Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

In rural communities where enduring drought and devastating bushfires have left an emotional toll, a cancer diagnosis can lead to a particularly isolating and challenging experience. With support from our Strengthening Rural Communities program, Macksville Community Health was able to make a real difference in the wellbeing of women living along the Nambucca river and living with or in remission of cancer.

As a subsidiary of the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD), Mackville Community Health provides healthcare for communities in the Nambucca Valley, NSW. Many of their successful support systems and programs are designed to address the impacts of the recent drought and bushfires.

Thanks to the support of the Fire Fight Australia Fund, they received a grant of $10,000. This allowed them to host a three-day retreat at the Yarrahapinni Ecology Centre for women living with or surviving cancer, who had been affected by the 2019/20 bushfires in the region.

The Sisters Retreat s Guided by Local Gumbaynggirr Women in a ‘Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony’, the retreat used engaging activities to educate the participants on a range of different coping mechanisms that allowed them to feel empowered and regain some control over their own lives.

The strategic nature of this program helps the organisation tackle important issues in rural communities such as declining mental health in the aftermath of the bushfires. Of the women reporting poor mental health, many were single or living remotely, with little access to their support network. By attending the Sisters Retreat, these women were able to connect with others in similar situations.

McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse, Carolyn Cross said that without grant, the project would not have gone ahead.

Final round of funding announced

Applications are now open for The Yulgilbar Foundation Fund grant program, which is run by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). Community groups and local not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in and around Clarence Valley can apply for grants of up to $50,000 to fund projects that strengthen their capacity and resilience in response to the 2019/20 bushfires, flooding and continued challenges across the region.

This is the final round of funding from this program, offering $2 million across the region through a mix of multi-year and one-off grants depending on the needs of local groups.

The Fund focuses on supporting projects that leverage artistic endeavours, boost educational participation, support locally-led environmental sustainability initiatives or build capacity for communities to respond to bushfires, drought, floods or other events like COVID.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that The Yulgilbar Foundation shares FRRR’s passion for community-led recovery and resilience.

“The people in this region have dealt with a lot the last few years between drought, then the 2019-20 bushfires, COVID restrictions and most recently, flooding. At FRRR, we know that local organisations are led by community members who are best placed to know and really understand what the community needs to recover and also to thrive into the future.

“The Yulgilbar Foundation takes the same approach, which is why this grant program was created in the first place. We have a strong history of partnering and it’s been great to work alongside them on this program strengthening the communities of the Clarence Valley and surrounding regions,” said Ms Egleton.

Community groups and NFPs can apply for the grants before 5pm AEDT, 21 February 2023.

More details, including the program guidelines and EOI form, are available on FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/funding/the-yulgilbar-foundation-fund/.