Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The wetlands leading to the Kiewa and Murray Rivers will soon be healthier, thanks to Parklands Albury Wodonga’s ‘Restoring Bonegilla’s blue carbon sink wetlands and waterways’ project.

People on a flood plain planting trees and native grasses.

The restoration of wetland plants in floodplain channels and wetlands on these floodplains will capture carbon, slow water runoff and clean the water before it enters major waterways. This will improve water quality, while the restoration of these wetlands will close gaps in current native vegetation corridors, enabling native animals to travel and thereby adapt to the changing climate. The vegetation will also take up atmospheric carbon dioxide, storing it in biomass and sediments.

The project is aligned to decarbonisation and climate adaptation, with strong evidence of community-led development and strong engagement with local Indigenous Elders, disability services and volunteers at the Native Garden Nursery that the group operates.

Since 1997, with the support of more than 3,000 people each year, PAW has been restoring lands degraded by grazing and, more recently a housing development, improving and maintaining the network of bush parks connecting urban and rural communities in the border regions.

A volunteer Committee of Management works closely with the ranger staff to plan and implement rehabilitation, restoration and enhancement of bushlands and parkways for environmental management and recreation.

Volunteers at the nursery have been propagating suitable wetland species from hotter, drier places, which will mean biodiversity resilience as they are planting for a future hotter, drier climate. This well-planned adaptation and restoration project, which received a $16,060 a Community Led Climate Solutions grant, will deliver decarbonisation outcomes and engage the community in planting and developing skills and knowledge for climate solutions activity.

Following the February 2022 floods and the devastation experienced by community members within and surrounding Kin Kin, in southern Queensland, the Kin Kin Community Group (KKCG) shifted its focus towards future planning and the inevitable impacts of another natural disaster on their community. They aim to be better prepared with improved emergency systems to enable their people to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Kin Kin is a secluded southern Queensland hinterland community situated in the Noosa Council area, near its boundary with the Gympie Council. The town has very limited essential services, with only a single general store and café. The February 2022 floods took the town by surprise and left the community fending for themselves. There was no community-friendly meeting place or emergency response centre and the community was cut off by floodwaters for days. No one could enter or leave except by a helicopter from the oval. Food supplies depleted rapidly and communication was hampered, leaving the community in the dark about the ongoing situation. For four days there was limited telecommunication, making the community members feel even more isolated.

KKCG is dedicated to representing and promoting the Kin Kin community, and it was to this organisation that the community turned during their time of distress. The Group operates on behalf of the community, seeking opportunities, positive change and growth for its people. The volunteers are doing all that they can to ensure the community is prepared and supported for the future.

The effects of the 2022 flood events underscored the need for an Emergency Response hub, a place where volunteers and community can gather, to connect, communicate and plan together. The situation also highlighted the scarcity of resources available to support volunteers, including drinking water and first aid equipment. It emphasised the community’s risk areas and disadvantages, illustrating the need for better preparedness in the future.

Fortunately, the KKCG received a grant of $25,000 from the Rebuilding Futures program, funded by the Suncorp Group. This enabled the KKCG to purchase equipment and carry out activities to enhance the community’s safety, connection, resilience and wellbeing. This includes establishing a community hub that is publicly accessible at all times, including during natural disasters, and serves to provide comfort, connection, safety and distribution of essential resources within the community.

People kneeling down learning first aid on dummies, with computer in the background.

Specifically, the funds went toward essential office equipment such as computers, phones, an air conditioner, a printer, WiFi, first aid kit, a defibrillator, an emergency water supply and a community noticeboard. These resources aid in improving communication and growth within the community. The notice board displays disaster information and preparedness material from the Council and the Queensland Government, designed to better inform the community about disaster preparedness strategies. Furniture was also purchased, to make the space usable for community workshops and events that foster wellbeing and community connection. A recent example of such an event was a free first aid training day hosted by the KKCG. This workshop equipped volunteers with the skills to use the new first aid equipment and defibrillator in case of an emergency.

To combat volunteer fatigue and acknowledge the efforts of the Kin Kin volunteers, a ‘Volunteer Care Program’ was established. This program involves a monthly wellbeing initiative, allowing volunteers and community members to come together and connect. It bolsters the resilience and spirit of the community, fostering a sense of belonging and readiness to support others in times of need. The Community Hub is now equipped to meet the needs of the community in times of distress, with essential community resources and communication strategies focussed on supporting the overall health and wellbeing of the community. The hub, and volunteers who dedicate their time there, ensure that the local people, environment, culture and celebrations are embraced, fostering goodwill and prosperity. Indeed, it is the people and volunteers who have made Kin Kin an even more appealing and positive place to live.

Nestled beside the Rocky River and amid the undulating hills of the Southern Flinders Ranges in South Australia, Laura is a lively, artistic rural community with around 720 residents. The Laura Fair, inaugurated in 1980 to foster art and culture in the region, has been held without interruption until the COVID years.

The Fair is a major highlight for the region and normally taking place over two days at the beginning of April, typically attracting 10,000 to 15,000 patrons. The event is entirely driven by a small volunteer committee and a large contingent of casual volunteers who assist with various aspects of the event.

The event significantly benefits local businesses economically and serves as a primary fundraising platform for numerous local community groups. This family-oriented fair offers a delightful rural experience with great food and coffee, artisan market stalls, entertainment and more throughout the weekend.

To decrease the event costs of hiring equipment, including chairs, the fair committee was supported through a $4,590 Rebuilding Regional Communities grant to buy 200 stackable outdoor chairs for use at the fair and other community events, beginning with the 2024 Fair, which aimed to foster community connections post-pandemic and reinvigorate the event.

The Fair took place 13-14 April and attendees enjoyed a Street Parade, vintage cars, SES, CFS and local business floats and live entertainment, as well as roving performers and buskers, Sideshow Alley, food stalls, an Art Gallery exhibition and more than100 market stalls.

Events such as the Laura Fair are allowing regional, rural, and remote communities to heal and reconnect after the uncertainty and disconnection caused by COVID impacts and are vital to the social and mental recovery of residents.

The chairs purchased with the funds provided by the RRC program will mainly serve the Laura Fair during their yearly event, eliminating the recurring cost of renting them, as the group estimates the money they have spent over the years would have paid for chairs several times over.

The group has storage space in an existing facility to keep and maintain the seats in good condition. With COVID affecting revenue, this cost-saving measure will allow the group to allocate more funds towards running costs or supporting other local community groups. Additionally, these chairs will be available to other community organisations in the Laura area to eliminate the need for them to pay equipment hire.

Funding to meet the local needs and connect communities

One hundred and twenty-nine community groups across remote, rural and regional Australia are sharing nearly $1.4 million in grants through FRRR’s flagship Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

Family of four leaning on wire fence in front of the Glastonbury Hall.
Glastonbury Hall & Recreation Association Inc used their SRC grant, awarded in 2022, to create a safer and more secure space at the Hall by establishing it as a Disaster Centre Hub.

Awarded via three streams of funding, SRC grants support small and vital projects, like upgrades to the community pool in Cummins, SA; COVID recovery projects, such as creating an arts and cultural precinct in the remote community of Tully, QLD; and disaster preparedness or recovery initiatives, like providing culturally informed, trauma-responsive community healing days for the flood-affected community of Lismore, NSW.

FRRR received a record 450 applications for this round of SRC funding, requesting more than $4.5 million in grants for projects valued at more than $19 million. The team has worked hard to shorten the time between applying and awarding SRC grants, with these grants being awarded just nine weeks after the round closed.

