Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

27 community groups in disaster impacted areas of rural NSW and QLD to receive funding

FRRR, in partnership with Suncorp and GIO, has awarded $500,000 to 27 community groups and local not-for-profits (NFPs) to support recovery initiatives in rural communities impacted by the East Coast Australia floods in February and March 2022.

The grants, which are through the Rebuilding Futures program, range from $4,129 to $25,000.

They will be used to fund a range of projects, including equipping community facilities to be prepared for disasters, mental health training, community resilience and healing events, food security initiatives, environmental restoration, buying emergency equipment, restoring flood damaged infrastructure, developing preparedness plans and mentoring initiatives.

This is the second round of grants to come from the $1 million pledge the Suncorp Group made to FRRR to support recovery and preparedness activities in remote, rural and regional communities impacted by natural disasters.

Suncorp Group Head of Disaster Response & Customer Experience, Cath Stewart, said the diversity of applications shows the importance of responsive and flexible funding.

“The grant applications we received in this round are all the proof needed to reaffirm community leaders are best placed to understand exactly what the people in their areas need at this moment in time.

“These communities were all impacted by the same natural disaster, yet it’s very clear that they have diverse needs based on the point that they’re at on their road to recovery. We are pleased to be able to support a range of initiatives from building organisational capacity and giving locals the opportunity to develop their skills, to investing in life saving equipment and improving access to services,” said Ms Stewart.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Climate Solutions Lead at FRRR, said the grant recipients have shown commitment to the long-term recovery and resilience of their communities.

“People have had their lives turned upside down, yet they’re determined to work together to make sure their communities bounce back stronger than ever from the floods. Thanks to the generous support of GIO and Suncorp, we are able to offer the funding that will allow them to address their unique community recovery needs for rebuilding their future, and that’s exactly what each of the NFPs and community groups receiving funding are on a mission to do.

“Each of these initiatives, whether it be an upgrade to existing community facilities, the renewal of shared social spaces, improved community facilities, the purchase of emergency equipment or mental health support, is a practical response that will support long term recovery, which is exactly what is needed in the areas affected by floods and storms in early 2022.

“Recovery will take many years and every community has different needs and different capacity levels when it comes to tackling the recovery process. That’s why it’s so crucial that we provide these local groups with the support they need to build back better and design their own path to recovery, when they are ready,” said Ms O’Brien.

Among the 27 projects funded this round are:

  • Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Branch Inc, Byron Bay, NSW – Mental Health Training and Support – $9,650 – Build community resilience through delivering a Mental Health Training and Support program to life savers, equipping them with skills to support themselves and their community.
  • Resilient Lismore Incorporated, Lismore, NSW – Resilient Lismore – community recovery and connection events – $25,000 – Bolstering resilience to disaster by strengthening community connections and increasing mental health and wellbeing via a series of community events to be held around the anniversary of the February 2022 flood event in Lismore.
  • Wilsons Creek Community Hall Inc, Wilsons Creek, NSW – Wilsons Creek Community Hall Solar Storage Battery – $12,240 – Build capacity of Wilsons Creek Community Hall to stay in contact by purchasing a solar battery to ensure power supply during extreme weather events.
  • The Trustee for Top Blokes Foundation, Beaudesert, QLD – Building the resilience of vulnerable young men in the Scenic Rim – $25,000 – Improve the mental health and community engagement skills of at risk and disadvantaged young boys to bolster recovery in flood impacted communities.
  • Glastonbury Hall & Recreation Association Inc, Glastonbury, QLD – Rebuilding for the Future – Glastonbury Disaster Centre Hub – $25,000 – Build capacity at Glastonbury Hall to support community with adequate kitchen facilities during refuge from disasters and to support community connection activities.
  • Tansey Show Society Incorporated, Tansey, QLD – Upgrade facilities at Tansey Showgrounds – $15,000 – Boost organisational resilience and community wellbeing by repairing the flood damaged shower blocks at Tansey Showgrounds.

