Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Support continues for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday bushfires

FRRR has awarded $499,959 in grants through its Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) programs, for 31 projects to help Victorian communities continue to build back better following the February 2009 Black Saturday fires.

Nearly $500,000 in grants awarded to grow community resilience and wellness

These grants are funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) thanks to generous contributions by the general public following the 2009 bushfires. More than 12 years on from the disastrous fires, FRRR has awarded more than $6.1 million in grants to local groups in impacted communities.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W)

Since 2011, the GR&W program has funded projects that strengthen and build the resilience of communities in regions affected by the 2009 fires including Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Alpine and Whittlesea. To date, $3,560,842 has been granted to 257 community-led projects through the GR&W program.

This round of GR&W sees 22 community groups from impacted regions sharing in $268,821 in grants for projects designed to support locally-led recovery. The initiatives include projects that will improve and enhance community meeting places and events that promote and support local arts and culture activities.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that over the past 10 years the Foundation has seen the needs and priorities of the recovering regions develop and evolve and the projects funded through the GR&W program have reflected this evolution.

“This round saw community groups wanting to continue to build back better and support their region’s resilience and wellness through projects that bring locals together, provide relevant support and opportunities, and help community members develop practical skills.

“Projects that improve and enhance community meeting places continue to be a focus for groups seeking support, with funds provided this round for improving accessibility of community spaces including the Alexandra Indoor Pool and the community garden in Long Gully, as well as equipment to boost the capacity of several local Community and Men’s Sheds. 

“The importance of arts and culture in disaster recovery continues in this round. Funding will support a comedy night at Clonbinane, and a variety of festivals and music sessions at Redesdale, Marysville, and St Andrews.

“A number of men’s sheds received funding, highlighting the important ongoing role of these facilities in providing opportunities and resources where people connect, develop skills, and create useful items for the benefit of the wider community,” Ms O’Brien said.

Some of the other projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:

  • Traralgon South and District Association – Traralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby – $5,360 – Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
  • Redesdale Recreation Committee – Pavilion Completion – $13,992 – Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
  • Y Water Discovery Centre Inc – Yea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project – $20,000 – Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
  • Whittlesea Secondary College – Restore, Grow, Perform – $24,364 – Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake Ranges)

The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program awards grants to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges for projects that build resilience and increase the wellbeing of communities across the 2009 bushfire-affected region including Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi, and Flowerdale.

To date, 32 projects have shared in $882,913 in grants through the GR&W Kinglake program, which is now in its third year. This round there are nine projects sharing in a total of $231,138 in grants.

The program provides community groups and local not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to work together to get initiatives off the ground.

“Dindi Arts Trail is one such collaborative approach, with a series of murals to be painted across Flowerdale, Kinglake, Kinglake West and Toolangi. The arts-based recovery project will see each community work with a lead artist and local artists to paint the artworks. The initiative will enhance community pride and sense of place, as well as boost the local economy by encouraging people to visit the region and follow the Dindi Arts Trail across the Ranges,” Ms O’Brien said.

Among the other GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:

  • Kinglake West Primary School – NAIDOC Week Celebrations – $3,500 – Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
  • Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc – ‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book – $18,404 – Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
  • Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges Inc – The Next 10 Years – $3,925 – Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
  • Toolangi District Community House Inc – Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment – $33,007 – Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.  

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

Next round

The next round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges will open later this year. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are encouraged from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

More information on these grant programs is available here.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are listed below:

