Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Grants of more than $800,000 support bushfire recovery and community resilience

Seventy-nine community-led projects that will boost remote, rural and regional communities across Australia are sharing in $809,234 in funding, thanks to FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

Funding strengthens Australia’s rural heartbeat

Funded by generous contributions from a number of donors, the SRC program offers two streams of funding. The Small & Vital Stream offers grants of up to $10,000 for locally-led initiatives that strengthen community resilience and capacity, while the Bushfire Recovery Stream offers grants of up to $25,000 to support recovery from the Black Summer bushfires in 2020/21.

In this round of funding, $446,638 will support 55 Small & Vital projects, while $312,596 will be shared across 22 bushfire recovery initiatives.

Grants awarded range from $1,800 to upgrade the Gujarati Cultural Association of Darwin website, through to $25,000 for Wangaratta Rural City Council, which will be used to purchase and install a generator in their Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort.

The funding follows the recent release of FRRR’s Heartbeat of Rural Australia Report, which highlights the challenges that local community groups across the country are facing in funding the vital community-strengthening activities that they undertake.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, says that the diversity of projects reflects the critical role that these groups play in the vitality of their communities.

“As we found in our Heartbeat study, rural community groups and NFPs really are the heartbeat of rural communities. However, many community groups have found it tough to access funding, especially over the last two years, so we are delighted to be able to step in and support them to deliver on local priorities.

“We are seeing initiatives address local needs ranging from enhancing organisational capacity, to providing training so that the groups can better support their communities, to upgrades in critical community infrastructure so that people a safe and accessible space where they can meet.

“This diversity of projects confirms that these community organisations are best placed to lead the way when it comes to supporting their communities, facilitating recovery, and building resilience,” Ms Egleton said.

One particularly notable aspect of this round of grants is the total value of the projects being supported in the Small & Vital Stream.

“We often hear from community groups that the funding they receive from FRRR helps them secure the balance of funds for their projects. While we are awarding $446,638 toward Small & Vital projects, the total value of the projects we’re supporting is nearly $3 million. This means that, on average, for every $1 awarded by FRRR there’s another $6.50 going into the community either in cash or in-kind. That’s wonderful to see and we’re delighted to be able to help local organisations make progress toward getting these critical initiatives up and running,” Ms Egleton said.

Some of the 79 projects awarded include:

  • The Community Charity Shop Incorporated – Rylstone, NSW – Volunteer Celebration and Expo – $10,000Celebrate volunteerism and encourage local involvement through a two-day volunteer expo and celebration of local volunteer groups.
  • Gong-Dal Aboriginal Corporation – Gapuwiyak, NT – Miyarrka Homelands Mobile Bush Studio and Pilot Project – $10,000Upskill youth in video production skills and build a library of video resources for cultural education as well as the purchase of video equipment to develop On-Country bush video studio.
  • Fassifern District Historical Society Incorporated – Boonah, QLD – Ride on Mower – $6,200Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.
  • Port Neill Progress Association Inc – Port Neill, SA – Health and Connectedness for our Community – $2,860 Support physical and mental health for residents of Port Neill, through weekly fitness sessions throughout 2022.
  • Bruny Island District School Association Incorporated – Alonnah, TAS – Billabong Playground Upgrade – $10,000Improve educational, physical and social outcomes, by installing an age-appropriate outdoor play area for preschool children.
  • Goulburn Region Pre-School Association Inc – Violet Town, VIC – Violet Town Bush Kinder – $4,264Enhance early learning andappreciation of nature through the development of a bush education program for kindergarten children.
  • City of Albany – Goode Beach, WA – Albany Community Preparedness and Resilience Project – $8,350 Building community resilience by supporting community planning and preparation for emergencies or disasters.

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

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors, which are listed on FRRR’s website.

The next round of SRC applications is currently being assessed and will be announced March 2022.

More information about the SRC program is available on FRRR’s website.

