Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Thirty projects from across Victoria’s three main dairy regions will share in $131,188 in grant funding to help build community capacity to deal with local issues and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Victorian Dairy Communities share in over $130,000 in grant funding

Now in its 19th year, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants Program is delivered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). The grants of up to $5,000 will help not-for-profit organisations in small Victorian dairy communities deliver projects that will benefit local people and strengthen their ability to deal with local issues.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Dr Clive Noble, said the funding ensures that Gardiner is contributing to locally identified issues.

“The Community Grants program continues to attract applications from a wide range of community organisations running varying projects. Through this partnership we are contributing to solutions unique to that community to create genuine, long-term impact.

“We also see communities leverage these funds. Often, that cash injection can be the catalyst that enables community groups to undertake projects of larger impact.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the longstanding partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been successful in creating many exceptional projects within Victoria’s dairy communities.

“Our long partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation has enabled us to support Victoria’s dairy communities with funding for projects that tackle local challenges and meet the needs and priorities of each place.

“The program is supporting several projects that will develop young people socially and educationally, and once again, there are fantastic initiatives to improve community spaces such as the addition of tiered seating in Neerim South, a hot water urn for the residents of Leitchville, and erecting shade sails over the hall deck to increase the utility of the Kawarren Recreation Reserve,” Ms Egleton said.

Supported projects include:

  • Gippsland Dairy Region – Manna Gum Community House received $4,650 to work with local youth to create provide a program for young people in the community to access to youth service, connection, and solidarity.
  • Northern Dairy Region – Rochester Secondary College received $5,000 to restore an existing vegetable garden and incorporate it into the Healthy Eating components of the syllabus.
  • South-Western Dairy Region – Anam Cara House received $4,501 to purchase digital equipment, which will allow the facility to offer residents and guests greater connectivity through enhanced internet service and equipment.

Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.9 million in this program and has supported a total of 497 community projects.

The full list of 2021 Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants Program recipients are:

Fish Creek and District Primary School"Kids Own Reading Pavilion"
Grow access to literacy activities for students at Fish Creek District Primary school by funding the development of the "Kids Own Reading Pavilion".
Fish Creek$5,000
Hill End Community IncorporatedHistory Talks -Settlers' Histories A Generation On
Grow awareness of local history in the dairy industry for Hill End and surrounding districts by developing a book of local memoires and transcripts for publication.
Hill End$3,400
Loch Memorial Reserve IncorporatedTowable Spray Unit
Support volunteers to maintain the Loch Memorial Reserve by funding the purchase of a towable sprayer unit.
Loch $1,387
Maffra Golf ClubPurchase a Ride on Mower for the R.V. Park
Maintain community facilities through providing a ride on mower for the local R.V. park to benefit the local tourism economy and support community activity.
Manna Gum Community House IncorporatedOur Place
Improve access to support facilities and programs for local youth by extending the "Youth Pop Up” activities at the Manna Gum Community House.
Mirboo and District Historical Society IncorporatedCataloguing of Collection
Support volunteers in cataloguing and collecting community history for future generations to come and visitors by providing funding to purchase technology equipment.
Mirboo North$4,837
Neerim District Cricket Club IncorporatedLet's Sit Together
Improve community access to seating at the local recreation reserve by installing a grandstand at the Neerim Recreation Reserve.
Neerim South$5,000
Nyora Cricket Club IncorporatedKitchen Refurbishment Project Phase 2 – Freezer
Grow volunteer vitality and organisational capacity by upgrading the freezer at the Nyora Cricket Club.
State Coal Mine - Rescue Station Arts IncorporatedWellness Warriors
Improve the organisations ability to support the community by delivering an art therapy-based well-being program in Wonthaggi and surrounds.
Toora Primary SchoolClass Set of iPads
Improve access to technology to develop digital literacy and learning opportunities that will enhance education outcomes for rural students.
Poowong Kindergarten / Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) LimitedPlayground Refurbishment
Improve access to sun smart play equipment for the children and families of Poowong Kindergarten by replacing worn shade sails at the centre.
Wonthaggi Citizens Band IncorporatedEncouraging Participation in Music
Grow opportunities for children to experience self-expression through music by providing 10 weeks of brass band lessons, additional band rehearsals and an end of term concert for the children of Wonthaggi and surrounds.
Kyabram Blue Light / Blue Light Victoria IncorporatedKyabram Blue Light - KyFit - Health Fitness & Wellbeing Center
Grow access to youth activities and services by developing the Kyabram Blue Light Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre.
Eskdale Public Hall Committee IncorporatedEskdale Community Hub
Grow community connection and cohesion and support volunteers in offering a user friendly and welcoming community facility by enhancing the Eskdale Public Hall.
Murrabit Public Hall Committee / Gannawarra Shire CouncilMurrabit Hall - Rolling On!
Support volunteer vitality and encourage community connection by enhancing the outdoor area at the Murrabit Hall.
Katamatite Pre School / Goulburn Region Preschool Association IncorporatedKatamatite Pre-School - Nature and Technology
Improve the organisations’ ability to host their Bush Kinder program with the provision of cameras and technology for offsite use and additional resources.
Leitchville Bowls Club IncorporatedHot Water for Leitchville
Support volunteers and improve community facilities at Leitchville Bowls Club by installing a 5-litre wall urn.
Milawa Primary SchoolMilawa Primary Community Hub
Improve school facilities to increase capacity for broader community use through installation of new shade sails in the playground of Milawa Primary School.
Rochester Secondary CollegeEdible Garden
Grow opportunities for educational participation for students of Rochester Secondary College by funding their student developed Edible Garden project.
Springhurst Primary School CouncilOvens Valley Mobile Arts and Crafts Centre (MACC)
Support the Ovens Valley Mobile Arts and Crafts Centre by providing storage space for arts and craft supplies at the Springhurst Primary School.
Lions Airfield Griffin Club Branch / The Lions Club of Cohuna IncorporatedCohuna Airport Maintenance and Safety
Help volunteers maintain runway safety at the Cohuna Airstrip with an airstrip sweeper.
Anam Cara House Colac IncorporatedStrengthening Community Connections through Information Technology
Improve the organisations ability to service and support the community by upgrading technology at the centre and promoting Anam Cara House.
Camperdown Toy Library IncorporatedCamperdown Toy Library Get Active
Encourage children’s learning and development through play by providing resources for the Camperdown Toy Library.
Colac Otway Residents Action Group IncorporatedSchool Lunches for Children that Do Not Have a Lunch
Improve the welfare and enhance educational outcomes for students in six primary schools across the Colac region by providing support for the Colac Otway Residents Action Groups School Lunches program.
Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee IncorporatedHADDAC Mower for maintaining the Common
Grow volunteer vitality by providing a zero-turn mower for the regular lawn maintenance of community facilities at Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee.
Kawarren Recreation ReserveMade for Shade
Enhance community use of the Kawarren Recreation Reserve by installing shade sails over the outdoor entertaining area.
Macarthur Recreation ReserveStorage Shed Upgrade
Improve volunteer vitality and support by installing a storage shed at the Macarthur Recreation Reserve.
Terang & District Historical Society IncorporatedUpdate Terang Historical Society's Computers
Improve the organisation’s ability to support and service the community through the purchase of new computer equipment.
Terang Community Art Show / UCA - Terang Uniting ChurchTerang Art Show - Artist in school program
Improve access and engagement in education for children in years 5 to 8 in the Terang area by providing access to indigenous art lessons and local indigenous elders.
Warrnambool CollegeIndigenous Perspectives Project
Improve local students to access educational opportunities relating to local indigenous culture, language, and art by providing professional development of staff at the Warrnambool College.

