Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

The community of Copmanhurst in the Clarence Valley in New South Wales is a strong and resilient group of around 300 people. In 2019/2020, Copmanhurst was severely impacted by the Black Summer bushfires, as well as flooding. For so many in the area this created a stressful environment. Many families were forced to evacuate and sadly leave livestock and other animals behind. Between the financial and emotional stress and hardship caused by these disasters, the community also saw a rise in mental health incidents.

For the youngest residents, stressful family situations, orange smoky skies and the loud noises from helicopters landing behind the preschool was causing a lot of anxiety.

Copmanhurst Pre-School wanted to create a space that would support the recovery of young children and provide a place nurtures respectful sharing of thoughts, ideas and knowledge. Their plan was to construct a Healing Circle that included a native garden. To help achieve this goal, the Pre-School secured a $8,650 grant through The Yulgilbar Foundation Fund.

They were able to establish the Healing Circle and also repair and upgrade a memorial of a past student. The memorial stone was moved to the Healing Circle and the family was very pleased to be included and remembered.

The garden was created under the guidance from local Elders and Ngroo, a local Aboriginal education program, to incorporate native plants and ideas for the healing circle including logs sourced from Bundjalung Country.

Since completing the project, the average day now begins around the healing circle for a talk before everyone goes off to play. This gives the children and educators an emotionally meaningful way to start the day in an area they all feel, safe, secure and supported.

Because of COVID lockdowns and restrictions, there was a delay on the opening celebrations for the new space. The Pre-School wanted to invite all the community services to the opening so they could acknowledge and thank them for all the hard work they did to keep their community safe during the fires and floods.

While it had a short life as a gold mining area, the Tanjil Valley in eastern Victoria is a long established dairy farming area with a keen local History Gatherer’s Group.

The Group brings together older people from across the district to share family stories and evoke long forgotten memories of farming techniques and innovations. These evenings, held at the Hill End Community Centre (HECC), are very popular and the social interaction contributes to a strong sense of community belonging and connectedness.

As the elders in the settler families age, their families, as well as more recent community members, were keen to preserve and capture their local history. Some short stories have been shared in the free monthly ‘Hill End Herald’ community newsletter, which is distributed to almost 500 families throughout the Tanjil Valley. The community always responds positively and people urged the Group to collate their histories into book form. So, some local historians got to work, extending and gathering these stories into a manuscript.

With a $3,400 grant from the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community grants program, the History Talks – Settlers’ Histories A Generation On was collated and published.

By all accounts, the collation of the book was a monumental effort! It hardly needs saying that COVID presented a major challenge, especially as the contributors to the book were mostly older community members for whom the risks of COVID were great. The authors themselves are older people with significant health challenges, who live in different towns, yet these two women determinedly worked together to get the project finished. All the final checks and corrections were done by phone or by emails and, as the two authors also live in different towns, they had to do all their final editing in the same way.

Community attendees (taken before the storm hit).

The book launch occurred at the Australia Day 2022 community event to great acclaim. Despite COVID risks and stormy weather, which did affect numbers at the event, nearly 80 copies were sold on the night. The book, which features stories from more than 30 district families, and cover art by well-known local artist Liz Bowley, has been featured in The Hill End Herald, and mostly sold through word of mouth. The book has almost sold out in the four months since it was launched and the group is planning a re-print.

The authors generously handed over the ISBN and all the books to the Community Centre to sell and to use all the profits for the benefit of the community centre.

In acquitting their grant, Hill End Community Inc. told us how proud they are of the authors’ efforts to push through the restrictions of COVID to produce the book.

“We are also proud of the commitment of the contributing farmers and their families to provide information and search out their historical family photos. We are proud too of the contribution the book has, and continues to make, in documenting the history of the settler families of the community and sharing that with the broader community and newer community members.”

For the elderly members of the monthly History Gatherers Group, the book project reconnected them after two years of being shut down by COVID restrictions and fears. Tanjil Valley Settlers’ History will ensure that the farming histories of this district will not be lost as settler families age but will be preserved, celebrated and shared for years to come.

Ramingining, an Aboriginal community home to around 870 people, is situated on the edge of the Arafura Swamp in Arnhem Land, approximately 560 kilometres east of Darwin in the NT. The community is made up of mainly Yolngu people.

Ramingining artists and community members, through the Bula’Bula Arts Centre, wanted to provide more activities that strengthen the community’s connection to their cultural roots, knowing this is integral to people’s health and wellbeing. They also wanted their young people to learn to practice and celebrate their culture from Elders.  

Following Cyclone Lam in 2015, the community successfully lobbied for a new cyclone shelter. The completed shelter has multiple uses including as recreation centre, a space for youth programs, a basketball stadium and the occasional movie theatre. The concrete block building was practical but somewhat bland, without representation of the local Yolngu culture.

Thanks to a $9,973 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, funded by the Bertalli Family Foundation, the Bula’Bula Arts Centre was able to bring together the older and younger generations of Yolngu people to commemorate their culture through the creation of two large public murals on the outside walls of the cyclone shelter.

Yolngu culture is built on a kinship system that consists of two moieties, Dhuwa and Yirritja, and these are the foundations of the skin systems, totemic relationships, storylines, songlines and more. Each mural, approximately three by five metres, honours one of the two moieties. The murals are a huge achievement visually depicting 20 unique stories. Twenty-one Bula’Bula artists, alongside about 20 Ramingining youth, created the murals over several sessions during the January 2022 school holidays.

The painting sessions were observed by many other community members, who came along to see what was happening. The murals have been highly welcomed by the community, bringing smiles and words like letchu (awesome), manymak (great) and yolngu rom (our culture).

The younger people have developed a better understanding of their culture, and the broader community has a greater sense of pride and self-esteem from the creation of a more culturally appropriate meeting place. The murals also act as a teaching tool, with many families coming to show their children and tell the culturally significant stories.  

The Bula’Bula Arts Centre is a locally governed, owned, and operated Aboriginal Corporation situated in the heart of the community and plays an important role supporting more than 150 artists to maintain and strengthen their cultural practices. It also offers training, education, career pathways and enterprise opportunities, along with providing social services contributing to the social and physical health of the community.

The most successful and proudest part of the project for the Bula’Bula Arts Centre was the engagement of Yolngu people from the initial concept to execution and finally, the outcome and ongoing nature of keeping culture strong.

Dhuwa wall artists included: Gary Smith, Dorothy Djampilil, Daniel Warrulukuma, Evonne Rraraypum, JB Fisher, Joy Borruwa, Billy Black, Joy Burruna, Lisa Gurrulpa and Shannon Ashley.

Yirritja wall artists included: Joanne Mombuyngu, Selena Munguluma, Peter Gambung, Romeo Gaykamangu, Bobby Bununggurr, Andrew Malibirr, Johnny Malibirr and Evonne Gaywrri.

Artist helpers and art workers: Selena Galang, Kylie Pascoe, Steve Malibirr, Ross Dhaparuwuy and Jasmane Malibirr.

The East Arnhem Regional Council authorised the creation of the murals and also provided staff time in-kind to assist with the project.

