Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Since 2006, the Tablelands community in Far North Queensland has experienced three cyclones, floods in 2015, bushfires in 2018 and higher than average monsoonal rains – and the impacts of climate change will likely increase the frequency, duration and severity of these weather patterns and natural disasters over time. With such a small population, this community must be largely self-reliant when it comes to initial disaster responses. So, they need to ensure they are ready when the next disaster strikes.

Thanks to the support of a private donor, the Tablelands Regional Council was awarded a $25,000 grant through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program to run a series of free workshops across the shire. Presented in partnership with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, these programs were designed to better prepare residents before and during disasters and build resilience for the recovery process.

Seven different workshops were delivered, including First Aid training, Psychological First Aid training, Leadership in Disasters Workshops, Exercise Ready2Respond and Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements (QDMA) training. The workshops aimed to support inclusive and resilient communities, build community capacity and cultivate integrated health and wellbeing. They also helped prepare the community for the impacts of climate change, including more intense weather events in future years.

The funding made it possible for 270 people across the region to participate in the training. In particular, the realistic, scenario-based Community Disaster Team exercise helped the community prepare for the upcoming disaster season. The workshops provided valuable ideas to help families, homes and businesses recover from adversity and many community members provided positive feedback.

Officer in Charge of the Atherton Queensland Ambulance Service, Terry Cumming, felt the training had not only better informed the Atherton community but also alleviated the pressures on Emergency Services during a disaster.

“The effort of getting our community involved in training, and capacity building can only strengthen community resilience and help all emergency services in times of need.”

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

Woman unloading fruit box out of the back of a van

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To find out what can be funded through the capacity building stream, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/ResNSW-Covid-Support.

Applications close 5pm AEST on Friday 29 April 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this quarter’s update for FRRR’s donor partners, read about:

  • Flood recovery – how you can help
  • The long and short of bushfire recovery – FRRR’s approach to recovery following the Black Summer bushfires
  • Case study: Recovery in action in mighty Mallacoota
  • Insights from the bush
  • Donor spotlight: The Bertalli Family Foundation
  • Progress Report
  • Partnering opportunities: Victorian expansion of disaster resilience 
  • Community partner spotlight: The Next Economy

Nearly $750,000 committed but more needed

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

FRRR ready to support community-led flood recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three regional communities to take part in multi-year initiative

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

FRRR partners with Victorian communities to support community-led resilience

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

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

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

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

Community driven

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

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

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

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

More communities waiting in the wings

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

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

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

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

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

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

Significant funding to rebuild and recover from COVID

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

New partnership boosts grants to strengthen rural communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about the program, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/SRC. Applications close 31 May 2022 at 5pm AEDT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The five grant recipients are:

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

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

Grants of more than $800,000 support bushfire recovery and community resilience

Seventy-nine community-led projects that will boost remote, rural and regional communities across Australia are sharing in $809,234 in funding, thanks to FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

Funding strengthens Australia’s rural heartbeat

Funded by generous contributions from a number of donors, the SRC program offers two streams of funding. The Small & Vital Stream offers grants of up to $10,000 for locally-led initiatives that strengthen community resilience and capacity, while the Bushfire Recovery Stream offers grants of up to $25,000 to support recovery from the Black Summer bushfires in 2020/21.

In this round of funding, $446,638 will support 55 Small & Vital projects, while $312,596 will be shared across 22 bushfire recovery initiatives.

Grants awarded range from $1,800 to upgrade the Gujarati Cultural Association of Darwin website, through to $25,000 for Wangaratta Rural City Council, which will be used to purchase and install a generator in their Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort.

The funding follows the recent release of FRRR’s Heartbeat of Rural Australia Report, which highlights the challenges that local community groups across the country are facing in funding the vital community-strengthening activities that they undertake.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, says that the diversity of projects reflects the critical role that these groups play in the vitality of their communities.