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS
Alexandra Community Shed / Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild IncSafety First
Encourage expanded use of a community program through the installation of an all-abilities entrance way and boost organisation capacity through the purchase of a forklift to safely move heavy materials.
Alexandra$18,279
Alexandra Indoor Heated Pool IncAquatic Wheels
Enhance accessibility for people with mobility issues to participate in swim classes and hydrotherapy through the provision of new equipment.
Alexandra$3,600
Allwood Neighbourhood House IncorporatedLa Luna Open Mic and Groove Nights – St Andrews
Encourage community connection and strengthen local arts through the establishment of a series of music events held at St Andrews Hall.
St Andrews$7,364
Alpine Health / Communities That Care AlpineAlpine Youth Voices - A Youth Strategy
Increase protective factors for youth in the Alpine Shire through the development of a Youth Support Strategy.
Bright & Kiewa Valley$30,000
Art Resource Collective IncorporatedThe ARC Print Studio Redevelopment Project
Increase access to the arts and local connectedness through the upgrade of a print studio for community arts group.
Yinnar$11,919
Bushfire Resilience IncBushfire Resilience - The Community Digital Presence
Help residents to better prepare and respond to bushfires through interactive webinars and an upgraded website.
Strathewen$6,828
Clonbinane Community Action GroupLaugh Out Loud
Improve community vitality and build social connections with a comedy night at Clonbinane Hall.
Clonbinane$3,500
Kiewa Valley Historical Society Apple Laptop Computer
Boost organisation capacity and support volunteer skill development through the purchase of a laptop computer.
Mt Beauty$2,226
Kilmore District Men's Shed IncUpgrades to Equipment and New Mower
Promote learning and development, and build organisational capacity through the purchase of 3D technology and a ride on lawnmower.
Kilmore$6,837
Men’s Shed at St AndrewsPortable Saw Milling Capability
Reduce social isolation and improve delivery capacity by purchasing portable equipment for the Men’s Shed at St Andrews.
St Andrews & Panton Hill$16,866
Nillumbik Shire CouncilNillumbik Place Shapers
Increase preparedness for future disaster events through the delivery of a placemaking program to develop community-led projects.
Hurstbridge, Christmas Hills & Strathewen$20,000
Redesdale and District Association IncorporatedRedesdale Arts Festival – Getting the (Arts) Show Back on the Road in 2021
Strengthen economic recovery and social engagement through the delivery of a community festival.
Redesdale$4,539
Redesdale Recreation CommitteePavilion Completion
Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
Redesdale$13,992
Reedy Creek Progress Association IncorporatedRCPA 2021-2022 Calendar of Events
Provide opportunities to build community resilience and connection, through the delivery of community gatherings at Reedy Creek Hall.
Reedy Creek$4,871
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc / St Matthew's ChurchHope...It Grows! - Ramp Up
Allow whole of community access and renew facilities, through the installation of an all-abilities access ramp at a community garden.
Long Gully$19,000
St Andrews Primary SchoolKitchen Garden Community Space
Improve access to healthy food and educational activities by developing a school garden project.
St Andrews$20,000
Traralgon South and District AssociationTraralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby
Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
Traralgon South$5,360
Triangle Arts Group IncMarysville - Inside and Out, Music in the Park and more
Strengthen connection to local culture and encourage people in the community to access arts events by running a local music festival.
Marysville$14,000
Whittlesea Men's Shed IncorporatedAcquisition and Installation of New & Replacement Equipment
Create a safe environment, and improve the health and wellbeing of community participants with the purchase of safety equipment and band saw.
Whittlesea$4,576
Whittlesea Secondary CollegeRestore, Grow, Perform
Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.
Whittlesea$24,364
Y Water Discovery Centre IncYea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project
Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
Yea$20,000
Yarram Campdraft Club IncYarram Campdraft Emergency Community Access Project
Boost the community’s ability to prepare for future disasters by improving a track to provide access to a safe holding location for livestock during emergency events.
Yarram$12,250
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS KINGLAKE RANGES
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncDindi Open Studios
Boost tourism and the local economy, and increase access to the local arts scene with a pilot Open Studio project featuring local artists' exhibitions.
Kinglake$15,405
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book
Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
Kinglake$18,404
Kinglake West Primary SchoolNAIDOC Week Celebrations
Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
Kinglake West$3,500
Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges IncThe Next 10 Years
Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
Kinglake$3,925
Toolangi District Community House Inc / Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment
Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.
Toolangi$33,007
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc / Kinglake Ranges Arts
Dindi Arts Trail – Kinglake
Enhance community identity and awareness of local culture, and boost local economy through the development of a community arts project across the ranges.
Kinglake$86,052
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute and Reserve Committee Inc / Kinglake Historical Society
Dindi Arts Trail – Historical Mural
Promote connection to Kinglake region's history with murals depicting historical scenes.
Kinglake West$19,500
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Dindi Art Trail – Toolangi
Rejuvenate and enhance the town landscape, and boost community identity with the addition of murals in Toolangi.
Toolangi$30,640
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Flowerdale Community House Inc
Dindi Arts Trail – Flowerdale
Build community pride and enhance the urban environment with the creation of a mural featuring local iconic images.
Flowerdale$20,705

Bendigo 17 July 2019: Thirty-six community projects that will assist the continued recovery of communities impacted by the Black Saturday Bushfires will receive funding totalling $602,308. The groups are the latest recipients of the Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) and Community Group Futures (CGF) programs. To date, the two programs have delivered over $3 million in grants.

