Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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

  • Connecting with Communities
  • Progress Report
  • Insights from the bush
  • Donor spotlight: Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Community partner spotlight: Housing Matters Action Group Inc (HMAG)

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

  • Tiwi Enterprises: strengthening their community in the Northern Territory
  • Progress Report
  • Insights from the bush
  • Donor spotlight: Raine & Horne Foundation
  • Support Victorian communities to be Disaster Resilient: Future Ready

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

  • Ngketya Nwernaka Ilkerta Mparetyeka: an innovative grassroots language revival program in Central Australia
  • Progress Report
  • Insights from the bush
  • Donor spotlight: The Macdoch Foundation
  • Community Partner Spotlight: Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship (ACRE)
  • Partnering opportunities: Private Ancillary Funds

Nine projects funded across NSW, QLD and WA

While drought is out of the media spotlight, for many communities it is still a very real and significant issue. FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program has just awarded $86,083 to nine community initiatives in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia still dealing with the impacts of drought.

Mural painted on shed of an old car.

TTTT is a long-running, collaboratively-funded program that helps drought-affected communities to access the funding and resources they need to tackle the long-term impacts of drought. This round of grants will help fund a variety of projects run by local not-for-profit organisations and community groups, including a series of art workshops for both adults and children, a community event featuring Aboriginal artwork, the creation of murals and skills training to support community members experiencing loss and grief.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that there are still many regions across Australia being impacted by drought.

“During this round of grants, the number of eligible LGAs dropped from 152 to 47. While we’re delighted to see such a significant drop in the number of communities being impacted by drought, it’s crucial that we continue to provide support. A lot of places, like remote SA, are still tackling extreme periods of dryness while others are very much still in drought recovery mode. Not to mention the fact that communities are dealing with a variety of other factors as they continue to stand strong and keep their community connected and supported.

“In this round of applications, we saw a lot of projects that are aiming to improve volunteer capacity and build a sense of social connectedness. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that our remote, rural and regional communities need volunteers and a strong sense of community in order to thrive.

“When we carried out our Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey last year, the results showed that the effects of drought, as well as the cumulative effects of multiple other disasters, have left volunteers feeling extremely fatigued, and those living in rural communities feeling isolated. That’s why we’re so pleased to be able to fund these kinds of grassroots initiatives at a time when they’re truly needed,” Ms O’Brien said.

Among the other projects funded this round were:

  • Red Ridge Ltd – Longreach, QLD – Outback Fashion Festival – Canvas to Catwalk – Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event. $10,000
  • Rattler Railway Company Ltd – Gympie, QLD – Fatigue Management Accommodation- Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers. $10,000
  • For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) Incorporated – Chapman Valley & Nabawa, WA – Winter Art Series in Chapman Valley – Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops. $7,900

The full list of grant recipients and their projects is listed on the FRRR website.

The TTTT program supports drought-affected regions of Australia by giving community groups and local not-for-profit organisations access to the resources they need to respond to, and recover from, long-term rainfall deficiencies. This program has granted over $18 million to initiatives that are helping communities to tackle the tough times that come with drought.

Funding for this program is generously contributed by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Pratt Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Paul Ramsay Foundation, The Snow Foundation,  Henroth Group and private donors from across the nation. To join these donors, and support grants like this through FRRR, you can 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
Moama and District Pre-School Centre IncMoama & District Preschool Brings Sober in the Country to Moama
Improve the community’s social and emotional health and encourage local involvement by hosting a community dinner and guest speaker on drinking culture and supporting healthy choices.
Moama$9,150
QUEENSLAND
Congregation of Central Western Qld UCAEdgely Hall Improvements
Improve volunteer vitality and support social connection by installing air-conditioning in the multi-purpose room of the Longreach Uniting Church.
Longreach$10,000
Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) LimitedOutback Fashion Festival - Canvas to Catwalk
Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event.
Longreach$10,000
Rattler Railway Company LtdFatigue Management Accommodation
Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers.
Gympie$10,000
Kumbia & District Memorial School of Arts IncKumbia & District School Memorial of Arts Inc Hall Improvements
Boost and strengthen the local economy and reduce social isolation with town beautification in Kumbia through mural art.
Kumbia$10,000
Connecting Communities Australia LtdLet the Show Go On
Improve volunteer vitality and support strong social connection by providing a team of volunteers to assist the Longreach Show Committee prepare and coordinate the Longreach Annual Show.
Longreach$9,933
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Isolated Childrens' Parents Association of (WA) Inc2022 ICPA Federal Conference
Build communities’ resilience to continue to face the many ongoing issues and uncertainties that are inherent for families living in rural and remote Australia by hosting a conference where participants connect and learn from one another.
Various$10,000
Busselton Hospice Care IncorporatedIncreasing the Capability to Support Grief and Bereavement in our Compassionate Community
Empower a community group by providing skills training and capacity building to further support community members experiencing loss and grief.
Busselton$9,100
For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) IncorporatedWinter Art Series in Chapman Valley
Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops.
Nabawa$7,900

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

FRRR has awarded $3,084,346 to 60 local not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in remote, rural and regional Australia for grassroots initiatives that will build their community’s resilience to drought.

Funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and a range of other donor partners, the Networks to Build Drought Resilience program focuses on agriculture-dependent communities. It’s designed to give local NFPs access to the funds and resources they need to prepare and strengthen their community’s response to future drought and climate change.

This second round of grants, which range from $10,120 to $150,000, sees several First Nations organisations receiving grants. The successful groups include Outback Academy Australia Ltd, which has received a grant of $146,966 to strengthen drought resilience through collaborative Aboriginal networks across several states.

There is also more funding to help women in rural communities come together, with support for projects like the Rural Women’s Gathering 2022 in South Australia. Their $27,000 grant will help to build drought resilience by facilitating professional, social and community connections among women.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that this diversity in applications is what allows these programs to make a meaningful difference in local communities.

“We’ve seen community-led projects that address the needs of First Nations people, women and young people. It’s this kind of tailored approach, responding to the unique challenges of each place, that will enable these communities to build long-lasting networks to build their enduring ability to manage the future impacts of drought.”

Ms Egleton also said that despite facing many challenges, these local organisations are committed to building a better future for their communities in the long run.

“Local leaders are so impressive. Many groups were still dealing with the impacts of COVID lockdowns and restrictions, not to mention extreme weather events. These circumstances have left volunteers feeling very fatigued (as we confirmed in our Heartbeat of Rural Australia study last year), and yet these rounds saw proposals for great ideas and innovative projects put forward“.

“We’re proud to partner with the Australian Government on this program, and grateful for the additional funding we have received from our many other donors. These partnerships are vital when it comes to equipping grassroots organisations with the resources, they need to ensure their regions can thrive into the future,” said Ms Egleton.

Some more of the 60 initiatives, which are spread across every state and territory, include:

  • Tharwa Community Association Inc – Tharwa, ACT – Tharwa Community Hall Critical Repair and Remediation –  $20,000 – This project will support crucial repairs for the Tharwa meeting hall. The hall is a central meeting place for local farming families and fosters connectedness and the community’s capacity to respond to future drought events.
  • Tamworth Regional Landcare Association – Wallabadah, NSW – Regenerative Practices on the Liverpool Plains: Learning & Working Together to Build Drought Resilience – $22,600 – This project will build drought resilience through two education events and a farm tour day to build understandings of risks posed by drought and climate change in agriculture-dependent communities of the Tamworth region. The project will encourage participants to shift from ‘season to season’ thinking to developing a long-term vision and plan which considers the impact of climate variability on their farming business.
  • Young Livestock Exporters Network – Darwin & Katherine, NT and Townsvillle, Qld – YLEN Leadership Program: Future-Proofing the Livestock Industry – $45,867 – This project will support educational opportunities through two training events, a leadership program and stockperson course, designed to bring rural youth together to discuss the impacts of difficult times, including drought. These events will enable the youth participants to discuss with industry experts, topics to understand the risks posed by drought, how to plan for and manage the risks, and stress, self-care and communication during difficult times, giving the participants tools that they can share with their communities, and draw on during difficult times, including times of drought.
  • Burnett Catchment Care Association – Monto, QLD – Connecting Monto producers to build resilience – $19,000 – This project will support hosting of three workshops on strategies to prepare for drought, sustainability practices and soil health during drought. Focussing on discussion about new information presented and sharing of ideas and experiences, the workshops will build locally relevant knowledge required to support the rural community’s response to the impacts of drought.
  • Tumby Bay Progress Association – Tumby Bay, SA – Improving Farmer Skills in Effective Communication and Digital Literacy, Lower Eyre Peninsula – $45,000 – This project will build drought resilience through enabling 50 locals to participate in a 16-week communication and literacy training program, focussed at building participants’ capacity to network with their communities, thus building participants’ readiness to face the impacts during times of drought. The project will support ongoing community engagement through an online networking tool for the community to continue sharing ideas and experiences to continue building connectedness and a shared sense of purpose.
  • Big Hart – Wynyard, TAS – The Watershed Project – $140,000 – This project will support community engagement events including three community dinners, a networking breakfast, two film screenings and two workshops across the North West coast of Tasmania to discuss topics such as water and eco anxiety, water and well-being, and water and local production. The events will be targeted across the local community to involve producers, local clubs, youth and businesses for the communities will work collaboratively to solve problems on environmental and agribusiness topics that are central to drought resilience at the local level.
  • Partners in Ag Incorporated – Rupanyup, VIC – Wimmera Rural Table Gathering – $28,608 – This project will support a full day event to bring rural women together to discuss the impacts of drought and a changing climate for the region. Including a panel discussion of industry experts, participants will be involved in discussions and learnings to understand the challenges faced by communities in times of drought and how community members can develop skills and strategies to deal with difficult times, including during times of drought.
  • Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District Committee – Karridale, WA – Lower Blackwood Online Community Forum & Information Hub – $49,850 – This project will build the community’s capacity to understand & implement sustainable agriculture objectives and drought resilience through an online Community Forum & Information Hub, which will provide an interactive platform to access information and resources with locally relevant information.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Funding Tier 1: $10,000- $20,000
Tharwa Community Association IncTharwa Community Hall Critical Repair and Remediation