Jill Karena, FRRR’s Place Portfolio Lead, says that there is an increasing need for FRRR to fill gaps in areas that may have previously relied on funding from government incentives or programs or support from local businesses.

“The SRC program is flexible and open year-round, meaning it can lean in when Government and other agencies lean out. This access to continued funding opportunities is especially vital in communities that are moving beyond the immediate threats and response to natural disasters and other shocks.

“This round, we have seen increased applications from the organisers of community events, such as local agricultural shows, as some local governments are reducing their annual funding support. We also saw increased funding requests from smaller more remote communities that are a seeking to boost the local economy by developing activities and events to encourage overnight stays from visitors who would otherwise pass through. We also noticed an increase in applications from fringe metro areas and inner rural communities, which seems to indicate that they too are facing diminishing funding opportunities,” she said.

Unmet need continues in small communities

In addition to the 129 initiatives awarded grants, there were a further 85 funding-ready projects, requesting more than $900,000, that FRRR did not have the funds to support. This highlights the importance of small grants to remote, rural and regional community groups and is why FRRR is seeking new partners so that the Foundation can fund more projects in the future.

“Given the uncertainty of the current financial landscape, groups have told us that they value having access to timely secured funding to support medium to long term goals, as well as initiatives that respond to present needs and priorities.

“These are the projects that create a sense of place and identity, and the people and organisations that make these inspiring projects happen need our support. SRC grants provide leverage as they demonstrate to other funders that the projects have value and are supported. But to be able to fund more of them, we need to bring in additional collaborative funders. So we invite all those who want to see a thriving remote, rural and regional Australia to join us to support local initiatives. They really do make a difference,” Ms Karena said.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by donors, ranging from private individuals to larger foundations, who are acknowledged on the SRC program page.

FRRR always accepts applications to this program, which awards funds around four times a year. Local not-for-profit organisations and community groups are encouraged to review the program guidelines and apply. More information about the SRC program is available at www.frrr.org.au/src.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
SRC Round 20 - April 2024
NEW SOUTH WALES
Small & Vital
Arthur Butler Aviation Museum ABAM Management Plan
Create a management plan for the aerodrome to develop future facilities, enhancing Tooraweenah's appeal as a destination and boosting tourism.
Tooraweenah$5,000
Colly Gamilaraay Indigenous CorporationCollarenebri Community Cultural Festival
Celebrate traditional and contemporary Aboriginal culture from across the region through a one-day multi-arts and sporting festival addressing cultural isolation.
Collarenebri$9,500
Connecting With Bricks IncMobile LEGO® Brick Pits
Expand organisational capacity and provide equal access to educational and social enrichment tools with mobile Lego brick-building pits for hire by rural schools, libraries, and community groups.
Tintinhull$10,000
Parkes & District Historical Society IncWiradjuri Cultural Storage Facility and Workspace
Create an engaging space to learn about Parkes' historical and cultural stories by purchasing a shipping container to showcase the extensive Wiradjuri artefact collection.
Parkes$10,000
Southern Youth and Family Services LimitedLaptops for Learners - Cooma
Enable disadvantaged homeless high school students in the Cooma area to fully participate in their school education by providing laptops to complete their studies.
Cooma$10,000
The Trustee for The Salvation Army (NSW) Property TrustSalvos Community Connect - Engagement Space
Boost community connection by purchasing safe, accessible chairs for morning tea gatherings that engage isolated or lonely residents.
Goulburn$5,000
Warren Chamber Music Festival Incorporated

Singing Your Stories
Enhance community wellbeing and capture local history creating and recording songs from storytelling sessions with the elderly and other community members.