The GR&W program focuses on community strengthening and resilience-building projects, while CGF supports not-for-profit organisations to think beyond day-to-day operations and look ahead to ensure they can meet ongoing community need.Funding is made possible by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) which the general public generously contributed to in the immediate aftermath of the fires.

Marysville & Triangle Community Foundation also received support via the Stronger Community Foundations Program. The Foundation is embarking on a marketing refresh, which includes an updated website and collateral.

This year’s 10th Anniversary of the Black Saturday Bushfires brought many of the communities affected by the devastating event back into focus for the wider public but also reinforced that recovery from something so catastrophic is very much a long-term proposition.

Support is still being sought for disaster preparedness projects, but most requests were for projects that bring communities together, including upgrades to existing community meeting places to improve aspects such as their functionality, comfort and safety. Creating connections from the youngest to the oldest members of the community, both to place and each other, was the other strong theme this round.

FRRR Program Manager, Recovery & Resilience Emma Thomas said that with the tenth anniversary behind them, it was heartening to see these communities looking ahead to the next ten years and beyond.

“The vast majority of applications for grants this round fit within the Strengthening Community Connectedness, Sense of Place, and Community Identity program area,” Ms Thomas said. “When you’ve lost everything, as so many people did during the Black Saturday Bushfires, you get a different perspective on what is important and the things that make life better – these are communities taking charge of their future.

“Another interesting observation is that local primary schools are playing a wide role in the community,” Ms Thomas explained. “It is important that the schools are resourced to handle these extra demands, whether it be creating a more comfortable place for meetings; supporting playgroups and care; or breakfast clubs to ensure kids start the day well and have the best possible chance to learn.”

Among the funded projects are:

  • Upgrading a disused community building, providing additional space for community activities and initiatives in Toolangi.
  • The purchase of instruments and equipment for an inclusive school music program at St Andrews Primary School.
  • Increasing the preparedness for a medical emergency, through updating AED equipment located at community meeting spaces in Steels Creek.
  • Increase awareness of local bushfire history and community preparedness through the delivery of photographic display, emergency kits and community connectedness event at Wandong.

Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) – Projects

Organisation

Project

Location

$ Awarded

Art Resource Collective Incorporated

Ceramics Studio Floor Renewal
Increase accessibility and safety for community art space through resurfacing of uneven concrete floor at the Art Resource Collective, Yinnar.

Yinnar

$12,049

Arts Yackandandah

Yackandandah Community Hall’s storage upgrade
Increase community capacity and reduce volunteer labour through installing secure storage cabinets in local community meeting areas in Yackandandah.

Yackandandah

$6,000

Boolarra Community Development Group Inc

Boolarra Healing Tent
Increase awareness of alternative therapies that may support health and wellbeing through supporting the Healing Tent at the Boolarra Folk Festival.

Boolarra

$2,500

Coleraine & District Kindergarten Inc

Installation of Shade Sail
Increase use of outdoor learning area, through installation of shade sail at Coleraine & District Kindergarten.

Coleraine

$7,000

Continuing Education & Arts Centre of Alexandra Inc

Alexandra Community Hub Martial Arts Program
Increase physical and emotional wellbeing of local youth through delivery of therapeutic Martial Arts Program sessions.

Alexandra

$9,962

Ellimatta

Commitment to Youth 2020 and beyond
Continue access to support services and programs for youth, supporting the employment of staff at Ellimatta Youth Service in Kinglake.

Kinglake

$120,000

Foggy Mountain Inc

Ten Years On – Foggy Mountain Primary School Recording Project
Increase sense of place and connectedness for local children, through participation in song writing about community and performance at local festival.

Kinglake

$20,000

Jeeralang North Public Hall Reserve

Swinging into Spring – Health & Wellbeing Event Spring 2019
Increase wellbeing and community resilience through delivery of the ‘Swing Into Spring’ inclusive community day of activities.

Jeeralang North

$10,085

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc Kinglake Landcare Group

Promoting Awareness of the Local Natural Environment
Increase knowledge and connection to the local environment through the delivery of nature walk and propagation workshops held by Kinglake Landcare.

Kinglake

$2,900

Mirboo North Primary School

Kitchen and BBQ
Increase health and wellbeing for students at Mirboo North Primary School through construction of a kitchenette to support delivery of a breakfast program.

Mirboo North

$19,373

Rotary Club of Alexandra

Community Shade and Shelter
Increase participation at community activities and events through the provision of portable shelter and shade which will be available at no cost to local community groups.