This project will support crucial repairs for the Tharwa meeting hall. The hall is a central meeting place for local farming families and fosters connectedness and the community’s capacity to respond to future drought events.

Tharwa$20,000
NEW SOUTH WALES
Funding Tier 1: $10,000- $20,000
Active Farmers Ltd.100 Mental Health Champions

This project will support trainers and community members across 47 rural communities to attend a two-day mental health first aid course. Through the course, participants will share their skills to work with their communities to respond to the challenges that arise in rural communities during times of drought.

Mangoplah$10,120
Community College-Northern Inland IncorporatedNamoi Womens Shed

This project will support improvements to increase the Namoi Women’s Shed as a venue for training and collaboration. This will support the community to meet, and develop skills and social connections, that support drought preparedness.

Narrabri$13,731
Central West Farming Systems Inc.CWFS Rural and Regional Women and Youth 'Just Brilliant' Conference 2022

This one-day conference will bring together rural women and young leaders with agricultural leaders to discuss personal, rural and drought resilience. The event will provide opportunity for participants to network across communities and seek guidance and mentorship to deal with the impacts of difficult times, including drought.

Condobolin$16,210
Cookamidgera Community Landcare IncSaving Cooka Hall

This project will support critical upgrades to the central community hall. This will make the hall accessible for more of the community to gather, strengthening connections and sharing of knowledge to prepare for the impacts of drought.

Cookamidgera$16,370
Eurobodalla Shire CouncilFor the Farmers - Finding connection in the country

This project will support two community networking events and a podcast series. It will strengthen community networks and engagement through regular meetings, and disseminate key drought information for the community.

Moruya$17,270
Adavale Lane Community Centre IncorporatedSetting Up a Connected Educational Environment to Run a Workshop on How to Prepare for a Drought

This project will support a workshop that will include insights, demonstrations and strategies that can be implemented locally to prepare for future droughts. The project will also include small upgrades to the local meeting place to improve its use for the community to share knowledge and support each other before, during and after times of drought.

Goonumbla$17,491
Weemelah HallProvide additional outdoor facilities and beautification to the Weemelah Hall Yard

This project will support improvements to indoor and outdoor facilities at the Weemelah Hall. The improvements will enable the facility to continue its vital role as a central meeting place for the community to meet, including preparing for drought.

Weemelah$18,832
Gwymac IncorporatedBuilding Farm Resilience Through More Dynamic Soils and Pastures

This project will host three workshops that will provide information on drought resilience farming and climate change. The workshops will build farmers’ and the communities’ knowledge through sharing of case studies, personal experiences and learnings.

Inverell$18,950
Monaro Farming Systems CMC IncorporatedDrought Preparedness on The Monaro – Feed Evaluating & Drought Planning

This project supports a three day drought preparedness workshop that will build local producers’ skills and capacity to evaluate and manage the impacts of drought. It will include sessions on risk management and planning, strategies on drought planning, and pasture management to prepare for, and during times of drought.

Cooma$19,050
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Tamworth Regional Landcare AssociationRegenerative Practices on the Liverpool Plains: Learning & Working Together to Build Drought Resilience

This project will build drought resilience through two education events and a farm tour day to build understandings of risks posed by drought and climate change in agriculture-dependent communities of the Tamworth region. The project will encourage participants to shift from ‘season to season’ thinking to developing a long-term vision and plan which considers the impact of climate variability on their farming business.

Wallabadah$22,600
Destination Tweed LtdCross-Sector Connectivity: Food + Nature + Arts

This project will build drought resilience through four agri-food networking forums to strengthen understanding of risks posed by drought and climate change, and ensure the community is better positioned to adapt to future drought challenges.

