage lasted for two weeks or more. CB radio was the solution. They received a $10,000 grant from FRRR through Telstra’s Connected Communities program that funded the purchase of 10 hand-held devices and two base stations, as well as funds left over to support the community with the appropriate training. Through additional fundraising, they were able to install a relay station that helps to extend the signal as far as possible to provide radio reception throughout town and with the nearby communities of Woodburn and Coraki up-river, and Ballina down-river.

Where to next?

The organisation plans to distribute more radios throughout the region to anticipate flood events as widely and comprehensively as possible. Another resilience move they made was installing a Starlink service that uses a network of satellites to provide internet coverage, and installing onsite battery storage so that they will have internet in the event of future power outages.

The team behind Wardell CORE recognises that locals in the region experience high levels of anxiety about weather events, but the low level of digital literacy in the community is a real barrier to disaster preparedness. To resolve this, they’re looking at establishing a program that teaches people how to access and interpret weather apps and other related platforms.

A spokesperson for Wardell CORE explained the impact of the grant they received.

“Without the FRRR grant from Telstra’s Connected Communities program, we would never have been able to put our disaster preparation plans into action. The lessons learned from the 2022 floods meant we knew what technology we needed and where it should be located. But our reliance on small donations meant we could never have afforded it. Now we have the communications we need to feel confident about our ability to protect our people, physically and mentally, from any flood events in the future.”

Funding to strengthen infrastructure, resilience and communication networks

More than $1.5 million in grants has today been announced for 110 community groups across remote, rural and regional Australia through FRRR’s flagship Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

Group of people standing under a marquee behind a table full of handcrafted wares.
Community groups value the flexibility of the SRC grants, which allow them to come together and respond to local needs, such as this group, which ran creative workshops to support recovery and social wellbeing in their flood-impacted community. 

Awarded via three streams of funding – small and vital projects, COVID recovery and disaster preparedness or recovery – the grants will go toward initiatives that address a variety of diverse needs and local priorities, including infrastructure upgrades, strengthening resilience, addressing service gaps and growing networks.

The projects range from a winter-care program that will see support packs delivered to elderly residents of St Arnaud, VIC and a series of emergency bushfire preparedness workshops for the community of Batlow in NSW, to helping install silo art in Lameroo, SA as a way to reinvigorate tourism and enhance local sense of identity following the pandemic.

Jill Karena, FRRR’s Place Portfolio Lead, says that the diversity of requests once again highlights the importance of having a small grants program like SRC.

“The needs of remote, rural and regional communities differ, so it’s critical to be able to offer flexible funding like we do through this small grants program. It means that local groups can respond to local priorities in their communities.

“This round, projects ranged from domestic violence support and mentoring programs, to food security and tourism initiatives to help rebuild the local economy. There was really strong demand for support to enhance community infrastructure, particularly maintaining meeting places so people can come together and strengthen local connections, but we also saw a significant number of requests relating to increasing the reach and emergency communications capability of groups like community radio stations.

“We also saw a focus on infrastructure in the COVID recovery grants, with groups aiming to enhance community resilience in the face of disruptions, whether they be environmental or health related. Interestingly, we’re also supporting quite a few projects that help to rebuild connections within communities post COVID – especially in places that lots of people moved to during the pandemic. Alongside this, it’s wonderful to see more projects that are engaging Indigenous Australians.

“From a disaster perspective, it’s pleasing to be able to help organisations be proactive about their safety, strengthening communications and adding to the equipment available locally, so they’re not as reliant on SES or Government in the event of a crisis.

“These are the projects that create a sense of place and identity, and the people and organisations that make these inspiring projects happen need our support. To continue to do that, we need funds, so we invite all those who want to see a thriving remote, rural and regional Australia to join us to support local initiatives. They really do make a difference,” Ms Karena said.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by donors, ranging from private individuals to larger foundations, who are acknowledged on the FRRR website. This round there were a further 50 funding-ready projects, requesting more than $610,000, that FRRR could not support. We are urgently seeking new partners, so that we can fund more projects like these in the future.