For the residents of Coragulac and its surrounding communities, having access to excellent early childhood education with the right facilities is a top priority for local families.

The Coragulac & District Kindergarten has provided care and education for their small community for many years. The facility’s three staff and local volunteers run a three-year-old program for 21 children, and a four-year-old program for 20 children.

Play-based learning helps to develop coordination, motor skills and problem solving skills, while focusing on social skills that are invaluable to kids, such as how to get along with their classmates, how to communicate and follow general rules. It also allows kids to follow their imagination and explore their interests.

The energy and imagination the kids bring to the kindergarten is endless, however their ability to play outside was often met by challenges due to weather, and between the scorching summer heat and chilly winter days, the kids weren’t able to enjoy being outside for very long. 

This made some play-based activities very difficult, as the kindergarten lacked a suitable area for things like pot planting and chalk drawing. To continue providing great childcare for local families, the kindergarten needed to upgrade their facilities.

The Kindergarten was awarded $5,000 through the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants program for their Sheltering Our Children for a Bright and Happy Future project, which built a new verandah for outdoor learning and activities.

The new space allows the kids to enjoy being outside without worrying about the weather, and provides an area for ‘messy’ play-based learning. In addition to the kids who attend the kindergarten during the week, the space is also used after school and on the weekends by families with school-aged children and children with disabilities, as it provides a sheltered, fenced and safe play space.

26 projects funded in Victoria’s dairy farming regions

The Working in Dairy Communities (WIDC) Small Grants program, which is run in partnership between the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and Gardiner Dairy Foundation, has awarded $121,584 in grants to support 26 projects in Victoria’s three dairy regions.

Now in its 18th year, the WIDC Small Grants program offers up to $5,000 to support community-driven projects that strengthen Victorian dairy communities through enhancing community infrastructure and local capacity.

Dr Clive Noble, Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, said this year the Working in Dairy Communities grant program is supporting projects that support early childhood and adult education and stimulate economic recovery. These projects will have long-lasting benefits for these communities.

“Things have been tough for small towns reliant on dairy. These grants will help communities on their renewal journey by supporting projects that will encourage community engagement and social connectedness.

“The diversity of the projects reflects the differing needs of dairy communities too. For example, in Murrabit, a street beautification project will boost morale and add cultural vibrancy, while the funding of children’s activities at the Tarwin District Auto Festival should help to bring families into town for the November event.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the longstanding partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been so successful because both Foundations share the belief that local groups are best placed to know what their community needs; they just need some support to turn their ideas into reality.

