Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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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