“As we found in our Heartbeat study, rural community groups and NFPs really are the heartbeat of rural communities. However, many community groups have found it tough to access funding, especially over the last two years, so we are delighted to be able to step in and support them to deliver on local priorities.

“We are seeing initiatives address local needs ranging from enhancing organisational capacity, to providing training so that the groups can better support their communities, to upgrades in critical community infrastructure so that people a safe and accessible space where they can meet.

“This diversity of projects confirms that these community organisations are best placed to lead the way when it comes to supporting their communities, facilitating recovery, and building resilience,” Ms Egleton said.

One particularly notable aspect of this round of grants is the total value of the projects being supported in the Small & Vital Stream.

“We often hear from community groups that the funding they receive from FRRR helps them secure the balance of funds for their projects. While we are awarding $446,638 toward Small & Vital projects, the total value of the projects we’re supporting is nearly $3 million. This means that, on average, for every $1 awarded by FRRR there’s another $6.50 going into the community either in cash or in-kind. That’s wonderful to see and we’re delighted to be able to help local organisations make progress toward getting these critical initiatives up and running,” Ms Egleton said.

Some of the 79 projects awarded include:

  • The Community Charity Shop Incorporated – Rylstone, NSW – Volunteer Celebration and Expo – $10,000Celebrate volunteerism and encourage local involvement through a two-day volunteer expo and celebration of local volunteer groups.
  • Gong-Dal Aboriginal Corporation – Gapuwiyak, NT – Miyarrka Homelands Mobile Bush Studio and Pilot Project – $10,000Upskill youth in video production skills and build a library of video resources for cultural education as well as the purchase of video equipment to develop On-Country bush video studio.
  • Fassifern District Historical Society Incorporated – Boonah, QLD – Ride on Mower – $6,200Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.
  • Port Neill Progress Association Inc – Port Neill, SA – Health and Connectedness for our Community – $2,860 Support physical and mental health for residents of Port Neill, through weekly fitness sessions throughout 2022.
  • Bruny Island District School Association Incorporated – Alonnah, TAS – Billabong Playground Upgrade – $10,000Improve educational, physical and social outcomes, by installing an age-appropriate outdoor play area for preschool children.
  • Goulburn Region Pre-School Association Inc – Violet Town, VIC – Violet Town Bush Kinder – $4,264Enhance early learning andappreciation of nature through the development of a bush education program for kindergarten children.
  • City of Albany – Goode Beach, WA – Albany Community Preparedness and Resilience Project – $8,350 Building community resilience by supporting community planning and preparation for emergencies or disasters.

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

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors, which are listed on FRRR’s website.

The next round of SRC applications is currently being assessed and will be announced March 2022.

More information about the SRC program is available on FRRR’s website.