Collie$10,000
Prepare & Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Mann River Men's Shed IncMann River Shed Electrical System
Support bushfire recovery by installing electricity in the workshop building to make it fit for purpose as a Men's Shed, a community meeting space and shelter for future disasters.
Diehard$25,000
Playability Incorporated Creating an Inclusive Children's Playground
Contribute to bushfire recovery by upgrading outdoor facilities to create an abilities and culturally inclusive children’s playground.
Eden$9,000
ADRA Wauchope Community Connect led by ADRA Wauchope Community Connect Adventist Development and Relief Agency Australia LtdADRA Wauchope Community Connect
Support bushfire recovery by purchasing a food trailer to continue delivering a food service to vulnerable local residents.
Wauchope$25,000
Courabyra Public Hall Land ManagerCourabyra Hall Storage Infrastructure
Contribute to bushfire preparedness and increase capacity to serve as a central resource hub by building new storage areas for food, perishables, and additional safety equipment.
Courabyra$20,237
Friends of Tenterfield Aerodrome IncTenterfield Aerodrome Disaster Resilience Project
Enhance bushfire preparedness by constructing a shed to store aerodrome maintenance and firefighting equipment.
Tenterfield$10,000
Nambucca Valley Radio led by Nambucca Valley Radio Radio Nambucca IncTewinga Community Centre Disaster Preparedness Project
Enhance bushfire preparedness by purchasing essential disaster equipment and providing emergency training for volunteers and the community.
Tewinga$16,615
Narooma Oyster Festival LimitedFeasibility, Best Practice, Economic Impact Study and Business Case Proposal
Enhance organisational capacity in a bushfire-impacted community by engaging industry experts to research and advise on a sustainable self-funding business model for Farmgate and Shellor Door Oyster education and tasting centre.
Narooma$25,000
Narooma Surf Life Saving Club IncVideo and Audio Conferencing System 
Enhance bushfire recovery and improve communication during emergencies with a new by video and audio conference system at Narooma Surf Life Saving Club.
Narooma$1,500
Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast IncorporatedSocial Justice Advocates Youth Convenor: A Dedicated Mission
Engage a young person to lead workshops and collaboration with diverse young people to build on the youth-focussed bushfire recovery work to address other local l social justice issues
Bega Valley$24,309
Southcoast Health and Sustainability AllianceHeatwave and Wood Smoke Haven Anglican Church Batemans Bay: Stage 2
Enhance bushfire preparedness by installing hybrid solar technology, ensuring continuous power during grid outages for the building to operate as a bushfire and extreme weather refuge.
Batemans Bay$24,952
Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch Incorporated4WD to Maximise Emergency and Disaster Response Capability
Contribute to bushfire preparedness and recovery by purchasing a 4WD vehicle for the Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Branch to maximise emergency and disaster response capability.
Taree, Hallidays Point$25,000
Tabulam Public Hall Reserve Land ManagerLaptop and Printer Acquisition
Streamline evacuation centre operations during disasters with a new laptop and printer.
Tabulam$1,995
The Valley Centre for Environmental Education and Research IncorporatedHeart & Humility - Supporting the Creation of a Cultural Fire Hub
Facilitate two workshops to establish a community-driven cultural fire hub, promoting cultural burning, and emphasising knowledge transfer and leadership roles for Elders.
Singleton$10,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
Backtrack Works LtdDisaster Recovery Response Crews
Boost flood recovery and preparedness by upskilling young people as a fast response resource in times of natural disaster.
Tenterfield$25,000
Ettrick Hall Committee IncorporatedThe Safe Hub
Boost flood preparedness by purchasing a generator for the Safe Hub.
Ettrick$1,810
Hillston Creative Arts Council IncorporatedRed Dust and Paddy Melons Community Gallery
Re-stumping and stabilisation project Support repairs to a community-owned heritage gallery and information centre damaged by severe weather and floods.
Hillston$25,000
Northern Rivers Community Healing HubHealing Hub : Wellness Wednesdays
Provide culturally informed, trauma-responsive community healing days for flood-affected individuals over seven months in a supportive environment.
Lismore$25,000
Proprietor Bundgeam Pre-School IncBundgeam Prepared and Safe
Enhance the existing community disaster safe space by purchasing a defibrillator, upgrading pumps for flood mitigation, and fireproofing the building.
Grevillia$15,000
The Colony Bees Association IncPollinate Country
Establish and maintain 30 new beehive nesting sites to restore pollination to native plants and crops affected by recent floods.
Lennox Head$8,800
Tyalgum District Community Association IncImproving Safety Through Communication
Improve communication for flood preparedness and recovery by installing a mobile repeater, linkage repeater and solar charge system.
Tyalgum$22,605
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Big Brothers - Big Sisters Australia LimitedBig Brothers Big Sisters Tumut
Address isolation, loneliness and disengagement of young people after the pandemic through training 10 new volunteer mentors for the Tumut Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Tumut$10,000
Community Resources LimitedHelping Hands – Community Outreach Project
Ameliorate post-pandemic isolation experienced by seniors by employing a short-term coordinator and two staff members to facilitate a welfare and education outreach program.
Forster$8,328
Coonamble Golf Club LtdLittle Links: A Playful Oasis at Coonamble Golf Club
Enhance social cohesion and provide a safe and family-friendly place to gather in a remote region post-COVID-19 through the construction of a playground at a community hub.
Coonamble$9,928
Edward River Art Society IncoporatedRiverbend Gallery
Encourage visitation and boost community engagement with visual arts and culture post-pandemic with marketing support for exhibitions and events at a community gallery.
Deniliquin$8,750
Eurobodalla Chamber OrchestraEnhancing Public Performance
Enhance the post-pandemic capacity of a chamber orchestra to perform at outdoor venues through the purchase of robust music stands and sheet music covers.
Batemans Bay$2,748
Fungi Feastival Association IncorporatedFungi Feastival 2024
Unite diverse sectors of the community, reduce social isolation, and encourage tourism post-pandemic through the hosting of the expanded Fungi Feastival with expert guest speakers.
Batemans Bay$8,000
Grafton Community Shed IncorporatedMachinery Upgrade
Increase organisational capacity, reduce social isolation and encourage new membership of a community shed by purchasing new woodworking and metalworking equipment.
Grafton$5,000
Hope Bathurst IncorporatedHopeCare Community Garden Expansion
Build organisational capacity of a community garden and improve access to fresh food post-COVID-19 through establishing new fruit trees and raised garden beds.
Bathurst$9,732
Lions Club of Boorowa IncNew Storage Shed - Stage 1
Support the operation of an increasingly busy, volunteer-run driver reviver van by laying a concrete slab for the van storage shed.
Boorowa$8,440
Molong Historical Society IncorporatedUpgrade of Artefacts Storage Facility
Encourage visitation post-pandemic through upgrading an artefact storage facility to effectively house museum exhibits and allow the acquisition of further items.
Molong$10,000
Moree Plains Shire CouncilFanny Lumsden's Country Hall's Tour
Enhance community morale and recovery post-pandemic and inspire local musicians by facilitating the visit of Fanny Lumsden’s Country Halls Tour to a small remote community.
Garah$3,000
Nimbin Health & Welfare Assoc IncNimbin Mental Wealth Expo '24
Increase awareness of mental health services and enhance wellbeing post-pandemic through hosting an inclusive interagency Mental Wealth Expo.
Nimbin$7,200
RiverSmart Australia LimitedA Better Path to WOW Relaunch
Increase tourism and the safety of post-pandemic visitors by building a concrete coach-disembarking point and accessible pathway.
Warren$10,000
Skillset LimitedCareer Connections
Pilot a workplace learning program by connecting year 10 students with businesses for work placement opportunities addressing barriers faced by disadvantaged students post-pandemic.
Bathurst$9,992
Tamworth Regional Craft Centre IncorporationTamworth Regional Craft Centre Incorporation (TRCCI)
Accessibility ramp to club house Build an accessible and compliant ramp to encourage increased participation in activities at a community arts centre.
Tamworth$9,000
The Rotary Club of Uralla IncorporatedBundarra Garden Festival
Enhance community reconnection, tourism, and economic recovery post-pandemic through promoting and creating signage for a garden festival.
Bundarra$4,000
Tumbarumba Men's Shed IncSpindle Moulder
Purchase  install and commission fit-for-purpose woodworking equipment to enhance a the Men’s Shed ability to safely recycle bushfire-recovered and salvaged timber for use in community projects after COVID-19.
Tumbarumba$3,446
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Marrakai Volunteer Bushfire Brigade IncorporatedEnhancing Prescribed Burn Capabilities: ATV Buggy Acquisition Project
Purchase a specialised all-terrain vehicle to support volunteers to increase the number and safety of prescribed burns to protect the community.
Marrakai$10,000
The Trustee for Karrkad-Kanjdji TrustWarddeken and Walaaybaa Ranger Exchange
Enhance community capacity for cultural and environmental preservation by sharing knowledge across Indigenous Ranger groups through a ranger exchange.
Mamardawerre$40,500
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Enterprise Learning ProjectsImpact North Cowork Upgrades for Community Events
Support remote Indigenous entrepreneurs and organisations to connect and learn post-pandemic by purchasing outdoor furniture, equipment, and signage to establish a culturally appropriate events and meeting space.
Darwin$9,693
QUEENSLAND
Small & Vital
Burdekin Woodcrafts Association IncorporatedProvide Additional Storage Area for Burdekin Woodcrafters
Support the purchase and fit out of a storage facility for donated wood, increasing the groups’ capacity to support community initiatives and reducing environmental waste.
Ayr$9,450
Clermont Kindergarten Day Care Centre Association IncorporatedKindy Gym / Obstacle Course Project
Provide outdoor play facilities for preschool children, supporting the development of physical skills, coordination, and balance.