“Working with Gardiner Dairy Foundation over the past 18 years, we’ve seen just how passionate and dedicated local not-for-profit groups are in meeting challenges and creating their own opportunities.

“This year the program is supporting some fantastic initiatives to rejuvenate and extend the capacity of community spaces so that locals have access to high quality facilities – including the addition of an all abilities access ramp at Scotts Creek Hall, gas heaters to warm the many elderly citizens who use the Girgarre Hall, and audio visual equipment to improve local film nights at Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Public Hall.

Some of the 26 grants awarded this round include:

  • Gippsland Dairy Region – Leongatha Community Preschool received a $5,000 grant to replace Hassett St Kindergarten’s worn out and damaged outdoor blinds, which will improve the kindergarten’s learning environment.
  • Northern Dairy Region – Cobram Community Cinema Inc received $5,000 to purchase kitchen appliances to provide facilities for community use of the space and hospitality training programs at the new cinema facility – now in its final stages of construction – after the town’s previous cinema was destroyed by fire in 2010.
  •  South Western Dairy Region – South Purrumbete Recreation Reserve received $4,870 to rewire the Reserve’s buildings and toilet facilities as part of a larger scale project to rejuvenate the last remaining community asset, so that it is fit for regular events including markets and community gatherings.

Since the launch of the annual Working in Dairy Communities (WIDC) Small Grants program in 2002, Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.8 million in this program and has supported a total of 471 community projects.

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





Anglican Trusts Corporation of the Diocese of Gippsland

Mow, Mow, Mow Your Lawn: Improve volunteer support and the upkeep of a community gathering space through the purchase of a ride on Lawnmower.



Boisdale-Briagolong Football Club Inc

Re-development of Boisdale Recreation Reserve’s Outdoor Entertainment Area: Strengthen community connectivity by enhancing the amenity of a venue where locals and visitors can gather for celebrations, recreation and social interactions.



Foster Primary School

Phone System Upgrade: Ensure children’s well-being and improve the amenity of the Foster Primary School through the purchase and installation of a new phone system.



Grants Only Group Inc

Better Communication Sounds Good: Strengthen community connectivity and engagement through the purchase of a new sound system.

Tarwin Lower


Leongatha Community Pre School Centres Inc

All Weather Screens – Hassett St Kindergarten: Upgrade the amenity of the kindergarten’s learning environment by replacing worn out and damaged outdoor blinds.



Manna Gum Community House Inc

Manna Gum Gathering Place -Stage 2: Strengthen educational and social outcomes through equipping a space that is safe and welcoming and can be used for relevant programs and activities.



Venus Bay Tarwin Lower and District Mens Shed Inc

Tarwin District Auto Festival 2020: Increase community engagement and strengthen social outcomes for volunteers through the delivery of Children’s activities at an annual festival.

Tarwin Lower


Yanakie Recreation Reserve and Public Hall Reserve

Yanakie Community Movies: Increase community engagement and the long-term sustainability of the Yanakie Public Hall.




Campaspe Shire Council

Grow and Share Together: Support community engagement and participation through the creation of a sensory garden.



Cobram Community Cinema Inc

Cobram Community Cinema Kitchen Project: Improve the future employment prospects of young people and increase community engagement through the purchase of kitchen appliances for a community cinema.



Cobram District Children’s Services Inc

Eilleen Taylor – Outdoor & Imaginative Play Promotion: Improve educational and health outcomes for pre-school children by upgrading the Punt Rd Kindergarten’s outdoor play area.



Cobram District Children’s Services Inc

Punt Rd Kinder & Childcare – Outdoor Play Enhancement: Support children’s learning and development through the purchase of outdoor play equipment.



Gannawarra Shire Council

Supporting Gannawarra: Women Take a Well-Being Vacation!: Improve health and welfare of Women through the delivery of a Women’s workshop during Women’s Health Week.



Girgarre Community Group Inc

Books Bringing People Together: Improve the organisational capacity and increase community participation through the purchase of furniture.



Girgarre Development Group Inc – Girgarre Hall Committee

Warmer Winters: Strengthen community connectivity and engagement through installation of a heating system.



Kindred Spirits Tatura Co-Operative Limited

Opera at the Dairy Farm: Strengthen local culture and increase community engagement through the presentation of Opera at the Dairy Farm.



Murrabit Promotions Committee Inc

Murrabit – Colour our Town!: Drive local tourism and strengthen community connection through the delivery of a community-based street beautification project.



Rochester Secondary College

The Resilience Project: Increase the well-being of children and young people in the community through the delivery of a resilience program.




Bostocks Creek Public Hall

Building a New Kitchen: Increase community engagement and financial sustainability by conducting maintenance on a public building creating a secure hospitable meeting space.

Bostocks Creek


Coragulac & District Kindergarten Inc

Create an Indigenous Mural/Artwork ‘Our land/One Community’: Strengthen childhood education and community identity through the creation of a mural that will extend understanding of local culture.