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at frrr.org.au/giving/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bushfire Recovery
Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network IncorporatedSupporting Safe and Connected Landcare Communities Through Digital Resources and WHS Training
Help Landcare volunteers to have better access to training opportunities with the purchase of a Smart TV, laptop and improved meeting space furniture.
Kyogle$6,915
Brunswick Valley Landcare IncorporatedClimate Resilience For Our Community's Gardeners and Landholders
Encourage people to come together to plant trees and learn about climate resilience at the 2022 Mother's Day Community Planting event.
Mullumbimby$10,000
Do It For Batlow IncorporatedCommunity Health and Wellbeing / Sports Area Upgrade
Encourage the community to come together, connect and exercise through rejuvenation of the netball, basketball courts and surrounding area within the Batlow Showground Precinct.
Batlow$25,000
Gundillion Recreation Reserve Land ManagerChainsaw Training Round Two
Increase awareness for local community impacted by the Black Summer bushfire events in the safe use of chainsaws for the removal of burnt trees.
Krawarree$5,000
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains Assoc IncCarnivale Catastrophe
Inspire community to come together to share their experiences of the 2019/20 bushfires through an exhibition, public programs and an online digital publication as part of Cementa Festival 2022.
Kandos$21,022
Rainforest 4 Foundation LtdBuilding a Volunteer Base for Local Bushfire Recovery Community Tree Plantings
Expand and retain a volunteer base that will support tree planting and forest regeneration in bushfire impacted rainforest areas.
Mullumbimby$9,316
Scotts Head Community Group IncorporatedScotts Head Community Gardeners
Establish a community garden to encourage community engagement and create an inclusive and supportive meeting place.
Scotts Head$15,000
TenterLIFE Suicide Prevention Network IncTenterLIFE Suicide Prevention Network Inc
Boost community knowledge of suicide and its impact through a series of awareness events and Mental Health First Aid training.
Tenterfield$25,000
The Community Charity Shop IncorporatedVolunteer Celebration and Expo
Celebrate volunteerism and encourage local involvement through a two day volunteer expo and celebration of local volunteer groups.
Rylstone$10,000
Treading Lightly IncTreading Lightly Community Hub and Youth Program
Enable the development of a youth committee by local community hub with rent support in addition to training and mentoring support for youth skill development.
Milton$25,000
Valla Public Hall Committee of Managerment Nambucca Valley CouncilHistoric Valla Hall - Upgrade of Amenities for Community Comfort and Resilience
Improve the comfort and use of the community hall by installing heating and cooling plus dishwasher.
Valla$17,400
Small & Vital
Clifton Community Food Garden IncorporatedArtificial Turf for Garden Walkways Between Beds
Encourage community participation and make the Clifton Community Food Garden more accessible by installing artificial turf for walkways between garden beds.
Sanctuary Point$3,998
Gloucester Arts and Cultural Council IncGrowing Gloucester's Arts
Boost participation and increase cultural vibrancy by bringing more arts-based and cultural programs to Gloucester.
Gloucester$10,000
Home-Start National IncCrookwell Parent to Parent Mentor Project
Strengthen social connection and build resilience by supporting the Crookwell Parent to Parent Mentor Project.
Crookwell$9,480
Ivanhoe RSL Club LtdIvanhoe RSL Upgrades
Boost functionality of the Ivanhoe RSL Club through provision of a deep fryer, dishwasher and kitchen equipment.
Ivanhoe$9,750
Mulga Bill Festival IncorporatedThe Air Conditioning of the Banjo Paterson...More Than a Poet Museum/Exhibition
Boost functionality and usability of The Banjo Paterson…more than a Poet Museum through provision of air conditioning.
Yeoval$4,117
Scone Triathlon Club IncorporatedSplash into Summer in Scone
Increase community participation, health and wellbeing by providing free pool entry and swimming programs for the residents of Scone.
Scone$5,800
Warren Chamber Music Festival IncorporatedWarren Chamber Music Festival Education Week
Inspire more culturally vibrant communities and increase engagement in learning by supporting Warren Chamber Music Festival Education Week.
Warren$10,000
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Small & Vital
Bula'Bula ArtsMoiety Murals: Yirritja and Dhuwa Dreamings
Encourage younger generation’s understanding and knowledge of Yolngu culture through creation of two large murals depicting Dhuwa and Yirritja moieties.