Clermont$10,000
Etheridge Cares IncMowers to Maintain Yards for Seniors
Purchase mowing equipment to provide at-home mowing services for elderly residents, supporting them to live independently in the community.
Georgetown$9,426
Isisford Primary P&C AssociationDancing Lessons in the Dirt and Dust
Foster community connection by providing after-school dance lessons for children in an isolated community, culminating in a public performance.
Isisford$6,000
Millmerran Academy of Performing Arts IncWhat's the MAPA
Support a series of creative arts workshops and events to foster youth engagement with the arts, improving social outcomes and youth resilience.
Millmerran$10,000
Peak Crossing Public Hall Association IncorporatedPerimeter Fence Around Peak Crossing Public Hall
Install a perimeter fence around a public hall to create a safe and welcoming space that will facilitate increased community use.
Peak Crossing$10,000
QCWA Branch JacksonBack Yard Blitz
Undertake landscaping works to improve safety and amenity of a local CWA hall, ensuring the community has access to a comfortable and safe gathering space.
Jackson$9,900
Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch) Gin Gin Sub-Branch IncNew Fridge for Gin Gin RSL Sub Branch
Replace worn out and inefficient fridge at the local RSL to ensure the safe storage of food for social events and activities that connect elderly residents.
Gin Gin$2,750
Returned & Services League of Australia (Queensland Branch) Wondai Sub-Branch IncMaintaining Wondai RSL Sub Branch Memorial Park
Purchase a ride-on mower to enable older volunteers to maintain a local memorial park that Council has handed over to the group to manage for community use.
Wondai$9,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
Wujal Wujal Aboriginal CouncilWujal Wujal Prepare and Recover Project
Build preparedness for future climate related disasters in a community impacted by Cyclone Jasper by purchasing emergency generators, lighting, portable cooking equipment and swags.
Wujal Wujal$25,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Artworks Granite Belt IncUpgrade of Facility
Boost the capacity of a volunteer-run community cafe to provide training and employment opportunities post-pandemic by upgrading commercial kitchen equipment.
Stanthorpe$8,437
Babinda Community Kindergarten IncMeeting Place
Reduce social isolation post COVID-19 by creating an inclusive outdoor community meeting space protected from the elements by a gazebo.
Babinda$10,000
Mt Perry Show Society IncMt Perry Showgrounds Maintenance and Upkeep
Support the post COVID-19 development of a site for community events and a new caravan park by purchasing a ride-on lawn mower.
Mount Perry$10,000
Noorama Sports and Recreation Centre IncKitchen Renovations
Reduce social isolation in a very remote community post-COVID 19 by upgrading kitchen facilities at their only community hub.
Noorama$10,000
Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association IncorporatedTelehealth Room
Provide discreet access to vital healthcare and social-support services post-pandemic by creating a private, dedicated telehealth room at a community hub in an isolated regional area.
Rathdowney$10,000
Ravenshoe Community Centre IncRavenshoe Community Garden
Strengthen social connection, provide access to fresh food, and sustain the work of volunteers at a community garden after the pandemic through the purchase of a trailer and improved garden soil.
Ravenshoe$6,000
Stella CommunityBowen Community Garden
Support the creation of a new inclusive community garden to provide access to fresh food and encourage social cohesion post-pandemic through the purchase of raised garden beds, soil, and garden equipment.
Bowen$8,000
The Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre IncorporatedCommunity Skills Boost
Facilitate a low-cost leadership program to support members of community organisations in the social service sector to build skills and capability to address local challenges post-pandemic.
Hervey Bay$7,850
Theodore Early Childhood Centre Association IncTECCA Bonanza Project
Support community reconnection, economic recovery, and organisational sustainability post-pandemic by holding a family-friendly rodeo event.
Theodore$9,988
Tully Arts and Cultural Precinct led by Tully Arts and Cultural Precinct Tully Support Centre IncTully Arts and Cultural Precinct - Community Consultation and Planning (TACP-CCP)
Support the creation of an arts and cultural precinct in a remote community post-COVID-19 by engaging the community in developing a strategic plan.
Tully$10,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
Cummins Memorial Recreation Centre IncCummins and District War Memorial Swimming Pool Redevelopment
Support community wellbeing and water safety with upgrades at a remote community pool that offers vital learn-to-swim programs.
Cummins$10,000
Inman Valley Community & Memorial Hall Association IncorporatedKeep Us Cool at the Inman Valley Memorial Hall
Increase hall usage by installing a split system to provide a comfortable, safe, and welcoming community meeting space.
Inman Valley$10,000
Mintaro Progress Association IncMintaro Seniors a Connected Community
Foster social connections and increase community wellbeing and resilience by providing a series of activities and workshops for older people.
Mintaro$4,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Balaklava Town Hall Management Committee IncorporatedSound Upgrade Stage 2
Bolster post-pandemic organisational recovery and improve community access to the arts by upgrading audio equipment to provide quality sound at a community theatre and concert venue.
Balaklava$10,000
Carrackalinga Board of ManagementImproving Functional Use of Carrickalinga House Senior Citizens Facility
Encourage greater use of a community facility and increase safety, hygiene, and accessibility post-pandemic through floor resurfacing and installing a commercial-grade benchtop dishwasher.
Victor Harbor$10,000
Milang and District Community Association IncorporatedLakeside Butter Factory Cafe & Catering Social Enterprise
Boost the capacity of a new social enterprise cafe to provide training and employment opportunities in the community post-pandemic through the purchase of commercial kitchen equipment.
Milang$9,778
Riding for the Disabled Association SA IncRevival of Riding for The Disabled on the Yorke Peninsula
Support the re-establishment of a Riding for the Disabled group closed due to lack of volunteers post-pandemic through fortnightly transport of horses to provide social and therapeutic activities for those living with disability.
Kadina$10,000
Southern Yorke Peninsula Community Hub IncorporatedSupporting our SYP Community
Foster life-long learning, community resilience and cohesion post-COVID-19, through a series of digital literacy workshops and technical assistance for disadvantaged community members.
Yorketown$10,000
TASMANIA
Small & Vital
Brighton Community Food HubExpansion Project - Food to Families
Enhance the capacity of a growing emergency food relief program by upgrading equipment and covering volunteer travel costs to aid vulnerable residents.
Brighton$10,000
Dignity Supported Community Gardening IncDIGnity Gardening Sessions
Improve health and wellbeing outcomes through a therapeutic gardening program supporting vulnerable, marginalised and socially isolated community members.
Dodges Ferry$9,240
Freycinet Volunteer Marine Rescue Association IncPE-ER: Protective Equipment - Efficient Radio
Support community safety and enhance organisational capacity during emergencies by upgrading communication equipment and protective clothing.
Swansea$9,968
Huon Valley Police & Community Youth Club IncCommunity Café
Skill development for disengaged and at-risk young people through the establishment of a youth led café at local community centre.
Huonville$10,000
St Helens Marine Rescue Association IncorporatedMarine Rescue Capability Extension
Strengthen capability of an emergency service and support the work of volunteers through the upgrade of telecommunication equipment and safety jackets.
St Helens$7,260
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Folk Federation of Tasmania Incorporated led by Mount Roland Folk FederationMount Roland Folk Festival 2024
Increase community engagement post-pandemic by collaborating with the local school, and by offering free and discounted concerts featuring local and emerging artists.
Sheffield$5,000
Mount Roland Land Care IncReconnecting Kentish: Building Organisational Capacity
Develop organisational and volunteer capacity post-pandemic via the delivery of first aid, traffic management and mental health training and the purchase of appropriate PPE and tools.
Sheffield$8,097
The Derwent Catchment Project IncHamilton Resource Centre Upgrade
Enhance connectivity, boost organisational capacity, and improve a collaborative space post-COVID-19 by installing video conferencing equipment in a community resource centre.
Hamilton$10,000
VICTORIA
Small & Vital
Strzelecki Public Hall Incorporated Heating for Our Hall
Increase the use of the community hall by installing a climate control split system to make the meeting space more comfortable, safe, and welcoming.
Strzelecki$10,000
Ararat Men's Shed IncMetal Lathe
Improve older men's mental health by purchasing equipment to encourage new members, enhance shed skills and provide a greater community service.
Ararat$7,800
Benalla HealthBenalla Grow Your Own
Establish a network of community worm farms to provide compost for a sustainable community food garden supporting vulnerable residents.
Benalla$10,000
Birchip Neighbourhood House IncConnecting and Learning: Food, Fun and Fellowship
Enhance senior citizens' health and social wellbeing and foster intergenerational connections by hosting 10 monthly community lunches in Birchip.
Birchip$6,400
Friends of Morwell National Park IncFeeling Chirpy: A Bird Book for Morwell National Park
Enhance community connections, social wellbeing and understanding of local biodiversity by creating a citizen-led, plain-English, local bird guidebook.
Jeeralang Junction$5,000
Maffra Golf ClubClubroom Renovation
Boost opportunities for social connection in a community meeting space by upgrading furniture and re-painting a function room hired for training activities, functions, and events.
Maffra$10,000
Numurkah Community Learning Centre IncGrowing Community
Improve the viability of the community hub’s food garden with new equipment and greenhouse, ensuring year-round produce to provide local access to nutritious food via a food relief pantry.
Numurkah$8,342
Tatura Civic Halls Committee IncorporatedKeep the Power Safe and On