Friend’s of St Brigid’s Association

Installing a Ceiling in our Undercover Area: Build community connectivity and capacity through the replacement of an outdoor covering, creating a secure hospitable meeting space.



Purnim Mechanics Institute

Lighting up the Purnim Township: Contribute to the cultural vibrancy of Purnim township through the purchase and installation of a solar light system.



Scotts Creek Mechanics Institute and Free Library Reserve

Disabled Ramp and Toilet: Enhance community well-being and connectedness and improve the amenity of a community hall through the installation of an all ability access ramp and toilet.

Scotts Creek


Simpson & District Community Centre Inc

Fun without the Sun: Strengthen community connectivity and engagement through the purchase and installation of seats and tables in a public park, creating a comfortable, year-round gathering space.



South Purrumbete Recreation Reserve

Reconnection to Community Project Stage 1 – Restoring Power: Increase community participation through the improvement of a Recreation Reserve.

South Purrumbete


South Western District Restoration Group

Library Extension: Strengthen organisation capacity and social outcomes through equipping a space that is safe and welcoming and can be used for relevant programs and activities.



The Camperdown Community Garden was originally established in 2009. Through research and analysis conducted in 2017, it was identified that the Camperdown Community Garden had not been functioning in a way that allows this community asset to fulfill the space’s academically established benefits like “enhancing the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being necessary to build healthy and socially sustainable communities.” Considerable work in rebuilding the management and physical structure of the garden was required to address this. 

Much of the local rural area, in Victoria’s south-west, supports the dairy industry which has been impacted by the drought. As a result, the Camperdown & District Community House was seeing an increase in demand for emergency food relief and social support services. Camperdown is a strong community however, the impact of mental health issues, social isolation and drug and alcohol abuse has significant impact on social cohesion and health and wellbeing.

As part of a revamp, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Working in Dairy Communities Small Grant allowed the Camperdown & District Community House to vastly improve the community garden space.

Four new above ground garden beds were designed, built and installed, with additional soil and compost to replenish depleted existing beds. A new accessible gravel path at rear of garden and around the new accessible garden beds was also added.

New garden guidelines and signage was also implemented, allowing individual gardeners to communicate and connect with the broader community. Using the boards, for example, to communicate what they are currently planting, or why they are planting what they are planting, when the produce will be ready to harvest, or other useful and educational information. 

New tools were also purchased that will be usable by people of diverse abilities.

“A friendly and inclusive community / stronger social fabric” has been identified as the primary outcome achieved from this project, with the following being the main reasons why this was identified as the primary outcome, and what we believe the most successful elements of the project to be.

This project was a tremendous success and a delight for everyone who participated in the process.

Grow Lightly Connect (GLC) was established in response to the lack of locally grown produce available to local consumers and, conversely, the lack of local outlets available to local growers.

The group has developed a strong presence in the local community since it set up in 2015, establishing a food hub and developing a network of local consumers and producers who share their vision of southern Gippsland being enabled to feed itself. But it was time to grow.

The GLC Growing Together project was focused on further increasing access to locally grown food, improving health outcomes in the community and contributing to a more robust local economy. With their $5,000 grant, they were able to fund a consultant to undertake market research on the feasibility and requirements of this expansion, and the development of a business plan. 

Extensive community consultation across Southern Gippsland highlighted places where there was interest in local produce but no ready access. GLC developed a bulk sales program for enterprises wanting to use local produce, which now regularly supplies 13 customers. Six are located on Phillip Island, which has traditionally had limited access to fresh, locally-grown food. 

The bespoke online ordering system that was developed for the bulk sales program now also handles the weekly orders for the vegie bags, which go out to around 35 families every week. These are packed and despatched from the new Grow Lightly Green Grocer shop in the main street of Korumburra, which is open six days a week.

GLC’s Chairman Gil Freeman says there’s still room for further growth, but the issue is finding the time to build the business. 

“There are now more than 100 small growers contributing to the social enterprise, in addition to the 15 larger-scale growers. The more extensive network of local outlets is also providing local growers with greater economic security.”

Bendigo, 11 July 2019: Twenty-six projects in Victoria’s three dairy regions will share in $120,326 in grant funding from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program, run in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal.

In its 17th year, the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program offers up to $5,000 to help build Victorian dairy communities’ capacity to deal with local issues and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Clive Noble, said the grant funding aimed to strengthen dairy communities through supporting local initiatives.

“These grants help to create more resilient communities, enhance infrastructure and assets that all local people can benefit from,” Dr Noble said.

“Many of these projects leverage support from multiple sources to build community facilities where locals gather, like halls and clubrooms; support lifelong learning through education and training; and create community arts and health programs. Others look to contribute to creating a more vibrant, cultural community.”

“The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program continues to bring us these wonderfully creative ways of strengthening the various support mechanisms that many of us, at one time or another in our lives, will fall back on,” said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.

“I’m continually amazed by the exponential value and genuine long-term impact that is created from these grants funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. It’s a program we are very proud of.”