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

More information on the Rebuilding Futures grant program is available on FRRR’s website.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Agape Outreach IncAfter the Floods - Food Insecurity & Poverty Support - Caring for the Community
Support community members impacted by floods to access food relief in an environment of insecurity and homelessness risk.
Tweed$15,000
Byron Region Community CollegeDemonstration Garden for Sustainability and Resilience
Strengthen the social fabric of Byron with a sustainable and resilient garden at the adult learning centre designed to inspire and educate community with an interactive space also supporting mental health and wellbeing.
Mullumbimby$24,630
Casino Indoor Stadium Association IncBlue Light Nights
Build community capacity of children and young people in Casino with equipment for Blue Light Night events such as discos that will develop relationships with local police and support learning event management skills.
Casino$10,572
Friends Lismore Regional Gallery IncBeyond Bricks and Mortar: The Art of Renewal in Lismore
Renew and activate the arts community in Lismore through tours of neighboring galleries, open art studios and panels to bolster regeneration of artist practice and broad community engagement.
Lismore$12,295
Human Nature Adventure Therapy LtdThrive Outside: A Recovery and Resilience Project
Support young people who experienced trauma through the flood events to build resilience through therapeutic outdoor group activities.
Ballina$19,920
Holding Hands UndergoundThe Grief and Gratitude Project: A Process for Collective Care and Connection in a Time of Major Crisis
Supporting community connection with an arts based event to enable collective recovery activity with themes of grief and gratitude.
Mullumbimby$25,000
Hunter Prelude LimitedHunter Prelude Supported Playgroups
Increase support to playgroups with additional allied health or teaching staff that enhance the engagement of parents and address issues of isolation and trauma within the families.
Kurri/Cessnock$19,400
Nambucca Valley Phoenix LimitedRoof Replacement Ceramics Yurt & Kitchen
Replace damaged roofing at the ceramics yurt and kitchen annex to increase resilience of the facility's infrastructure to weather and support ongoing community activities.
Bowraville$25,000
Northern Rivers Community Healing Hub - Rekindling the Spirit LimitedNorthern Rivers Community Healing Hub in Action
Build capacity for piloting a transition to paid / volunteer model of community healing practices that will support holistic recovery now and ongoing with strong health partnerships.
Lismore$24,750
Resilient Lismore IncorporatedResilient Lismore - Community Recovery and Connection Event
Bolstering resilience to disaster by strengthening community connections and increasing mental health and wellbeing via a series of community events to be held around the anniversary of the February 2022 flood event in Lismore.
Lismore $25,000
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast Branch IncMental Health Training and Support
Build community resilience through delivering a Mental Health Training and Support program to life savers equipping them with skills to support themselves and their community.
Byron Bay $9,650
The Big Scrub OrchestraModern Band Healing Through Songwriting and Music to Improve Resilience and Wellbeing for Young People Impacted by Floods
Build the resilience of school children impacted and displaced by flooding in Grafton, Lismore and Casino through musical workshops that will culminate in a performance at the local Jacaranda Festival.
Grafton$25,000
The Colony Bees Association IncPollinate Country
Rebuilding pollinator health and habitat in the Northern Rivers, by establishing new beehives, pollinator sanctuaries and native habitats.
Ballina$18,202
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSWCapacity Building for the Improved Response to Emergencies with Our Region
Build capacity of Volunteer Marine Rescue to support flood impacted communities in the future and enhance their everyday emergency operations with a trailer to transport a rescue boat.
Brunswick Heads$15,000
Wesley Community Services Limited, trading as Wesley MissionWesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Resilience Project
Support mental health and reduce stigma associated with suicide through training to develop skills and understanding in the Coffs Harbour community.
Coffs Harbour$22,000
Wilsons Creek Community Hall IncWilsons Creek Community Hall Solar Storage Battery
Build capacity of Wilsons Creek Community Hall to stay in contact by purchasing a solar battery to ensure power supply during extreme weather events.
Wilsons Creek$12,240
QUEENSLAND
Glastonbury Hall & Recreation Association IncRebuilding for the Future - Glastonbury Disaster Centre Hub
Build capacity at Glastonbury Hall to support community with adequate kitchen facilities during refuge from disasters and to support community connection activities.
Glastonbury$25,000
Highfields Pioneer Village Museum and Park IncRamp It Up
Repair pathways and ramps impacted by flood waters to provide access for disabled and elderly visitors.
Highfields$4,129
Kerry Memorial HallKerry Valley: Diversity, Resilience & Strength (DRS)
Upgrade historical community facilities with infrastructure materials and equipment to enable compliance for evacuation centre and to strengthen community wellbeing.
Kerry$7,293
Kin Kin Community Group IncVolunteer and Emergency Response Community Hub
Build capacity through setting up local facility to support community during disasters.
Kin Kin & Como$25,000
Lowood Group State Emergency Service Financial Support Unit IncLowood Emergency Back Up Generator
Build the capacity of Lowood SES through the purchase of a generator to ensure shed operations during power outages to support crew and community needs.
Lowood$23,485
Mooloolah Valley Community Association IncEmergency Power for the Community Centre
Build the organisational capacity of the Mooloolah Valley Community Centre with the purchase of a solar battery for power supply in extreme weather events.
Mooloolah Valley$25,000
Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association IncorporatedCaravan Park Hot Water & Dryer
Build community resilience and organisational capacity with the purchase of a washing machine and clothes dryer to support tenants, visitors, and the community at the volunteer run caravan park in Rathdowney.
Rathdowney$7,784
Tansey Show Society IncorporatedUpgrade Facilities at Tansey Showgrounds
Boost organisational resilience and community wellbeing by repairing the flood damaged shower blocks at Tansey Showgrounds.
Tansey$15,000
The Trustee for Raise FoundationRaise Mentor Program - Pittsworth State High School
Build resilience in young people affected by floods with supported mentoring at Pittsworth State High School.
Pittsworth$25,000
The Trustee for Top Blokes FoundationBuilding the Resilience of Vulnerable Young Men in the Scenic Rim
Improve the mental health and community engagement skills of at risk and disadvantaged young boys to bolster recovery in flood impacted communities.
Beaudesert$25,000
Toowoomba Hospital FoundationSaving and Preserving the Darling Downs Health Museum Weather Affected Collection and Displays
Support restoration and disaster preparedness planning to save the flood impacted collection of Toowoomba Hospital Health Museum and train volunteers to respond effectively in future emergency situations.
Toowoomba$16,560