Create a safe and compliant space for meetings and activities by upgrading the electrical system at the community owned Tatura Civic Hall Complex.
Tatura$7,000
Tyntyndyer Homestead IncorporatedRide-on Mower
Enhance tourism and cultural awareness of Watti Watti First Nations and colonial history by purchasing a mower to assist volunteers to maintain the visitor precinct grounds.
Beverford$7,699
U3A Colac Otway IncorporatedFilipino Cultural Event
Foster opportunities for cross-cultural connection and enhance older people’s social wellbeing through a Victorian Seniors Festival community meal event in Colac.
Colac$2,500
Yarrawonga Mulwala Men's ShedFuture Building
Enhance a volunteer program for men's physical and social health by purchasing machinery for workshop expansion and new chairs for meetings and activities.
Yarrawonga$5,073
Yea Agricultural Pastoral and Horticultural SocietyNew Water Supply
Improve access to water for users of the reserve by installing new water outlets, supporting tourism, social connection, and community safety.
Yea$5,698
Prepare & Recover - 2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Cabbage Tree Public HallEmergency Equipment Shed: Construction and Completion
Boost disaster preparedness and bushfire recovery capacity by installing a storage shed for emergency equipment at a public reserve.
Cabbage Tree Creek$22,694
Duduroa Dhargal Aboriginal CorporationRyans Lagoon Wetlands – Caring and Reviving Culture and Country Hub
Strengthen bushfire preparedness and improve safety by purchasing a ride on mower to maintain scrub and grassland on nationally significant wetlands.
Bonegilla$25,000
Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementMaintenance of the Swifts Creek Recreation Reserve
Enhance disaster readiness and volunteer support in a bushfire-affected shire by purchasing a ride-on mower to maintain a reserve and safeguard a community space.
Swifts Creek$25,000
Warrigunya Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander CorporationMaintaining Warrigunya Against Potential Fire Threats
Improve disaster preparedness in a bushfire impacted region and support skill development by purchasing a tractor and slasher to maintain grassland.
Darriman$24,700
Prepare & Recover - 2022 Flood Recovery
RFDS Community Transport, Rochester led by RFDS Community Transport, Rochester Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Victorian Section)Volunteer Engagement and Community Recovery
Enhance volunteer support and health outcomes for flood-impacted residents by engaging a program support worker to coordinate medical appointments via the RFDS transport program.
Rochester$25,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Threatened Species Conservancy IncEnhancing Mallee Emu-Wren and Mallee Bird Conservation
Support community reconnection post-pandemic, by delivering interactive community information sessions on conserving habitats for the Mallee Emu-Wren and other threatened Mallee birds.
Mildura$10,000
Avenel ActiveAvenel 'Get Me to the Shops' Community Transport Project
Reduce social isolation, increase independence, and enhance wellbeing post-pandemic by providing weekly volunteer-assisted bus shopping trips for residents who are elderly, frail or with restricted mobility.
Avenel$4,200
Beaufort Agricultural Society IncEnhance Storage for the Beaufort Show
Sustain community events post-COVID-19 and improve participant and volunteer safety by installing roller doors on a storage area and agricultural show livestock shed.
Beaufort$10,000
Bella A'Capella led by Bella A'Capella Echuca-Moama Arts InitiativeSpring Sing Workshop
Support post-pandemic creative recovery of Northern Victoria's community choirs, enhancing greater group connection, by facilitating a singing workshop in Echuca.
Echuca$2,253
Gargarro Botanic Garden LtdMower for Gargarro Botanic Garden
Improve safety and workload of volunteers’ post-pandemic by purchasing a reliable ride-on mower to maintain grounds and boost visitation of a garden complex in Girgarre.
Girgarre$10,000
Gnarly NeighboursSocial Enterprise Fit-Out
Increase opportunities for disadvantaged young people to build skills, knowledge, and connection post-pandemic through a fit-out at a social enterprise to create a skate store, coffee area and chill space.
Seymour$10,000
Hindmarsh Shire CouncilReconnecting Small Communities through Films and Music
Enhance reconnection opportunities post-pandemic for seniors with limited capacity for travel through a series of film screenings and concerts being held in their own community.
Dimboola$10,000
Kiewa Valley Community Garden led by Kiewa Valley Community Garden Lions Club of Upper Kiewa Valley IncKiewa Valley Community Garden Inclusive Seating Project
Increase opportunities for projects, activities, and social connection post-pandemic by providing durable seating and tables at a community garden hub.
Tangambalanga$9,754
Melville Forest Community Centre IncMelville Forest Hall Restoration & Refresh
Enhance a community hub through paint, flooring, and air-conditioning upgrades to create a welcoming and financially sustainable venue for events and activities that encourage post-pandemic reconnection.
Melville Forest$10,000
Murtoa’s Big Weekend Event Committee led by Murtoa’s Big Weekend Event Committee Murtoa Events IncorporatedMurtoa - A Land of Wonder
Foster social connection tourism and creative COVID-19 recovery by enabling local artists to collaborate with the community to create a lakeside lighting installation for Murtoa’s Big Weekend event.
Murtoa$10,000
RDA - Swan Hill led by RDA - Swan Hill Riding for the Disabled Association of Victoria IncFencing Upgrade Project
Boost the capacity of the organisation to provide safe therapeutic equestrian activities post-pandemic through essential fencing upgrades at their site located next to a busy highway.
Swan Hill$9,304
St Mary's Primary School Parents and Friends Association led by St Mary's Primary School Parents and Friends Association Sea LakeSt Mary's Sea Lake Gala Day
Encourage community connection and address social and geographical isolation post-pandemic by reviving an inclusive Gala Day, providing entertainment and activities for all ages.
Sea Lake$7,000
Trafalgar Holden Museum IncHolden Heritage Centre Display Cabinets
Sustain the Holden Heritage Centre and their work post-pandemic, encouraging greater visitation to the area by installing display cabinets to securely exhibit and preserve artefacts.
Trafalgar$10,000
Wangaratta Symphony Orchestra IncorporatedWangaratta Sounds Under Light - Shining a Light on Regional Music!
Promote social connection and support creative recovery post-pandemic by facilitating a unique concert and light show at an iconic local cathedral during the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues.
Wangaratta$10,000
Wollangarra IncA Strong and Trained Volunteer Team
Reignite a program at a youth education centre post-COVID-19, boosting organisational capacity through training activities to increase volunteers’ knowledge and skills.
Licola$10,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Small & Vital
Collie Men's Shed IncLean-to and Wood Storage Area
Build an all-weather working and wood storage area to enable members to work safely on outdoor projects.
Collie$10,000
Dandaragan Community Centre ManagementCommittee IncorporatedStorage Cupboards for Change Rooms
Install storage at local community centre to increase community use and flexibility of the space.
Dandaragan$10,000
Friends of Bibbawarra Bore Aboriginal CorporationBibbawarra Bore Reconciliation and Land Care Project
Support development of an ecotourism business case for locally led restoration of historic hot springs.
Carnarvon$10,000
Lower Coastal Community Association IncLower Coastal Community Bus
Establish an accessible and affordable community bus service in an area without existing public transport.
Guilderton$5,000
Society of Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals led by Society of Kimberley Indigenous Plants and Animals Environs KimberleyHome for SKIPA
Support the development of an indigenous plant nursery, enhancing volunteer capacity to rehabilitate local environments.
Broome$10,000
Prepare & Recover - 2022/2023 Cyclone & Flooding Recovery
Marra Worra Worra Aboriginal CorporationPreparing and Protecting Fitzroy Crossing
Enhance disaster preparedness with back-up emergency food supplies for remote communities in a region severely impacted by Cyclone Ellie.
Fitzroy Crossing$24,500
Prepare & Recover - 2021 Cyclone & Flooding Recovery
Kalbarri Men's Shed IncConstructing a Community Garden
Establish a community garden as part of a new multi-use facility, fostering social connections and community resilience in the recovery from Cyclone Seroja.
Kalbarri$9,800
Rebuilding Regional Communities - Micro
Bridgetown's Grumpy Old Men IncUpgrade Dust Extraction System
Strengthen organisational capacity to provide safe working conditions and attract new men’s shed members post-pandemic, by purchasing mobile dust extractors for use with woodworking equipment.
Bridgetown$5,096
Great Southern Community Legal ServicesGreat Southern Community Legal Service Digital Enhancement Project
Improve the post-pandemic capacity of a community legal service to provide video-based legal consultations by furnishing three hybrid meeting spaces.
Albany$8,160
Leeman Green Head Community Resource Centre IncorporatedResilient Roof Restoration: Safeguarding Community Resources
Sustain the work of a community resource centre experiencing increased demand for its services post-COVID 19 by undertaking essential roof repairs.
Leeman$10,000
Pemberton Youth Emergency Service CadetsPemberton Youth Emergency Services Development Project
Boost organisational and volunteer capacity post-pandemic by equipping the Youth Emergency Services cadet program with appropriate PPE and storage equipment.
Manjimup$10,000
Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show IncCelebrating Together - Finding Out More
Support community reconnection and upskill volunteers post-pandemic by facilitating a native wildflower show opening and holding a series of free community flora identification workshops led by a botanist.
Ravensthorpe$5,000
Shire of DalwallinuDalwallinu Community Celebration
Enhance post-pandemic economic and social recovery in a remote community by hosting a community celebration at the culmination of Wattle Week to boost overnight stays and social connections.
Dalwallinu$9,659
Shire of KondininHyden Railway Barrack Restoration
Enhance community spirit and tourism post-COVID-19 by providing interpretive signage to complete the restoration of the town's oldest intact building which has been relocated to a prominent new site.
Hyden$5,100
Audiologist conducting a hearing test.