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

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bushfire Recovery
Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network IncorporatedSupporting Safe and Connected Landcare Communities Through Digital Resources and WHS Training
Help Landcare volunteers to have better access to training opportunities with the purchase of a Smart TV, laptop and improved meeting space furniture.
Kyogle$6,915
Brunswick Valley Landcare IncorporatedClimate Resilience For Our Community's Gardeners and Landholders
Encourage people to come together to plant trees and learn about climate resilience at the 2022 Mother's Day Community Planting event.
Mullumbimby$10,000
Do It For Batlow IncorporatedCommunity Health and Wellbeing / Sports Area Upgrade
Encourage the community to come together, connect and exercise through rejuvenation of the netball, basketball courts and surrounding area within the Batlow Showground Precinct.
Batlow$25,000
Gundillion Recreation Reserve Land ManagerChainsaw Training Round Two
Increase awareness for local community impacted by the Black Summer bushfire events in the safe use of chainsaws for the removal of burnt trees.
Krawarree$5,000
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains Assoc IncCarnivale Catastrophe
Inspire community to come together to share their experiences of the 2019/20 bushfires through an exhibition, public programs and an online digital publication as part of Cementa Festival 2022.
Kandos$21,022
Rainforest 4 Foundation LtdBuilding a Volunteer Base for Local Bushfire Recovery Community Tree Plantings
Expand and retain a volunteer base that will support tree planting and forest regeneration in bushfire impacted rainforest areas.
Mullumbimby$9,316
Scotts Head Community Group IncorporatedScotts Head Community Gardeners
Establish a community garden to encourage community engagement and create an inclusive and supportive meeting place.
Scotts Head$15,000
TenterLIFE Suicide Prevention Network IncTenterLIFE Suicide Prevention Network Inc
Boost community knowledge of suicide and its impact through a series of awareness events and Mental Health First Aid training.
Tenterfield$25,000
The Community Charity Shop IncorporatedVolunteer Celebration and Expo
Celebrate volunteerism and encourage local involvement through a two day volunteer expo and celebration of local volunteer groups.
Rylstone$10,000
Treading Lightly IncTreading Lightly Community Hub and Youth Program
Enable the development of a youth committee by local community hub with rent support in addition to training and mentoring support for youth skill development.
Milton$25,000
Valla Public Hall Committee of Managerment Nambucca Valley CouncilHistoric Valla Hall - Upgrade of Amenities for Community Comfort and Resilience
Improve the comfort and use of the community hall by installing heating and cooling plus dishwasher.
Valla$17,400
Small & Vital
Clifton Community Food Garden IncorporatedArtificial Turf for Garden Walkways Between Beds
Encourage community participation and make the Clifton Community Food Garden more accessible by installing artificial turf for walkways between garden beds.
Sanctuary Point$3,998
Gloucester Arts and Cultural Council IncGrowing Gloucester's Arts
Boost participation and increase cultural vibrancy by bringing more arts-based and cultural programs to Gloucester.
Gloucester$10,000
Home-Start National IncCrookwell Parent to Parent Mentor Project
Strengthen social connection and build resilience by supporting the Crookwell Parent to Parent Mentor Project.
Crookwell$9,480
Ivanhoe RSL Club LtdIvanhoe RSL Upgrades
Boost functionality of the Ivanhoe RSL Club through provision of a deep fryer, dishwasher and kitchen equipment.
Ivanhoe$9,750
Mulga Bill Festival IncorporatedThe Air Conditioning of the Banjo Paterson...More Than a Poet Museum/Exhibition
Boost functionality and usability of The Banjo Paterson…more than a Poet Museum through provision of air conditioning.
Yeoval$4,117
Scone Triathlon Club IncorporatedSplash into Summer in Scone
Increase community participation, health and wellbeing by providing free pool entry and swimming programs for the residents of Scone.
Scone$5,800
Warren Chamber Music Festival IncorporatedWarren Chamber Music Festival Education Week
Inspire more culturally vibrant communities and increase engagement in learning by supporting Warren Chamber Music Festival Education Week.
Warren$10,000
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Bula'Bula ArtsMoiety Murals: Yirritja and Dhuwa Dreamings
Encourage younger generation’s understanding and knowledge of Yolngu culture through creation of two large murals depicting Dhuwa and Yirritja moieties.
Ramingining$9,973
Enterprise Learning ProjectsEmpowering the Social Entrepreneurs of Remote Northern Australia
Build successful social enterprises in remote Northern Australia through five online workshops and an entrepreneurs' network.
