Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

In the 12 years since the 2009 Bushfires, almost half of the residents of Kinglake are new to the area. So the work of Kinglake Landcare Group is important in helping to improve the new residents’ understanding of their natural environment and the importance of fire safety. As a subsidiary of Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH), Kinglake Landcare Group provides support to the natural environment of Kinglake by undertaking community engagement activities and promoting sustainable agriculture.

With support from our Grants for Resilience & Wellness – Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake) program, Kinglake Landcare Group was able to make quite an impact on the community with their organised activities. The Group used their GR&W Kinglake grant to facilitate bushwalks and workshops to provide a practical way for residents to become familiar with the native flora, including how to care for it.  

Geordie Scott-Walker, a botanist from Wildlife Experiences, guided a group of 22 enthusiastic participants on a walk from Captains Creek Road. Along the way Geordie would stop and identify local plants, explaining each ecosystem and the importance of the relationships between plants and the environment. After a quick lunch break, the walkers were then led to the nearby Wombelano Falls where the lesson continued. Social media posts allowed residents from surrounding areas, including Whittlesea and Strath Creek to participate in the activity as well.

The grant also made it possible for Kinglake Landcare Group to hold a propagation workshop with horticulturalist, Michael Cincotta, from the Latrobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Residents were shown how to grow indigenous flora through seeds and cuttings. The pots, soil and stakes were provided at the workshop. Attendees were able to take home their own small clipping of the Round-Leaf Pomaderris plant, which is endangered in the Kinglake area.

The success of these events prompted Kinglake Landcare Group to schedule more walks that have been postponed due to the coronavirus. With the enthusiasm and support from other nearby towns, the natural environment of Kinglake ranges will continue to improve and flourish.

By attending either of the activities these local communities were able to build on the knowledge and understanding of their natural environment. The hope is that each resident who participated in the walk or workshop will continue to share the information with others. The skills learnt at the bushwalk and the workshop have given individuals the power to help maintain the natural flora and take an active role in their community.

Support continues for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday bushfires

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

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

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

Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

Next round

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

More information on these grant programs is available here.

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

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

Black Saturday funding available for community-led initiatives

Twelve years on from the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires, FRRR is offering another round of funding to support impacted communities as they continue to rebuild, reconnect and recover.

Black Saturday funding available for community-led initiatives
Whittlesea Community Garden

Supported by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), the funding is available through FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) program and the Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake) program. The grants of up to $20,000 will support not-for-profits and community-based organisations to lead projects that aid recovery and build community resilience.

The GR&W and GR&W Kinglake Ranges programs fund initiatives that:

  • Improve mental health and wellbeing of communities and individuals;
  • Enhance wellbeing and resilience of pre-school, primary and secondary school-aged children and young people;
  • Strengthen community connections, sense of place and community identity; and
  • Increase the community’s ability to prepare for future disasters.

To date, FRRR has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to local groups, thanks to VBAF funding, which comes from the generous contributions by the general public following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. Through this round of funding there is a total of $360,000 available for GR&W grants and a total of more than $700,000 available for GR&W Kinglake projects.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that the impact of COVID-19 has increased the need to support recovering communities to reconnect socially and continue to enhance their wellbeing.

“Despite the restrictions that the pandemic has put on people coming together, local groups report services and activities that enhance wellness and resilience are still well attended. One program funded twice previously by FRRR, the Be Well in the Ranges program, has been fully booked out, and the Yinnar Memorial Hall exercise group continues to attract 30-40 participants each week,” Ms O’Brien said.

“The GR&W programs provide flexible support to respond to issues as they emerge. More than a decade since the fires, communities are focusing on building resilience for the future,” Ms O’Brien explained.

Applications for both GR&W and GR&W Kinglake close at 5pm AEDT, Wednesday 21 April 2021.

Potential applicants should visit the GR&W and GR&W Kinglake webpages and review the guidelines before applying.

More than $1.5M earmarked to support ongoing recovery across the Kinglake Ranges following the 2009 bushfires has begun to roll-out through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges program. Two projects have received funding, both of which will be important pathways to further local investment.

Following a consultation process as part of the Kinglake Ranges Community Planning Project, a suite of 27 priority projects and initiatives were identified that the community would like to pursue. This planning was developed by Regional Development Victoria (RDV) in consultation with the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) Panel, Murrindindi Shire Council and community representatives from Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale.

To help fast-track the development of the priority projects, Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) will host a part-time Community Development Officer for a year. This person, who has recently started in the role, will support local groups across the Kinglake Ranges to refine the project ideas identified through the community consultations. A Steering Group will provide strategic support, and FRRR will also provide a high level of support and advice to the Officer regarding the grant application process and eligibility.

“The 27 priority projects are now at the point where they need more detail, their feasibility needs to be tested and resourcing requirements determined. So FRRR will work closely with the Community Development Officer to support local groups involved in the consultation process to develop and progress these projects to application and delivery stage,” says Program Manager Recovery & Resilience, Emma Thomas.

“Eligible organisations will be invited to apply to the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges Program in March 2020.”

An additional project funded by FRRR in support of the community planning will see Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc (KRBN) engage a contractor to lead the development of the Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program. Stage 1 of the development program will involve surveying the local business community to identify their training needs, and the results from the survey will be presented and discussed at an Economic Strategic Session with the local businesses. This will then inform a calendar of industry-focused development activities for 2020.