Thanks to a $8,904 SRC grant supported by the Sidney Myer Fund, Telethon Speech & Hearing Inc was able purchase cutting edge screening technology to streamline its early detection and surveillance of hearing loss at early childhood centres and primary schools across the Pilbara, Kimberley and Wheatbelt regions of WA. Many children in these regions are at risk of developing chronic ear health conditions, which impact all facets of their life including social, behavioural and academic performance, if not addressed early.

The HearX apps and four digital devices have enabled screening and clinical hearing tests to be undertaken in a faster, more reliable way. The software supersedes traditional devices, so that ear screenings can be conducted with a tablet. This was particularly important for Telethon when its regular ear health clinics had to be cancelled due to COVID and a major flood in Onslow. Fortunately, Telethon’s locally based team was able to upskill early years educators, teachers and nurses to undertake the screenings and Telethon’s audiologists could then analyse data and generate reports remotely.

“We have since integrated a tele-health component into our audiology service offerings, allowing our locally based teams to screen children and liaise with our Perth audiology team in real time. This has allowed us to diversify our service delivery modalities, ensuring more frequent hearing supports than would otherwise be on offer pre-COVID.”

Beyond the Bell Great Southern Coast applied to the In a Good Place program, on behalf of the Southern Grampians Live4Life Partnership Group, for funds to support the implementation of the Live4Life model in the Southern Grampians Shire.

Live4Life is a community-grown, evidence-based, rural youth mental health model designed to prevent youth suicide. The Live4Life model aims to ensure that young people, teachers, parents and the wider community are better informed about mental ill health so they can be proactive in identifying the signs and symptoms of an emerging mental health issue before a crisis occurs.

The Live4Life model focuses on an ‘upstream’ approach to mental health education and suicide prevention to build resilient young people and communities. This is achieved by ‘wrapping’ protective factors around young people such as supportive relationships, support at critical times, positive help-seeking attitudes, connection to family, school and community and positive peer role models.

The school-based project to support Youth Crew activities and mental health education was all geared up ready to go when COVID first struck and schools and communities across the country went into lock-down.

After a year of navigating the challenges of not being able to deliver face-to-face programs and other challenges such as the loss of the Youth Engagement Officer, who normally coordinates the crew activities, the group developed new strategies and approaches that enabled them to successfully deliver the activities in a COVID-safe manner, including a new model of blended Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training.

The group was highly successful in maintaining the momentum of the project, despite delivering a personal development program and training in a lock-down environment. They launched a social media presence on Instagram during Mental Health Week and created various collateral and promotional materials such as stickers, posters and help-seeking flyers to use in info packs to be distributed to students at in-school promotional events.

Once the Partnership Group was able to recommence activities within the community, they successfully delivered a series of Leadership and YMHFA courses and training sessions using a mix of face-to-face session and a blended online model via Zoom, reaching across six schools and eight allied community-based organisations that work with young people.

The organisation reported that what they were most proud of about the expansion of the Live4Life project into the Southern Grampians Shire, which they estimate has directly benefitted at least 950 people, was the engagement of the young people who joined the Live4Life CREW. They also mentioned the local YMHFA Instructor training, which has increased the community’s capacity to deliver more training across the Southern Grampians region.

The lastest news on the project from the Southern Grampians Live4Life website reports:

  • Over 450 young people trained in Teen MHFA®
  • 29 Adults completed Youth MHFA® training
  • 24 Crew volunteers from five schools
  • In 2023, Southern Grampians completed their first full cycle of the entire Live4Life model. This meant that the 2023 Year 10 cohort became the first to have been involved in the program from Year 8.

The project has led to increased community capacity and shared awareness of preventative mental health strategies through the MHFA training, as well as a deeper engagement with the Partnership Group in a broader context. They report that there is a noticeable increase in collaboration across the Southern Grampians area, possibly due to participation in the Live4Life initiative that connected people and agencies / organisations, and promoted collaboration centred on young people in the Shire.

“I think the most rewarding part of being in the Crew is seeing the difference you’ve wanted to achieve happen. Getting people into the idea of talking about mental health is hard but I think it’s slowly starting to happen, with the Crew being a part of that change.” – 2023 Crew member, Southern Grampians

The beautiful Mid-North Coast of NSW is Gumbaynngirr country, with 15,000 Aboriginals living across the region. COVID had significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of local Gumbaynngirr women in particular: local services found it difficult to meet the needs of community, while research conducted with Gumbaynnggirr people on the ramifications of COVID reported that the restrictions on social connection had serious negative impacts on social and emotional wellbeing and overall health.