Tyalgum$25,000
Mid Lachlan Landcare IncorporatedUsing the Future to learn from past droughts

This project will support four local field days on drought resilience, on-farm drought preparedness plans and agricultural sustainability practices in the region, to build the skills of local land managers to enable them to make timely on farm decision making when dealing with the warning signs and effects of drought.

Canowindra$27,560
Clarence Landcare IncorporatedClarence Landcare Agriculture Network (CLAN)

This project will support monthly field days and other events, training and meetings to provide training on best practice land and natural resource management skills for communities preparing for and responding to the impacts of drought.

Grafton$40,520
Glenrac IncorporatedCultivating Skills and Community Connections for Glen Innes

This project supports a series of nine training workshops for community members and farming businesses, focussed on drought and risk management planning. The project provides additional benefit in fostering networks for new residents with limited social connections in the community.

Glen Innes$48,340
Bermagui Pre School Co-operative Society LimitedThe Moodji Futures Project

This project will support local events including a sustainability workshop and Long Table Dinner.  The events will focus on drought mitigation practices and support a shared sense of purpose and community belonging.

Bermagui$49,000
Caragabal Country Golf Club LtdImprove access, safety and efficiency of the Caragabal Country Golf Club as a community meeting place

This project will establish an online forum to increase knowledge sharing and stories across the community, and support small upgrades to the central community meeting place.  These activities will improve the community’s ability to share knowledge and improve social connectedness and improved mental health and wellbeing throughout the drought cycle.

Caragabal$50,000
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Kempsey Shire CouncilThe Macleay Valley River to the Sea Festival

This project will support a community festival, involving a primary producer workshop to build long-term success in a post drought region, as well as mental health and resilience in times of drought. Participants will build local connections and an understanding of risks posted by drought and the changing climate.

Kempsey$56,960
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Kulgera Gymkhana Club IncorporatedKulgera Gymkhana Club - Upgrade Facilities

This project will support connectedness in this very remote region through supporting small scale community infrastructure improvements at a main community facility, thus enabling the community to connect and share experiences and knowledge, and improve the community’s wellbeing during tough times, including during drought.

Kulgera$29,724
Young Livestock Exporters NetworkYLEN Leadership Program: Future-Proofing the Livestock Industry

This project will support educational opportunities through two training events, a leadership program and stockperson course, designed to bring rural youth together to discuss the impacts of difficult times, including drought. These events will enable the youth participants to discuss with industry experts, topics to understand the risks posed by drought, how to plan for and manage the risks, and stress, self-care and communication during difficult times, giving the participants tools that they can share with their communities, and draw on during difficult times, including times of drought.

Darwin, Katherine & Townsville$45,867
QUEENSLAND
Funding Tier 1: $10,000- $20,000
Burnett Catchment Care AssociationConnecting Monto producers to build resilience

This project will support hosting of three workshops on strategies to prepare for drought, sustainability practices and soil health during drought. Focussing on discussion about new information presented and sharing of ideas and experiences, the workshops will build locally relevant knowledge required to support the rural community’s response to the impacts of drought.

Monto$19,000
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Connecting Communities Australia LtdBright Spaces, Bright Faces: Renovation of the Isisford District Hospital Museum and Multi-Purpose Centre

This project will support small upgrades at a community centre to enable this formal and informal community meeting space to be used year-round and host a community event on drought preparedness for the region.

Isisford$28,508
Queensland Families and Communities Association Inc.Neighbourhood Centres Engaging to Strengthen Community Connections and Wellbeing

This project will support capacity building events including information evenings and drought preparedness packs, to share information to prepare for the impacts of drought. Community events through the project will share information for communities to adapt to future drought challenges.

Diamond Valley$46,740
Society of Precision Agriculture Australia (SPAA) IncorporatedSPAA Community Field Days - Supporting Drought Resilience

This project will support five community field days that will build knowledge about agricultural practices relevant to the regions, assisting these farming communities to understand and discuss the risks posed by drought and climate change.

Goondiwindi (Qld), Dalwallinu (WA), Kyalite (NSW); Underbool (Vic); Waikerie (SA)$48,658
Northern Gulf Resource Management Group LtdDrought Resilience Awareness and Networking Forums for the Northern Gulf region of Queensland

This project will fund a series of three drought and farming forum events across regional Queensland about the risks posed by drought in the Northern Gulf region. Farmer focused forums will include guest speakers and interactive discussions and planning sessions, to build participants’ knowledge and networks to build the rural communities’ capacity to better respond to the impacts of drought.