Ramingining$9,973
Enterprise Learning ProjectsEmpowering the Social Entrepreneurs of Remote Northern Australia
Build successful social enterprises in remote Northern Australia through five online workshops and an entrepreneurs' network.
Northern Australia$10,000
Gong-Dal Aboriginal CorporationMiyarrka Homelands Mobile Bush Studio and Pilot Project
Upskill youth in video production skills and build a library of video resources for cultural education with purchase of video equipment to develop On-Country bush video studio.
Gapuwiyak$10,000
Gujarati Cultural Association of Darwin IncorporatedGCAD Website 2022
Grow awareness of Gujarati Indian culture and participation in multicultural celebrations with the upgrade of community website.
Darwin$1,800
Junior Police Rangers Land AssociationGreening Goanna Park - Preservation Phase
Maintain grounds of Youth Leadership Camp with purchases of a spray unit to control invasive Gamba Grass and a high-pressure washer for removal of mold.
Marrakai$5,860
The Trustee for Mantiyupwi Family TrustWurrumiyanga Community Tree Planting and Clean-Up Week
Encourage residents to participate in a program to beautify their environment, reduce erosion, increase access to fresh fruit, and increase shade via a community tree planting and Clean-Up week.
Wurrumiyanga$5,500
QUEENSLAND
Bushfire Recovery
Fassifern District Historical Society IncorporatedRide on Mower
Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.
Boonah$6,200
Scenic Rim Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation IncMobile Field Hospital Fitout
Support volunteers responding to natural disasters by providing cooling, refrigeration and a computer for mobile field animal hospital.
Boonah$9,350
Small & Vital
Begonia Golf & Sports Club IncConnect Begonia
Boost opportunities for inclusion and participation through connecting Begonia residents to internet and providing an online yoga program.
Begonia$10,000
Bowen Neighbourhood Centre Bowen Community Council IncCommunity Computers
Increase access to digital services through provision of a bank of computers at Bowen Neighbourhood Centre.
Bowen$10,000
Captain Creek Community Sport and Recreation ClubCommercial Dishwasher and TV for Captain Creek Community Club
Encourage community connection and support volunteers through provision of a commercial dishwasher and television for Captain Creek Community Club.
Captain Creek$8,265
Cawarral Primary P&C AssociationPlayful Partnerships at Cawarral
Encourage social connection and engagement in learning through installation of a new playground and fencing for Cawarral State School.
Cawarral$10,000
Childers Neighbourhood Centre Bundaberg Regional CouncilNOT The One Pot Wonders
Build community resilience and participation through provision of a series of cooking classes that focus on health, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Childers$9,445
El Arish Community Sport and Recreation Association IncorporatedSTAGE 2 Air Conditioning Project for the El Arish RSL Memorial Hall
Expand the use of El Arish RSL Memorial Hall by installing three user-pays air conditioning units.
El Arish$9,950
Home Hill Chamber of CommerceCreate and Host a New Website, Email Service and Social Media Presence
Build economic strength and enhance community identity by provision of a new website and social media presence for Home Hill business community.
Home Hill$10,000
Nanango & District Kindergarten AssnNew Indoor Timber Furniture
Revitalise the learning environment of Nanango & District Kindergarten through the provision of sustainable timber activity tables and chairs.
Nanango$10,000
Roma Show Society IncMaranoa New Years Spectacular
Boost the local economy and increase social connection by providing fireworks and entertainment for the Maranoa New Year Spectacular.
Roma$10,000
Torres Strait & Cape York Peninsula Indigenous Futsal Association LimitedRemote Indigenous Junior Futsal Clubs
Foster a more engaged, participative community and contribute to "closing the gap" for Indigenous children by establishing long-term extra-curricular activities in the remote communities of Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula.
Northern Peninsula Area$9,500
Woodhill Hall Association IncRefurbish Kitchen Benches and Shelving
Rejuvenate the Woodhill Hall through provision of new kitchen benchtops and shelving.
Woodhill$4,485
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
Lights of Lobethal SA IncIlluminature
Bringing community together and support activities that promote recovery through a lighting display.
Lobethal$25,000*