A complete list of the projects supported is below. They include:

  • Gippsland Dairy Region – Fish Creek Community Garden received $5,000 to commission and install a new artwork at the community garden, connecting it to the rest of the town and engaging local residents and tourists.
  • Northern Dairy Region – Greater Shepparton City Council received $5,000 to build community resilience through delivery of mental health first aid training in the communities of Tatura and Tallygaroopna.
  • South Western Dairy Region – South West Community Energy received $5,000 to strengthen environmental awareness and education outcomes by fitting out a renewable energy education van.

Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.7 million in this program and has supported a total of 445 community projects.

Bena Public Hall IncFish Creek Community GardenFoster Primary SchoolFriends of the Lyre Bird Forest Walk IncHeyfield Tennis ClubLoch Memorial Reserve IncMirboo North Playgroup and Toy Library IncNyora Cricket Club IncProm Coast Centres for Children IncState Coal Mine – Rescue Station Arts IncCobram District Childrens Services IncCohuna and District Progress Association IncCorryong and District Memorial Public Hall IncGreater Shepparton City CouncilGreta Valley Landcare GroupMurrabit Men’s Shed IncRochester Community House IncStanhope & District Development Committee IncTatura Civic Halls Committee IncAnam Cara House Colac IncCamperdown & District Community HouseColac Otway Residents Action Group IncEmmanuel College IncPort Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail CommitteeSouth West Community EnergyThe Courthouse Camperdown Inc  
Oxley Primary sun shade Gardiner

The Oxley Primary School in north-east Victoria wanted to ensure it could make the best use of its outdoor areas, with a strong environmental science program. The school lacked an undercover outdoor area big enough to facilitate a learning space for a whole classroom of children.

The school’s own Sun Smart policy dictated that ‘Organised outdoor activities would be held in shaded areas wherever possible in Terms 1 and 4’, and so an underutilised north-facing area that was well connected to vegetable gardens, basketball courts, the chicken shed, and the gardening area was targeted for a makeover.

It was hoped that with the installation of a shade sail, the area could be used for outdoor learning and as a lunch area for the whole school – around 70 students. With the school also the location of a vacation care program out of school terms, a local playgroup and the North East Roller Derby Group, added shade would be a welcome addition for a large section of the community.

A $4,000 Gardiner Dairy Foundation Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program grant funded the shade sail, with a local contractor employed to complete the work.

The shade sail created a new outdoor learning area allowing children to connect with natural elements and diversify their outdoor experience, and the use of outdoor areas for teaching improved student learning along with a range of indicators, cognitive and both physical and mental wellbeing.

The school children were also able to use the area to sit and enjoy their lunch, which was a considerable improvement over a rotunda that was previously being used at the front of the school on a busy and noisy road. The adjacent classroom also reported reduced glare through the windows in the summer months and made the room more pleasant to work in.

13 July 2018: The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced that 27 Victorian dairy community groups have been awarded funds, as part of the 2018 Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program.

The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for projects that aim to strengthen Victorian dairy communities. This year, community groups across the Gippsland, Northern and South Western dairy regions are sharing in $118,226. 

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Clive Noble, said that the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s partnership with FRRR plays an integral role in ensuring that Victorian dairy communities have the means to complete local projects that benefit local communities and the overall economy.

“Supporting the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program has been a proud investment for the Gardiner Dairy Foundation for the past 16 years. The grants strengthen grass-roots community projects to deliver lasting benefits and to drive positive change and improvement to regional Victoria,” said Dr Noble.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that the small grants make a large impact to the people residing in rural and regional Australia.

“It can be very difficult for local groups in small communities to attract philanthropic support and so the Gardiner Dairy Foundation is making an important contribution to keeping these small communities vibrant and sustainable and, ultimately, strengthening Australia’s agricultural sector,” said Ms Egleton.

In many cases these kinds of small grants are catalytic. For example, the Foster Art, Music and Drama Association, received a $5,000 grant to go toward the purchase and installation of retractable seating for the local art centre, the only venue of its kind within 40 kilometres. Last week they secured further funding to enable its completion, and said that without this grant, the additional support would not have been possible.

A complete list of the projects supported is available on FRRR’s website, but they include:

  • Gippsland Dairy Region – Yarram Agricultural Society Inc received $5,000 to strengthen community engagement and participation at the annual Yarram Agricultural Show. Each year, the Show Committee programs a wide range of activities to appeal to a broad demographic reach, while ensuring that the event is affordable. This funding will be allocated to free entertainment including chainsaw carving, reptile encounters, petting zoo, face painting and balloon twisting.
  • Northern Dairy Region: The Girgarre Community Group Inc received a $4,500 grant to assist with the running costs of their free monthly newsletter, Girgarre Gazette, which is distributed to about 450 households. This newsletter was established in 1984 and is prepared by volunteers, and it has become a necessity for local residents. The grant will offset running costs for the next 12 months, including paper, printing and delivery.
  • South Western Dairy Region: The Crossley Men’s Shed received $4,500 to fireproof their precinct at Crossley. The funding will assist with repairs to a bore, pump shed and tank stand, and a damaged water tank will be replaced. The Men’s Shed members will supply the labour and the project will enhance the site’s fire ready capacity, as well as create opportunities to extend the scale and range of activities being delivered at the site.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s investment of more than $100,000 is widely distributed across Victoria’s three principal dairying regions. Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.7 million in this program, having supported a total of 445 community projects.