Dimbulah, Chillagoe & Croydon$49,700
Stanthorpe Agricultural Society"Connect with the world!" LED sign installation project

This project will support community infrastructure improvements to the Stanthorpe Agriculture Showgrounds that will increase community usage of the venue to foster connectedness, improve wellbeing and increase knowledge sharing, by engaging sections of the population that are not able to access key community information in other means.

Stanthorpe$50,000
Momentum Mental Health LimitedWellbeing and Drought Resilience training for Darling Downs QLD small business teams

This project will support wellbeing and mental health workshops to rural businesses to provide training, skills and strategies to support the community prepare for and during times of drought. The workshops will build the confidence of participants to check in across the communities, identify signs of mental distress during times of drought and take action during hard times.

Toowoomba$50,000
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Warra Public Memorial Hall IncRe-roofing and installation of insulation of the Warra Memorial Hall

This project will support small upgrades to a central community centre used by farming groups and the community to share ideas, network and hold community information sessions. This local meeting place will provide the community to support each other and share ideas to prepare for the impacts of drought.

Warra$115,500
Flinders Shire CouncilThe Hub: Creating connection, strengthening resilience, and activating opportunity

This community project will build drought resilience through small scale community infrastructure improvements to a main local meeting place, and through this, foster connectedness, improve wellbeing and share knowledge during hard times, including drought.

Hughenden$150,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Limestone Coast Food & Agribusiness Cluster LtdImproving regional branding and recognition of local agri-food systems on SA’s Limestone Coast through the delivery of regional networking and capacity building events.

This project will build the region’s preparedness to the impacts of drought through connecting through six networking events and six webinars for local producers to discuss the impacts of drought locally and develop the necessary skills and knowledge for the region to respond to hard times, including times of drought. The project will facilitate professional, social and community connection to better understand the risks posed by drought and climate change, as well as fostering higher rates of innovation in the local area.

Penola$24,450
District Council of Streaky BayRural Women's Gathering 2022

This project will develop the community’s preparedness to the impacts of drought through a full-day networking event about understanding the risks posed by drought and climate change. The event will encourage both regional and local women across South Australia to share experiences and skills whilst also providing these women with tools and training, so they are better prepared to respond to hard times, including during times of drought.

Streaky Bay$27,000
Tumby Bay Progress Association IncorporatedImproving Farmer Skills in Effective Communication and Digital Literacy, Lower Eyre Peninsula

This project will build drought resilience through enabling 50 locals to participate in a 16-week communication and literacy training program, focussed at building participants’ capacity to network with their communities, thus building participants’ readiness to face the impacts during times of drought. The project will support ongoing community engagement through an online networking tool for the community to continue sharing ideas and experiences to continue building connectedness and a shared sense of purpose.

Tumby Bay$45,000
WoTL Ltd“100 billion reasons” – a program to upskill rural businesses in modern human resource leadership to prepare SA agricultural industries and rural communities for 2030.

This project will support two training workshops and an online forum for rural groups across four regions in rural South Australia. Learnings will include community risk management, planning and issues relating to specific communities, to build a collective knowledge to support these communities deal with the impacts of hard times, including drought.

Lameroo, Cleve, Keith & Minlaton$49,891
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Wudinna and Le Hunte District Agricultural Horticultural & Floricultural Society IncorporatedWudinna Showgrounds Water Harvest

This project will support the local community build preparedness to the impacts of drought by developing strategies to enable the community to have a social meeting place to connect and support each other during difficult times, including times of drought.

Wudinna$109,417
University of South AustraliaStrengthening wellbeing and deepening social support in a drought-affected, agricultural-dependent community with the help of ‘Wellbeing Warriors’ to promote mental health and wellbeing within their networks

This project will strengthen the capacity of community networks in the regional town of Loxton, through three tailored workshops, involving industry experts to discuss ideas and experiences for the community to develop strategies to deal with the impacts of tough times. Training of wellbeing champions in the rural communities will assist the communities prepare for, and respond to the impacts of drought.

Loxton$148,458
Marama Community IncorporatedMarama Community Hall Revival

This project will support small improvements for this regional South Australian town’s central meeting place to increase its use year-round, fostering community connectedness and communal space for community support during difficult times, including times of drought.

Marama$150,000
TASMANIA
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Big Hart IncThe Watershed Project

This project will support community engagement events including three community dinners, a networking breakfast, two film screenings and two workshops across the North West coast of Tasmania to discuss topics such as water and eco anxiety, water and well-being, and water and local production. The events will be targeted across the local community to involve producers, local clubs, youth and businesses for the communities will work collaboratively to solve problems on environmental and agribusiness topics that are central to drought resilience at the local level.

