Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
Grants round out 14 years of dedicated bushfire recovery funding
FRRR has awarded $207,812 in grants to community groups across the Kinglake Ranges region, for 13 projects that will strengthen the social connectedness and continued recovery of Victorian communities impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
These grants mark the final round of FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Kinglake Ranges program and closes out the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF). In total, VBAF has funded 492 community-led projects, with an investment of $7,436,642, thanks to funds raised by the general public following the bushfires.
In this final round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges grants, locals continue to seek to strengthen community identity and a shared sense of place. Funded projects will create opportunities for people to come together and connect, such as The Foggy Mountain Music and Arts Festival 2023 bush dance, or through improvements made to the accessibility and function of shared spaces like Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House’s Community Garden or the Toolangi District Community House’s C J Dennis Hall. Other places, like Flowerdale Community House, are preparing for future disasters by building community capacity through planning and education.
Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience & Recovery Lead at FRRR, said the Foundation is humbled to play a small, yet consistent, role in the Kinglake Ranges’ recovery journey.
“For the past 14 years, FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness program has been dedicated to supporting the recovery of Victorian communities impacted by the historic bushfires. And it’s thanks to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, and the generosity of everyday people, that we have been able to fund local recovery initiatives, for the long-term.
“Grant programs, like GR&W Kinglake Ranges, demonstrate the complexity of disaster recovery and the need for long-term funding to support affected communities, especially those in remote, rural and regional areas.
“In Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale, we have seen how priorities and needs have shifted and evolved throughout the recovery process. From the initial planning of pathways to further local investment, to training and education to build resilience and foster wellbeing, to small infrastructure projects that provide a safe space for locals to connect and prepare for future disasters.
“We know that the Kinglake Ranges region will continue the process of recovery, and for each community, that will look different. While this is the final round of GR&W, FRRR will continue to support the communities of Kinglake Ranges through our Strengthening Rural Communities grant program.
“It’s important that the people in these communities know that they are supported now, and into the future,” Ms O’Brien explained.
The full list of grant recipients and funded projects are below.
|Flowerdale Community House Inc||Flowerdale Community House into the Future |
Strengthen a community house’s capacity to deliver emergency response and support community disaster recovery through engaging a facilitator for disaster preparedness planning.
|The Flowerdale Sports Club||Connecting the Community Through Physical Wellbeing |
Rejuvenate a local community hub to strengthen connectedness and support disaster preparedness by improving accessibility and equipment.
|Foggy Mountain Inc||Foggy Mountain Music and Arts Festival 2023 |
Cultivate sense of place and connectedness through holding a community bush dance as part of the 2023 Foggy Mountain Music and Arts Festival.
|Kinglake Creative Inc||Kinglake Creative Marketing Campaign and Customer Experience Improvements |
Enhance community connection and economic recovery through a marketing campaign and furnishings to enhance the operations of a creative space.
|Kinglake Football Netball Club||Nourishing Community Connection in the Ranges |
Foster community connection and enhance volunteer capacity by upgrading commercial kitchen appliances and equipment at the Kinglake Memorial Reserve.
|Kinglake Landcare Group (auspiced by Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House)||Caring for Your Patch in the Kinglake Ranges - Updating the 2023 Kinglake Landcare Booklet |
Encourage connection to place and preparedness for future disasters by updating local sustainability and land management resources for Kinglake Ranges residents.
|Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House||Reinvigorating our Community Garden |
Enhance community connection and opportunities for skill development through accessibility upgrades at a community garden.
|Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House||Supporting Children and Families: Playgroup Building Upgrade |
Enhance a space for children and parents to participate in playgroup and education activities through minor facility upgrades.
|Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House||Rural Skills for Resilience |
Boost skills in preparedness and resilience through rural land management and disaster readiness training courses and workshops.
|Kinglake Trust Reserve Incorporated||Internal Audio-Visual Upgrade Inside the Ellimatta Centre at the Kinglake Trust Reserve |
Build capacity to host community activities and strengthen community connection through upgrading audio-visual equipment.
|Murrindindi Youth Foundation (auspiced by The Trustee for the Community Enterprise Charitable Fund)||Delivery of Blue Light Victoria’s School Programs for Students Living in Kinglake Ranges |
Build social connections, resilience and improve mental health outcomes in young people through school-based leadership and wellbeing programs.
|Toolangi-Castella Trails Action Group (auspiced by Toolangi District Community House Inc)||Castella Central Park to Tall Trees Trail Toolangi Link |
Foster community connection and health and wellbeing by engaging a consultant to support planning for an all-weather trail connecting Toolangi and Castella.
|Toolangi District Community House Inc||Upgrade of CJ Dennis Hall Kitchen and Blinds |
Foster community connection by enhancing places where people gather through installing a commercial oven at the CJ Dennis Hall and block out blinds at the Toolangi Opportunity Shop.
A much-loved playgroup is going from strength to strength in the Flowerdale community in Victoria, following the engagement of a qualified facilitator to assist parents to develop their skills and confidence to support their child’s wellbeing and development. More than 20 families now participate in the facilitated weekly program, after the Flowerdale Community House received $26,000 from FRRR via the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Kinglake Ranges program in 2020 to engage a qualified Early Childhood Educator to plan and deliver the program. Previously, families who wished to access these services would have had to travel more than 30 km to either Kinglake or Yea.
While there were a few hiccups due to COVID lockdowns, the program has bounced back and is once again supporting children and families across the Kinglake Ranges. Led by experienced educator Jill, the program provides opportunities for parents to learn about local services, to meet with other parents for support and friendship and to build social support networks in the communities in which they live. It also provides the space for the participants, both children and adults, to forge new friendships and have fun.
“We know that relationships and community connectedness is at the heart of our community’s ongoing recovery. Playgroup plays a vital role in all communities to bring parents together, to share experiences and break down isolation; this is even more important here [in Flowerdale] as our town stretches a long distance, so meeting in the street is not a likely option as people need to travel by car to get to locations,” said Flowerdale Community House coordinator Rebekah Grant.
“The children and parents respond very well to Jill’s calm and gentle nature, and the way she is delivering advise to sooth and encourage the children is very well received.”
The Community House is an ideal location for the supported playgroup to operate from, as they are able to sustain this group long term. Now with a facilitator on board, they can provide more support to all families, as well as vulnerable and socially isolated families, to engage with others and the service.