Learn more about the projects funded in the Gippsland Dairy Region, South West Dairy Region and Northern Dairy Region.

Gippsland Dairy Region





Fish Creek Community Garden

Wicking Bed and Composting Bay Construction
Improve food security and the health and wellbeing of the community through an upgrade of infrastructure at the local community garden.

Fish Creek


Foster Art, Music and Drama Association Inc

Retractable Seating
Strengthen community engagement and participation in arts and cultural activities, through the purchase and installation of a fit for purpose seating bank for the local art centre.



Foster Primary School

Undercover Outdoor Learning/Gathering Space
Strengthen educational and social outcomes for students and the wider community by improving the amenity of an outdoor playground area at Foster Primary School.



Manna Gum Community House Inc

Manna Gum Backyard Makeover
Upgrade the rear grounds of the Manna Gum Community House, improving amenity of the facility and increasing its capacity to engage the community in meaningful programs and activities.



Hallston Mechanics Institute Inc

Hallston Hall Community Signage
Increase community participation and inclusion by installing a changeable sign at the Hall to advertise upcoming local events. 



Upper Maffra Mechanics Institute Inc

Meeting Room Development
Upgrade the amenity of the local hall to provide groups and organisations with a comfortable and fit for purpose meeting room, strengthening engagement and participation in community activities.

Newry/Upper Maffra


The Noojee and District Historical Society Inc

Noojee Heritage Centre – Platform Sealing Project
Strengthen community access and inclusion through an upgrade of the entrance pathways to a well-used community facility.



Manna Gum Community House Inc – Toora Community Action Team

Our Main Street
Strengthen community cohesion and engagement through the development and delivery of a community-based street beautification project.



Trafalgar Holden Museum Inc

Upgrade to Trafalgar Holden Museum’s Bathroom Facilities
Strengthen community and economic development through an upgrade of toilet facilities at a local tourist attraction.



Wonthaggi Theatrical Group Inc

Booms and Beams from the Box
Strengthen community engagement with arts and culture, through the addition of a sound and lighting box in a community owned performance space.



Wonthaggi Woodcrafters Inc

Health and Safety Upgrade of Dust Extraction for the Woodturning Workshop
Improve the health and well-being of community participants, by upgrading the air filtration system in the wood working workshop.



Yarram Agricultural Society Inc

Yarram Agricultural Show
Strengthen community engagement and participation by delivering an accessible event that celebrates and supports local community groups and industries.



Northern Dairy Region

Echuca and Moama and District Agricultural and Pastoral Society Inc

Improvement of Cattle Yards for Safety of Exhibitors and the Cattle
Strengthen community engagement and connectivity with the local agricultural industry through an upgrade of infrastructure at the showgrounds.



Girgarre Community Group Inc

Girgarre Gazette
Strengthen community connectedness and engagement through the development and distribution of a monthly community newsletter, sharing locally relevant information which is otherwise difficult to access.



Girgarre Primary School

Girgarre Primary School Play Ground Upgrade
Enhance the educational experience and development of children at the Girgarre Primary School through an upgrade of playground equipment.



Gannawarra Shire Council – The Murrabit Hall Committee

Projecting Murrabit into the Future
Strengthen community connectedness and engagement through the upgrade of equipment at the local public hall, ensuring it provides a meeting place that meets contemporary needs and expectations.



Rochester Community House Inc

Kitchen Kapers
Enhance the organisational resilience and capacity of the Rochester Community House to respond to community needs through an upgrade of the kitchen facilities at the Town Hall.



Tatura Civic Halls Committee Inc

Lighting Upgrade to Victory Hall
Strengthen community engagement and connectivity through a lighting upgrade at a local hall ensuring it is fit for a range of community activities.



Tragowel Progress Association Inc

Tragowel Hall Maintenance
Strengthen community connectedness and engagement through an upgrade of facilities at the local hall ensuring it continues to function as a hub for community gatherings.



South Western Dairy Region

Warrnambool and District Historical Vehicle Club

Club Room Kitchen and Toilet Block Fitout
Strengthen community connections and well-being by converting a disused building into a fit for purpose meeting room with appropriate kitchen and toilet facilities.



Camperdown and District Community House Inc

Camperdown Community Garden Infrastructure Improvement, Accessibility and Engagement
Increase community capacity and engagement with health and well-being and food security, through an upgrade of infrastructure at the community garden.



Colac Otway Residents Action Group Inc

Learning and Supporting Development of our Youngest Families
Enhancing early childhood development and learning and support for disadvantaged families, through the provision of additional resources for the local toy library.



Friends of St Brigid’s Association Inc – Crossley Men’s Shed

Fireproofing our Precinct at Crossley
Improve community preparedness, resilience and engagement through an upgrade of the available water supply at the St Brigid’s precinct.