Grants support COVID recovery, Black Summer bushfire recovery and Small & Vital projects

FRRR has awarded $1,448,968 in grants to 121 projects across remote, rural and regional Australia as part of their Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

This program awards grants to community-led initiatives that directly benefits those living in remote, rural and regional Australia. There are three streams of funding: the Small & Vital stream, 2019/20 Black Summer bushfire recovery and the Rebuilding Regional Communities (RRC) stream, which supports recovery from COVID-19.

Small and Vital stream

Through the Small & Vital stream, $368,227 in grants will be awarded to 43 community groups and NFPs. This stream funds grassroots initiatives that locals in remote, rural and regional areas feel are a priority when it comes to strengthening their community. One example of a project being funded in this stream in this round is the Meandarra Primary P&C Association in Queensland, which is using their grant to boost community wellbeing and encourage socialising by opening the school pool to the community free of charge.

Black Summer grants

Also included in this round are 44 grants that will go towards initiatives that are supporting the ongoing recovery from the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires. These projects will share in $792,136, with initiatives like the Country Fire Authority’s Yackandandah Fire Station Readiness being funded to increase the capacity of volunteers to support bushfire preparedness by installing a workstation and storage units.

Rebuilding Regional Communities – supporting COVID-19 recovery

In this round, 34 grants will go towards recovery from the pandemic. Funded by the Australian Government, the Rebuilding Regional Communities (RRC) grants total $288,604. Among the recipients in this stream is (It’s no) drama, a physical theatre ensemble for people living with and without disability. This community group will reduce social isolation in South Gippsland, Victoria by delivering an accessible community dance project designed and facilitated by disabled and non-disabled artists.

Jill Karena, Place Portfolio Lead at FRRR, said that the diversity of projects put forward by communities highlights the importance of offering flexible funding that can respond to local needs and priorities.

“More than half of the funding in this round is going towards recovery from the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires which really highlights the need for ongoing support to disaster-impacted areas. Three years on, it’s clear that community groups and local NFPs need additional resources to continue showing up for their communities to the best of their ability.

“Many of these bushfire-impacted communities have also been affected by flooding, drought or the mice plague in recent years, on top of COVID, so the physical and emotional toll of these multiple events is making the recovery process even more difficult.

“When it came to RRC this round, we started to see more focus on the recovery process and rebuilding, alongside mental health and social isolation as the focus. This is an encouraging sign as it indicates that remote, rural and regional communities are increasingly looking towards the longer-term.

“Elsewhere, in the Small & Vital stream of the program, we continue to see a focus on food security and energy efficiency with requests for funding for solar installation, energy efficient equipment in local amenities and support for community gardens. These recurring themes are no surprise given the current cost of living crisis,” Ms Karena said.

Some more of the 129 projects funded include:

  • Workways Australia Limited -Clarence Valley, NSW – Cool (Mosaic) burning in the Clarence Valley – Build resilience in the Taloumbi community by teaching locals to use the cool (mosaic) burning land management practice, a tool to reduce future bushfire risk, promote biodiversity, build resilience, and regenerate habitat for endangered native species. $20,456 (Bushfire Recovery)
  • MJD Foundation Limited – Ngukurr, NT – Development of MJDF ‘in place’ service – phase 1 – Enable people to live well ‘on Country’ by developing a plan to establish a permanent medical support presence in community for people impacted by Machado-Joseph Disease. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Atherton Performing Arts Inc – Atherton, QLD – 12 Air purifiers to protect our performers, audiences and others – Enhance the process of community recovery from COVID-19 by improving public safety at the theatre with the purchase of air purifiers to remove airborne pathogens. $7,103 (Rebuilding Regional Communities)
  • Snowtown Centenary Park – Snowtown, SA – Centenary Park Mural – Improve the appearance of a public amenity, and boost tourism and community engagement in Snowtown through the installation of a mural. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Lower Barrington Community Hall – Lower Barrington, TAS – Lower Barrington Hall: Disability Friendly Bathroom Project, Stage 2 – Increase community access for all abilities and enhance social engagement opportunities by improving disability access at a local hall. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Tatura Civic Halls Committee – Tatura, VIC – Mechanics’ Hall Floor Rejuvenation – Preserve local heritage and provide a comfortable facility for community members to connect by replacing flooring that is beyond repair. $10,000 (Small & Vital)
  • Marribank Aboriginal Corporation – Marribank, WA – Marribank Mission Cleanup – Create a space for healing of Noongar people and past residents of the old mission through the rejuvenation of the site into an Aboriginal managed training and cultural learning centre. $10,000 (Small & Vital)

A full list of grant recipients is available on FRRR’s website.

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by many generous donors, which are acknowledged on FRRR’s website.

This program always accepts applications. Local NFPs and community groups are encouraged to review the expanded program guidelines and apply. More information about the SRC program is available at

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at

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

Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Cystic Fibrosis Community Care LtdRegional Equity and Community Technology Program (REACT Program)
Enhance the process of COVID-19 recovery for rural people living with Cystic Fibrosis and their families by providing essential medical equipment -10 Home Spirometer for regional community members to support their health.
Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallabyFriends of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby Membership and Volunteers Network Drive
Sustain and enhance the work of the Friends of the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby by employing a staff member to focus on the recruitment and retention of volunteers.
Kangaroo Valley$10,000
Grand Pacific Health LimitedRecovery & Growth
Enhance the process of COVID-19 recovery of women and support creativity and connection in Far Western NSW by providing ‘Recovery and Growth' writing workshops facilitated by an award-winning journalist.
Moobi School Community Site IncMoobi School Site Lawn Mower Upgrade
Enhancing Moobi's recovery from COVID-19 through the purchase of a new mower to make the historical Moobi School community space a safe and appealing place to gather.
Rural Financial Counselling Service
NSW - Southern Region Limited
Rebuilding Your Business through Social Media and Financial Skills
Enhance COVID-19 recovery and stimulate the economy in the Shoalhaven community by providing a Rebuilding Your Business through Social Media and Financial Skills workshop.
St Vincent De Paul Society NSWYouth Mental Health First Aid Training (Vinnies Reconnect, Deniliquin)
Enhance the recovery of communities from COVID-19 by delivering three free two-day Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions across Hay, Barham, and Finley.
Warren Chamber Music Festival IncorporatedWarren Chamber Music Festival 2023
Enhance COVID-19 recovery and promote community cohesion through facilitating three concert programs featuring a classical ensemble along with local musicians.
Woodstock Memorial Hall CommitteePerimeter Fencing
Encourage the community to connect and gather as part of COVID-19 recovery and improve safety, amenity and aesthetic appeal through installing a new perimeter fence around the community hall.
2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Batlow Men's Shed IncorporatedImprovements to the Batlow Men's Shed
Enhance the Batlow Men's Shed building and help the community recover from the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires by adding an extension and installing solar panels to enlarge the workspace and social activity area, accommodate more members and contribute to life-long learning and skills sharing.
Batlow $17,870
Braidwood & District Historic Society IncStart Up of New Braidwood Heritage Centre
Contribute to bushfire recovery by employing a Facility Manager to run the Braidwood Heritage Centre while it is being developed to provide engagement with, and activities for the community and ensure the centre will become more sustainable and create employment opportunities on completion of construction.
Braidwood $25,000
Buxton Community Assoc IncSprinkler System for Hall Protection
Building preparedness and protection from future bushfires through the installation of a sprinkler system on the roof of the Community Hall/Community Hub.
Buxton $8,720
Cobargo Community Access Centre IncorporatedAppointment of Contracted Coordinator/Manager for Six Months for Cobargo Community Access Centre
Support organisational capacity and strengthen resources in a bushfire-impacted area by engaging a coordinator at the Cobargo Community Access Centre to manage the centre and its activities, ensuring volunteers are supervised and trained to assist the community with long-term recovery.
Cobargo $25,000
Eden Community Access Centre IncFIRE ON THE WATER Publication
Support community recovery by publishing a book that will tell personal, professional, and emotional responses to the 2020 fires to form a historical record of the event.
Wonboyn $6,677
Elands Community Health Centre
The University Of Newcastle
Community-led Disaster Resilience for the Elands Community Health and First Aid Centre
Increase bushfire resilience in Elands through enhancing an integral marshalling venue for emergency services and a place of refuge for people during bushfires by upgrading the kitchen.