FRRR always accepts applications to this program, which awards funds around four times a year. Local not-for-profit organisations and community groups are encouraged to review the program guidelines and apply. More information about the SRC program is available at www.frrr.org.au/src.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
SRC Round 19 - February 2024
NEW SOUTH WALES
Small & Vital
Camden Haven Historical Society IncCamden Haven Museum Lighting Upgrade
Upgrade museum lighting to enhance visitor experience with improved historical displays, lower energy costs and boost financial sustainability.
Camden Haven$6,903
Caragabal Public School P&C AssociationPurchase of Vermin-Proof Shipping Container to Store Essential School and Community Supplies
Foster community wellbeing and reduce economic losses by purchasing a vermin-proof shipping container to protect stored school and community supplies from damage.
Caragabal$10,000
Coursing Park Tennis and Community CentreKitchen for the Coursing Park Tennis & Community Centre
Install a kitchen for food preparation and storage to support a wider range of community events at the Centre.
Coursing Park$10,000
Deniliquin Community Hub IncDeniliquin Community Hub Project
Alleviate food insecurity by developing a food bank program with food storage, insurance, food stocks and volunteer training.
Deniliquin $7,792
Glen Innes & District Historical SocietyUpgrade of Community Facilities
Install TV monitor, mobile stand and roller-blinds as part of an IT and infrastructure plan to enhance community use of the Potter Memorial building.
Glen Innes$5,179
Home-Start National IncBreathe and Rebuild Project
Provide practical parenting support and family case management by expanding coordinator hours to train additional volunteers, alleviating social isolation and addressing the needs of individuals and families through increased support.
Goulburn$48,076
Moree Cultural Art Foundation LtdCreative Minds Happy Hearts
Encourage new relaxation techniques and art participation by providing free art classes for individuals living with a disability or mental illness.
Moree$10,000
Murrurundi Matters IncProvision of Speech Therapy to Murrurundi Primary School and Preschool Students
Improve preschool and primary school children's speech development with 12 months of essential, otherwise inaccessible speech pathology services.
Murrurundi$9,043
Naradhan Reserves Land ManagerNaradhan Public Hall Upgrade
Improve hall maintenance and usability by sealing the eaves to exclude dust from the building.
Naradhan$6,820
Red Rock Multi Use Centre IncSupply and Installation of External Shade Awnings
Enhance the Centre's usability by installing adjustable exterior shade systems to three rooms on the western side of the building, creating several versatile spaces available for year-round hire.
Red Rock$4,530
Stonewave Taiko IncOkina Mura: Big Village
Develop and stage a musical show as a collaboration of local cultural groups with five free public performances across the Bega Valley.
Bega$10,000
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Brunswick Valley Landcare IncJunior Landcare in the Northern Rivers: Rejuvenation, Regeneration, Restoration
Contribute to bushfire recovery by holding a networking event and eight Junior Landcare workshops for schools, fostering ongoing relationships with local Landcare groups.
Mullumbimby$24,713
Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast Inc on behalf of Sapphire Coast Mens Circle Sapphire Coast Men's Circle
Strengthen bushfire recovery and men's mental health by conducting a weekly men's circle program to build healthy resilient relationships between men of all backgrounds.
Candelo$7,800
Snowy Valleys Resilience Hub IncUsing a BIG MAP to Assist Disaster Preparedness in Towns at Risk – Snowy Valleys Pilot
Enhance bushfire preparedness with six interactive workshops, addressing neighbourhood safe places and emergency evacuation routes to support community-centred disaster preparedness.
Batlow$25,000
UCA - Lifeline North Coast (NSW)BBQ Trailer Project
Boost recovery and preparedness in the bushfire-impacted North Coast region by purchasing a BBQ trailer to act as a mobile support unit and enhance annual community mental health engagement events.
Coffs Harbour$25,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
Anglican Community ServicesPreparedness Pack Project
Build disaster preparedness capacity and strengthen the resilience of Moree Plains communities through an awareness campaign distributing waterproof preparedness packs at workshops and recovery events across the Shire throughout 2024.
Moree$24,940
Byron Shire Council on behalf of Richmond Tweed Regional Library - Byron Bay LibraryYoung and Connected
Develop the confidence and skills of flood-affected young people and build their leadership capacity by delivering youth led creative art workshops.
Byron Bay$10,000
Container of Dreams LtdCommunity Kitchen, Food Pantry and Wellness Lunch Club Project
Enhance disaster preparedness and bushfire recovery by upgrading kitchen facilities and building a storeroom and an all-weather eating area to support the growth of the Food Pantry and Wellness Lunch Club.
Drake$25,000
Harrington Resilience Association IncHarrington Crowdy Head Neighbours Helping Neighbours
Enhance community resilience and flood preparedness by establishing a network of neighbourhood groups using the Red Cross model for Community-led Resilience Teams.
Harrington $10,000
Lismore City Council on behalf of The Lismore QuadrangleOur Place, Our Species
Enhance flood recovery through a First Nations-led wellbeing program featuring storytelling, education activities and tools for caring for the country during NAIDOC week to engage the community.
Lismore$25,000
Minnie Water Progress AssociationRenovation of Minnie Water Hall Kitchen
Enhance flood recovery and preparedness by upgrading the kitchen of a hall used as a refuge during emergencies and a venue for community functions.
Minnie Water$10,000
Rock Valley Hall IncCommunity Preparedness with Solar Power
Enhance flood preparedness by installing rooftop solar panels and a lithium storage battery in the hall, enabling access to essential power and communication services during an emergency.
Rock Valley$23,726
Stokers Siding / Dunbible Memorial Hall Inc on behalf of Stokers Siding Community Resilience Team (SSCRT)SSCRT Community Connection
Enhance local disaster response during floods and emergencies by purchasing a UHF Repeater station, 10 UHF Portable radios and a backup generator.
Stokers Siding$25,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
Murrah Hall Preservation Association IncMurrah Metamorphosis Outdoors: Stage 1 – Mini Amphitheatre
Sustain the operations of the Murrah Hall and encourage community and cultural connection, and economic revitalisation post-pandemic with the construction of a mini amphitheatre.
Murrah$49,372
Our Plan C IncEstablishing a Network of Young Community Carers and Responders
Reduce social isolation and support the wellbeing of young people impacted by COVID-19 by establishing a network of young community carers and responders in the Northern Rivers of NSW.
Lismore$50,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Bellingen Youth Orchestra IncBellingen Youth Orchestra Post-COVID Junior Wind Ensemble
Develop skills and support the post-pandemic creative recovery of young people in a woodwind music program by supporting the employment of a skilled ensemble leader.
Bellingen$10,000
Bowraville Communication Technology Centre IncSecurity for Volunteers and Increased Community Safety
Sustain volunteer capacity and safety post-pandemic by installing a modern security camera system with recording capability at a community technology centre.
Bowraville$5,168
Cooma Pastoral and Agricultural Association IncSecuring the Future of Cooma P&A Association Project
Increase the sustainability of a Show society post-COVID-19 through the purchase of kitchen equipment for events and for hire by other groups.
Cooma$2,500
Equine AngelsHorses 4 Healing Youth Project
Improve self-esteem and social engagement in young people experiencing homelessness or housing instability post-COVID-19 through an award-winning Equine Assisted Learning program.
Byron Bay$9,830
Fling Physical Theatre IncRegional Tour of My Black Dog – Supporting the Mental Health of Regional Youth
Support youth mental health in regional NSW post-pandemic through the delivery of a performance, film and workshop program encouraging constructive discussions about mental and emotional wellbeing.
Bega$10,000
Great Lakes Womens Shelter IncDomestic and Family Violence Outreach Worker
Address an identified community need and support the work of a women's shelter post-pandemic by employing a skilled domestic and family violence outreach worker.
Forster-Tuncurry$10,000
Lions Club of Werris Creek IncRefurbish and Revitalise a Community Street Stall / Kiosk
Enhance recovery from the pandemic and encourage reconnection by refurbishing a popular street stall where residents and community groups can display, sell or donate home-grown produce to locals and tourists.
Werris Creek$4,500
Murwillumbah Community Centre IncMurbah Youth Fest 2024
Foster connections and participation and reduce social isolation in young people after COVID-19 through an inclusive community-led festival to be held in Youth Week.
Murwillumbah$10,000
Namatjira Haven LtdNamatjira Healing and Reinvigoration Day 2024
Encourage healing, boost community connection and celebrate First Nations' culture post-pandemic through an inclusive open day and festival.
Alstonville$10,000
New England Conservatorium of Music LtdNECOM Music Outreach Program
Enhance the COVID-19 recovery of young people attending remote and regional schools through music education and cultural experiences presented by professional musicians.
Armidale$10,000
Riverina Readers Festival IncRiverina Readers Festival
Encourage social connection and reinvigorate cultural interests post-COVID-19 by hosting the inaugural Riverina Readers Festival.
Wagga Wagga$10,000
The Hayland GatheringThe Hayland Gathering
Support community reconnection and economic recovery post-pandemic by holding a community Scottish Highland-themed festival.
Hay$10,000
Wollombi Valley Progress Association Inc on behalf of Greater Wollombi Valley Community Resilience NetworkGWVCRN – Building Community Resilience
Increase resilience and reduce social isolation after COVID-19 through a series of community connection events encouraging community networks, volunteering and capability development.
Wollombi$9,916
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Middle Point SchoolMindfulness Project – Kitchen & Sensory Garden
Expand hands-on learning and enrichment opportunities for students experiencing educational disparity by building a garden for use as a teaching space.
Middle Point$10,000
MJD Foundation LtdInstallation of Ramp at 'The Bush Shop'
Support dignified independent living for residents with minimal mobility by providing all abilities access to a local supermarket.
Angurugu$10,000
Tarntipi Homelands Aboriginal CorporationFire Management for Tarntipi Bush Camp, Tiwi Islands
Build preparedness of a local social enterprise, improving safety of people and country with the purchase of portable fire-fighting equipment.
Wurrumiyanga$9,715
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
Gupulul Marayuwu Aboriginal CorporationGupulul Marayuwu Homeland Commercial Kitchen Facility Project
Set up a commercial kitchen in a remote First Nations community to enhance post-pandemic recovery, improve employment opportunities and provide meals and social connection to vulnerable community members.
Ramingining$50,000
Yuendumu Women's Centre Aboriginal CorporationActive Women's Centre
Increase the capacity of the Women's Centre to service the community post-pandemic through the employment of a short-term project officer to facilitate the organisation's healthy eating program, community laundry and culture and language activities.
Yuendumu$10,000
QUEENSLAND
Small & Vital
Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group IncRestoring and Expanding: Creating Safe Keeping
Promote truth telling and educate visitors by renovating the Boy’s Dormitory for use as a storage space, preserving the heritage building and creating capacity for the museum to rotate displays.
Cherbourg$10,000
Hughenden Show Society Inc2024 Hughenden Show
Improve amenities and volunteer operating conditions at the showground by upgrading cold storage equipment from eskies to a fridge.
Hughenden$5,066
Ironpot Hall Association IncUpgrade of the Ironpot Hall Kitchen and Supper Room
Improve community safety and compliance with food handling regulations by replacing the Hall’s worn vinyl flooring.
Ironpot$10,000
QCWA Branch KillarneyRestoration of the Kitchen
Increase hall use and ease volunteer working conditions with the installation of dishwasher and new oven.
Killarney$2,900
Torres Strait Kaziw Meta IncBright Futures Tutoring Initiative: Empowering Torres Strait Islander Youth
Enhance educational outcomes and promote positive role modeling by piloting an after-hours mentoring / tutoring program for boarding school students.
Thursday Island$10,000
Prepare & Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Baffle Creek Mens Shed IncBaffle Creek Men's Shed Water Assist
Build an off-grid community’s preparedness to fight fires with the purchase of a trailer and pump to transport water.
Baffle Creek$8,849
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
Mary Valley Rail Trail Association IncPurchase of Electric Cargo Trike
Improve volunteers and visitors’ safety by purchasing a trike to transport equipment to undertake flood repairs and mitigation works on the trail.
Imbil$7,520
Tagalaka Aboriginal Corporation RNTBCTagalaka Food Resilience Project
Ensure food security for residents during flood-related isolation by purchasing a trailer-mounted chiller to access more affordable and healthier bulk buying options.
Croydon$16,853
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
Grow Glenmorgan IncGlenmorgan Shop Shaded Alfresco Area With Solar
Foster community connection post-pandemic through the construction of outdoor shaded meeting space at the community owned store, along with installing a solar system to reduce costs and sustain its operations.
Glenmorgan$46,432
Hungerford Sports Association IncCampground Amenities at Ross Wallace Sports Ground
Enhance post-pandemic recovery in a remote community by installing tailored amenities at the campground to boost overnight stays, social connections, and tourism
Hungerford$50,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Biggenden and District Agricultural and Pastoral Society IncUp In Lights
Enhance communication and recovery post-pandemic by installing an interactive sign and noticeboard at the showground to promote local information and events.
Biggenden$9,000
Broxburn Music ClubProfessional Sound and Lighting for the Broxburn Talent Quest
Promote social connection and support creative recovery post-pandemic by providing professional standard sound and lighting at a local talent quest.
Broxburn$5,990
Community Support Centre Innisfail IncCommunity Champions
Reignite a volunteer program post-COVID-19 through a series of events, activities, and training sessions to boost participation and build capacity and skills.
Innisfail$8,000
Creative Connections Whitsunday IncProserpine Hinterland Festival
Support community connection and wellbeing post-pandemic by delivering interactive festival activities raising awareness of the iconic and endangered local rock wallaby.
Proserpine$8,257
Goombungee Public Hall IncGoombungee Animals
Foster social connection, reinvigorate a meeting space and aid creative recovery after the pandemic by hosting community art and music workshops to create public art pieces for the venue.
Goombungee$10,000
Herberton Mining Museum History Association IncReviving Heritage, Building Resilience: The Herberton Mining Museum Expo 2024
Revitalise tourism and sustain the museum’s work post-pandemic by obtaining equipment and promotional material to host an immersive local mining era expo.
Herberton$6,800
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
Blinman Progress Association IncStorage, Conservation, Supply: Hall Rainwater
Create a functional and welcoming space for the community by installing a new rainwater tank system at Blinman Hall.
Blinman$9,450
Lucindale Community Economic Development Board IncLucindale Community Hub Air Conditioning and Insulation
Support community wellbeing through the installation of air conditioning and ceiling insulation in a new community hub.
Lucindale$9,700
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Edithburgh Football Club and Sports AssociationChair Replacement
Enhance organisational capacity to support bushfire preparedness by providing stackable chairs at an emergency refuge facility.
Edithburgh$25,000
Prospect Hill Community Association IncProspect Hill Assist: Disaster Readiness Communications Project
Support emergency preparedness by purchasing communications and safety equipment to enable outside contact and community information sharing during disaster events.
Prospect Hill$9,195
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
Community House Port Lincoln IncShelter from the Storm
Sustain the work of a community house facing increased demand for support from people affected by homelessness post-pandemic by undertaking essential roof repairs on a transitional house.
Port Lincoln$20,000
Lameroo Forward IncEnliven Lameroo – The Lameroo Silo Art Project
Reinvigorate tourism and enhance local sense of identity following the pandemic by installing silo art to create a permanent cultural tourism asset in the heart of town.
Lameroo$50,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Keith Golf Club IncNew Tables and Chairs for Keith Golf Club Community Function Centre
Revitalise opportunities for social connection post-pandemic by providing new seating and tables at a community hub.
Keith$10,000
Paint the Town REaD LtdBooks for Bedtime
Improve language and literacy skills in young children and reinstitute family reading routines post-COVID-19 through a supported Books for Bedtime program.
Murray Bridge$10,000
Riverland Youth TheatreThe Alternative Club
Foster reconnection opportunities for socially isolated young people post-pandemic through the creation of a facilitated safe creative space at a local theatre.
Renmark$10,000
William Creek Gymkhana Committee IncorporatedWilliam Creek Gymkhana Committee Audio Project
Improve safety and reduce the workload of showground volunteers post-pandemic by purchasing a reliable, robust and compact audio system.
William Creek$9,963
TASMANIA
Small & Vital
Turrakana Tasman Arts Inc

Turrakana Stories
Enhance community connection through collecting and illustrating local stories, transforming them into digital animations with the help of local artists for future generations.