Grant funding is now available to support communities in remote, rural and regional Queensland and New South Wales who have been impacted by this year’s flooding events.

Suncorp and GIO have partnered with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), through the Rebuilding Futures program, to offer $500,000 in grants of up to $25,000 to help not-for-profit groups and local community organisations to rebuild and recover from this year’s flood events.

Suncorp’s Head of Flood Response and Recovery, Cath Stewart, said that this funding recognises that while the initial clean up may have concluded, many community groups still have a lot of work to do to support their community’s ongoing recovery.

“The floods were devastating and, sadly, some places were affected more than once. On top of weather events and the impacts of COVID, not to mention the increased costs of living that are putting pressure on local businesses and community members, many groups are finding it really hard to access resources they need to support their community.

“These grants, which can be used to support locally-identified recovery and rebuilding priorities, will hopefully relieve some of those pressures and allow the communities to start moving forward,” said Ms Stewart.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that Suncorp and GIO’s support means that there is flexible funding available to help communities rebuild and be better prepared for future disaster events.

“We know that local community leaders are the ones who are best-placed to know what their community needs. That’s why we made sure these grants can fund a wide range of activities, events, initiatives and small-scale infrastructure or equipment projects. The aim is to ensure that the community can build resilience by improving facilities for mitigation and preparedness and creating opportunities to reconnect, share experiences or support overall wellbeing and improved mental health, in whatever way makes most sense to that community.

“We look forward to engaging with these groups and are hoping that for some the grant opportunity can be a catalyst for projects that reduce the impact of future disasters on community wellbeing and physical infrastructure,” Ms Egleton explained.

For more information about who is eligible and what can be funded, visit www.frrr.org.au/Rebuilding-Futures.

A Grant Seeking Workshop including a Q&A on the Rebuilding Future’s grant program will be held online from 1 – 2pm AEST Tuesday 23 August 2022.

Applications close 28 September 2022.

The Rathdowney Memorial Grounds Association (RMGA) was established in 1947 to manage the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds and to organise an annual campdraft in honour of the young men in the district who lost their lives during the war.

Today, the Memorial Grounds and Caravan Park are managed by a small committee of local people, and the venue is used for a range of sport and community activities, including soccer, pony clubs, campdrafting, markets and camping. It also serves as a central place to coordinate the community response to natural disasters and emergencies, and was used by residents displaced in the 2019 Black Summer bushfires.

The annual campdraft is popular with locals and visitors alike, and central to the town’s identity and prosperity. It attracts around 1,000 visitors who come for the weekend and spend at the grounds and at local shops, making a vital contribution to the local economy. In 2020, the campdraft was cancelled due to COVID and the whole community suffered financially and socially.

The open-air equestrian arena at the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds was inundated by heavy rain in March 2021 and the arena surface was so badly damaged that the annual campdraft had to be postponed. Plans to refurbish the sand in the arena were delayed because the flood-damaged surface needed to be re-levelled, compacted and protected with crusher dust before new sand was added.

RMGA received a $15,000 Rebuilding Futures grant funded by Suncorp Group that allowed them to repair the equestrian arena, and to mitigate the impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds.

President of RMGA Andrew Buchanan said that during the project delivery phase, the region continued to experience unprecedented rain, which held up the work. However this actually proved to be invaluable because the work that was being done was tested and could be improved straightaway.

“The arena is now safe to use regardless of the weather (exceptional circumstances not included), which allows the community to be able to plan and feel sure that our events will be able to go on regardless. The entire community is so grateful to be able to utilise the arena. This has had a huge impact towards the connectedness within our area.”

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