Friends of St Brigid’s Association Inc – Crossley Men’s Shed

Fencing in our Shed
Improve the security and safety of buildings and users by upgrading perimeter fencing at a well-used community precinct.



Kawarren Recreation Reserve

Kawarren Family Nature Play Space
Strengthen community connectivity and enhance educational and social opportunities for children and their families through the construction of a nature play facility at the local recreation reserve.



Nirranda and District Community Facility Inc

Grass Busters
Improve volunteer support and the upkeep of community infrastructure through the purchase of appropriate gardening equipment.



Woolsthorpe Primary School

Wood Fire Pizza Oven
Strengthen the health and well-being of the school community through the construction of an outdoor cooking area that will enable an expansion of the successful kitchen garden program. 



The milk pricing crisis in south west Victoria affected many local dairy farmers and community members. In agriculture industries, rural isolation can add to poor mental health issues, especially as farming becomes more mechanised.

In 2016, South West Healthcare received a grant for $3,635 from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program to support the local dairy farming community by offering Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training and accreditation.

The uptake exceeded expectations – and the MHFA training was delivered to 133 individuals over the space of seven months.

The local people who attended MHFA training sessions represented a community-wide spread – from teachers to disability support workers; farming field officers to spouses of dairy farmers; general community members to industry relevant company individuals.

The ‘Are You Right Mate?’ event was held at the Lismore football clubrooms, with guest speaker Robert ‘Dipper’ DiPierdomenico headlining the night. The aim of the night was to invite people, in particular men, from the local communities to come together in a social setting and look out for themselves and the communities they support. They could meet Dipper, have a chat and a free BBQ with their mates.

Over 120 local men attend the event and the informal environment was a great way to highlight that it is okay to not be okay, and how important it is to look out for one another.

At the conclusion of the Mental Health First Aid course, 100% of participants gave feedback that they now had confidence in their ability to recognise and respond to people who were experiencing mental health distress or crisis. Many participants also reported that they felt confident that they could discuss mental health with other people in their community.

Overall, the positive feedback from MHFA training participants indicated that more MHFA training, for both youth and adults, is wanted by the community. There were even 40 people on a waitlist to attend the training  This is a great sign that rural people are ready and willing to talk about mental health, and to support their mates.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced the 31 recipients that will share $113,000 from the 2016 Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program. The Aussie Farmers Foundation, which supports grass-roots initiatives to improve the lives of rural Australians, has contributed an additional $12,000 toward the program, while a private donor contributed a further $1,000.

Working in Dairy Communities provides grants of up to $5,000 for projects that aim to strengthen small Victorian dairy communities, build their capacity to deal with local issues and enhance existing community infrastructure. The grant recipients, which come from all three Victorian dairy regions, received their cheques at a reception at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne earlier today.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chairman, Dr Bruce Kefford, said that supporting dairy communities through programs like this is critical to a sustainable dairy industry.

“The dairy industry makes an enormous contribution to the economic viability of regional Victoria and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation is proud to be investing in a vibrant dairy future. We have supported this program for 14 years and contributed more than $1.5 million to strengthen Victorian dairy communities in Gippsland, Northern Victoria and South West Victoria.”

The Aussie Farmers Foundation’s Executive Director, Julia Hunter, said the current dairy crisis had triggered a wave of generosity from Foundation supporters. “We’re very grateful to those Australians who’ve pitched in to support our dairy farmers. By adding our support to the Working in Dairy Communities program, we believe we will make a real difference in local dairy farming regions during these trying times,” Ms Hunter said.

FRRR Chairman, Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC, said small grants play an important role in rural and regional Australia and they are pleased to be supporting Victorian dairy communities, particularly in light of the current industry issues.

“Rural and regional communities face many challenges and experience many gaps in services and infrastructure. Small grants help to address local issues and priorities and enable community groups to implement local solutions to local problems.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s support of communities through this program ensures the locals have control over what their community needs,” Mr Sinclair said.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s investment of $100,000 is widely and evenly distributed across Victoria’s three principle dairying regions. Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.5 million in this program, supporting 394 community projects. This year, the average community supported by a grant has 3,758 people, with the smallest community being Tatong in Northern Victoria, with just 150 people.

Details of the 2016 grant recipients and their projects are listed below. 






Bass Valley Community Group Inc.

Op Shop Shed Replacement

New storage shed to create a safer environment for volunteers and room for large items to support low income families.



Bass Valley Music Festival Inc.

Serenade at Sunset

Hire professional lighting to enhance cultural experiences and youth/tourism opportunities for the local area.



Briagolong Community House Inc.

Easy Learning through Technology

Internet connection to expand training and skill development opportunities.



Fish Creek Memorial Hall Inc.

Fish Creek Memorial Hall Restoration

Refurbish the Memorial Hall to create a safer environment for volunteers and an all abilities accessible venue.

Fish Creek


Heyfield Wetlands Committee of Management Inc.

Trees for the pond 2016

Tree and shrub planting to increase education opportunities for local students and improve environmental outcomes.