Northern Australia$10,000
Gong-Dal Aboriginal CorporationMiyarrka Homelands Mobile Bush Studio and Pilot Project
Upskill youth in video production skills and build a library of video resources for cultural education with purchase of video equipment to develop On-Country bush video studio.
Gapuwiyak$10,000
Gujarati Cultural Association of Darwin IncorporatedGCAD Website 2022
Grow awareness of Gujarati Indian culture and participation in multicultural celebrations with the upgrade of community website.
Darwin$1,800
Junior Police Rangers Land AssociationGreening Goanna Park - Preservation Phase
Maintain grounds of Youth Leadership Camp with purchases of a spray unit to control invasive Gamba Grass and a high-pressure washer for removal of mold.
Marrakai$5,860
The Trustee for Mantiyupwi Family TrustWurrumiyanga Community Tree Planting and Clean-Up Week
Encourage residents to participate in a program to beautify their environment, reduce erosion, increase access to fresh fruit, and increase shade via a community tree planting and Clean-Up week.
Wurrumiyanga$5,500
QUEENSLAND
Bushfire Recovery
Fassifern District Historical Society IncorporatedRide on Mower
Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.
Boonah$6,200
Scenic Rim Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation IncMobile Field Hospital Fitout
Support volunteers responding to natural disasters by providing cooling, refrigeration and a computer for mobile field animal hospital.
Boonah$9,350
Small & Vital
Begonia Golf & Sports Club IncConnect Begonia
Boost opportunities for inclusion and participation through connecting Begonia residents to internet and providing an online yoga program.
Begonia$10,000
Bowen Neighbourhood Centre Bowen Community Council IncCommunity Computers
Increase access to digital services through provision of a bank of computers at Bowen Neighbourhood Centre.
Bowen$10,000
Captain Creek Community Sport and Recreation ClubCommercial Dishwasher and TV for Captain Creek Community Club
Encourage community connection and support volunteers through provision of a commercial dishwasher and television for Captain Creek Community Club.
Captain Creek$8,265
Cawarral Primary P&C AssociationPlayful Partnerships at Cawarral
Encourage social connection and engagement in learning through installation of a new playground and fencing for Cawarral State School.
Cawarral$10,000
Childers Neighbourhood Centre Bundaberg Regional CouncilNOT The One Pot Wonders
Build community resilience and participation through provision of a series of cooking classes that focus on health, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Childers$9,445
El Arish Community Sport and Recreation Association IncorporatedSTAGE 2 Air Conditioning Project for the El Arish RSL Memorial Hall
Expand the use of El Arish RSL Memorial Hall by installing three user-pays air conditioning units.
El Arish$9,950
Home Hill Chamber of CommerceCreate and Host a New Website, Email Service and Social Media Presence
Build economic strength and enhance community identity by provision of a new website and social media presence for Home Hill business community.
Home Hill$10,000
Nanango & District Kindergarten AssnNew Indoor Timber Furniture
Revitalise the learning environment of Nanango & District Kindergarten through the provision of sustainable timber activity tables and chairs.
Nanango$10,000
Roma Show Society IncMaranoa New Years Spectacular
Boost the local economy and increase social connection by providing fireworks and entertainment for the Maranoa New Year Spectacular.
Roma$10,000
Torres Strait & Cape York Peninsula Indigenous Futsal Association LimitedRemote Indigenous Junior Futsal Clubs
Foster a more engaged, participative community and contribute to "closing the gap" for Indigenous children by establishing long-term extra-curricular activities in the remote communities of Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula.
Northern Peninsula Area$9,500
Woodhill Hall Association IncRefurbish Kitchen Benches and Shelving
Rejuvenate the Woodhill Hall through provision of new kitchen benchtops and shelving.
Woodhill$4,485
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
Lights of Lobethal SA IncIlluminature
Bringing community together and support activities that promote recovery through a lighting display.
Lobethal$25,000*
Southern Yorke Peninsula Community Hub IncorporatedIncident Response Trailer
Empower community led initiatives in responding to and preparing for natural disasters.
Yorketown & District$24,950
TULKA Progress AssociationPurchase of a Zero Turn Ride-On Lawn Mower
Boost the community's ability to prepare for bushfire seasons and maintain fuel reduction though purchasing a mower.
Tulka$6,199
Small & Vital
Cummins Area SchoolPreschool Outdoor Area Upgrade
Encourage connectivity, educational and social opportunities for young children, by constructing a sensory garden and play-space.