Wynyard$140,000
VICTORIA
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Trust for Nature (Victoria)Native grassland management on farms in south-west Victoria

This project will support a forum that will connect farmers, rural landholders and experts to discuss local issues faced in preparing for drought. The forum will build drought resilience knowledge and improve local collaboration and knowledge of the skills and strategies required to prepare for droughts.

Shelford$21,900
Paynesville Neighbourhood Centre IncSupporting a resilient community - mental health first aid training

This project will build the skills and understanding of the risks posed by difficult times, including during times of drought, through a series of eight mental health first aid courses to local community leaders. The participants will develop the knowledge and skills to engage with their communities and understand the risks posed by drought and the strategies needed to deal with the impacts of drought. Through the courses, a network of community leaders will support their communities prepare for the impacts of tough times, including during drought.

Paynesville$26,772
Partners In Ag IncorporatedWimmera Rural Table Gathering

This project will support a full day event to bring rural women together to discuss the impacts of drought and a changing climate for the region. Including a panel discussion of industry experts, participants will be involved in discussions and learnings to understand the challenges faced by communities in times of drought and how community members can develop skills and strategies to deal with difficult times, including during times of drought.

Rupanyup$28,608
Food Next Door Co-op LtdStrengthening connections between farming and young people at the Community Demonstration Farm

Through a short training course and discussion forums with Young Farmer groups and local hobby farmers, this project will support building drought resilience through increasing knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change at a local level. The training course and forums will support information sharing about climate change impacts on food production and strengthening resilience for local farms, increasing the region’s capacity to prepare for the impacts of drought.

Nichols Point$35,826
Murrabit Advancement Association IncConnecting Spaces and Places - Murrabit

This project will support improvements for a local community meeting place, to make the location more accessible to the community on a year round basis to meet in larger groups to share insights and learnings to prepare for drought.

Murrabit$37,318
Binginwarri Recreation ReserveUpgrade of Binginwarri Recreation Reserve's existing toilet block.

This project will build drought resilience through small scale community infrastructure improvements at this central meeting place for the community to support each other during hard times, and enhance the venue’s use to enable the community to share knowledge and support during disaster times, including times of drought.

Binginwarri$40,000
Gippsland Agricultural GroupGippsland Future Fodder - Connect and Prepare Initiatives

This project will support this local community group to engage with local farmers to assist farmers develop action plans to prepare for the impacts of drought. The project will also support a field day to bring together farmers to discuss key regional risk management issues and develop solutions to improve the community’s drought preparedness.

Omeo$42,920
Southern Farming Systems LtdSoil moisture and informed decisions.

This project will support training sessions across five locations in Victoria and Tasmania and online webinars to share information and resources to build local knowledge about the risks posed by drought at the local level and strategies to manage during drought times. The workshops will enable knowledge sharing, including with professionals, to expand participants’ knowledge and ability to prepare for the impacts of drought and climate change.

Inverleigh, Streatham & Bairnsdale (Vic) and Longford (Tas)$45,810
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Indigo Shire CouncilCountry halls connected for farming community resilience

This project will support a Drought and Farm Resilience workshop for communities in the Indigo Shire, a collaborative Capacity Building and Drought Resilience hall committee workshop, bringing hall committees together across three communities, and small upgrades to community facilities to hold these workshops. The workshops will focus on developing the skills required to build farm resilience to the impacts of drought and will enable the agriculture dependent community to share ideas to strengthen their knowledge and build a social wellbeing that is required during tough times.

Cornishtown$98,843
Mallee District Aboriginal Services LimitedShed refurbishment to create a gathering space for Kerang Aboriginal Elders and Leaders and community.

This project will support small upgrades to community infrastructure critical for a year-round meeting place for the community to build connections and resilience. The meeting shed is a central meeting place used to share knowledge across a broad rural area in the preparation to the impacts of drought.

Kerang$136,420
Twin Rivers Men's Shed Association Inc.Twin Rivers Community Hub and Men's Shed Project

This project will support small upgrades to a central meeting space for the community to socially connect and share knowledge to prepare for the impacts of drought. The improved community facilities will build a community connectedness and support the community to bring experts to discuss strategies and skills required during tough times, including during drought.

Johnsonville$150,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Funding Tier 1: $10,000- $20,000
Nyabing Progress Association IncNyabing Community Hub Accessibility and Functionality Project

This project will support small upgrades to this central community meeting place to share knowledge and information to assist the community to network and support each other in times of drought.

Nyabing$10,701
Shire of CoorowLeeman Community Networking Beach Shelter Project

The project will support improved social connection and community wellbeing, providing new infrastructure that will assist the community to prepare for and adapt to future drought events, improve wellbeing and increase knowledge sharing, enhancing an informal community meeting space.