Elands $24,964
Emmaville Pony Club IncFacility Upgrade for Dundee Community Connection
Strengthen community resources and bushfire preparedness at the Dundee Sports Ground Community & Rural Fire Service facility by upgrading amenities and adding an extra water tank for showers, toilets, hall users; as well as an additional water supply protect local community assets in future bushfires.
Dundee $15,216
Melanoma and Skin Cancer Advocacy Network LTDKeeping BlazeAid Volunteers Sun Safe & Skin Serious!
Improve BlazeAid's capability to protect volunteer health by providing broad brimmed sun hats to 1,000 volunteers to be worn while they are undertaking bushfire recovery activities.
Richmond Valley $20,000
Narooma Oyster Festival LimitedBuilding a Sustainable Volunteer Base
Rebuild volunteer support in a heavily bushfire-impacted town by building a volunteer framework, creating supporting materials and documentation to train new and existing volunteers for the Narooma Oyster Festival and other events in the region.
Narooma $10,000
Northbank Community Garden IncorporatedBuilding a Sustainable Volunteer Base Capacity of Northbank Community Gardens Inc
Build organisational capacity and social connections in the Bellingen Valley through a community-informed Strategic & Master Plan for the community garden to guide food-resilience development, identify infrastructure improvements and propose income streams ensuring financial sustainability after coping with drought, bushfires, and flooding.
Bellingen $23,920
Pappinbarra Progress AssociationEmergency Disaster Accommodation - Meeting Room and Complete Hall Roof Insulation
Enhance the Hollisdale Hall by insulating the roof and refurbishing the old kitchen that is being converted into a meeting and disaster accommodation area to provide a bushfire / flood community recovery space.
Hollisdale $13,657
Resilient Kangaroo Valley
Lions Club of Kangaroo Valley Inc
Incorporate & Promote Resilient Kangaroo Valley
Strengthen the communities disaster response resources and bushfire preparedness by supporting the formal incorporation of the Resilient Kangaroo Valley, activating their online presence and their work with emergency services.
Kangaroo Valley $16,000
Southcoast Health and Sustainability AllianceInstallation of Solar/Battery System to Provide Marine Rescue Tuross Moruya with Off Grid Emergency Power in case of Mains Power Failure
Increasing the ability to provide life-saving communications and rescue services in emergencies by installing 6.7Kwh solar panels and a 10kwh battery on the Tuross Moruya Marine Rescue Building to provide emergency power during outages.
Tuross Head $21,889
St John Ambulance Australia (N.S.W.)Radio Post Kits for Regional Communities
Support volunteer safety and build organisational capacity and efficiency for St John Ambulance volunteers in 22 regional communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires by purchasing remote Radio Post Kits to better communicate in future emergencies.
Armidale $19,500
Towamba Valley Landcare Group IncSometimes Fixing Things is the Best Therapy
Decrease fire risk resulting from scrub and grass growth post-2019/20 bushfires by holding a series of talks for land managers about fire, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration- strengthening community connections, mental health, and capabilities to manage fire risk.
Towamba $12,500
Workways Australia LimitedCool (Mosaic) Burning in the Clarence Valley
Build resilience in the Taloumbi community by teaching locals to use the cool (mosaic) burning land management practice, a tool to reduce future bushfire risk, promote biodiversity, build resilience, and regenerate habitat for endangered native species.
Taloumbi $20,456
Small & Vital
Agape Outreach IncOptimising Community Mental Health for Flood Victims
Support flood-affected community members with four wellness programs over eight-weeks to build resilience and improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes.
Tweed Heads $8,800
Bellinger River Agricultural Society IncArtisan Tent Bellingen Show 2023
Provide an engaging space at the Bellingen Show for local artisans to share creative skills with flood-affected young people by hiring a large marquee.
Bellingen $10,000
Clifton School of Arts IncorporatedPurchase of Five Heaters for the Clifton School of Arts Inc Building
Increase community engagement and participation at the Clifton School of Arts by installing five, small efficient mobile heaters, creating a comfortable, year-round gathering space.
Clifton $2,395
Cootamundra Health Care Co-Operative LimitedRemoving Barriers to Social Participation for the Adina Care Aged Community: Expansion and Enhancement of Adina Court BBQ Meeting Area
Increase social well-being and connection of residents of the community-owned Adina Care by upgrading the BBQ area to be more accessible for events and activities.
Cootamundra $10,000
Goolmangar School of Arts IncPaint the Internal Walls of the Goolmangar School of Arts Hall
Contribute to restoring the Goolmangar School of Arts Hall for community use after the devastating floods by painting the damaged walls.
Goolmangar $9,000
Grenfell Dramatic Society IncEssential Fire Safety Equipment and Technology for the Heritage Listed Premises of Grenfell Community Arts
Strengthen organisational capacity, safety, and social connectedness by installing fire safety equipment and a data projector.
Grenfell $8,983
Kyogle and District Arts CouncilDigital Transformation for the Kyogle and District Arts Council
Expand organisational capacity and improve community awareness of Kyogle and District Arts Council by purchasing a laptop, creating a logo, website design, and a social media presence.
Kyogle $4,945
Lions Club of Mount Panorama IncRiverside Markets Coffee Van
Expand organisational capacity by purchasing an espresso machine to fundraise with coffee sales at the local market for local and Australia wide charitable projects and disaster relief.
Bathurst $5,000
Moree Cultural Art Foundation LtdThe Yarn Bombing Project
Contribute to the cultural vibrancy of the Moree Plains Shire through 'Yarn Bombing' - wrapping trees in brightly coloured crochet and knitted scarves - to encourage community connection and increase tourism.
Moree $8,900
Nimbin Community Centre IncorporatedRedesigning Community Centre Grounds to Meet the Social, Cultural, Economic and Environmental Aspirations of the Nimbin Community
Develop a redevelopment plan for the Centre grounds with a landscape architect to create a flexible and inclusive space for locals and tourists.
Nimbin $2,800
Ozfish Unlimited LimitedCoolah Community Restoring Coolaburragundy River
Improve environmental outcomes and bring the Coolah community together to restore the Coolaburragundy River through planting trees, weed control and holding a carp muster event.
Coolah $10,000
Trustees Of The Roman Catholic Church For The Diocese Of Maitland-Newcastle, Trading As The Diocese Of Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Schools OfficePitalba Nature Playspace, Yarning Circle and Bush Tucker Garden
A safe, respectful and inclusive place for shared learning, connection and community
(Pitalba is an Aboriginal Awabakal word meaning 'quiet place'). Create a safe, inclusive, and respectful place for shared learning by re-establishing a nature playspace, yarning circle and bush tucker garden destroyed by the floods for the school and broader Kurri Kurri community.
Kurri Kurri $10,000
Small & Vital
MJD Foundation LimitedNgukurr - Development of MJDF 'In Place' Service - Phase One
Enable people to live well 'on Country' by developing a plan to establish a permanent medical support presence in community for people impacted by Machado-Joseph Disease.
Ngukurr $10,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Agnes Water Playgroup
Discovery Coast Sport and Recreation Association Incorporated
Reinvigoration of the Play Area at Discovery Coast Sport and Rec Club
Foster a stronger, more resilient community and reduce social isolation by renovating the only existing local playground into a safe, shaded space for children of all ages and abilities.
Agnes Water $10,000
Atherton Performing Arts Inc12 Air Purifiers to Protect Our Performers, Audiences and Others
Enhance the process of community recovery from COVID-19 by improving public safety at the theatre with the purchase of air purifiers to remove airborne pathogens.
Atherton $7,103
Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group IncorporatedTransforming the Ration Shed Museum
Refinish the Ration Shed Museum’s timber deck, enhancing its appearance and amenity to encourage the return of visitors and local craftspeople to the facilities, and thus stimulating local economic recovery for the community following COVID-19.
Cherbourg $10,000
Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre Inc
Silk Screen, Fabric, Textile Workshop
Enhance the process of recovery for the Pormpuraaw community from COVID-19 by delivering a three-week silkscreen, textile and fashion industry workshop, building new skills and creating additional income generation opportunities.
Pormpuraaw $10,000
2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Boonah & District Landcare Association IncCommunity Nest Tube Project
Support recovery of endangered species bushfire impacted habitat by building nest boxes, growing community awareness and developing a digital monitoring program.
Boonah $24,014
Boonah Show Society IncUpgrade of Toilet Blocks to Support the New Multi Purpose Arena Which is Being Built on the Showgrounds
Improve the comfort and experience of those required to evacuate bushfires at the Scenic Rim’s northern Disaster Recovery and Evacuation Area, by replacing the 50 year old ablutions block with a larger capacity, all-abilities accessible version.
Boonah $25,000
Crows Nest Agricultural Horticultural & Industrial Society IncFit Out of Newly Constructed Machinery and Storage Shed
Build community resilience and improve volunteer working conditions by fitting out the new maintenance shed to provide safe storage for community groups at the Crow’s Nest Showgrounds that sheltered 150 evacuees during the 2019 bushfires.