Nubeena$10,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
ACTS Community Care Network Ltd on behalf of Copping Community CareThe Haven Project – Stage 1 Storage & Distribution Shed
Support the construction of a distribution and storage shed for bulk food handling to sustain the work of an organisation facing a 625% increase in demand on their food relief services since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Copping$49,540
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Derwent Valley and Central Highlands Tourism Association IncTasmanian Autumn Festival
Support community reconnection, tourism and economic recovery post-pandemic by holding an Autumn festival.
New Norfolk$10,000
VICTORIA
Small & Vital
Ballan & District Community House & Adult Education Centre IncBallan Sustainable Food Hub
Enhance organisational capacity to provide food relief to elderly residents through purchasing kitchen equipment and groceries for a community pantry.
Ballan$10,000
Committee for MaryboroughGoldfields Community Festival 2024
Encourage awareness of available support and boost connections between under-served community members and social service providers in an isolated township by supporting a community festival in Maryborough.
Maryborough$5,000
Euroa Historical & Genealogical Society IncPurchase Computers, Monitor and Uninterrupted Power Supply for Euroa Farmers Arm Museum
Support the work of older volunteers by updating the IT equipment in a community museum.
Euroa$2,461
Inglewood Community Neighbourhood House IncComputer Cafe Upgrade of Six Computers
Strengthen operational capacity while supporting community members' education and employment opportunities by updating IT equipment for a community library.
Inglewood$8,482
NCN HealthSocial Prescribing Project Pilot
Support mental and physical wellbeing by engaging a coordinator to establish a social prescribing pilot program, complementing clinical health activities though encouraging participation in a range of community sport and social activities.
Numurkah$10,000
North East Multicultural Association IncConnecting Cultures
Enhance wellbeing of CALD community members in Benalla by engaging a facilitator to link people to health services and social programs.
Benalla$9,902
St Arnaud Neighbourhood House IncWinter Warmers Essentials Parcels
Provide connection to service providers, cost of living relief and protection from a cold climate by delivering support packs to elderly residents through a winter-care initiative.
St Arnaud$7,000
Prepare & Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Blue Light Victoria IncDASH (Dynamic, Active, Safe and Healthy) Program for Remote Gippsland Schools and Community
Support community recovery from bushfires and connect students to emergency support services through a school-based learning program focusing on community participation.
Tambo Upper$24,485
Cassilis Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementMaintaining the Cassilis Recreation Reserve and Cassilis Cemetery
Boost volunteer capacity and strengthen bushfire preparedness by purchasing a tractor to maintain a large recreation and memorial reserve.
Cassilis$25,000
Longwood East Landcare Group IncBuild Resilience, Support Volunteers with Safe Operating Equipment
Enhance volunteer capacity to support bushfire preparedness by purchasing a ride on mower to maintain grassland.
Longwood East$7,400
Towong Soldiers Memorial Hall Reserve Committee on behalf of Towong Community Recovery CommitteeThe Towong Wetlands Improvement Project
Strengthen community connection to the environment and enhance bushfire recovery efforts through a weed eradication and earthworks project.
Towong$9,000
Wodonga Institute of TAFECommunity Garden
Boost health outcomes of a community recovering from bushfires and enhance student education in growing and cooking nutritious food through developing a community garden.
Wodonga$13,475
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
Castlemaine District Radio IncMainFM Community Resilience Project
Strengthen community engagement and improve disaster preparedness through emergency media training and external broadcast programs.
Castlemaine$21,220
Echuca Moama Broadcast Service IncMove Radio Antenna to EMFM 104.7
Enhance flood preparedness and strengthen emergency communication capacity by relocating a community radio station transmitter to the new station premises.
Echuca$15,000
Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad IncComputer Equipment Upgrade - Training Room & Divisional Command Point
Enhance disaster readiness in a flood-affected shire and improve volunteer support by upgrading IT and communications equipment for the disaster operations unit.
Shepparton$10,500
Wangaratta Landcare and Sustainability IncMaintaining Mullinmur Billabongs and the Education Hub
Purchase tools and equipment to sustain a school education program and aid volunteers in restoring a flood-damaged wetland.
Wangaratta$5,900
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Large
Ensay Mechanics Institute Reserve IncEnsay Hall – Community Cafe Bathroom Upgrade
Upgrade the bathroom facilities at a community hub to develop a welcoming, accessible and financially sustainable venue for events and activities and encourage post-pandemic reconnection.
Ensay$49,750
Jamieson Community Group and Associated Bodies IncJamieson Autumn Festival Revitalisation
Expand a community Autumn festival to include evening events to encourage longer visitor stays, benefit local businesses and enhance post-pandemic economic growth and recovery.
Jamieson$30,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Autistic-led Regional Culture Arts Neurodiversity Education and Employment IncNeurokin Tour: Silent Disco & Access Mapping
Reduce social isolation of people living with autism and neurodivergence that was heightened by the pandemic through a series of silent disco events across nine regional locations.
Yea$10,000
Boolarra Folk Festival CommitteeOld Boolarra Post Office Restoration Project
Enhance post-pandemic organisational recovery and improve community access to the arts by upgrading and reconnecting electrical services in a restored community music venue.
Boolarra$9,900
Forrest Primary SchoolForrest Kitchen Garden Project
Build community connections and improve resilience post-COVID-19 through establishing an inclusive kitchen facility and cooking program to complement an existing community garden.
Forrest$5,046
G.R.A.I.N. IncThe Things We Do For Love
Enhance post-pandemic recovery and access to the arts by creating an interactive art-trail through Nathalia, culminating with an exhibition and community celebration event.
Nathalia$10,000
Girgarre Development Group IncRhythmic Resurgence: Girgarre Junkestra's Encore Performance
Reconnect the community post-COVID-19 by revitalising the Girgarre Junkestra through a collaboration between renowned musician Graeme Leak and community members, culminating in a performance using ‘upcycled’ instruments created with local artisans.
Girgarre$10,000
Hamilton-Coleraine Rail Reserve Committee IncMove, Saw and Wayfind – Improving Access, Maintenence and Safety on the Redgum Track
Improve the productivity, safety and experience of reserve volunteers post-pandemic by purchasing a trailer, battery-powered chainsaw and signage for maintenance activities.
Hamilton$8,066
Healesville Community Garden IncInfrastructure Improvements
Build social connections and increase opportunities for engagement after COVID-19 by improving facilities at a community garden to increase amenity and accessibility.
Healesville$10,000
Kiewa Catchment Landcare Groups IncKiewa-Duduroa Dhargal Connection Through Traditional Practices Project
Promote social connection, enhance community recovery and support cultural engagement after the pandemic by holding traditional practices workshops led by local First Nations Elders.
Mount Beauty$10,000
Paynesville Business and Tourism Association IncFIRE and WATER – Our Place in the East Gippsland Winter Festival
Boost economic and cultural recovery after COVID-19 by holding a winter festival showcasing lighting installations along the waterfront and community-made decorative lanterns.
Paynesville$6,070
Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre IncCaring and Connected Communities: A Whole Community Approach
Foster community resilience and cohesion through social support and a series of community connection activities including a sustainable cooking program and waste reduction workshops.
Paynesville$9,003
Rosehaven Hospice LtdRosehaven Hospice Volunteer Training
Sustain the organisation’s capacity to provide palliative care support post-COVID-19 by upskilling volunteers through accredited training courses.
Mansfield$8,825
Stuart Mill Progress AssociationBlinds to Complete Hall Renovations
Encourage community reconnection post-COVID-19 by installing new blinds at a local hall to improve user comfort and encourage more community events.
Stuart Mill$1,540
Swan Hill Woodworkers Club IncSwan Hill Woodworkers Club Equipment Purchase
Strengthen volunteer capacity and expand opportunities for social connection post-pandemic with a new laser cutting machine to bolster activities at a woodworkers’ club.
Swan Hill$8,580
Yea & District Memorial HospitalPhysical Footpaths
Foster opportunities for community connection post-pandemic and enhance health and wellbeing by placing inspirational exercise signage with interpretive QR codes on pathways in Yea and Alexandra.
Yea$9,214
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
Lake Grace Community Men's Shed Youth Mentoring
Promote positive role modelling and intergenerational connections for disengaged youth via welding classes, while building a local employment pathway.
Lake Grace$6,500
Napier Progress Association IncRepairs to Napier Hall Roof
Help locals stay connected by restoring the community hall’s roof.
Napier$6,259
The Moore Catchment Council IncImproving the Capacity to Deliver Natural Resource Management Projects
Improve the council’s ability to support citizen science projects and services for the community through the purchase of new laptops.
Moora & Moore River Catchment (eight shires)$9,700
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Boyup Brook Community Mental Health Action Team IncRural Men's Resilience Project
Engage and support rural men and teenage boys’ recovery post-pandemic through a series of mental health events to build resilience, connection and capacity.
Boyup Brook$10,000
CWA WalkawayRenovation Stage 5 – Patio & Paving
Create additional activity space to promote social connection and sustain the work of volunteers post-pandemic by rebuilding the patio at a community venue.
Walkaway$10,000
Yawuru Jarndu Aboriginal CorporationNagula Jarndu (Saltwater Woman) Couture Wedding Collection
Enhance the recovery of First Nations women from COVID-19 by strengthening garment making skills and creating a wedding collection for unveiling at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair’s Country to Couture showcase.
Broome$10,000

$20,000 and $50,000 grants to strengthen networks and capabilities

FRRR is encouraging community organisations in agriculture-dependent parts of Australia to apply for the latest round of Small Network Grants for initiatives that build community preparedness and resilience to future drought.

The Small Network Grants program is supported by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund through the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative.

Grants are available through two Streams of funding for simple, one-off, or seed-type initiatives designed to strengthen local networks and capabilities of remote, rural or regional communities. Stream 1 offers grants up to $20,000 to all agriculture-dependent remote, rural or regional areas (except Stream 2 locations). Stream 1 has an indicative funding pool of $1,175,900[i]. Stream 2 grants of up to $50,000 are available for groups in the NSW Far West, NT Tablelands, NT Arid Lands, Northern Queensland Dry Tropics and WA Great Southern. An indicative funding pool of $1,296,350 is available for Stream 2[ii].

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said preparing for the inevitable dry times ahead is critical, particularly for Australia’s agriculture-dependent regions.

“Our Small Network Grants program empowers local organisations to strengthen the social fabric of their town or locality by identifying and acting on their region’s drought preparedness priorities, at a grassroots level, in ways that best suit their communities.

“We look forward to seeing projects that will help community groups be better connected, informed, and resourced in the next drought,” Ms O’Brien said.