Hillview Bunyip Aged Care Inc.

The Walls are Alive

Installing a vertical garden wall in the aged care dementia ward, leading to increased wellbeing of residents and greater community connectivity.



Newmerella Primary School*

From Chicken Coop to Veggie Garden

Raised garden beds and a chicken pen for primary school students to safely participate in hands-on learning in horticulture, animal husbandry and business management.



Venus Bay Tarwin Lower and District Men’s Shed Inc.

Cutting grass for safety

Ride on mower to improve OHS for volunteers and establish an additional income stream.

Venus Bay & Tarwin Lower


Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre @ Mitchell House Inc.

L2P – Steering to Safety

A contribution towards a new vehicle, enabling ongoing access to driving instruction for local youth, and increased opportunity to access employment, education and training.



Yarram Toy Library*

Welcome to the 21st Century

New catalogue system and increased range of toys available at Toy Library to grow the current service that provides socially inclusive early childhood educational opportunities.




Cohuna Neighbourhood House Inc.

Cool Men

Split system air conditioner in the Men’s Shed to enhance participants’ well-being and capacity to contribute to the community.



Dederang Primary School*

Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen to provide learning opportunities and an environment for the school and wider community to meet and strengthen community wellbeing.



Greta Valley Landcare Group

Connecting the cockies – a new website for the Greta Valley

Development of interactive website and newsletter template, facilitating better communications with members and the wider community.



Heartkids Vic Inc.*

Outreach Family Support Program

Strengthening the Shepparton Echuca region outreach program in best practice family support and basic fundraising, improving capacity to support 10 families in the region with children suffering from heart disease.

Echuca & Shepparton


Leitchville Community Sporting Complex

Storage Wars

Building a new equipment and storage shed, improving volunteer OHS and enabling multi-purpose use of the community facility.



Lions Club of Tatura Inc.

Community BBQ

Constructing a BBQ to enhance local amenities, promoting tourism and strengthening community connectivity.



Moyhu & District Pre School

Lighting up our future stars

Improvements to building efficiency by installing lighting, ceiling fans and acoustic roof tiles to create better learning conditions and reduce energy costs.



Nathalia District Hospital

First Aid for Us

First aid resources will enable locally delivered first aid training for community groups, improving community health outcomes and strengthening the capacity of the community to respond to emergencies.



Oxley Primary School Council

Eating Places and Learning Spaces – A new outdoor area for Oxley

Installing a shade sail to improve OHS and encourage learning through outdoor play, supporting educational outcomes.



Rochester & Elmore District Health Service

It’s all about Respect

Improve young people’s sexual health and wellbeing through delivery of a series of educational forums and a social media campaign relating to sexual behaviour including teen pregnancies and safe sex; sexting, cyber bullying and social media; and positive body image.



Tatong Recreation Reserve Committee of Management Inc.

Tatong needs water!

Replacing the water tank and pump to ensure access to running water at community reserve used for disaster recovery.




Camperdown & District Historical Society Inc.

Dairy Tales – A history of the Dairy Industry in the Camperdown District

A permanent historical display showcasing the dairying industry in and around Camperdown to create a sense of place and strengthening local identity and tourism.



South West Healthcare**

Dairy Farmer Mental Health

Outreach program delivered in conjunction with other local mental health initiatives and dairy organisations to support dairy farmers and their families to have the skills and knowledge to access support and services for good Mental Health.



Cobden and District Kindergarten Inc.*

Swinging into the future

Installing play equipment suitable for all abilities, improving gross motor skills and enabling all students to reach the full potential of their early childhood development.



Cobden Playgroup Inc.

Little Green Thumbs

Installing a tank and vegetable garden in the play area to support sustainability education, early childhood development and promoting community inclusion.



Deans Marsh Community Cottage Inc.

Running for the Marsh

Supporting the inaugural fun run to promote active healthy lifestyles, improve community health and connectedness, and raise funds for local initiatives.

Deans Marsh


Friends of St Brigid’s Assoc.

Keeping Crossley Hall Cool & Comfortable

Refurbishing the hall to improve the sustainability, OHS and usability of the well-used, community owned and operated venue.



Kirkstall Recreation Committee

Cooking up Community

Constructing a public BBQ area to enhance local amenities at the recreation reserve, promote tourism and strengthen community connectivity.



Simpson & District Community Centre Inc.*

Community Garden Stage 2

A new community garden to improve disabled access and strengthen social connections, while also improving fruit and vegetable consumption, food accessibility and reducing obesity.



Simpson & District Kindergarten Inc.

Simpson Community Three Year Kinder Project – Before the Bell

Enabling the kindergarten program for three year olds to continue through until the end of 2016.



The Scout Assoc of Australia Vic Branch – 1st Noorat Scout Group

A breath of fresh air for Noorat

Installing heating and cooling to improve amenities in the community hall, and increase attractiveness of venue to user groups.



* Projects marked with one asterisk also received additional funds of $2,000 each from the Aussie Farmers Foundation.

** Project marked with two asterisks also received additional funds of $1,000 from the Flew Family Foundation.