Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

With more than two metres of rain falling across Far North Queensland in the last few days, communities are now facing an unimaginable clean up and recovery journey ahead.

Stop sign in flooded waters

After working alongside disaster-affected communities for more than 20 years, we know that the small, remote communities in this region will need support in their recovery over the medium to long-term. That’s why FRRR is launching a Flood Recovery Appeal.

While the extent of the impact is still unfolding and immediate response needs are being coordinated, once that support has ceased, in about 12-18 months, there will still be significant community-level needs still to be addressed. Those will evolve over the coming years too – moving from a focus on physical things that enhance safety in the event of a ‘next time’, to helping address volunteer fatigue and eventually supporting general community wellbeing, economic recovery and organisational capacity building.

Our role – with the support of our partners – is to be there as they move through this journey, offering patience, continuity, flexibility and agility to move how and when the community is ready – with fit-for-purpose funding and resourcing support.

That’s why FRRR established the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund (DRRF) in 2019 – to ensure that we can support grassroots community organisations across remote, rural and regional Australia that often miss out on receiving funds donated for disaster recovery.

This Fund ensures that FRRR can support recovery when the community is ready, usually long after the headlines have faded. It also funds preparedness initiatives so that communities are in a better position to recover from a disaster event. Funds are invested with the returns used to fund grassroots groups to implement the recovery initiatives that they prioritise, long after immediate response and relief funding has ceased.

Alternatively, donations can be made directly to the Prepare & Recover stream of FRRR’s small grants program, SRC, which provides grants of up to $25,000 to communities impacted by disasters. Our supporters are able to nominate that they would like their funding to be directed to supporting communities impacted by a particular disaster, such as TC Jasper.. We report regularly to our supporters and, for significant donations, can trace contributions through to the specific projects that funding has made possible.

Taking a holistic approach

At FRRR, we view disasters as environmental shocks that remote, rural, regional communities regularly experience. We know they are increasing in frequency and severity; what makes them complex is not knowing when they will occur, where, or the severity and nature of their impact.

In operational terms, FRRR has a standing disaster philanthropy model that we scale when a major disaster occurs. Each year, with support from hundreds of donor partners, we provide grants and capacity support to around 600 remote, rural and regional places across the country via almost 1,200 grants. This reach gives us a good footprint and connection points that we can naturally tap into when disasters occur – and it means we are building on the resilience and capability that has been built up in between disaster events.

Recovery and preparedness efforts depend on the social ties, quality of community infrastructure, depth and breadth of skills and networks, cultural knowledge, and the health of local service systems, not-for-profits and community groups. FRRR’s approach is to balance funding for recovery and preparedness to support people and community-led processes as well as infrastructure and equipment. This approach enables improved outcomes as communities move through their recovery and aims to support needs now and as they evolve.

If you’d like to know more either about our approach or how you can help, please get in touch with us via or

Ken Jones, Chair of Rex Theatre Charlton, believes the recent history of Charlton’s Rex Theatre would make an ideal movie script in itself:

“…old cinema saved by community during harsh drought, experiences renaissance in interest and support, only to succumb to abrupt closure resulting from damage inflicted by two successive major floods. There is drama, heartache, uncertainty – is there a future for the historic building?”

There certainly is a future, and a story, made possible by the resilience of the Board, the volunteers who operate this community owned venue, and the extended community across Victoria who have helped this theatre into its new era.

On the night of 14 January 2011, the Rex had over one metre of water flow through the building. Flooring, carpet, wiring, the piano, the stage and the seating were all badly damaged. While the giant clean up efforts were under way, Scouts Victoria got involved and tried to revive community spirits with the running of a free movie screening powered by generators.

The shadowboard outside the theatre read “The Rex will Rebound” and renovations began in August 2011. Support from multiple sources began to provide hope for getting the Rex theatre back up and running, with new improvements to boot. FRRR hosted a Not-for-Profit Fundaising Account (formerly known as a Donation Account) for the project, providing administration and a channel through which funding could be collected.

Adjoining shops were turned into a candy bar and a tiny gallery and gathering area. An all access lift was installed to facilitate entry for disabled patrons. One of the theatre’s most eye-catching features – the stunning waterfall stage curtain, has been replaced, along with new wall-mounted lighting brackets – “…a finishing touch which draws the internal space together and heightens the sense of anticipation of what the theatre is about to present” (Ken Jones). Both aesthetics and practicalities were taken on board for this final aspect, with the upward lift of the curtain complimenting the vertical lines of the auditorium and removing it from potential threat in the event of future flooding.

On the re-opening night of the Rex Theatre there was sustained applause as the new curtain was raised. What a wonderful achievement for the community – despite disaster, the show will go on.

Donate to The Rex Theatre.

WATCH: Learn more about FRRR’s support of The Rex.