Leeman$10,938
Facey Group IncFarm business forum for new and early career Farmers in the Facey Group catchment and surrounds

This project will support a full day community forum to build the community’s understanding of local risks posed by drought and climate change, and how to respond to these risks in the agriculture-dependent communities of the Avon and Black River Catchments.

Wickepin$20,000
Funding Tier 2: $20,001- $50,000
Balingup Progress Association IncBalingup – A Call to Action

This project will support a local event to improve the community’s understanding of risks posed by drought and climate change through group discussions and demonstrations across a range of risk management practices, developing sustainability and community resilience. The field day will develop a local understanding of drought mitigation practices to support rural community’s response to the impacts of drought.

Balingup$24,359
Blackwood Basin Group (BBG) IncorporatedStrengthening Community Capabilities and Networks for Future Drought Resilience

This project will support the grantee to provide essential training to local landholders to improve their drought preparedness through an intensive field day with leading agricultural professionals with locally specific knowledge for building drought resilience.

Boyup Brook$31,592
Southern Rangelands Pastoral Alliance Inc.Showcasing Our Resilience - Sharing Our Stories Across The Southern Rangelands

This project will produce videos and podcasts to share approaches and ideas for mitigating the effects of drought and improving rangelands condition to improve drought resilience across the district. The project will foster connectedness and build drought resilience through sharing ideas that have been tested and working collaboratively with professionals and groups within the Southern Rangelands district to share learned experiences of risks and effective changes in response to drought and climate change.

Carnarvon$34,425
The Agricultural Collective LtdLivestock Leaders Drought Resilience Workshop

This project will support a Livestock Leaders Drought Resilience event to bring together 20 young people to learn about leadership, communication and information sharing through a variety of mediums. The project will support the development of local leaders who will connect with their communities to prepare for, and during times of drought. The workshop will build participants’ confidence and skills to network and share their experiences and knowledge across their regions and more broadly.

Broome$35,000
Shire of PingellyPeople of Pingelly - Past & Present

This project supports the compilation of video stories and forums to collate community members’ experiences of droughts and the coping and support mechanisms they used to deal with the impacts of drought. The project will build the community’s knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through local knowledge and local approaches to mitigate the impacts of drought.

Pingelly$44,895
Lower Blackwood Land Conservation District CommitteeLower Blackwood Online Community Forum & Information Hub

This project will build the community’s capacity to understand & implement sustainable agriculture objectives and drought resilience through an online Community Forum & Information Hub, which will provide an interactive platform to access information and resources with locally relevant information.

Karridale$49,850
South Coast Alliance IncClimate Conversations Conference

This project will support a conference about drought and changing climate issues and region appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies. The conference will provide an opportunity for professional, social and community networking whilst also building knowledge on strategies to adapt to and prepare for future drought.

Denmark$49,970
Funding Tier 3: $50,001 - $150,000
Saltwater Country Ltd.Saltwater Country-ACV Collaboration for Kimberley Indigenous Drought Resilience

This project will help build drought resilience by providing access to animal and land management information crucial during times of drought for the region, improving the skills, capacity, and networks of First Nations station workers. This project’s activities will facilitate professional, social and community connection whilst providing training opportunities around regional specific information required to prepare for future droughts in the north of Western Australia.

Gibb$145,316
Outback Academy Australia LimitedStrengthening drought resilience through collaborative Aboriginal networks and connected regenerative farming hubs

This project will support building drought resilience in Indigenous networks by supporting four regional events and a national online event to connect Indigenous farming communities to share methods and techniques best used to work in a changing climate. Co-ordinators will link information from professional sectors and government to the local regions and work with local communities to support learning from each other to develop locally relevant techniques.

Roelands (WA), Loxton (SA), Shepparton (Vic) & Deniliquin (NSW)$146,966

The town of Dirranbandi, in southwest QLD, was suffering from a lack of Christmas cheer and the general community spirit was a bit flat, following relentless drought over many years. This was also having significant impacts on mental health.

In a bid to tackle these issues, while also putting Dirranbandi on the map for both tourists and locals, the Dirranbandi Progress Association used a $60,000 Tackling Tough Times Together grant, funded by the Australian Government to spark some joy in the township with a stunning lights installation.

With the support of Balonne Shire Council, the Dirranbandi Progress Association brought local tradespeople on board, as well as their local Arts Council, the business community and a work camp, which consisted of skilled prisoners who were being reintegrated back into society. Together, this dedicated team of people designed and fabricated a  beautiful display of fairy lights that were installed and displayed throughout the main streets of their town all year round.

