Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

In the last 12 years, the beloved community garden in Devonport, Tasmania has become a hub for local residents, where they come together for a range of activities. The garden is very popular among volunteers, seniors and the elderly, schools and people with disabilities in the community. For these groups in particular, the Community Garden is a place to socialise, grow and harvest local produce and get some fresh air.

Devonport Community House (DCH) has overseen the care and maintenance of the garden and surrounding areas since 1938. When they noticed the deteriorating condition of the wooden sleepers containing each of the more than 30 garden beds, they knew it was time for an upgrade.

 With a $10,909 donation by the Thyne Reid Foundation, the DCH were able to purchase “ewood” sleepers to replace the rotten wooden sleepers. The ewood sleepers are more durable and are made of recycled plastic that will ensure at least 50 years of garden bed life, making them a sustainable investment for the Community Garden. 

The process of replacing the wooden sleepers took only a few weeks and has helped to give new life to the Community Garden that has already given so much to the residents of Devonport. These improvements have not only increased the longevity of the garden but have also increased food security for the 20-50 people a week who access the garden through FoodShed, a food distribution organisation that helps farmers make profit.


In the 12 years that the garden has been operational, DCH has been able to see the joy it has given many of the residents. With the long life expectancy of the ewood sleepers, the success and activity around the garden looks set to continue long into the future.

Applications are now open for ANZ’s Seeds of Renewal program, with grants of up to $15,000 available for not-for-profit organisations in remote, rural and regional areas to support the ongoing prosperity of regional Australia.

ANZ commits $250,000 to help rural and regional communities through Seeds of Renewal

Established in 2003 and administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), the program has provided more than $5 million to more than 800 community groups to support local projects and help build vibrant and sustainable rural and regional communities.

In 2021, the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program is offering a share of $250,000 to community organisations in remote, rural or regional locations for projects that improve:

  • Environmental sustainability: initiatives that restore and conserve the natural environment or which contribute to lower carbon emissions, water stewardship and waste minimisation
  • Financial wellbeing: particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged people in the community, including initiatives that improve economic participation. For example, building financial literacy and vocational skills and providing access to meaningful work
  • Housing access: initiatives and programs that support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness or that provide supports for people living with disability

ANZ General Manager Business Banking Jenefer Stewart said: “The ANZ Seeds of Renewal program has been providing grants to regional and rural Australia for nearly 20 years. Each year I look forward to seeing the difference the grants are able to make in these communities, many of which find it difficult to access the resources they need to grow, develop and prosper,” Ms Stewart said.

Last year, ANZ and FRRR provided grants to 26 community groups for projects including regenerating bushfire affected land in Kangaroo Island, crisis accommodation for at risk indigenous communities in Gunnedah and supporting the economic empowerment of refugees placed in Bendigo. These were some of the projects that shared in $250,000 cash, and a further $18,000 in IT equipment provided by ANZ’s technology partner Lenovo.

FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton said: “With the cumulative impacts of drought, fires, floods and COVID-19, raising funds locally is extremely challenging in smaller communities, so access to grants is more important than ever. We encourage community groups to consider the funding opportunity that Seeds of Renewal can provide to address local issues such as improving the facilities that are available locally. This aligns with the Housing access theme that seeks to enable people to live well in place, particularly people with a disability” Ms Egleton said.

Applications open on 8 July and close 5pm AEST, 11 August 2021.