Crows Nest $25,000
Glastonbury Hall & Recreation Association IncFuture Proofing Strategy in Preparedness for Establishment of the Glastonbury Hall as a Disaster Centre Hub
Create a safer and more secure space at the Glastonbury Hall for the community’s regular use, or as a 'place of refuge' to shelter during bushfires, by installing fencing and gates.
Glastonbury $14,828
Goomburra Town Hall Committee IncorporatedStrengthening Goomburra Community’s Resilience to Our Changing Climate and Disasters
Build community preparedness for future climate events including bushfires by installing solar panels and purchasing higher energy efficient whitegoods for the hall to function as a self-sufficient refuge during emergencies.
Small & Vital
Bajool and District Pony Club IncBajool Pony Club Environmental Sustainability and Accessibility
Improve the club’s ability to provide a safe facility for the broader community, including the Rural Fire Brigade, to use by concreting the canteen floor and installing solar lighting.
Burdekin Men's Shed Association Inc"Men Shed Safe & Resilient"
Support the Ayr community to reconnect after flooding and strengthen their resilience through intergenerational skills sharing enabled by more modern and safer equipment at the men’s shed.
Ayr$ 8,583
Carramar Community Pre-school & Kindergarten Assoc IncA Deck Designed for Discussion, Development and Dadirri
Expand the space available for children’s learning and development activities by installing a raised deck in an outdoor area damaged by flooding.
Maryborough$ 10,000
Kilcummin Group Selectors AssociationKilcummin Hall Repair Work
Rejuvenate the 1960’s hall by repairing decking, handrails, entrance ways and kitchenette facilities to make the community meeting space safer and more welcoming.
Kilcummin$ 10,000
Meandarra Primary P&C AssociationMeandarra State School P&C Volunteer Lifeguard Training 2022
Boost community wellbeing though encouraging socialisation and exercise by providing volunteer lifeguards with the necessary qualifications to open the school pool to the broader community free of charge.
Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group IncProviding a Space in Gordonvale for Community to Meet, Learn and Thrive in Nature
Grow volunteering at the group’s newly established community centre by outfitting the nursery space and engaging an event coordinator to conduct weekly activities and membership drives.
Rock FM Association Inc4RFM Transmission Tower Repairs
Help locals stay informed and connected by replacing lightening damaged equipment on the transmission tower and ensuring a strong and reliable community radio service.
Thallon State School P&C AssociationEvent Shade Structures
Improve the safety and comfort of children, volunteers and community members attending educational and social events by replacing damage portable shade structures.
Thangool State School Parents & Citizens AssociationConcreting, Specialist Coating and Painting of Handball Courts
Encourage children’s learning and development with the creation of a outdoor space for tuition, individual instruction, and play by concreting a new undercover area.
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Coomandook Area SchoolSpill The Beans
Build employable skills and qualifications for COVID-19 impacted young people by establishing a social café and hub that will reduce social isolation, foster a stronger, more resilient community.
Mid-Murray Suicide Prevention Network IncorporatedGrassroots Conversations – A Podcast by Mid-Murray Caring Connected Communities
Facilitate the development of a community podcast to build resilience after COVID-19 and reduce social isolation by purchasing audio equipment and communications services.
Millicent Agricultural Horticultural and Pastoral Society IncOffice Shelter
Support the work of the Society and encourage social reconnection post COVID-19 by enhancing access to community facilities at the showgrounds with a covered veranda and accessibility ramp.
Murray Mallee General Practice Network IncorporatedSecond Beginnings - An MMGPN Social Enterprise
Enhance Murray Bridge community recovery from the pandemic through the establishment of a social enterprise providing work and volunteer opportunities for vulnerable community members.
Murray Bridge$10,000
SportsUnited LtdSportsUnited Sporting Memories
Reduce social isolation and foster a stronger, more resilient regional community after COVID-19 by implementing a social activity program to improve the mental health and wellbeing of seniors.
2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Edithburgh Events Management Group
Edithburgh Progress Association Incorporated
Immortalising the Clydesdale Horse at the Burgh
Boost recovery post bushfires and strengthen tourism and economy in the Southern Yorke Peninsula region, through the creation and installation of a Clydesdale Horse sculpture that commemorates local history.
Kangaroo Island Business and Brand AllianceImproving Access to Resources to Help Kangaroo Island’s Small Businesses Grow and Thrive
Strengthen employment opportunities for an Island community and help local business recover from bushfire disaster through upgrading a business and tourism website.
Kangaroo Island Wildlife NetworkLearning from Bushfire Recovery Wildlife Projects: A Conference to Build Community Resilience
Enhance an organisation's capacity and boost volunteer skills by running a forum focussing on protecting native habitat and wildlife pre and post bushfire disaster events.
American River$16,075
Karta Harvest Exchange
Penneshaw Progress Association Incorporated
Penneshaw Community Garden
Enhance recovery from bushfires and broaden local community connection through the establishment of an inclusive all-abilities community garden.
Kingscote Football ClubRepairs to Club Room Roof and Kitchen Equipment
Improve a club room to be a fit for purpose Bushfire Refuge Centre through the upgrade of infrastructure.
Kingscote Netball ClubUpgrade of Existing Lighting
Boost health and wellbeing outcomes and provide a social outlet for older men by upgrading a men’s shed kitchen for new cooking classes.
Lobethal Community Association IncorporatedWhere Eagles Soar | Stories of Fire and Recovery
Enhance the process of disaster recovery and community connection through a creative sculpture project featuring a storytelling ‘Pocket Forest’ podcast and signage trail.
Parndana Soldier Settlement Museum
Parndana Progress Association
Storing the Past to Work for the Future
Commemorate local culture and support volunteer recovery and engagement post bushfires by refurbishing a museum workroom and installing an air-conditioner.
Small & Vital
Barunga Village IncPort Broughton - A Dementia Friendly Community
Increase support for people living with dementia and improve quality of life through the development of a community network alliance and action plan.
Port Broughton$10,000
Broughton Plains Heritage SocietyBroughton Plains Community Shed Wiring Project
Enhance social and wellbeing activities by providing a safe and comfortable environment by upgrading the electrical wiring system.
Wandearah East$5,886
Returned and Services League of Australia Moonta Sub BranchRising Salt Damp Remediation
Rejuvenate a local community meeting space and encourage greater usage by repairing walls at a local hall.
Snowtown Centenary Park IncCentenary Park Mural
Improve the appearance of a public amenity, and boost tourism and community engagement in Snowtown through the installation of a mural.
Yarredi Services IncorporatedDRUMBEAT - Resilience and Rhythm
Enhance a recovery program and strengthen mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable women living in the Eyre Peninsula by providing a facilitated healing focussed music program.
Port Lincoln$6,660
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Dorset Community Association IncorporatedDorset Community House Remote Area Satellite
Provide IT and equipment to support the delivery of educational, social support and food relief in remote areas to reduce social isolation.
Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House IncTasman Municipality Food Security Collaboration Forum
Support health, wellbeing and resilience after the pandemic by holding a food security forum for communities in the Tasman Municipality.
Mount Roland Rivercare Catchment IncReconnecting with Community and the Mount Roland Environment
Deliver a community festival to reduce social isolation and reconnect people around Sheffield with the community and nature after COVID-19.
Squid Theatre IncorporatedSaturday Radio Theatre 2023
Sustain the creative activities of a community theatre company through supporting a weekly radio drama, providing a vital point of connection for COVID-19 impacted and isolated community members.
Small & Vital
Deloraine House IncGrow Cook Eat
Enhance community health and wellbeing and support student education involving nutritious food through the establishment of a community garden and outdoor kitchen.
Lower Barrington Community Hall IncLower Barrington Hall : Disability Friendly Bathroom Project, Stage Two
Increase community access for all abilities and enhance social engagement opportunities by improving disability access at a local hall.
Lower Barrington$10,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
(it's no) drama LtdEVERYONE CAN DANCE - An Accessible Community Art Project
Enhance the process of recovery of South Gippsland communities from COVID-19 pandemic by delivering an accessible community dance project designed and facilitated by disabled and non-disabled artists.
Community Learning Euroa IncCLE Drop-in and Outreach
Boost confidence and skills to enhance the process of recovery of the Euroa community from COVID-19 by providing information technology learning opportunities for adults.
Eildon Action IncorporatedSound Equipment
Reduce social isolation and encourage social reconnection in the Eildon community after COVID-19 by purchasing a PA and sound system for community events.