Cummins$10,000
Port Neill Progress Association IncHealth and Connectedness for our Community
Support physical and mental health for residents of Port Neill, through the operation of a weekly fitness session throughout 2022.
Port Neill$2,860
The Beltana Progress Association IncorporatedIncreasing Community Resilience -Purchase a Replacement Tractor
Support organisational capacity and volunteer wellbeing through the purchase of a tractor for the maintenance of town infrastructure.
Beltana$10,000
Wudinna & District Swimming Pool IncWudinna Swimming Pool Canteen Upgrade
Support revenue generation and develop organisational capacity through the upgrade of a refrigerator.
Wudinna$4,432
TASMANIA
Small & Vital
Bruny Island District School Association IncorporatedBillabong Playground Upgrade
Improve educational, physical and social outcomes, by installing an age-appropriate outdoor play area for pre-school children.
Alonnah$10,000
Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House IncHolistic Volunteer Strategy
Increase the Neighbourhood House’s capacity to support volunteers through the establishment of a volunteer engagement strategy.
Nubeena$8,200
VICTORIA
Bushfire Recovery
Ambassadors of Jesus IncEnsuring Emergency Food Relief in the Upper Murray
Boost health and wellbeing of communities affected by natural disasters through delivering emergency food relief and essential goods.
Corryong$25,000
Bright Court House Committee of ManagementAuditorium Upgrade - Live Streaming Cameras
Encourage people to come together and strengthen connections to arts and culture in a community affected by natural disasters.
Bright$9,970
Bruthen Arts and Events Council IncBruthen Blues & Arts Festival, 2022
Strengthen recovery and encourage people to come together by enhancing entertainment and COVID-safe practices at the Bruthen Arts & Blues Festival.
Bruthen$25,000*
Corryong Junior Gymnastic Club IncCircastics Access for All
Encourage access and inclusion for all abilities through the purchase of specialist gymnastics and circus equipment.
Corryong$6,650
Dartmouth Community Progress AssociationStrengthening Volunteer Capacity Through the Upgrading of Equipment in our Local Community Hall
Increase community connection and disaster preparedness by improving kitchen facilities at a community gathering space.
Dartmouth$9,000
National Alpine Museum of Australia IncorporatedAustralia's Alpine Album
Grow community resources and local connection by preserving stories and historical artefacts.
VIC Alpine$12,274
Whitfield Recreation Reserve Community Asset Committee Wangaratta Rural City CouncilStrengthening Resilience and Capacity for the Whitfield Community During Emergency Events
Building capacity to respond to natural disasters through purchasing a generator for a community gathering space.
Whitfield$25,000
Small & Vital
Art House Gippsland IncorporatedInward Goods Festival 2022
Build capacity of a music event and extend artistic engagement of young people in creative activities through supporting amenities costs at the Inward Goods Briagolong Festival.
Briagolong$10,000
Banyena Community Hall IncorporatedBanyena Hall Automated External Defibrillator
Enhance community safety and capacity by providing an accessible defibrillator and training at the local hall.
Banyena$2,321
Bass Coast Community Foundation Open FundBass Coast Kids as Catalysts
Enhance school engagement and develop life skills through implementing the Kids as Catalysts creative learning program at Bass Valley Primary School.
Corinella$10,000
Bellarine Historical Society Incorporated (INC. NO. A 0015326L)Upgrade Computer Equipment
Boost volunteer capacity and engagement through the upgrading of IT equipment.
Drysdale$3,030
Boolarra and District Historical Society IncImproving access to Boolarra Museum
Expand the use of the Boolarra Museum by installing a ramp to improve access.
Boolarra$10,000
Centre for Participation IncAlternative Life Skill Program for Vulnerable Youth
Develop resilience of at-risk Youth through participation in a food handling training program.
Nhill$9,750
Edenhope Tourism IncorporatedPermanent Museum to Display Local History
Build a stronger local economy and celebrate a historically rich culture through the establishment of a history museum.
Edenhope$10,000
Geelong Food Relief CentreThe Weekly Purchase of Nutritious Food for the Geelong Food Banks
Improve food security in vulnerable communities through purchasing and distributing nutritious food.
Geelong (G1 Region)$10,000
Gellibrand Community House IncorporatedHeating Hearts in the Gellibrand Hall
Improve volunteer vitality and organisational resilience by installing split systems.
Gellibrand$10,000
Goulburn Region Pre-School Association IncViolet Town Bush Kinder
Enhance early learning and appreciation of nature through the development of a bush education program for kindergarten children.