The Small Network Grants program can fund projects that fit into one of these five categories:

  • Networks: Initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability, and coordination of professional, social or community networks
  • Community Events: Field days, conferences, forums, summits, and seminars that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
  • Training:  Initiatives to improve skills and capacity in community risk management, planning and project delivery in relation to drought.
  • Community Infrastructure: Small scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing, and facilities.
  • Development and Learning: Initiatives to facilitate professional, personal and leadership related development and learning to support drought preparation.

Applications are open now and close 26 March 2024, with recipients announced in June 2024.

Potential applicants are invited to watch this recorded webinar to learn more about the program and the eligibility requirements:

For more information, including the list of priority LGAs, and to apply, visit: https://frrr.org.au/small-networks-grants.


[i] Stream 1 – All LGA’s in an agriculture-dependent regional, rural or remote location (except Stream 2 locations). Priority will be given to locations where previous Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative activity has not been undertaken. An indicative funding pool of $1,175,954 is available for Stream 1. Applications up to $20,000 will be accepted.

[ii] Stream 2 – All LGAs from NSW Far West, NT Tablelands, NT Arid Lands, Northern QLD Dry Tropics and WA Great Southern regions only. An indicative funding pool of $1,296,352 is available for Stream 2. Applications up to $50,000 will be accepted.

Continued demand for small grants to support local initiatives

More than 150 not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in rural regions across Australia are sharing $1,579,380 in grants for projects that will strengthen their communities.

Inglewood District Health Service Garden

Awarded through FRRR’s flagship Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program, the grants will fund projects that address a range of diverse needs, including fostering community connectedness and wellbeing, as well as supporting ongoing COVID and disaster recovery and preparedness.

The 151 grants range from $750 for a lawn mower to help local volunteers prepare the community for future bushfires, to $25,000 for a “Get Started Emergency Preparedness” program to empower people with disabilities through tailored disaster readiness education and planning.

Jill Karena, FRRR’s Place Portfolio Lead, said that the Strengthening Rural Communities program has been a consistent support for local NFPs in rural places, helping to fill funding gaps needed to get projects off the ground or sometimes bring them to conclusion.

“FRRR’s small grants have supported rural Australia for the past 23 years. Within our Strengthening Rural Communities program alone, we have awarded nearly $18 million in small grants since 2019 and the program’s flexibility is one of the key reasons why it continues to be so popular.

“Flexible funding means that we can support projects that meet a wide range of needs, reflecting what the community sees as a priority. For some, this may be a new roof for the town hall, for others it may be an event to bring people together, and for others it could be mental health first aid training.

“Virtually every part of Australia is recovering from one or more disasters, from the pandemic to floods, bushfires or drought – and many have experienced successive or even overlapping events. The cumulative effect means that even within the same region, there are people working to respond and support recovery, while others are putting planning and training in place to build their resilience and prepare for the next, inevitable, event.

For example, in Shepparton, local groups are working to address different community needs and, collectively, help their community to recover, grow and thrive.

“Shepparton Foodshare is one of the NFPs supporting their community’s recovery. The organisation will use a $25,000 grant to purchase a refrigerated delivery truck, which will boost organisational capacity so that they can provide food relief to those impacted by the flooding that the region experienced in September 2022. Meanwhile, the Goulburn Valley Woodworkers will use their $10,000 grant to strengthen social connections that have been challenged by COVID lockdowns. The NFP wants to build the capacity of its volunteers by providing a safe gathering space with concrete flooring that has been sealed and finished. North Shepparton Community & Learning Centre is also helping to strengthen connections for diverse communities by using their $10,000 grant to deliver creative workshops and an exhibition.

“Grassroots organisations, which are often led by volunteers, play an important role in the vitality of rural Australia, because they drive the projects that maintain and sustain their communities. But to do this, they need funds. We’re honoured to play a small part in helping rural Australia thrive and we encourage others to join with us to support local initiatives that really do make a difference,” Ms Karena said.

Some of the projects funded in this round of SRC grants include:

  • Victoria Daly Regional Council – Kalkarindji, NT – Build the flood-affected community’s ability to provide trauma-informed youth support through basketball activities for mental health and leadership growth. $9,500 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2022 Floods))
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Limited – Balranald, NSW – Survey 350 rural community radio stations to assess needs, resilience and support required to increase their sustainability after the floods and for future disasters. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2022 Floods))
  • Mornington Shire Council – Gununa, Mornington Island, QLD – Support community education and development by providing books for the newly built library. $9,886 (Funding Stream – Small & Vital)
  • Brukunga Community Association Incorporated – Brukunga, SA – Enhance opportunities for community connection and recovery in a bushfire impacted region by upgrading a community hall and garden. $24,487 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2019/20 Bushfires))
  • Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Centre Inc – Clarendon Vale, TAS – Enhance young people’s mental health and wellbeing by providing equipment for indoor and outdoor activities at a new youth hub. $6,027 (Funding Stream – Small & Vital)
  • Regional Victorians of Colour Inc – Kyabram, VIC – Foster opportunities for cross-cultural connection and capacity building post-pandemic through multicultural community meal events and workshops in three towns. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Rebuilding Regional Communities)
  • Beacon Progress Association – Beacon, WA – Improve access to social and creative activities post-pandemic by removing asbestos from a repurposed community arts space. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Rebuilding Regional Communities)

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by donors, ranging from private individuals to larger foundations, who are acknowledged on the SRC webpage. This round there were a further 50 funding-ready projects, requesting more than $610,000, that FRRR could not support. We are urgently seeking new partners, so that we can fund more projects like these in the future.

FRRR always accepts applications to this program, which awards funds four times a year. Local NFPs and community groups are encouraged to review the 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
SRC Round 18 - November 2023
NEW SOUTH WALES
Small & Vital
Age of Fishes Museum IncorporatedPlayground Equipment for the Age of Fishes Museum
Purchase 'Big Blue' engineering blocks as playground equipment for the museum to enhance hands-on STEM education for children and visitors.
Canowindra$9,000
Arts-Upper HunterFirst Stories - First Nations Tales from the Hunter
Document and present two local Indigenous connection to country stories through live performance and video shared on the Upper Hunter Arts & Cultural Trail website.
Dungog$10,000
Boggabri Women's Shed Sewing Room
Build connections, skills and confidence for isolated local women by investing in sewing machines and equipment for group activities and skill building.
Boggabri$1,900
Lansdowne Public Hall Reserve Land ManagerAir Conditioners for the Lansdowne Community Hall
Boost organisational capacity to support arts and cultural events at the Lansdowne Hall by installing two air-conditioners to improve comfort for volunteers and hall users.
Lansdowne$6,600
Leaderlife LimitedLeaderLife Cooking Outdoors: Let's Grow
Purchase an outdoor BBQ and meat smoker to support healthy eating and cooking education for at-risk young people using local produce.
Dubbo$10,000
Old Bar Soldiers' Memorial Hall IncHistory Preservation at Old Bar Soldiers Memorial Hall
Preserve the history of the Taree region with cenotaph restoration, a new flagpole, time capsule repair, cabinetry for memorabilia, and creation of a red poppy garden with reflection benches.
Old Bar$10,000
The Youth Impact Foundation Ltd on behalf of The Catalytic Impact InstituteYouth Accountability Project - Moree Stories
Support engagement with young people by young people on the Young Accountability Project's Impact Board to define 'what good looks like' in their communities and how young people engage in community life.
Moree$10,000
Valmar Support Services LimitedBe Bus Aware
Modify the steps, handrails and interior of the community bus to improve the ability for aged care clients to access services.
Griffith$10,000
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Arts North West IncWalcha Creative Wayfinding
Build a bushfire-impacted community’s sense of place and cultural tourism by enhancing the 'Open Air Gallery' with plaques to honour the artists and their local stories.
Walcha$10,000
Bega District Volunteer Rescue Group IncorporatedUpdate Vertical Rescue Gear
Enhance disaster preparedness and safety of rescue volunteers by purchasing equipment for vertical rescues.
Bega$2,070
Country Womens Association of NSW on behalf of Eden Branch

CWA 70th Birthday Kitchen Upgrade
Support bushfire recovery and grow community use of the local hall by renovating the kitchen to meet safety standards.