Gippsland Sculpture Exhibition IncorporatedGippsland Sculpture Exhibition 2023
Enhance the process of recovery of the Gippsland community from the pandemic through free live music events and engaging local artists to conduct free art workshops for children and adults.
Manna Community Garden IncRebuilding and Renewal
Improve social connectedness and enhance the process of recovery of the Manna community from the pandemic through facilitating a luncheon and new outdoor seating for community events.
No Lights No Lycra Education LimitedNLNL Regional Ambassador Training and Marketing Support
Sustain the NLNL organisation to deliver health and wellbeing dance programs through a series of training workshops for rural and regional volunteers to support COVID-19 recovery.
Open Door Neighbourhood House IncWorking Together - Connecting Community
Enhance the process of recovery of the community of Wangaratta from COVID-19 by providing opportunities for vulnerable community members to participate in health and wellbeing activities.
Prom Coast Seachange Festival Committee IncProm Coast Festival 2023
Enhance the process of recovery of Prom Coast community from COVID-19 by supporting the return of the Prom Coast Festival.
Tallygaroopna Football & Netball ClubTallygaroopna Community Recreation Reserve Indoor Seat Upgrade
Sustain regional organisations and enhance community connection post-COVID-19 in Tallygaroopna through the purchase of seating for a community pavilion.
The Fringe Thing IncCastlemaine Fringe Presents - REACTIVATE!
Enhance the process of recovery of Castlemaine and surrounding communities from the pandemic though a community-led and delivered festival offering cultural activities, community connection, and volunteering opportunities.
Wodonga City CouncilThe Centenarian Portrait Project by Teenagers
Foster a stronger, more resilient Wodonga community and support COVID-19 recovery through an innovative arts program matching local teenage artists with centenarians to create unique portraits and weave together stories and living histories.
2019/2020 Bushfire Recovery
Regional Arts Victoria Parallel Wilds
Build creative skills and connection to environment through a school-based arts residency program designed to boost wellbeing and bushfire recovery for young people.
Bemm River Men’s Shed
Bemm River Progress and Improvement Association Inc
Replacement Bemm River Men’s Shed Roller Doors
Provide a safe environment for social connection post bushfire for people participating in Men's Shed activities through the replacement of doors.
Bemm River$10,000
Crashendo! BairnsdaleTogether with Crashendo East Gippsland - Everyone Receives More!
Boost volunteer participation and organisational capacity, and support young people impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires to access music tuition through the development of a strategic business plan.
Deddick Valley Isolated Community Group IncStage Two - Goongerah & Tubbut Service Hubs - Building Healthy, Resilient Communities through Service Equity
Build capacity to access healthcare in remote bushfire impacted areas through creating fit-for-purpose rooms for the establishment of two medical service hubs in far East Gippsland.
Ensay Angling Club IncorporatedEnsay Angling and Recreation Club Inc Cattle Panel Safety Upgrades
Provide a safe evacuation site for people with livestock during bushfires through the purchase of steel cattle panels for a local Reserve.
Glenaladale Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementGlenaladale Hall Upgrade and Expansion
Improve essential facilities of community hall through restumping the building and developing a plan to enhance capability for bushfire preparedness.
Hotspur Management Committee IncHotspur Hall Harnesses Solar
Support recovery and community connection after a bushfire and meet energy demands at a community hall by installing a grid connected solar system.
Museums Board of VictoriaThe Sounds of Recovery: Enabling Communities to Lead Bushfire Recovery Wildlife Monitoring with Ecoacoustics
Strengthen community capacity to protect the environment from the effects of bushfires by monitoring recovery of threatened wildlife through a citizen science project.
Myrrhee Soldiers Memorial Hall Committee of Management
Wangaratta Rural City Council
Myrrhee Hall furniture Replacement
Provide a comfortable facility and enhance social connections that support bushfire recovery at a local hall by replacing worn furniture.
Myrtleford and District Landcare and Sustainability GroupRiver Trail Mosaic Bird Gallery
Support community recovery from bushfires and enhance connection to the natural environment through the creation of a series of mosaics along Myrtleford’s riverside walk.
Omeo Region Business and Tourism AssociationOmeo Community Hub
Improve opportunities for community connection and support recovery from bushfires in East Gippsland by upgrading an existing building to establish a community wellbeing hub in Omeo.
Omeo$ 23,066
Tallangatta Agricultural and Pastoral Society IncorporatedPurchase of New Livestock Panels to Build New holding Yard and Race
Provide safe livestock infrastructure through the upgrade of gates and yard panels at a staged gathering area used in times of bushfire emergency.
The Mallacoota Wilderness Collective IncEase Digital Poverty and Isolation for Younger and Older Women in Far East Gippsland
Support community to live well in a remote place and strengthen wellbeing of vulnerable women recovering from bushfires by providing IT access and training programs.
Mallacoota $9,804
The Salvation Army Wangaratta
The Trustee for The Salvation Army (Victoria) Property Trust
Salvation Army Disaster Relief Storage Improvements
Increase the capacity of a disaster relief organisation to prepare for future bushfire events through the insulation and electrical fit out of a storage shed.
Wangaratta $9,120
Yackandandah Brigade, CFA
Country Fire Authority
Yackandandah Firestation Readiness Project
Increase capacity of volunteers to support bushfire preparedness through the installation of a workstation and storage units.
Yackandandah $10,000
Small & Vital
Barwon Downs Community GroupVertical Blind Replacements
Expand the use of a community hub and provide a comfortable child-safe facility by installing energy efficient roller blinds.
Barwon Downs $2,160
Bendigo Sustainability GroupRegional Community Energy Workshops
Enable communities in the Loddon Mallee region to develop sustainable environmental practices through attending locally held energy efficient and renewable energy workshops.
Loddon $10,000
Kaniva Kindergarten IncKaniva Kinder New Furniture
Support early-years childhood education and enhance community wellbeing through purchasing furniture that suitable for people of all abilities.
Kaniva $10,000
Lake Bookaar Recreation Reserve Committee of Management IncPurchase of new Ride-on Lawn Mower
Increase the capacity of volunteers to maintain a pivotal community outdoor space by purchasing a ride on mower.
Camperdown $10,000
Maldon Men's Shed IncUpgrade to Existing Kitchen Facilities
Boost health and wellbeing outcomes and provide a social outlet for older men by upgrading a men’s shed kitchen for new cooking classes.
Maldon $9,294
Tatura Civic Halls Committee IncorporatedMechanics' Hall Floor Rejuvenation
Preserve local heritage and provide a comfortable facility for community members to connect by replacing flooring that is beyond repair.
Tatura $10,000
Terang RSL Sub BranchMorning Melodies Musical Entertainment
Boost access to wellbeing activities and provide a regular social outlet for older people through the delivery of a monthly music program.
Terang $5,345
The Young Men's Christian Association of BallaratDunolly Kindergarten - Solar Panels
Enhance wellbeing and development outcomes for young children and improve organisational environmental practices by installing a solar PV system.
Dunolly $10,000
Transition Village Wallan IncMeeting the Needs of Increasing Local Homelessness though Community Re-integration
Increase access to housing and social support for people in regional areas who are homeless by expanding a community housing program.
Wallan East $10,000
Rebuilding Regional Communities Micro
Blackwood Environment SocietySupporting our Local Bushcarers and Providing them with Opportunities to Grow
Encourage volunteers to sustain the work of the society following COVID-19 by providing individuals undertaking Bushcare projects with added safety measures including their own hygienic PPE.
Bridgetown $8,149
Shire of ManjimupExploring the Everyday
Foster a stronger, more resilient community and address social isolation after COVID-19 by bringing together young children to participate in fun interactive science workshops.
Manjimup $4,100
Small & Vital
Live To Tell Your Story IncDjinda Ngardak - Let's Power-up for "Dust Up"
Expose First Nations students attending the Dust Up Festival to nutrition knowledge and hospitality career opportunities using the Prepare Produce Provide (PPP) model of combining traditional cooking practices with contemporary recipes and styles.
Warburton $10,000
Marnin Bowa Dumbara Aboriginal CorporationRoutine Normal
Improve the comfort and quality of life for people accessing the domestic and family violence shelter by providing bunk beds, cots and laundry facilities.
Derby $10,000
Marribank Aboriginal CorporationMarribank Mission Cleanup
Create a space for healing of Noongar people and past residents of the old mission through the rejuvenation of the site into an Aboriginal managed training and cultural learning centre.
Marribank $10,000
Morawa Playgroup
Playgroup WA (INC)
Beating the Heat: A Shady Nature Playspace for Morawa
Grow educational enrichment opportunities for 0-5 year old’s by providing nature based play equipment in this remote community.
Morawa $9,737
Walpole Community Resource Telecentre (Inc)Food and Friends in Walpole
Provide nutritious meals for residents in need, and a choice of building social connections or remaining quarantined at home, by establishing both an onsite lunch and a 'meals on wheels' service.
Walpole $9,829