Alexandra

$7,000

St Andrews Community Centre Inc

St Andrews Community Group Support Program
Increase support for community driven activities that support connectedness and wellbeing through reducing participation fees and provision of resources and catering.

St Andrews

$16,927

St Andrews Primary School

Playgroup Playground
Enhance resources for early childhood development through construction of junior playground at St Andrews Primary School

St Andrews

$20,000

St Andrews Primary School St Andrews Primary School

Community Band Program
Enhance recovery and community connectedness through purchase of instruments and equipment for inclusive school music program.

St Andrews

$19,880

Steels Creek Community Centre Incorporated

Steels Creek Community Groups AED Update
Increase preparedness for medical emergency, through updating AED equipment located at community meeting spaces in Steels Creek.

Steels Creek

$3,009

Strathewen Recreation Reserve Association

Fire Safety Upgrade
Increase actual and perceived safety for the Strathewen community in the event of bushfire, through fire safety upgrade to Pavilion at local reserve.

Strathewen

$10,000

Tarra Territory Tourism Inc

Gippy Bike
Increase tourism activity and the wellbeing of locals through purchase of push bikes and e-bikes for community bike hire initiative at Yarram.

Yarram

$20,000

Toolangi District Community House Inc

Upgrade of the Maternal Health rooms part two
Upgrade of disused community building, providing additional space for community activities and initiatives in Toolangi.

Toolangi

$18,750

Toolangi District Community House Inc Creative Writers Group

Encourage Active Ageing
Increase awareness of the benefits of social participation for seniors through publication and distribution of Creative Writers Group stories.

Healesville

$858

Toolangi Primary School

Restoration of landscaping around historically significant trees
Improve amenity and safety at Toolangi school, through restoration of retaining wall and pathways around historic and heritage listed trees.

Toolangi

$10,000

Traralgon South Kindergarten Inc

Traralgon South Preschool Black Saturday Commemoration
Increase awareness of local history for preschool aged children, through installation of 2009 Bushfire Memorial Garden and artwork at the Traralgon South Kindergarten.

Traralgon South

$8,076

Wandong History Group Inc

3758: R U READY 10 YEARS ON
Increase awareness of local bushfire history and community preparedness through delivery of photographic display, Emergency kits and community connectedness event at Wandong.

Wandong

$19,995

Whittlesea Community House Inc Whittlesea Landcare

Whittlesea Landcare Community Planting Sessions
Increase opportunities for participation in sustainable land management and agriculture focused community activities through the purchase of tree planting equipment and a trailer for the Whittlesea Landcare Group.

Whittlesea

$10,175

Women’s Health Goulburn North East Gender and Disaster Pod

‘Fire planning with a gender lens saves lives’
Increase awareness of gendered issues that impact on disaster preparation through dissemination of information to CFA’s in the form of a postcard series.

Drouin

$18,232

Y Water Centre Association Inc.

Connecting, Engaging and Empowering Communities to be Environmentally Aware
Increase community awareness regarding local environmental issues through delivery of six keynote speaker presentations at the Y Water Centre.

Yea

$18,000

Yinnar & District Community Association Inc

Re-establishment of Quarterly Newsletter for Yinnar & District
Increase communication of community activities and events through relaunch of community newsletter at Yinnar.

Yinnar

$4,970

Yinnar and District Memorial Hall

SURVIVE & THRIVE
Increase community safety and preparedness for medical emergency, through purchase of a defibrillator for the Yinnar & District Memorial Hall.

Yinnar

$2,715

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc

Be Well in the Ranges
Remove barriers to mental health support for the Kinglake community in the tenth year since Black Saturday, via providing ease of access to locally based mental health professionals.

Kinglake Ranges

$84,232

 

 

Community Group Futures (CGF) – Projects

Organisation

Project

Location

$ Awarded

Art Resource Collective Incorporated

Building Organisational Capability, Viability and Sustainability
Increase viability and support growth of arc Yinnar through development of strategic and business plans, policies and procedures.

Yinnar

$19,990

Coleraine & District Development Association Inc.

Coleraine & District Website
Increase communication of community events and activities through development of website for Coleraine.

Coleraine

$1,620

Healesville Community Renewable Energy Inc

Healesville CoRE Policy Governance Project
Increase governance and direction for members of Healesville Community Renewable Energy, through development of organisation policies.

Healesville

$6,090

Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Inc

RRCL Website Revitalisation Project
Increase professionalism and capacity to communicate through development of new website for Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program.