Based in Toormina at the southern end of Coffs Harbour, Happy Boxes Project Ltd aims to alleviate barriers to accessing self-care items for Aboriginal women in remote communities by providing packages of self-care products such as soap, deodorant, and shampoo – otherwise known as ‘Happy Boxes’). Recognising the impacts that COVID-19, Happy Boxes capitalised on their connections to the local community to significantly scale up services and programs at their new community hub: Nyami Gawbarri (Women Gathering).

Nyami Gawbarri was able to support local community members to volunteer their time in the space to pack Happy Boxes for remote communities. Together they were able to pack and distribute 689 Happy Boxes to 22 remote communities throughout Australia. This meant that at least 689 women didn’t have to go without essential hygiene products.

In addition, the Happy Boxes team hired a number of local Aboriginal women to provide programs for hub users and consequently the hub went from being open one day per week to five days, offering programs on topics ranging from cultural meditation, Aboriginal art and cooking, to a five-week program called ‘Mob Radio’ – teaching local teenagers how to be radio presenters.

Critical health services that have traditionally had social barriers to access, such as cervical screening programs, also ran out of the hub. Another outcome of being open five days per week was the creation of an Intensive Support Reintegration Program for teenagers consistently being suspended and disengaged from school. Local schools are now referring their students to Nyami Gawbarri as the organisation can provide a culturally-safe space to spend their suspension, giving back to the local and national communities.

The impact that the project had was described by a local participant:

“The programs for these young women will positively change lives. Providing opportunities for connection and supporting our young women to develop their identity and sense of belonging will have such a huge life lasting impact for them, their families and our Community. Nyami Gawbarri is supporting the development of proud, determined and connected young Jindas.” ~ Anonymous

The level of need for Nyami Gawbarri, and the positive impact that the program of activities over the last twelve months has had for the hub has meant that Nyami Gawbarri is now evolving to become a separate entity and permanent community hub for Gumbaynnggirr women. Critically, throughout this period the project coordinator was able to secure government funding for their role, and hence will be able to continue Nyami Gawbarri’s commitment to provide a culturally-safe space and a plethora of programs beyond the completion of the FRRR-funded project.

Emma Sullings, Chief Executive Officer of Happy Boxes Project Ltd, explains the impact that this grant has had for the hub and the community:

“We are extremely proud of the establishment and succession of a community hub. Nyami Gawbarri stands as a testament to the significance of creating dedicated spaces for women to access a range of services and programs tailored to their unique needs. It is a symbol of community strength, unity and empowerment.”

This inspiring hub has capitalised on opportunity and scaled for the community good – and in the process, showcased how support for locally designed and led initiatives can have long-running positive outcomes. These impressive efforts were supported by a $50,000 grant from FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities – Rebuilding Regional Communities program, funded by the Australian Government.

Nearly $280,000 supports 16 initiatives across Australia

FRRR has awarded $278,693 in grants for projects that will help remote, rural and regional communities decarbonise, adapt to a changing climate, and mitigate the risks of global warming.

Ngardara Cooperative Ltd will use their Community Led Climate Solutions grant to establish their own solar microgrid.

The 16 community-driven projects are the first through FRRR’s Community Led Climate Solutions program, thanks to support from Boundless Earth and Hand Heart Pocket.

Grants include $14,957 to support regenerative farming practice for soil health and emissions reductions in Macleay, NSW; $20,000 to build energy efficiency for social housing in Gympie, QLD; $20,000 to provide information and links to employment pathways through pop-up events in Gippsland, VIC; and $20,000 to enable a local Indigenous community in NT to build their capacity in order to establish their own solar microgrid and reduce reliance on diesel-powered electricity.

Sarah Matthee, FRRR’s General Manager – Partnerships & Services, said that the applications reflected the diversity of community organisations in Australia, the variety of climate solutions underway across rural communities, and the breadth of opportunities available to enable local groups to take action.

“The requests we received reinforce the fact that these communities are being impacted socially, economically and environmentally by increasing temperatures and extreme weather events. These communities are aware and concerned about the impacts of a changing climate, and these projects demonstrate their ambition to engage locals in conversations about their region’s future, and lead their community in taking action to reduce emissions.

“People living in remote, rural and regional communities have the knowledge and ideas to implement solutions that can help to decarbonise, mitigate climate risks, and adapt in a changed climate environment. But they need a hand to take action.

“With the support of Boundless Earth and Hand Heart Pocket, we’ve been able to fund 16 place-based, community-led climate solutions projects, which we hope will influence and deliver change for social, environmental and economic community benefit across remote, rural and regional Australia,” Ms Matthee said.

Organisations awarded Community Led Climate Solutions grants, and their funded projects, include:

  • Original Power Ltd with Ngardara Cooperative Ltd – Borroloola, NT – Support a local, Indigenous community to establish their own solar microgrid, providing them with a sustainable energy source and reducing their reliance on diesel-powered electricity – $20,000
  • Surfers for Climate – Byron Bay, NSW – Engage and educate tradespeople who surf in sustainable and circular building practices through local workshops in coastal NSW – $20,000
  • Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland Inc – Yeppoon, QLD – Drive education and engagement on climate change and the transition to renewable energy sources in Central Queensland by screening a documentary and presenting an experienced panel including local and national representation – $3,905
  • Cire Services Incorporated – Yarra Junction, VIC – Promote circularity practice with reuse and repurpose workshops that will reduce landfill and develop skills that enable sustainable practices – $20,000