Ms Thomas says that the 2009 disaster negatively impacted the local economy and the mental health of business owners, so additional support is important.

“The fire affected local tourism, the local environment and changed consumer patterns. Local businesses have struggled to create a new normal and overcome loss of income and level of change, while dealing with their own personal recovery. Local business owners, therefore, need support, and FRRR looks forward to supporting this development as it progresses.”

Further details about the projects funded are below.

Organisation

Project

Location

Awarded

Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc.

Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program – Stage 1

Strengthen the local economy in the Kinglake Ranges through scoping the training needs of local business and creating a calendar of industry focused development activities for 2020.

Kinglake Ranges

$17,637

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.

Kinglake Ranges Development Fund – Community Grant Development Officer

Increase support for community organisations in the Kinglake Ranges to develop project ideas to grant application stage in order to access the Kinglake Ranges Development Fund.

Kinglake Ranges

$74,031

 

In 2013, the Mirboo North Community Bank brought the district and surrounds together to identify and prioritise the region’s future recovery and resilience activities following the 2009 Victorian bushfires. From the meeting, what became apparent was the gap in local education and training to support and engage the community in gaining practical skills and knowledge that would increase local capacity.

The Boolarra Community Development Group help promote the social, economic and environmental development of Boolarra and surrounds, taking lead from the community. They work as a liaison between local and state government departments, not-for-profits and community groups to achieve positive outcomes for the region.

They had attended the community meeting in Mirboo and recognised the opportunity to support their region to fill this training and education gap. Reaching out to the Boolarra community they identified a series of courses that would be in demand including event management, safe food handling, chainsaw training, barista training, small motor training, environmental gardening and first aid training courses.

Using a $19,950 grant from FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness grant program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, the Boolarra Community Development Group ran nine courses over a year. The Development Group works with local community groups to actively encourage members to participate in the training course. They also had a focus on increasing female participation, which was also identified as a community priority during their consultation.

In total, the courses attracted over 90 participants which was well above the expected target and an impressive feat for a small rural community. Each course was met with lots of positive feedback about the content and delivery of the training sessions.

The district is now benefiting from the breadth of skills and abilities available within the community, reducing the need for outsourcing and supporting the vitality of the region. Many participants flagged that they are interested in the potential for more workshops and training courses to run in the future.

Jindivick is a rural dairying community in the south-east of Victoria renowned for producing Jindi cheese and local gourmet produce. It is a small community striving to become put itself on the map as a popular tourist destination to strengthen its struggling local economy.

In 2009, Jindivick was affected by the Black Saturday bushfires – destroying homes, farms and local infrastructure. Residents and the surrounding communities worked hard to reconnect and recover from the devastating aftermath.

As the recovery effort evolved, it became apparent that it was going to take more than just repairing and rebuilding local infrastructure to restore the community. The bushfires had taken an enormous emotional toll on residents, and it was time for the community’s mental wellbeing became the recovery priority.

The Jindivick Progress Association developed an initiative to address the long-term effects of stress and grief that had plagued the local community, hosting five Community Wellbeing Retreats using a Grants for Resilience & Wellness grant of $14,750 funded by VBAF. Creating the promotional material, flyers and invites, the Jindivick Progress Association attracted 88 participants from the three local communities, Jindivick, Labertouche and Drouin West.

The retreats were able to provide the tools for relaxation and stress reduction techniques, education about nutrition, health and psychological wellbeing for the local community and were inclusive to men, women, young, older or disabled participants. The fifth retreat enabled Jindivick Progress Association to run a leaders retreat to reward community volunteers for their tireless work in the community.

The Jindivick Progress Association was able to engage the local community in the development of the retreats, supporting local business in the provision of catering and venues. Feedback from the events suggested that participants realised the importance of relaxation and caring for oneself, along with community engagement and connection. An overwhelming majority of retreat participants were supportive of the events continuing in future with one participant saying “I have had the value of community reinforced and enhanced. The value of support in times of struggle is inestimable.”

After the Glenburn pub was destroyed in the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the local hall became a crucial hub for community cohesion in Glenburn. The Hall is now the place where locals gather, share experiences and welcome new residents, and the Progress Association hosts monthly dinners to build this sense of place and connection.

The Glenburn Hall & Progress Association Inc is a not-for-profit organisation that oversees and looks after the Glenburn Hall. The Association’s main aim is to provide the community with a meeting place that caters for all ages and walks of life.

The hall is used for community events, CFA information evenings, Neighbourhood Watch, a Craft Club and a Garden Club, among other things.

Resounding sound

In mid-2014, 30-40 people were attending a community gathering each Friday night, and monthly dinners on the third Friday of each month attracted 70-80 people. However, the Progress Association had noticed a decline in attendance at activities based at the community hall, and discovered that the reason why was because many ageing residents were having difficulty hearing because of the hall acoustics.

The Glenburn Hall Committee engaged acoustic engineers who established that the pitch in the roofline of the hall was creating a funnel effect, and that by placing sound absorbing panels on the roof, the issue would be rectified. By improving the hall acoustics, the Committee has removed a barrier to participation for older residents, however other benefits include improved sound for music and films, which help to increase financial viability.

The community now has access to a community meeting place that is a comfortable environment for all age groups.