Earlier this year, the FRRR team heard directly from Kempsey Shire Council, who had recently received a $56,960 grant for the Macleay Valley River to the Sea Festival through the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, co-funded by the Australian Government and a private donor.

The festival was a creative way to increase opportunities for diverse people and communities to participate in networking events. A series of farm gate tours was also a great way to improve regional branding and recognition of local food agri-systems. The festival built knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through workshops for primary producers and broadly contributed to building a positive community culture and strengthened connections.

The Kempsey Shire Council presentation also highlighted the broader impact of floods. Having experienced 19 climate disasters in a decade, Kempsey was labelled ‘the most disaster-prone region in Australia’ by The Australian in 2019. Since then, there have been four flooding events, with three of them taking place in 2022 alone.

The Council team shared that an increasing number of farms were at risk of closure due to recent flooding events with around 45% of cattle in the lower Macleay leaving the shire due to continued wet and a 25%-35% loss of avocado trees. On top of that, there were large scale loss of oysters, flower production was impacted and mud fever, foot abscesses, slips and trips all became more common in horses.

The presentation gave a raw and up-to-date glimpse into the challenges being faced by those in the agricultural sector. It also highlighted that to be sustainable both economically and environmentally, change is needed. For agriculture to thrive, communities and agribusiness must be given the tools and resources they need to adapt.

The Macleay Valley River to the Sea Festival was a great example of this kind of opportunity in action, allowing farmers to share their stories and raise awareness around the positive on-farm diversification being achieved in environments impacted by climate change.

Montage of images from the River to the Sea conference (photo credit: Kempsey Shire Council)

The population of the District Council of Yankalilla is 5,500, spread across 750 square kilometres within 10 small townships. Some families are geographically isolated, farmers are doing it tough and there are a number of people who are struggling with low income, drug and alcohol issues, as well as family violence. There are not many opportunities for work and no public transport options for those who don’t have a car. While some support services are available in the community, most are outreach and not located in the district. In general, anxiety levels are higher than normal across the population groups. COVID fears and restrictions have added to this anxiety. Community members who are struggling usually want to connect with someone in their district to talk things over and find out what support is available.