FRRR and its donor partners are committed to funding community-led solutions that reduce emissions and address the impacts of climate change. Community-led solutions help drive positive and sustainable environmental, social and economic outcomes for remote, rural and regional Australia. FRRR welcomes further contributions to this collaborative pool of funds to grow the impact that can be generated across remote, rural and regional Australia. For more information, please visit https://frrr.org.au/giving/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Container of Dreams LtdContainer of Dreams Battery Storage and Charging Station
Build community capacity to reduce emissions through a communal solar battery charging station to decrease reliance on fossil fuel generators.
Drake$20,000
Macleay Landcare Network IncRegenerative Farming Soils in the Macleay Project
Build organisational capacity to engage and support landowners’ adoption of regenerative agriculture practice through workshops and volunteer training.
Kempsey$14,957
Surfers for ClimateThe Trade Up by Surfers for Climate
Engage and educate tradespeople who surf in sustainable and circular building practices through local workshops in coastal NSW.
Byron Bay$20,000
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Original Power Ltd on behalf of Ngardara Cooperative LtdNgardara Community Solar Microgrid - Community Clean Energy and Climate Solutions Capacity Development
Support a local, Indigenous community to establish their own solar microgrid, providing them with a sustainable energy source and reducing their reliance on diesel-powered electricity.
Borroloola$20,000
QUEENSLAND
350.Org LtdPower Up Masig
Develop the community engagement and prefeasibility model for a just transition to community-owned renewable energy supply in Torres Strait Island, Masig.
Masig Island$20,000
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers LtdWater Wise Gardens - Revolutionising School Landscapes With Low Water Solutions
Build capability in schools vulnerable to climate change impacts on water to sustain gardens that can scaffold community food systems and enable this learning through school curriculum development and training.
Gympie$19,786
Community Action Inc on behalf of Gympie and District Sustainability AllianceCommunity Action Inc Building Energy Efficiency Project (CAI Beep)
Support clean energy transition for social housing and community organisation tenants to enable cost efficiency and promote solar and battery systems to other providers.
Gympie$20,000
Community Enterprise QueenslandArkai (Kubin) Community Garden
Activate locally led opportunities to advance Moa Island Community sustainability and resilience to climate change with a community garden cultivating produce.
Moa Island$18,525
Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland IncClimate Changers Screening and Discussion Panel
Drive education and engagement on climate change and the transition to renewable energy sources in Central Queensland by screening a documentary and presenting an experienced panel including local and national representation.
Yeppoon$3,905
Mount Morgan Citizen's Club IncLeading the Way - Solar Power for the Soldiers' Rooms
Enhance community organisation operations with solar panels that are a catalyst for activating local education and engagement on climate solutions to reduce emissions and benefit community.
Mount Morgan$18,000
The Trustee for Abriculture Advancement TrustRoots of Sustainability: Cultivating Indigenous Leadership through Aquaponics and Permaculture
Develop capability in regenerative farming and aquaponics in Indigenous agriculture for food systems adapting to climate change.
Cairns$20,000
VICTORIA
Cire Services IncCrafting Environmental and Social Benefits Through Cire FICE's Upcycling / Eco Fashion Workshops
Promote circularity practice with reuse and repurpose workshops that will reduce landfill and develop skills that enable sustainable practices.
Yarra Junction$20,000
Gippsland Climate Change Network IncGippsland New Energy 'PowerPops'
Educate and engage community members in the Latrobe Valley on the transition to renewable energy to support informed decision making and awareness of employment and skills training opportunities.
Traralgon$20,000
Kiewa Catchment Landcare Groups IncExploring Electric Vehicles with Kiewa Catchment Landcare and Kilowatt Cars
Educate the Kiewa Valley community on the benefits of electric vehicle (EV) transportation and encourage their transition to owning an EV, and actively participating in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mount Beauty$7,460
Parklands Albury Wodonga LtdRestoring Bonegilla's Blue Carbon Sink Wetlands and Waterways
Restore ecosystem through seed propagation, revegetation and habitat restoration with educational community plantings advised by local Indigenous caretakers.
Bonegilla$16,060
The Gippsland Field Days on behalf of GreenLabsLardner Park Waste to Energy Pilot Project
Develop and pilot a biohub for food organics and garden organics diversion to produce bioenergy which can reduce emissions and develop circular economy practice in Gippsland.
Lardner$20,000

The work of the Wardell Community Organised Resilience Effort (CORE) is an example of how a small town can rally in the face of a natural disaster and be ready for disasters to come. Most days, Wardell is an idyllic spot to live. Lush, green and quiet on the banks of the Richmond River in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. But in 2022, floods devastated the town and others nearby. Wardell had never flooded before, and no one was prepared.

Wardell CORE was set up as a resource centre for emergency donations. Bedding, blankets, clothes, food, medical supplies, water, torches, batteries and tents were all gratefully received. The need was immense. Two years on, Wardell CORE’s primary purpose is still helping affected people. Some are still homeless and many struggle with mental health issues, including PTSD. Their other main aim is to make sure the community is never impacted in the same way again.

Planning for the way forward

During the 2022 floods, mobile and internet telecommunications were impacted, meaning Wardell and the surrounding communities had limited or no communication in many areas until power could be restored or services fixed. Having no communications during a disaster created all kinds of problems – the emergency services people couldn’t share vital information, residents were cut off from family and friends, and there were any number of complexities around ongoing recovery.

After the flood receded, Wardell CORE immediately started planning for the next one, and detailed planning identified a need for a way for the community to stay informed, given the power outage lasted for two weeks or more. CB radio was the solution. They received a $10,000 grant from FRRR through Telstra’s Connected Communities program that funded the purchase of 10 hand-held devices and two base stations, as well as funds left over to support the community with the appropriate training. Through additional fundraising, they were able to install a relay station that helps to extend the signal as far as possible to provide radio reception throughout town and with the nearby communities of Woodburn and Coraki up-river, and Ballina down-river.

Where to next?

The organisation plans to distribute more radios throughout the region to anticipate flood events as widely and comprehensively as possible. Another resilience move they made was installing a Starlink service that uses a network of satellites to provide internet coverage, and installing onsite battery storage so that they will have internet in the event of future power outages.

The team behind Wardell CORE recognises that locals in the region experience high levels of anxiety about weather events, but the low level of digital literacy in the community is a real barrier to disaster preparedness. To resolve this, they’re looking at establishing a program that teaches people how to access and interpret weather apps and other related platforms.

A spokesperson for Wardell CORE explained the impact of the grant they received.

“Without the FRRR grant from Telstra’s Connected Communities program, we would never have been able to put our disaster preparation plans into action. The lessons learned from the 2022 floods meant we knew what technology we needed and where it should be located. But our reliance on small donations meant we could never have afforded it. Now we have the communications we need to feel confident about our ability to protect our people, physically and mentally, from any flood events in the future.”

Unmet need also increases

FRRR distributed a record $22.5 million last financial year, shared across more than 550 remote, rural and regional communities across Australia, according to the Foundation’s just-released 2022/23 Annual Review.

Remote and rural communities experience inequity, disadvantage and vulnerability across many basic aspects of day-to-day life. Yet they continue to rise to the challenge, innovate and deliver solutions that not only address issues but prove that better outcomes are possible with just a bit of support.

Last financial year, FRRR’s 1,158 grants enabled 972 grassroots organisations and groups to pursue local projects that responded to the now all-too familiar effects of natural disasters; accelerated the net-zero transition; and addressed long-standing structural issues such as housing, energy and food security, service provision and digital inclusion.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the Foundation saw the largest number of applications in its 23-year history.

“In the face of these challenges, communities continue to pull together, harnessing the strengths of local people and their connection and commitment to their places to forge ahead. I’m proud of the role that FRRR has played in supporting these remote, rural and regional communities to strengthen, adapt and innovate to navigate and find solutions to these challenges.

“Last financial year, FRRR received 2,639 eligible grant applications requesting a total of $64 million, up more than 25% on the prior year. What this signals is that life is getting back to ‘normal’ following COVID, but it also highlights the ongoing challenges remote, rural and regional communities are facing when it comes to securing funding for local projects.

“Unsurprisingly, more than a third of our grants went to communities vulnerable to, or impacted by, climate-related disasters. Nearly 430 grants totalling $11.1 million were awarded for initiatives supporting the medium to long-term recovery of places affected by disasters, and projects helping to prepare communities for future climate-related impacts.

“In 2023 we received more than 1,310 donations, ranging from $1 to $7.9 million, totalling just over $25.4 million (excluding fees and deferred income). We are grateful for the continued commitment of our supporters and the trust they place in us to get funding to where it’s needed most and to strengthen capacity to adjust and rise to the challenges in these communities.

“Despite an increase in donations, FRRR could still only fund just over half of the eligible applications received. So, we continue to seek new partnerships with government, philanthropy, business and individuals to allow us to fund more of these projects.

“No matter how big or small, we know our grants make a difference to these communities. This year, for every dollar granted, a further $1.76 was leveraged, opening the door to further funding opportunities, and building confidence.

“We also continued to advocate for more well-informed investment in rural people and organisations. Looking ahead, we’ll keep having these conversations, sharing our insights to ensure these people and places get improved access to sustainable social and physical infrastructure and opportunities that build community connections.

“The tenacity of remote, rural and regional people to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable motivates us to continue to strive for our shared vision for a more vibrant, resilient and sustainable remote, rural and regional Australia,” Ms Egleton concluded.

FRRR’s FY23 Annual Review is available at www.frrr.org.au/AR23.