Eden$10,000
Eden Tourism IncorporatedLake Curalo Interpretative Bird Signage
Enhance a locally significant environmental site and tourism icon impacted by the 2020 bushfires by installing interpretative signage.
Eden$3,500
Edgy Art IncorporatedBeauty from the Ashes - Transformation Through Fire!
Foster community cohesion and healing after the 2019/20 bushfires and revitalise the local creative sector through a series of community bronze casting workshops using fire to create lasting, beautiful objects.
Tanja$23,700
Friends of Eurobodalla Regional Botanic GardenEurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden Wellness Walk
Increase wellbeing in a bushfire-impacted community by enhancing connection with nature through creating a NatureFix trail with local cultural information in the botanic gardens and an app with guided audio wellbeing activities.
Batemans Bay$14,950
Greater Hume Shire Council on behalf of Holbrook Community GardensHolbrook Community Gardens
Contribute to bushfire recovery by hosting workshops, outings and events for the broader community to connect with gardening groups and local community gardens.
Holbrook$9,760
Kandos Rylstone Men's Shed IncTest n Tagging
Support bushfire recovery and organisational sustainability by training two Kandos Men's Shed members to test and tag electrical donated items for the community charity shop.
Kandos$2,607
Mountains Youth Services Team IncBlue Mountains Water Tank Murals
Empower young people to contribute to bushfire recovery and a culturally vibrant community through designing and painting two murals on Rural Fire Service water tanks, alongside local artists to celebrate the landscape and local Indigenous culture.
Mount Tomah$22,150
Nambucca Valley Phoenix LimitedCafé Upgrade - Creating a Safe and Inclusive Workplace
Enhance bushfire recovery, economic strength and job opportunities for people with disabilities in Bowraville, by investing in equipment and infrastructure upgrades at the Phoenix Café to improve workplace safety and inclusivity.
Bowraville$25,000
Narooma Men's Shed IncFurniture for Place of Last Resort
Enhance organisational capacity to support bushfire recovery by purchasing stackable chairs to optimise functionality of the Narooma Men's Shed refuge facility.
Narooma$7,102
Naughty Noodle Fun Haus IncorporatedCRM - Connecting Young People, Families, Facilitators, Volunteers and Donations
Boost organisational capacity to meet the post-bushfire exponential growth of a development and social connections program for young people in and around Gosford and improve participant and volunteer experience and security by implementing a Customer Relationship Management program.
Gosford$14,700
Taree Rural Fire BrigadeThermal Imaging Camera for Taree Rural Fire Brigade
Enhance firefighting preparedness, rescue operations and first responder’s safety with a thermal imaging camera for use during bushfires, structure fires, motor vehicle accidents and ground / land search.
Taree$10,934
Tenterfield Autumn Festival IncorporatedTenterfield Autumn Festival & Eat Street
Create economic and social benefits in a bushfire-impacted community by supporting family focused events at the Tenterfield Autumn Festival.
Tenterfield$25,000
The Men's Table LimitedRipple Effect - Regional Communities of Connected and Contributing Men
Strengthen men's capacity for mutual support and community service in a bushfire-affected area by co-designing a series of workshops with local Men's Tables.
Batemans Bay$10,000
Upper Lachlan Landcare IncorporatedMoving Better Grazing Practices into the Spotlight
Enhance the area’s bushfire resilience by creating opportunities for local farmers with expertise in resilient grazing practices to inspire other landholders to adopt best practice pasture management.
Crookwell$9,780
Wards River Rural Fire Brigade Improved Team Connectivity and Insight into Fire Behaviour
Enhance responder safety, wellbeing and understanding of fire behaviour by purchasing a thermal imaging camera and fitting fire vehicles with Cel-Fi signal boosters.
Wards River$9,615
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Bundjalung Tribal Society LtdConnect Culture Through Art
Rebuild the Lismore Aboriginal community post-floods through Aboriginal-led art and cultural workshops that have healing weaved through the programming.
Lismore$24,055
Community Broadcasting Association of Australia LimitedSustaining Community Radio Stations in Rural Australia
Survey 350 rural community radio stations to assess needs, resilience and support required to increase their sustainability after the floods and for future disasters.
Balranald$10,000
Federal Community Centre IncorporatedEmergency Radio Support System
Boost emergency communication capabilities and enhance flood preparedness by purchasing and installing UHF radios and aerials and delivering radio communication equipment training to volunteers and community members of the Federal, Goonengerry and Eureka Community Resilience Team.
Federal$10,000
Gundagai Neighbourhood Centre IncCar for a Cause
Address the increased demand post-flood for transport services to enable vulnerable residents to access services by purchasing a vehicle.
Gundagai$25,000
Isolated Children's Parents Association of NSW Incorporated on behalf of Isolated Children's Parents Association - Walgett BranchGarden Day ICPA 2024
Enhance flood recovery and future disaster preparation through events and speakers at Isolated Children’s Parents Association Garden Day, enhancing climate-related knowledge and strengthening social connections and mental wellbeing.
Walgett$20,000
Mingoola Hall Management CommitteeSupply and Installation of a Solar Powered UHF CB Repeater
Resourcing the Mingoola community to respond to and recover from natural disasters by purchasing a solar-powered UHF CB repeater to maintain communication during floods and other emergencies when internet and phone lines are down.
Dumaresq Valley$25,000
Shedding Community Workshop IncShedding Community Workshop
Enhance organisational capacity to expand trauma-informed community counselling, services and facilities to meet the increasing and evolving community needs post 2022 floods.
Mullumbimby$25,000
The Heartland Foundation LtdSelf-watering Community Wicking Gardens
Enhance organisational capacity to support flood recovery by constructing 50 wicking gardens to grow fresh vegetables for the Heartland Foundation's mobile community food pantries, benefiting 1,120 families weekly.
Freemans Waterhole$10,000
Tweed Shire CouncilCulture Dose for Kids
Support flood recovery with an 8-week arts program for 9-12-year-olds with mild anxiety, while parents join parallel sessions to build social connections and boost self-confidence.
Murwillumbah$10,000
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSWPersonal Locator Beacons
Strengthen flood recovery and preparedness and enhance safety for Marine Rescue Iluka Yamba Rescue Vessel crew members by purchasing Personal Locator Beacons.
Yamba$11,985
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Bundarra P&A and Rodeo Society Inc 2024 Bundarra Show
Sustain the Bundarra Show Society and enable delivery of the Show 2024 post-pandemic by supporting core event costs.
Bundarra$10,000
Bowning Public School and Citizens' AssociationCelebration of 175 Years of Bowning Public School
Boost post-COVID-19 tourism and community connection through the Back to Bowning Weekend, celebrating 175 years of the local public school.
Bowning$10,000
Glenreagh Timber Festival IncorporatedFestival Coordinator
Sustain a community-run festival and enhance community engagement post-COVID-19 through recruiting a festival coordinator.
Glenreagh$10,000
Karuah Progress Association IncKaruah Community Website
Enhance recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by developing a town promotion and community information website.
Karuah$9,500
Kyogle Together IncorporatedKyogle Repair Cafe
Enhance post-pandemic community connections through increasing space in the Repair Cafe for social interaction.
Kyogle$10,000
Numeralla & District Activities IncorpAir Conditioning at the Numeralla Hall
Improve volunteer and hall users’ comfort post-COVID 19 by installing reverse-cycle air conditioning.
Numeralla$9,673
River Tribe IncWytaliba Rising - HeartBeat
Restore the town's cultural life and tourism after COVID-19 by purchasing industry standard drum kits for live concerts.
Diehard$10,000
The Returning Indigenous CorporationBundjalung Postpartum Care Program
Enhance COVID-19 recovery for Indigenous families on Bundjalung Country through a culturally appropriate 6-week postpartum care program.
Lismore$10,000
Towns With Heart IncorporatedKurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival
Enhance COVID-19 recovery and encourage social connection with an inclusive community Rock N Roll nostalgia festival.
Kurri Kurri$10,000
Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation LimitedMiima Warabinya - Skyfest 2024
Celebrate Wiradjuri cultural sky lore, reduce social isolation after COVID-19 through the Miima Warribinya Skyfest astronomy festival.
Condobolin$9,922
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Mataranka Primary SchoolNinja Obstacle Course Playground
Encourage students' learning and development with outdoor play equipment that stimulates and challenges older children.
Mataranka$10,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Victoria Daly Regional CouncilHoops4Health - Re-empowering Young People in Kalkarindji
Build the flood-affected community’s ability to provide trauma-informed youth support through basketball activities for mental health and leadership growth.
Kalkarindji$9,500
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Camp Quality LimitedCancer Education Program Regional Tour
Sustain the work of the organisation post-pandemic to enhance the wellbeing of children affected by cancer by delivering educational puppet shows in remote schools.
Katherine$10,000
QUEENSLAND
Small & Vital
Central Highlands Water Sports ClubEducation and IT Training to Improve Volunteer Capabilities
Improve the club’s ability to support and service the community through the purchase of a new computer.
Emerald$4,874
Childcare Leadership Alliance IncorporatedCare to Lead
Cultivate local leadership and retain skilled early childhood educators in the Isaac region with a place-based professional development program.
Moranbah$10,000
Eacham Community Help Organization IncGenerator for Emergency Use
Boost the community's ability to respond to future disasters by purchasing a generator for publicly-accessible back-up power.
Malanda$7,020
Mission Beach Historical Society IncImproving the Digital Capabilities and Social Capital of the Society
Enhance organisational capacity and community awareness of Mission Beach's First Nations culture and colonial history by upgrading IT equipment and creating a virtual museum website.
Mission Beach$5,882
Mornington Shire CouncilMornington Community Library Books
Support community education and development by providing books for the newly built library.
Gununa, Mornington Island$9,886
Proston Men’s Shed IncAir Conditioning for the Proston Men's Shed
Expand the use of the shed by installing a split system to make the community meeting space more comfortable and welcoming.
Proston$9,311
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on behalf of State Emergency Service - Alexandra Bay GroupConstruct Road Crash Rescue Training Pad
Reduce need for frequent excessive travel by volunteers to regional training facilities by building a local training site for skills development and regular practice.
Diwan$9,790
Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare AssociationModelling Wellbeing via Basketball
Support young people’s learning and development through play by training local referees and hosting the first tournament.
Aurukun$10,000
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Baptist Church WarwickInterior Painting of Community Hall
Revitalise a bushfire-impacted community meeting space by re-painting the 112-year-old hall.
Warwick$7,980
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services on behalf of State Emergency Service - Crows Nest GroupWorking Safely at Heights
Develop volunteers’ ability to support the community in emergencies by purchasing a training mannequin and a stand area light for night activities.
Crows Nest$2,371
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Macintyre Ag Alliance IncUniting Goondiwindi Region for Social and Mental Wellbeing
Enhance the flood-affected region’s wellbeing by integrating specialists within the local agribusiness conference.
Goondiwindi$5,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Cape York Health Pty LtdWellbeing and Resilience: Safeguarding Vulnerable Communities
Support the organisation's efforts post-pandemic to improve student immunisation access and health equity by procuring mobile refrigeration units for vaccine transport to remote communities.
Coen$9,449
Charleville & District Cultural Association IncStitching Together the Threads of Time
Encourage post-COVID-19 community connection through creative activities by purchasing a quilting machine.
Charleville$10,000
Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural SocietyWired for Success
Sustain the work of showground volunteers post-pandemic by installing permanent underground power for safety and to lighten volunteer workload.
Goondiwindi$5,084
Injune Arts Inc on behalf of Remapping Mitchell Arts CollectiveRemapping Mitchell Arts Collective Project
Enhance post pandemic-recovery and access to the arts by creating an interdisciplinary collaboration of regional artists, exhibited both virtually and across the community.
Injune$9,953
Pomona and District Kindergarten Association IncorporatedNew Playground
Encourage children’s learning and development through play following COVID-19 by upgrading the local kindergarten’s playground equipment.
Pomona$10,000
Wallumbilla Agricultural & Pastoral Association IncCatering for Connection in Wallumbilla
Enhance post-pandemic community connections by upgrading showground kitchen equipment.
Wallumbilla$10,000
Wonga Beach Primary P&C AssociationWonga Beach Community Hub
Promote post-pandemic social connection by equipping the school as a community hub with a defibrillator and outdoor entertaining equipment.
Wonga Beach$9,658
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
The Trustee for The Salvation Army (SA) Property Trust on behalf of Port Augusta CorpsClean Hands and Hygiene in The Salvos Hub
Improve participant safety and enhance organisational capacity at a community drop-in centre by upgrading the kitchenette facilities.
Port Augusta$8,085
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Australian Ocean Laboratory LimitedTechnology and Ecology: Student and Community-led Oyster Reef Restoration
Enhance connection to the environment and deepen understanding of biodiversity by implementing a student-led citizen marine science program.
Kingscote $10,000
Brukunga Community Association IncorporatedPreserving Heritage and Enhancing Community Spaces: Transforming Brukunga
Enhance opportunities for community connection and recovery in a bushfire-impacted region by upgrading a community hall and garden.
Brukunga$24,487
Mount Torrens Soldiers Memorial Hall IncorporatedCommunity Hall Comfort for Connectedness and Recovery
Increase opportunities for community connection and enhance the process of recovery after bushfires by installing heating and cooling at a community hub.
Mount Torrens$22,380
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Berri Regional Secondary CollegeReconciliation Cultural Garden
Support community recovery and foster connection to First Nations culture in a flood-impacted region by constructing a community cultural garden at a regional school.
Berri$24,746
Lower Murray Vintage Engine & Machinery Club Inc2024 Lower Murray Heritage Rally & Tractor Pull
Foster community connection and economic recovery in a flood-affected region by improving facilities for a historic tractor festival attracting statewide visitors.
Murray Bridge$14,364
Mannum Progress AssociationRestoration of Lighting in Mary Ann Reserve - Mannum
Enhance opportunities for recovery and social connection in a flood-impacted town through installing solar lighting at a community reserve.
Mannum$22,500
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Blyth Community Hall IncorporatedLights for Kitchen & Supper: Remove Obsolete Heaters and Fans
Enhance safety and functionality of a community gathering place to support recovery from the pandemic by upgrading lighting, and heating and cooling.
Blyth$800
Franklin Harbour Community Development Group IncCowell Silo Art Viewing Area
Reinvigorate tourism and boost the local economy following the pandemic through installing paths and signage at the silo mural viewing area.
Cowell$8,381
Goyder Plains Carriage Driving Association Incorporated on behalf of Peterborough Rodeo ClubThe 2024 National Carriage Driving Championships
Boost economic recovery after the pandemic by upgrading the amenities block for the National Carriage Driving Championship and other community events.
Peterborough$8,500
Open Space Contemporary Arts IncKingston Weaving
Promote social connection and support creative recovery after the pandemic by holding weaving workshops led by local First Nations artists and creating a public artwork.
Kingston$10,000