The Council’s plan was ambitious – establish the Fleurieu Coast Community Network (FCCN) to foster help-seeking practices and build community connectedness and strength, with a focus of improving mental health. They successfully applied for a $9,000 In a Good Place grant from FRRR, funded by CCI Giving, to launch their plan to engage a coordinator who could provide the ‘first point of contact’ role and upskill community champions to expand the service across the district.

On paper, it was straight forward – set up a network of service agencies and community organisations, create a calendar of events focused on mental health and wellbeing messages, host informal community conversations and support community leaders, by providing them with mental health and wellbeing training. What they didn’t expect was COVID and local restrictions, which changed the planning and execution of all elements of the project plan. But each hurdle was successfully negotiated.

Meetings to form the Fleurieu Coast Community Network (FCCN) were held in a blended format. They received excellent feedback and became very popular within the sector. The Network is now well established, with high levels of information sharing and collaboration across the core group of about 22 organisations, which includes more than 70 service providers, businesses, local agencies and individuals who receive regular updates on FCCN activities and come together to connect, identify community issues and mobilise resources to provide information, advice, support and training.

The original concept of an event calendar was very time consuming to deliver and was not engaging as many people as the organisers had hoped. A decision was made to embed the events and activities within the Council’s web-based calendar and event information is also shared in digital flyer format through the Network emails.

Community conversations were held bi-monthly. This group was facilitated by Skylight Mental Health and themes discussed included community wellbeing during COVID and suicide prevention support. As a result of these conversations and other events, 14 individuals registered as Community Leaders; people who could be called upon by local community members when they needed information or just a friendly conversation. They are seen as a stand-by informal ‘Crisis Response’ group – people who are willing to do what is needed when the situation arises. So far, there has been a food delivery response for people isolated due to COVID or anxiety about COVID, as well as informal support for low income parents.

Because of travel restrictions, the planned community presentations and training offered had to be redesigned. The Network partnered with Country SA Primary Health Network to conduct the Fleurieu Coast Wellbeing Expo, which was very well attended by locals. They also supported the local Gone Fishing Day, which focused on mental health and was attended by more than 80 people; Lullabies of the Fleurieu 2022 for parents engaged over 100 people; No Scaredy Cats for Parents supported 10 families with children experiencing anxiety; and the Now and Next Program for parents of children with a disability.

Excitingly, the Council funded the program from 1 January to 30 June 2022, due to the successful pilot and the impressive involvement from service providers and Community Leaders. This allowed the Project Officer to sustain the momentum and goodwill of the FCCN and facilitate Accidental Counselling Training for Community Leaders.

Claire Taylor from the District Council of Yankalilla said, “This grant has been so influential in assisting our Community Team to establish and consolidate the Fleurieu Coast Community Network. It allowed us to demonstrate that the Network is truly valuable in a small regional district where we have to rely on good connections and relationships to maximise the access to services for our residents.”

Girls from Oz (g-oz) is committed to improving education and employment outcomes for students in remote Australia, particularly Aboriginal girls and women. The g-oz program uses a tried and tested engagement model, developed over 30 years by the Australian School of Performing Arts, to engage and re-engage females living in some of the most at-risk communities in Australia.

Since 2010, more than 200 girls have participated in 14 trips to five capital cities for a week of shared cultural exchange and 105 instructors have assisted in running 126 week-long Community Programs, engaging more than 4,000 girls across five communities.

In 2022, FRRR contributed $9,212 via a Strengthening Rural Communities grant funded by Friends of FRRR and FRRR towards the g-oz ‘Helping to keep language alive in Kowanyama’ project. The aim of the project is to contribute to Kowanyama State School’s efforts to reintroduce the traditional languages of Kowanyama. To complement the initiative, g-oz has begun its support of language preservation and revitalisation via the completion of song translation and transcription.

Over the past four months, g-oz has been meeting and working with local female Elders each school term as part of their Community Program visits. Their instructors have had some great conversations and have identified a song that they can work together with the women to transcribe, record and teach in the traditional language.

g-oz has found that building trusted relationships and working in collaboration with the local women can be a slow process. As their goal is to support the ambitions of the women in the delivery of their language revitalisation project, and especially their work with school students at Kowanyama State School, g-oz plans to walk alongside them, working within the Elders’ timeframe to deliver the project.

g-oz plans to develop teaching resources as part of the recording process and to present the finished songs to the community in May, with monitoring and evaluation to be undertaken before the conclusion of the project in August 2023.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the 27 projects funded this round are:

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

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

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

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

ANZ and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) have awarded $250,000 in grants to 20 regional community groups and not-for-profit organisations through the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program.

ANZ celebrates 20 years of Seeds of Renewal by awarding 20 grants to rural communities

Jenefer Stewart, ANZ General Manager Business Banking, said: “We understand small communities face unique challenges in terms of access to services and community facilities. Programs like Seeds of Renewal aim to support these communities by funding projects that address some of these challenges.

“This year is really special as it marks 20 years of ANZ delivering Seeds of Renewal. In that time, we have provided more than $5.5m to around 900 community groups to build vibrant and sustainable rural communities and ensure the ongoing prosperity of regional Australia,” Ms Stewart said.

The 2022 program supported remote, rural and regional communities across Australia to improve their town’s environmental sustainability; increase financial wellbeing in communities, particularly those with disadvantaged or minority groups; or improve housing access for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness and for people living with a disability; and other projects that help communities to thrive.

FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that long-term partnerships like this mean that community groups know that there will be funding available to help them respond to the myriad of challenges and opportunities that they face now, and in the future.

“These communities are extremely resilient and self-reliant but sometimes they need support to help them bring their ideas to fruition. Partnerships like the one that FRRR has had with ANZ over the last 20 years mean that they know that funding will be available, and so they can plan and work toward improving their community for the challenges ahead. We greatly appreciate ANZ’s ongoing support and look forward to it continuing for many years to come,” Ms Egleton said.

Since being established in 2003, ANZ Seeds of Renewal has awarded $5.5 million to around 900 projects. Some examples of the 20 projects funded this year include:

Environmental Sustainability

  • Narrabri Shire Community Radio Incorporated, Narrabri, NSW – Install Roof Top Solar Panels and Battery. Boost organisational capacity using green solar energy to reduce emissions and operation costs at Narrabri community radio station. $15,000

Financial Wellbeing

  • Australian Agricultural Centre, Crookwell, NSW – Australian Agricultural Centre Limited Youth AG Activation. Provide key skills training to increase employability of young people in Crookwell in agriculture. $15,000

Housing Access

  • Phoenix Place Inc, Mackay, QLD – Teen and Adult Social Connection Space. Enable people living with a disability in Mackay to access a drop in social space for connecting with peers. $8,900

Thriving Communities

  • Hub Foundation Castlemaine Limited, Castlemaine VIC – YIMBY Gymby. Boost the capacity of backyard composting through engaging young volunteers to support older community members in Castlemaine. $11,330

The full list of the recipients is below.