Violet Town$4,264
Karramomus Hall and Recreation Reserve Greater Shepparton City CouncilRejuvenating the Karramomus Community Hall
Strengthen social engagement for senior’s groups and expand hire of a local hall, through the upgrade of furniture.
Karramomus$9,750
Koroit Irish Festival Committee IncCaring for our Kids
Increase organisational capacity and young people’s engagement with a heritage festival through the purchase of marquees.
Koroit$7,500
Korumburra Men’s Shed Milpara Community House IncThe Korumburra Castle ‘Hub 1’
Foster greater engagement and connection by installing an accessible kitchen at the men's shed.
Korumburra$9,600
Ladybird Education North East Regional Pre-School Association IncorporatedLadybird Education Music Incursion Program at Chiltern Kindergarten
Support early childhood pre-literacy development through the introduction of a music program at Chiltern Kindergarten.
Chiltern$6,800
Mirboo Recreation Reserve IncorporatedReverse Cycle Replacement
Strengthen community connectivity and engagement through the purchase and installation of split systems.
Mirboo$2,000
Portland Community Garden IncorporatedExpand our Work Space Expand our Opportunities
Enhance engagement opportunities for the Portland community through the establishment of a workshop space at the community garden.
Portland$10,000
Pyramid Hill and District Historical Society Inc A0016804KPyramid Hill Historic Plaques
Increase community connection and promote history and tourism in Pyramid Hill by installing historic plaques within the township.
Pyramid Hill$8,253
The Growing Abundance Project Inc2022 Harvest Program Coordinator
Enhance community wellbeing via a food security program and support volunteer management by employing a project coordinator.
Castlemaine$10,000
Wandong History Group IncLinking Our Heritage - Wandong
Increase access to local history and boost community participation through establishing a new website.
Wandong$8,327
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
City of AlbanyAlbany Community Preparedness and Resilience Project
Building community resilience by supporting community planning and preparation for emergencies or disasters.
Goode Beach$8,350
Small & Vital
Badgingarra Primary School Parents and Citizens AssociationUpgrade School Kitchen
Expand the use of the school’s kitchen by installing new cupboards and appliances to increase capacity to deliver food technology programs and provide catering at school events.
Badgingarra$10,000
Cranbrook Community Men's ShedShed Extension
Grow opportunities to connect and support skill development by extending Cranbrook Men’s Shed to allow a separate metal working area.
Cranbrook$8,273
Dunsborough Toy LibraryDunsborough Toy Library - Building Capacity, Awareness and Resilience
Increase opportunities for families to connect and children to access educational toys, with new website and promotional material for toy library.
Dunsborough$3,605
Foodbank of Western Australia IncFood Relief Support for Isolated Meekatharra & Wiluna Families
Increase access to food for remote communities of Wiluna and Meekatharra, through provision of food hampers.
Meekatharra$9,750
Indigenous Remote Communications Association Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation2022 Remote Indigenous Media Festival
Boost Indigenous media skills by funding workshops and forums supporting skills development, networking and industry development.
Kimberley$10,000
Walitj Aboriginal CorporationBoosting Shearing Training Capability for Noongar Young Adults in Great Southern WA
Develop workplace skills to address labor shortages in the wool industry through purchase of a wool press that will support industry training and grow a viable social enterprise.
Redmond$10,000
* Tailored grants

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how do we fix the problem?

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

Step one: listen to the locals

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

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

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

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

Step three: simple applications and greater flexibility

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

Step four: recognition of the role that local organisations play

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

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

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

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

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

Step six: continued government and philanthropic support

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

Step seven: build local champions

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

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