Orroroo Swimming Club IncorporatedSolar Heating for Community Wading Pool
Foster opportunities for community connection post-pandemic and enhance water safety by installing solar heating at a community pool.
Orroroo$6,110
Port Vincent Progress Association IncReplacement of Curtains at Institute Hall
Revitalise a community gathering place to enhance COVID-19 recovery by installing stage curtains and block out curtains at a local hall.
Port Vincent$4,280
Quorn Men's ShedThicknesser-Planer for the Quorn Men's Shed
Strengthen volunteer capacity and expand opportunities for social connection post-pandemic by acquiring equipment to bolster activities at a remote men’s shed.
Quorn$4,852
The National Trust of South Australia on behalf of Kingston SE BranchTelling the Whole Story
Enhance cultural connections post-pandemic through installing seating and display lighting at an historic site.
Kingston$8,971
The Laura Fair IncAcquisition of Outdoor Seating
Support community connection after the pandemic by purchasing outdoor seating for local events and activities.
Laura$4,590
The Port Germein Village Project Association IncPort Germein Village Project Revamp - Landscaping Stage 1
Support community connection post-pandemic by installing fencing and landscaping at a community gathering space.
Port Germein$9,750
West Coast Youth and Community Support IncorporatedStride Together Eyre Peninsula - Community Wellbeing Baton Relay
Foster social connection and promote mental health and wellbeing post-pandemic by holding a community baton relay event.
Port Lincoln$10,000
Yankalilla Youth Arts IncorporatedMini Mag - Kid's Magazine
Develop skills and support the creative recovery of young people from the pandemic by providing writing workshops and publishing magazines.
Yankalilla$10,000
TASMANIA
Small & Vital
Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Centre IncThe Hub
Enhance young people's mental health and wellbeing by providing equipment for indoor and outdoor activities at a new youth hub.
Clarendon Vale$6,027
Cygnet Community Children’s Centre IncOld Schoolhouse Upgrades
Support early learning, out-of-school programs and create a comfortable community space by replacing worn weatherboards, and installing blinds and an air conditioner.
Cygnet$8,262
Mt Black Men Shed IncorporatedSafety First @ Mount Black Men Shed
Boost volunteer membership and provide a safe workshop for participants by upgrading the shed’s electrical system.
Rosebery$9,614
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Mole Creek Swimming Centre Assoc IncAmenity Block Upgrade
Enhance opportunities for community connection and recovery in a flood-impacted region through upgrading facilities at a community pool.
Mole Creek$4,872
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Cygnet Living History Museum IncMuseum Refresh
Celebrate and enhance connection to local history through purchasing archival safe cabinets for the display of cultural artefacts.
Cygnet$10,000
Tasmanian Mountain Cattlemen's Association IncGet Back Together and Back on Track
Rebuild community connections and boost the local economy post-pandemic by hosting a community festival.
Westbury$10,000
VICTORIA
Small & Vital
Boolarra and District Historical Society IncRestoration of Cupboards - Boolarra Old School Museum
Boost visitation and expand opportunities for learning and connection to local history by restoring damaged storage units at a community museum.
Boolarra$3,465
Boort Resource and Information CentreGym Equipment Upgrade
Enhance an exercise program for older people to boost health and social wellbeing by updating a worn gym station with new fit-for-purpose equipment.
Boort$10,000
Castlemaine State Festival LtdWorking Towards a More Reconciled Future: Castlemaine State Festival's RAP Journey
Promote community understanding and engagement with the local First Nations culture through a Dja Dja Wurrung artist residency and the creation of public artwork.
Castlemaine$9,800
Committee 4 Rochester IncMural Park Enhancement
Boost the local economy and enhance community pride by installing two mural stands as part of Rochester’s Mural Festival.
Rochester$7,996
Country Fire Authority on behalf of Warrenbayne CFA (Country Fire Authority)Warrenbayne Spring Boost
Enhance volunteer capacity and community safety by providing phone and IT equipment at a community hub to improve communications in a black spot area.
Warrenbayne$5,381
Energy Innovation Co-operative LtdEnergy Solutions for the Elderly - Korumburra
Improve the wellbeing and resilience of an underserved community by providing an energy efficiency education program designed for elderly residents.
Korumburra$9,900
Hamilton Community House IncStepping Stones to Leaps and Bounds!
Promote community connections and development of life skills through the delivery of a financial literacy program in Hamilton.
Hamilton$10,000
Inglewood & Districts Health ServiceNew Gym Equipment
Promote physical and mental wellbeing in an underserved community by purchasing gym equipment for an allied health program.
Inglewood$9,966
Kilmore District Men's Shed IncNew Tools
Enhance the capacity of volunteers and boost mental health of older men by purchasing equipment for a men’s shed program.
Kilmore$1,482
Lake Bolac Bush Nursing Centre IncCommunity Engagement Program
Boost wellbeing and foster social connection by delivering an intergenerational program that brings together older community members and kindergarten students.
Lake Bolac$10,000
Neighbourhood House Murchison (VIC) IncorporatedEstablishing a Second Program Room for the Community
Expand access to programs and services through the renovation of an unused space within a neighbourhood house to create a second program room.
Murchison$10,000
Newborough Men's ShedDust Extraction for New Premises
Support social wellbeing and provide a healthy environment for older people by installing safety equipment in a workshop.
Yallourn$3,038
North Shepparton Community & Learning Centre IncBeyond Identity in Shepparton
Expand opportunities for social connection for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community members by providing creative workshops and an exhibition.
Shepparton$10,000
Raillery Hub IncRaillery Hub Art Gallery Information Technology Network Upgrade
Strengthen organisational capacity and volunteer skills by upgrading IT equipment for a community gallery and meeting space.
St Arnaud$5,000
Talbot Arts and Historical Museum IncPreserving and Increasing Safe Access to Our Heritage
Promote tourism in an underserved region and enhance access to an historic precinct by installing signage and an all-abilities ramp and paths.
Talbot$10,000
Treble F Singers IncorporatedPurchase Portable Electric Piano: Bag, Stand and Stool
Enhance community connection and social wellbeing for older people by providing musical equipment for a community choir.
Leongatha$998
Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) LimitedEast Bairnsdale Community Hub Food Pantry
Enhance skills and address food insecurity in an underserved region by providing emergency food relief and supplying ingredients for cooking classes.
Bairnsdale$10,000
Prepare and Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodshareStrengthening Preparedness through Community Connection
Enhance organisation capacity and support bushfire recovery through website upgrades to improve information and resource sharing.
Wodonga$25,000
Bendoc Progress Association IncCommunity Meeting Place Upgrade
Enhance opportunities for connection and recovery in a remote bushfire-impacted region through upgrading furniture at a neighbourhood house.
Bendoc$5,000
Bright Food Co-op LtdManage and Grow the Bright Food Co-op
Enhance organisational and volunteer capacity to provide affordable healthy food in a bushfire impacted region by installing an integrated and automated online ordering software platform.
Bright$5,379
Country Fire Authority on behalf of Crowlands Fire BrigadeTV Connectivity Project
Enhance volunteer capability and community bushfire preparedness by providing IT equipment for training and educational activities.
Crowlands$2,570
Country Fire Authority on behalf of Landsborough Fire BrigadeLandsborough Fire Brigade Lawn Mower Project
Strengthen bushfire preparedness and support volunteer capacity by purchasing a mower to maintain station grounds.
Landsborough$750
Country Fire Authority on behalf of Mossi-Tambo Fire BrigadeMossi-Tambo Fire Brigade Educational Garden
Enhance a community hub and develop an educational resource in a fire-affected region by establishing a garden featuring fire-resistant plants at the Mossiface fire station.
Mossiface$5,000
Goongerah Landcare GroupSafety Equipment and Tools for Goongerah Landcare
Foster volunteer capacity and support environmental recovery post-bushfires through purchasing new tools and equipment for a weed eradication project along the Brodribb River.
Goongerah$4,525
Indigo North Health Inc on behalf of Chiltern Neighbourhood HouseRe-surfacing of Communal Area
Enhance safety, access and recovery in a bushfire-affected area by constructing an all-ability path at a neighbourhood house and men’s shed.
Chiltern$8,923
Merton Recreation and Memorial Hall Reserves IncorporatedMerton Community Skate Park
Cultivate opportunities for social connection and wellbeing for young people in a region recovering from bushfire by constructing a skate park.
Merton$10,000
Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre IncRestore, Repair and Paint Walls in Treatment Rooms
Provide a safe and comfortable facility for delivering community health services in a bushfire-impacted region by upgrading treatment rooms.
Swifts Creek$10,000
Tallangatta Agricultural and Pastoral Society IncorporatedUpgrade of the Old Ablutions Block
Provide a safe community gathering place and prepare for future emergency bushfire events by upgrading bathroom facilities at the Tallangatta showgrounds.
Tallangatta$25,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Floods
Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-Operative Ltd on behalf of Aunty Gals - Aboriginal Women's GroupAunty Gals - Aboriginal Women's Group
Support recovery of First Nations women and children impacted by floods through skills and wellbeing activities.
Echuca$25,000
Gannawarra Shire CouncilThe Fire Garden Theatre Production - Gannawarra
Enhance community recovery and cultural connection in a flood-impacted region through a First Nations theatre production.
Kerang$25,000
Get Started Disability Support Australia LtdGet Started Emergency Preparedness: Empowering People with Disabilities
Foster community empowerment and inclusive disaster resilience in a flood-impacted region by delivering disaster preparedness educational programs, training and peer support for disabled people.
Broadford$25,000
Kerang and District Agricultural Society IncorporatedReplacing of Pavilion No 2 Roof
Enhance opportunities for community connection and recovery from flood impacts by replacing the pavilion roof at the Kerang Showgrounds.
Kerang$25,000
Kyabram Community & Learning Centre IncKCLC Community Kitchen Appliance Upgrade
Foster volunteer capacity and expand food relief in a flood-impacted region by upgrading kitchen appliances at a neighbourhood house.
Kyabram$10,000
Murrabit Advancement Association IncCreating a Family Hub at Murrabit
Strengthen social connections and provide a safe gathering space following flood events by upgrading a community-owned building.
Murrabit $25,000
Shepparton Foodshare IncorporatedShepparton Foodshare Food Rescue Truck
Boost organisational capacity to provide food relief in a flood-impacted region through the purchase of a refrigerated delivery truck.
Shepparton$25,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Beechworth Biennale IncorporatedBeechworth Biennale
Boost economic and cultural recovery after COVID-19 by holding a festival showcasing public art installations at 15 key locations throughout Beechworth.
Beechworth$10,000
Buninyong Community Facility Management Committee IncChair Replacement
Revitalise opportunities for social connection post-pandemic by providing new seating at a community hub.
Buninyong $9,600
Edenhope Men's ShedA New Wood Lathe for Edenhope Men's Shed
Build social connections and increase opportunities for engagement after COVID-19 by purchasing equipment for a community men’s shed.
Edenhope$8,013
Gippy Rocks IncorporatedGippy Rocks Festival
Support community reconnection and economic recovery post-pandemic by holding a community festival.
Sale$6,000
Goulburn Valley Woodworkers IncorporatedClubroom Recovery Renovations
Strengthen social connection and volunteer capacity after the pandemic through upgrading flooring at a community shed.
Shepparton$10,000
Highlands Community Hall Committee IncMain Hall Acoustic Panel & Insulation
Encourage more community events to boost social connection post-pandemic by improving acoustics and ambience at a community hub.
Highlands$10,000
Horses For Hope LimitedHelping Horses for Hope Reach the Communities in Need
Sustain an organisation’s capacity to provide mental health support post-COVID-19 by enhancing a horse float to operate as a mobile counselling space.
Mooroopna$10,000
Jamieson Community Group and Associated Bodies IncorporatedJamieson Community Hub Landscape Design Plan – Community Garden and Arts Precinct
Build community resilience and support opportunities for social connection after COVID-19 by developing plans for a community garden and arts precinct.
Jamieson$8,060
Kaniva Agricultural and Pastoral Society IncorporatedArt and Photography
Enhance volunteer capacity and promote connection to culture post-COVID-19 by purchasing display boards for art and photography.
Kaniva$7,500
Lake Goldsmith Hall CommitteeBack to Lake Goldsmith and Stockyard Hill - Celebrating 160 Years
Rebuild social connections post-COVID-19 with whole-of-community events celebrating the district’s 160th anniversary.
Lake Goldsmith$8,450
Lockington Bowls Club IncorporatedClub Room Upgrades for Energy Efficiency
Foster opportunities for social connection and support the work of volunteers after COVID-19 through upgrades to heating and cooling at a vital community hub and meeting space.
Lockington$9,091
Maldon Neighbourhood Centre IncChildren's Playground Equipment
Boost social connection and wellbeing of young children and their families post-COVID-19 by purchasing playground equipment for a neighbourhood centre.
Maldon$3,000
Mount Wallace Hall and Reserve IncorporatedMt Wallace Community Hall Improvement Project
Strengthen opportunities for community connection after the pandemic through roof and ceiling repairs and installing a shade structure at a community hall.
Mount Wallace$7,290
Natimuk Agricultural and Pastoral Society IncNatimuk Showground Community Recreation Reserve Master Plan
Build organisational capacity and resilience post-COVID-19 by engaging a consultant to prepare a site master plan to address future needs of the facility for community events and activities.
Natimuk$10,000
Newstead 2021 Inc on behalf of Newstead Community GardenGarden Rehabilitation and Reinvigoration
Sustain volunteer capacity and safety post-pandemic by upgrading garden equipment and pathways.
Newstead$9,503
Purnim Recreation ReserveUpgrade Pavilion / Kitchen Items
Strengthen social connection and sustain the work of volunteers after the pandemic through upgrading equipment and kitchen whitegoods at a community reserve.
Purnim$4,000
Red Gum Festival Development Group IncorporatedWorkshops Marquee
Reduce social isolation and foster a stronger, more resilient community post-COVID-19 through the facilitation of community workshops and purchase of equipment for a biennial festival.
Cavendish$10,000
Regional Victorians of Colour IncRebuilding Strength and Community Through Shared Tables
Foster opportunities for cross-cultural connection and capacity building post-pandemic through multicultural community meal events and workshops in three towns.
Kyabram$10,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
Enterprise Partnerships WA LimitedPiriwa Placemaking Project Part 4
Enhance the Piriwa Hub's community support capabilities by adding an extra shipping container for improved storage and service capacity.
Balgo$10,000
Nungarin Heritage Machinery & Army Museum IncMagic of Mosaic
Improve volunteer management of historic collections by digitising materials onto an online platform.
Nungarin$3,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Beacon Progress AssociationBeacon Barracks are GO!
Improve access to social and creative activities post-pandemic by removing asbestos from a repurposed community arts space.
Beacon$10,000
John's Vision IncMobile Eyecare Service
Support COVID-19 recovery and resilience with a mobile optometry service offering affordable eyewear to vulnerable and homeless people.
Bunbury$10,000
Mullewa Community Resource Centre IncMelodies, Mates & Mental Health 2024
Boost reconnection of the community after COVID-19 through monthly concerts that also connect people with mental health services.
Mullewa$5,870
Share & Care Community Services Group IncorporatedMobile Financial Counselling Service
Help vulnerable residents reduce post-pandemic debt by expanding intensive financial counselling to additional Wheatbelt communities.
Dalwallinu$10,000
Tom Price Community Garden IncUser-Friendly Garden Beds
Enhance post-pandemic recovery and all-abilities social connection through community gardening by raising garden bed heights.
Tom Price$4,998

By Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead

The call to action at this year’s Australian Disaster Resilience Conference is deeply apparent and has been reflected in most of the presentations, including my own – we must expand our understanding, balance investment, and elevate the voice of community, particularly First Nations people, to reduce the risks and impacts of a changing climate, and build collective resilience towards the increasing severity and frequency of disasters.

FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, Nina O’Brien, presenting at ADRC23

At FRRR, we are addressing this call to action by working deeply with local groups that are on the ground, working to enhance the preparedness and resilience of their remote, rural and regional communities. Programs like Disaster Resilient: Future Ready, as well as the thousands of grassroots, community-based projects we support through small grants like SRC Prepare and Recover , and others such as Rebuilding Futures, allow us to learn from local leaders about the needs and priorities of their communities, and how we can best support them to build local resilience and disaster recovery.

My presentation spoke of the importance of balanced investment in people and processes, not just products and ‘things’ across the entire disaster cycle, with a specific focus on preparedness. Social, cultural, political, and human capital are equally as vital as built, financial and natural capital in bolstering resilience. This approach takes a holistic view that acknowledges the interconnectedness of all these facets of community life.

This is why I advocate that we must shift our focus from (often) the disproportionate investing in products and things (hard infrastructure, as we often refer to it) to prioritising people and processes (or the soft infrastructure).

Ultimately, it is the people and processes that really make communities tick and make a difference in effective disaster response, recovery, and preparedness.

This is reinforced by the findings of ongoing research that FRRR has commissioned alongside our learning partner, University of Sydney.

“Working in a community led way to build local resilience means that local community members act as equal decision makers with a range of other stakeholders (local government, emergency services, service providers, business) to address issues which are priorities for that community. Rather than a top-down approach, where decisions are made outside a community or are made by government or other formal authorities, community led resilience building starts and continues with listening and collaborating on the priorities of community members. Genuine ownership by the local community requires their active involvement in all aspects of resilience building, not merely consultation.”

Howard, A., Rawsthorne, M. and Joseph, P. (2022) Critical Dimensions in Community Disaster Resilience [FactSheet], University of Sydney for the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

The formal study has reinforced our anecdotal observations that when communities take the lead in driving resilience-building efforts, remarkable things happen. Whether tackling natural disasters like cyclones, bushfires, floods, or adapting to community shocks such as the loss of major services or industries, community-led initiatives tend to persist longer and have ongoing positive impacts. They foster local strengths that can adapt to a wide range of challenges over time.

This work provides an important formal evidence base for supporting grassroots not-for-profit organisations that are critical to nurturing the vitality of regional communities.

It also validates FRRR’s preferred approach of working alongside communities, mapping their assets and systems of interconnectivity, understanding their particular strengths and nuances, and viewing community life through resilience dimensions that help to identify and craft locally driven resilience initiatives.

Through diverse funding mechanisms that prioritise people and processes, we’ve seen tangible dividends in increased resilience. These include support for locally conceived projects and initiatives; building volunteer capacity and strengthening networks; resilience coaching, mentoring and support; strengthening internal organisational capacity; and fostering long-term project delivery capability through sustainable local partnerships.