Adelong Community Enterprises IncAdelong LPO Sustainable Energy & Education
Strengthen Adelong community social enterprise with solar and battery installations to enhance operations and develop local understanding of alternative energy.
Adelong $15,000
Australian Agricultural Centre LimitedYouth AG Activation
Provide key skills training to increase employability of young people in Crookwell in agriculture.
Crookwell $15,000
Key Employment Association LimitedFreedom to Participate
Increase disability access to outdoor spaces with all terrain mobility equipment and vehicles to be made available in Kempsey.
Kempsey $13,688
Narrabri Shire Community Radio IncorporatedInstall Roof Top Solar Panels and Battery
Boost organisational capacity using green solar energy to reduce emissions and operation costs at Narrabri community radio station.
Narrabri $15,000
Wardell Community Organised Resilience Effort IncGrow Well Wardell
Support local food production via garden support initiatives enabling capability and building resilience.
Wardell $15,000
Weddin Landcare Steering Committee IncorporatedVaughn's Dam Reserve Masterplan
Enhance the understanding and appreciation of Vaughn's Dam Reserve with a masterplan to guide environmentally sustainable management.
Grenfell $5,400
The Trustee for Karrkad-Kanjdji TrustPreserving Anbinik Rainforests Through Indigenous Fire Management
Sustain the endemic anbinik rainforest species in Arnhem land by employing indigenous rangers for fire management and ecosystem preservation.
West Arnhem $15,000
Bayside Transformations LtdBayside Transformations - Enterprise Development
Improve social enterprise operations of Bayside Transformations Op Shop and Vegie Supply with storage containers and kitchen equipment increasing security and productivity.
Hervey Bay $15,000
Eacham Community Help Organisation IncNeighbourhood House Community Demonstration Garden
Build community resilience by establishing a community garden to educate and engage Eacham community members.
Malanda $9,340
Johnstone Region Landcare Group IncConstruction of Potting Shed
Increase capacity for volunteers to pot trees that deliver benefits to environmental initiatives in the Johnstone Region.
Innisfail $15,000
Phoenix Place IncTeen and Adult Social Connection Space
Enable people living with a disability in Mackay to access a drop in social space for connecting with peers.
Mackay $8,900
Warwick Community Kindergarten Association IncUpgrade Solar Power System
Upgrade solar installation at Warwick Kindergarten to support environmental sustainability and affordable local early childhood learning opportunities.
Warwick $14,500
Wilmington Bowling Club IncorporatedWilmington Bowling Club Inc - Facilities Rejuvenation
Rejuvenate the facilities at Wilmington Bowls Club to sustain operations for broad community engagement.
Wilmington $2,340
King Island Landcare Group Building Community Capacity to Restore Native Vegetation and Monitor Impacts of Restoration Effort
Building community capacity to restore native vegetation and monitor impacts of restoration efforts at King Island.
Currie $14,766
Heyfield Community Resource Centre IncFinancial Wellbeing for Women in Remote Rural Communities: Wellington & East Gippsland Shires
Build capability and confidence by providing practical financial literacy skills and awareness training to women in East Gippsland.
Maffra $13,728
Hub Foundation Castlemaine LimitedYIMBY Gymby
Boost the capacity of backyard composting through engaging young volunteers to support older community members in Castlemaine.
Castlemaine $11,330
Rex Theatre Museum LimitedCascade of Culture –A Roadmap for Rural Creative Diversity
Build a vision for community vibrancy and sustainability by developing a 10 year roadmap for community activity at the Charlton Rex Theatre.
Charlton $10,000
Strengthening Goldfields Community Radio IncorporatedGoldfieldsfm, Music Powered by the Sun
Boost environmental sustainability and reduce operations costs by installing solar panel at the community radio station.
Daisy Hill $13,581
The Fringe Thing IncThriving: Castlemaine Fringe Supports Youth & Disability Arts
Engagement Create opportunities for young people and people with a disability to participate in arts projects that inspire and engage the community.
Castlemaine $12,600
Mission Australia The Women’s House, Free from Domestic Violence
Provide fit out of accommodation to support women at risk of domestic violence and homelessness in remote WA.
Meekatharra $14,827

The small community of Bowen, on the north Queensland coast, is economically diverse, boasting agriculture, tourism, fishing and mining. Despite this, it experiences high levels of youth unemployment.

PCYC Bowen branch manager Sergeant Michelle O’Regan explains that having high youth unemployment does not necessarily mean a high youth crime rate, as some might assume, but it does present challenges for the community.

“We take a proactive approach by giving young people leadership and building their employability skills. We tap into local resources and connect schools with businesses to build that sense of community. They say it takes a village to raise a child, so our customer is the whole community – it’s about working together and opening up opportunities for both sides to connect,” said Sergeant O’Regan.

Seed funding

PCYC Queensland’s Greener Futures program aimed to support ten students from Bowen State High School gain hands-on experience in the horticulture industry and assist them to become more employable.

Four years ago, PCYC Queensland received $8,000 through FRRR’s ANZ Seeds of Renewal program to buy some basic equipment for the initiative.

“Without that initial funding, we would have never have got the program off the ground. While the program has evolved over time, looking back [the grant] was pivotal to where we are now,” Sergeant O’Regan explains.

She says that the long-term plan for Greener Futures was two-pronged; to expand quality employment opportunities in local industries for young people facing barriers in the labour market, and to strengthen the economic vitality of the local sector through strategic support and consumer education.

Sergeant O’Regan goes on to say that the initial funds were a catalyst for attracting further support and gave credibility to the initiative and what we were trying to achieve.

“The initial pilot program was a successful partnership between the high school, Stackelroth Farms, and Prospect Agriculture, with in-kind support from other local businesses and organisations that ensured the program’s success.

“This program morphed into the Resilience for life (R4L) program, which focussed on more the psychological wellbeing of our youth and attracted funds from Perpetual. From there R4L eventually became our now hugely successful WORKFit program. We received $20,000 in funds from the Queensland Government, which enabled us to employ a community development officer.

“But without the initial injection of funding from ANZ and support from FRRR, we would have struggled to get the pilot program up and running and, therefore, we would not have ended up with the program we are delivering now.

“All I know, when you build a house you need first the foundation. Small grants – five or six years later we look back and see that those funds were really pivotal to where we are now. We could never have pre-planned that.”

“There are multiple layers – from small things big things can grow. For example, if we don’t have a working kitchen, we can’t hold community events or run mental health awareness programs. A bus, even, can really make a big difference to a small community.”

The role of Philanthropy

Sergeant O’Regan believes that communities need to help themselves rather than being entirely reliant on money.

“The role of philanthropy is about giving that a bit of a boost. That confidence that what they are working towards is going to be beneficial.

“It should be a hand-up, not a hand-out. Some communities are reliant on money coming in from outside, rather than working together. If you want something, you have got to work towards it. Whether it is a raffle or something else. Our young people have put in around 5,000 hours – they really want to be part of what we do.”

Sergeant O’Regan explains that people want to help, but they don’t always know how. Corporates may not have the time or the connection within the community to initiate support, but by spending time with a group, they can often work out where they can help best.

“It’s not always about money. Support can be in time and expertise. For example, I would love to be able to connect with a good business mentor, who would give up a bit of their time, so I can share my vision and ideas.

“It is about working in partnership. Come and have a look, philanthropists – see for yourselves. Let’s work together.”