Alongside the permanent display, the grant funded Christmas lights, which is the main feature of an annual event attended by around 300 people. Locals from the around the community gather for a BBQ and watch the Christmas lights being turned on, while school children sing carols and everyone embraces the magic of Christmas.

Since having the lights installed and hosting these events, the local community, which was crippled by drought, has been able to congregate, reconnect and have its vibrant spirit reignited. As an added benefit, the local council committed to providing extra support and resources, not only for Dirranbandi, but for surrounding towns as a result of the project.

Residents of the severely drought-hit Marra Creek community, in NSW, have traditionally had to travel up to 250km to see a movie or drive 80km to the nearest hotel for social get-togethers.

The Marra Creek Public School Parents and Citizens Association decided things needed to change and set about creating an option for locals to enjoy pizza and a movie closer to home.

The school, located on the North West Plains, is one of the smallest in NSW, with a current enrolment of seven students, making it very isolated. Thanks to the ongoing and severe drought conditions in the area, the Marra Creek community has struggled with fundraising for workshops and events for local people.

P&C President Will Woolcock said the project aimed to combat isolation and bring the widespread district – which spans Bogan, Brewarrina and Warren – closer together to reconnect, strengthen community spirit, relax and enjoy a break.

“Between the lack of water and rain for crops, constantly feeding animals and financial difficulties, our community has had very little chance to get together,” he said. 

With the help of a $5,000 Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities Grant, their wish for a pizza oven and movie equipment for the school was been granted. The grant covered a media projector, outdoor screen, sound system, set top box and satellite dish as well as a pizza oven at the school. 

This means the community is now able to gather locally for social activities including film nights and watching major sporting events, although COVID-19 brought additional issues and delayed the launch event and initial planned activities.

Pizza and movie nights bring drought-hit Marra Creek community closer

The small town of Kilkivan in Queensland, 50 km west of Gympie, is served by the hardworking Kilkivan Veteran’s and Community Men’s Shed Association Inc.

Since 2017, the group has been involved in many local projects. They have developed community gardens, managed re-generative tree projects along creek lines (and seen an increase in frog numbers!), and now manage a PA system that is regularly used for community functions, which was funded by an FRRR grant.

Cutting grass, emissions and hassle

The Association, which has seven committee members and 20 volunteer members, also operates the Rural Assist program, the first voluntary support service in the community focused on local seniors. Despite experiencing the effects of drought, the grass still grows and the elderly residents find it difficult to control.

Members are regularly called upon to mow lawns and assist older people with their gardens and, at the time of applying for an FRRR grant, they were set to take on upkeep of the Medical Centre’s grounds. They therefore thought it was about time that they purchased a ride on mower, instead of members using their own equipment!

A recent arrival on the Australian market, the Bushranger E-rider 72V 30″ cut unit was deemed ideal. It is designed for small to medium size areas and can be used by persons with mild disabilities, under supervision.

“This mower would greatly assist us during the summer (wet season) period when the grass grows as you look at it,” wrote Secretary, Treasurer and Founder of the group, David Timperley in the application.

Purchased in April 2020, using a Strengthening Rural Communities grant of $3,699 funded by the Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, the group has reported the new electric mower is quiet, very easy to operate, and good for safe use around senior residents, who are vulnerable to fumes from petrol driven equipment. They estimate at least 50 seniors will benefit from the purchase.

Meanwhile, progress on the ‘Shed’ continued steadily

The Committee has been diligently working towards having their own Shed for several years. Their vision was that it would provide a space for woodwork, metal work, cooking and other craft activities for both men and women in the area, many of whom feel isolated and impacted by the hardships of continuous drought. 

They planned in detail to ensure that the space was inclusive, accessible and useful. In 2020, a grant of $55,105 through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program contributed to the fit-out of the facility, especially the welfare area. 

It is important for the Kilkivan Veteran’s and Community Men’s Shed through its growth to have its own equipment supported by organisations that can help us in our infancy. Although we have been fund raising over the past 3.5 years we have only just been able to have our shed erected. The town has a high level of seniors in our demographic make up. These seniors are very supportive in the work we are doing and the help we provide, however difficult it maybe voluntarily to provide fit and healthy members. This equipment will allow others under supervision and with disabilities to take part in our activities safely. We thank FRRR and The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, Equity Trustees for their support.”

David Timperley, Treasurer and Founder

In mid 2021, we caught up with David and Bella Timperley who gave us a tour of the shed and talk about their experience getting grants and achieving their aims as a not-for-profit community organisation in rural Queensland. 

Watch the video below.

 

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.”