Mitchell and Murrindindi Shire

$20,000

Southern Grampians Shire Council

Rooftop Power
Reduce running costs applied to heating the Coleraine Mechanics Institute Hall, through installation of solar system.

Coleraine

$6,000

Whittlesea Men’s Shed Incorporated

Solar Energy Management System for the Whittlesea Men’s Shed
Increase sustainability and support for community projects through installation of a solar system for the Whittlesea Men’s Shed.

Whittlesea

$18,000

Yarra Valley Ecoss Inc Yarra Valley ECOSS

Disabilities and Volunteer Project Development Officer
Increase support to deliver activities that support social and skill development for people with a disability at Yarra Valley ECOSS, through the employment of a Project Officer.

Wesburn

$20,000

 

Stronger Community Foundations – Projects

Organisation

Project

Location

$ Awarded

Marysville and Triangle Community Foundation Limited

Communications – Website restructuring, brochure and template development
Increase capacity to market to potential donors and attract support through development of marketing tools including refreshed website, templates and brochure.

Marysville

Alexandra Yea

Kinglake

$7,920

 

The Whittlesea Men’s Shed (WMS) in outer northern suburbs of Melbourne was a refuge for many of their members following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Men’s Sheds provide a non-threatening and supportive environment for men to come together, share and learn skills, build friendships and contribute to their local community. They relied on the social support and activities of the WMS to develop their resilience and wellness, their strengths and capacities for the future.


And now, six years on, WMS is still an integral part of the Whittlesea community, with membership numbers now nudging the 70s. It continues to support men’s health and wellbeing by providing a safe and busy environment in which they can improve their physical, mental and social health, productivity, self-worth and value to the community.
At that time, WMS was still in its fledgling stage, having been established in 2008. In 2013 they applied for and received a GR&W grant to rearrange and relocate workspaces, storage areas and equipment to make way for a growing membership.

Over the past three years, the services of the members of the WMS have increased in demand, primarily because of its ability to provide on-request, quality items such as outdoor furniture, toys and restorations for schools, kindergartens, community centres as well as local community groups and individuals.

This increase in work has resulted in the requirement for the Men’s Shed to increase its stock of suitable timber. This timber is either donated or purchased and unfortunately takes up a large amount of both the current workspace and the area that has been previously used by other community groups. It’s also a potential fire hazard.

WMS received a $19,000 GR&W grant to extend its facilities by constructing an external, secure timber storage facility adjacent to the existing Shed. In doing so, the relocation of the timber has freed up a considerable amount of workspace, which in turn has allowed the members of the community to use the shed as has been done in the past, and for the members to undertake additional work for the community.

This is an important means of supporting community connectedness, social support networks, and encouraging and facilitating engagement and participation of isolated or disadvantaged members of the community, particularly within the male population.

The town of Strathewen located in the north-west of Victoria was one of the many communities impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the aftermath of which left a huge impression on the local community. There is no quick fix solution for a community when it comes to recovering from a natural disaster, and after nine years, Strathewen is still in the process of doing so.

The team at Arthurs Creek Strathewen CFA noticed that students at the local primary school were suffering post-traumatic stress after Black Saturday. Parents had been reporting that their children had been experiencing high levels of anxiety and panic attacks. This prompted the CFA to develop what is now the Strathewen Primary School Fire Awareness Program. The program is designed to support local students and help build their confidence around fire safety and preparedness.

To support this initiative, the CFA was given a $15,730 grant from the Grants for Resilience and Wellness program funded by Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The program was held weekly. Students were given the opportunity to discuss fire safety plans, evacuation strategies, and fire danger ratings. This positive learning experience equipped the students with the ability to teach others and to take their knowledge into their adult years concerning bush and fire safety.

At the end of the program, a picture story book was created that participants of the program could take home and share with their families. A behind the scenes making of the book was also produced with the help of the Strathewen Bushfire Relief Trust. Parents reported after the Fire Awareness Program, their children’s confidence levels improved significantly and that anxiety levels decreased.

This built on a previous program run by the Strathewen CFA for kids in the community. The previous project funded, called ‘Survive and Thrive’ allowed the children at the school to make a Claymation video about fire safety and fire danger ratings. It was an invaluable way to teach the kids about how to stay safe in a fire, and to understand what the fire danger ratings mean, and the project won the ‘2017 Resilient Australia’ award for Victoria, in the education division.

Recovery from bushfires is an ongoing process but grants like these provide opportunities for communities to heal.