FRRR’s Caroline Larcher, Brooke Williams and Nina O’Brien at ADRC23
FRRR team with Red Earth Community Foundation at ADRC23

And as a side note from ADRC23; the feedback from communities is clear. They want flexible funding criteria, longer timelines, negotiated measures of success, simpler forms and reporting – and patience from funders. As a mechanism to deliver support to approximately 1000 small projects per year; with around half of those related to disaster impacts; FRRR is working hard to meet these requests with flexible guidelines, negotiated timelines where possible, agile timing, and a streamlined approach to applying and reporting.

Without deliberate, balanced investment in social, cultural, political and human capital, alongside traditional capital, the impacts and harm from disasters will continue to escalate in our communities. We need a systems-based lens that prioritises people and processes to meet future community needs and challenges effectively.

The long-term benefits of this shift are significant; capable local individuals, agile community-based networks, strong not-for-profit organisations and ultimately resilient remote, rural and regional communities become the norm. This paves the way for a future where communities can thrive, adapt and face the uncertainties of a changing climate, with resilience and hope.

Funding helps local preparedness projects get off the ground

Local groups in Korumburra, Myrtleford and Whittlesea township and surrounds, are taking an active approach to preparing their regions for future disaster, thanks to a partnership with FRRR’s Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) Victorian program.

As part of the place-based DR:FR program, the three regional communities are sharing a total of $120,839 in grants. These funds are already being put to use, with communities leading local initiatives designed to improve wellbeing, increase preparedness and strengthen resilience so that each place has greater capacity to endure, adapt and evolve positively when faced with the impacts of climate, disasters and other disruptions.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that FRRR is the DR:FR initiative is an active partnership between FRRR and the communities.

The premise of the DR:FR program is to partner with local groups and community members, and provide them with the tools and resources to identify what their community needs to prepare for the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and broader disruptions.

“The priority projects have been under development since March, so it’s a major milestone to see the local groups getting these important ideas off the ground.  We are inspired by the passion and persistence shown by each group and their eagerness to make a difference when the next emergency arrives. “We look forward to continuing to partner with these communities to better prepare their regions to withstand the impacts of future disasters,” Ms O’Brien said.

Community updates

Korumburra

Korumburra is setting up a Helping Hub, to be run from the local Community House.

The Helping Hub will match community volunteers with those in need of assistance via a website, social media and six-monthly volunteer expos.

The Hub will build community networks and provide connection to residents who need support, improving resilience generally and in emergencies such as storms or heatwaves.

Myrtleford

Mytrleford is fortunate to have a range of community groups and resources that can be mobilised to support the community during a disaster.

FRRR funding has been used to engage a person in a Community Connector Role for the Myrtleford neighbourhood to understand each group’s facilities and resources.

They will continue to work with the groups to plan how they can collectively support residents in the first 72 hours of an emergency event such as flooding or bushfire, and develop a Contacts Directory and Community Assets Map to make communication and co-ordination of resources easier in an emergency.

Whittlesea Township and Surrounds

Whittlesea Township and Surrounds’ Community Resilience Committee (CRC) is using their grant to employ a project officer to support a range of initiatives.

The CRC is keen to ensure that grassroots community action in future events is recognised in the formal Municipal Emergency Management Plan (MEMP) and, therefore, by the formal disaster response agencies. They have received support from the MEMP Committee and are currently rewriting a previous Community Emergency Management Plan, to be endorsed later in 2023.

A key project for this group is to set up a Community Emergency Response Network (CERN) of local residents and community organisations. For future large fires and storms, the CERN would be recognised as part of the formal emergency response and would coordinate the local community-level relief efforts.

The DR:FR initiative is collaboratively supported by many generous donors, who are acknowledged on the FRRR website.

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

“The NRCF Board and staff certainly value the long-term relationship with FRRR, which is so important to us as a rural and regional Foundation. The support for NRCF’s community impact and grants team has been essential to achieve impact in the community.” Sam Henderson, CEO, NRCF

Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) was established in 2004 to connect people who care with local causes that matter, to improve community wellbeing for the Northern Rivers region of NSW. They have one of the largest footprints of any community foundation in Australia, covering from Tweed to Grafton, from the ocean all the way up past Kyogle, Woodenbong and Casino. NRCF is dedicated to improving the lives of those less fortunate in their community, either from economic circumstances, mental illness, disability, learning difficulties or drug / alcohol addiction. More recently their focus has been to support their community to navigate their disaster recovery journey following bushfires and then widespread flooding events across the region in early 2022.

Flooded streets in Lismore, NSW
Flooding in the streets of Lismore, NSW – one of the communities supported by NRCF.

NRCF has held a Fundraising Account partnership with FRRR since 2017 to attract tax-deductible donations, enabling them to help community organisations meet increasing demands on their services and work together to build resilience across the community.

Initially they raised funds through a general Community Fund, and in 2020 established the Resilience & Regeneration Fund to raise funds specifically to support disaster recovery and preparedness in their region. The Fund responds to the increasingly frequent natural disasters affecting the region and the global pandemic. Recognising that these are not isolated events, and that resilience and regeneration are integral to a sustainable and prosperous region, they wanted to attract as much money as possible.

As at 30 June 2023, NRCF has raised $1,171,600  via these two Funds. In 2022, they announced a record distribution of $327,177 to 49 recipients across the seven LGA’s of the Northern Rivers. This was supported by distributions totalling more than $162,000 from their FRRR Fundraising Account in FY22. Projects span across disadvantage, housing and homelessness, recovery and resilience, and the environment.

NRCF will also be looking to use the funds raised through the Resilience & Regeneration Fund to respond in a meaningful and impactful way to the devastation brought about by the two 2022 flooding events that occurred in quick succession through their Annual Community Grants program. Informing their response is their ongoing research project to understand the issues and conditions impacting community recovery with a view to better support local not-for-profits and their activities into the future. In May 2023 they released their second flood impact report ‘Research, Respond, Recover: A year on from disaster’ which offers valuable insights across a range of indicators about how the community is recovering. It highlights gaps in funding for medium to longer term recovery, and ongoing key issues of concern around health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness. 

With this increase in support comes a need for increased resourcing. Fortunately, NRCF has also received donations via their Fundraising Account specifically to support their operational and staffing costs through their General Fund. As a result, the role of Grants and Community Impact Manager has been introduced, which will boost their capacity, enabling them to expand their community grant programs and supporting them to broaden their reach.

Sam Henderson, NRCF’s CEO, said ‘The NRCF Board and staff certainly value the long-term relationship with FRRR, which is so important to them as a rural and regional Foundation. The support for NRCF’s community impact and grants team has been essential to achieve impact in the community.’ The need to respond to disasters has now increased so much that they’ve also recruited a part-time Grants Administration Officer to support the Community Impact Manager.

By Caroline Larcher, Disaster Resilient: Future Ready Program Manager

I‘m now three months into the role of Disaster Resilient: Future Ready Program Manager with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal – an organisation I’ve long admired. I’ve watched the work they’ve been doing to support recovery and resilience building over recent years. So, when the chance came to join them, I jumped at it.

Disaster Resilient: Future Ready’s QLD Burnett Inland Internal Advisory Group

Sadly, natural disasters are impacting rural, regional and remote communities more frequently, with significant consequences, including mental health and wellbeing issues, financial impacts and increased disadvantage.

Through our Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) program, FRRR and our partners have been working with communities to explore, learn and build on their existing strengths and capacities with a specific focus on increasing resilience to natural disasters.

Communities that are engaged, connected, empowered and have high social capital tend to respond and recover better from natural disasters than those with less capacity in these areas. They are also best placed to determine the most effective approaches to building their capacity and capabilities for their particular context.

Discussions at community and regional levels have highlighted that smaller, more isolated rural communities are often not specifically captured in formal emergency response management plans. These communities can be particularly vulnerable to disaster impacts, lacking local emergency services and waiting considerable time for response efforts, including periods of time when they may be physically cut off from outside support.

From early DR:FR projects, FRRR has developed a deeper understanding of effective ways to work with communities to build their capacity and help mitigate these issues. I’m delighted to be continuing this work in Victoria and in Queensland, working alongside local leaders to explore different ways for communities to get engaged and solve these issues.

One thing that’s increasingly apparent and comes up time and again in local conversations is the need for clarity in community-led disaster resilience work, especially around the role of community and where it intersects with the responsibilities of formal emergency response agencies. As the evaluation FRRR commissioned University of Sydney to do on the first DR:FR program showed, the time between disasters is an ideal opportunity for dialogue with communities about disaster information, communication and planning. This increases community ownership, engagement and action. And in the current communities, that’s exactly what we are doing.

Ideally, community-led approaches to resilience building should become more embedded in emergency planning, with communities recognised as equal collaborators in disaster resilience. This can require a change in thinking within the formal planning and response agencies, to adopt more agile and flexible approaches.

We know these things both from formal research but I’ve also seen it first-hand, supporting communities in their preparedness and recovery activities. Community-led disaster resilience thrives on local relationships. Supporting practical links between local community organisations and networks of people enables different stakeholders to mobilise and complement others.

FRRR’s latest DR:FR program is being delivered throughout the Burnett Inland in regional Queensland, in partnership with locally-based Red Earth Community Foundation, and with the support of the Australian Government and Minderoo Foundation. The aim is to build and retain capacity and knowledge in the region. This local focus is further embedded through the establishment of a regional program steering group, comprising local and state government, service providers, FRRR and Red Earth.

I had the opportunity to visit the community for the first time in April and meet DRFR Internal Advisory Group. It includes representation from North & South Burnett Regional Councils, Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and local service agencies, bringing a rich variety of local perspectives to the program. This meeting opened up opportunities for further discussions with Council officers and business groups, as well as travel to different communities to get a first-hand view of their location and environment. It is expected that future trips will allow for other communities to be visited, to build a richer picture of the diversity of the region and the environmental challenges faced in different locations.

This kind of place-based, long-term work on the ground in communities is required for change and impact. This work is not without its challenges. The effort that communities invest into resilience and disaster preparedness takes time and this needs to be recognised and valued. Community capacity, exhaustion and volunteer fatigue will mean that additional resources working alongside and supporting communities will be important to initiate and maintain momentum.

Our hope is that through developing greater resilience and preparedness for emergencies, communities can help mitigate and alleviate the trauma that eventuates from a disaster. I look forward to walking alongside the Burnett and Victorian communities as they continue their work.