Southern Yorke Peninsula Community Hub IncorporatedIncident Response Trailer
Empower community led initiatives in responding to and preparing for natural disasters.
Yorketown & District$24,950
TULKA Progress AssociationPurchase of a Zero Turn Ride-On Lawn Mower
Boost the community's ability to prepare for bushfire seasons and maintain fuel reduction though purchasing a mower.
Tulka$6,199
Small & Vital
Cummins Area SchoolPreschool Outdoor Area Upgrade
Encourage connectivity, educational and social opportunities for young children, by constructing a sensory garden and play-space.
Cummins$10,000
Port Neill Progress Association IncHealth and Connectedness for our Community
Support physical and mental health for residents of Port Neill, through the operation of a weekly fitness session throughout 2022.
Port Neill$2,860
The Beltana Progress Association IncorporatedIncreasing Community Resilience -Purchase a Replacement Tractor
Support organisational capacity and volunteer wellbeing through the purchase of a tractor for the maintenance of town infrastructure.
Beltana$10,000
Wudinna & District Swimming Pool IncWudinna Swimming Pool Canteen Upgrade
Support revenue generation and develop organisational capacity through the upgrade of a refrigerator.
Wudinna$4,432
TASMANIA
Small & Vital
Bruny Island District School Association IncorporatedBillabong Playground Upgrade
Improve educational, physical and social outcomes, by installing an age-appropriate outdoor play area for pre-school children.
Alonnah$10,000
Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House IncHolistic Volunteer Strategy
Increase the Neighbourhood House’s capacity to support volunteers through the establishment of a volunteer engagement strategy.
Nubeena$8,200
VICTORIA
Bushfire Recovery
Ambassadors of Jesus IncEnsuring Emergency Food Relief in the Upper Murray
Boost health and wellbeing of communities affected by natural disasters through delivering emergency food relief and essential goods.
Corryong$25,000
Bright Court House Committee of ManagementAuditorium Upgrade - Live Streaming Cameras
Encourage people to come together and strengthen connections to arts and culture in a community affected by natural disasters.
Bright$9,970
Bruthen Arts and Events Council IncBruthen Blues & Arts Festival, 2022
Strengthen recovery and encourage people to come together by enhancing entertainment and COVID-safe practices at the Bruthen Arts & Blues Festival.
Bruthen$25,000*
Corryong Junior Gymnastic Club IncCircastics Access for All
Encourage access and inclusion for all abilities through the purchase of specialist gymnastics and circus equipment.
Corryong$6,650
Dartmouth Community Progress AssociationStrengthening Volunteer Capacity Through the Upgrading of Equipment in our Local Community Hall
Increase community connection and disaster preparedness by improving kitchen facilities at a community gathering space.
Dartmouth$9,000
National Alpine Museum of Australia IncorporatedAustralia's Alpine Album
Grow community resources and local connection by preserving stories and historical artefacts.
VIC Alpine$12,274
Whitfield Recreation Reserve Community Asset Committee Wangaratta Rural City CouncilStrengthening Resilience and Capacity for the Whitfield Community During Emergency Events
Building capacity to respond to natural disasters through purchasing a generator for a community gathering space.
Whitfield$25,000
Small & Vital
Art House Gippsland IncorporatedInward Goods Festival 2022
Build capacity of a music event and extend artistic engagement of young people in creative activities through supporting amenities costs at the Inward Goods Briagolong Festival.
Briagolong$10,000
Banyena Community Hall IncorporatedBanyena Hall Automated External Defibrillator
Enhance community safety and capacity by providing an accessible defibrillator and training at the local hall.
Banyena$2,321
Bass Coast Community Foundation Open FundBass Coast Kids as Catalysts
Enhance school engagement and develop life skills through implementing the Kids as Catalysts creative learning program at Bass Valley Primary School.
Corinella$10,000
Bellarine Historical Society Incorporated (INC. NO. A 0015326L)Upgrade Computer Equipment
Boost volunteer capacity and engagement through the upgrading of IT equipment.
Drysdale$3,030
Boolarra and District Historical Society IncImproving access to Boolarra Museum
Expand the use of the Boolarra Museum by installing a ramp to improve access.
Boolarra$10,000
Centre for Participation IncAlternative Life Skill Program for Vulnerable Youth
Develop resilience of at-risk Youth through participation in a food handling training program.
Nhill$9,750
Edenhope Tourism IncorporatedPermanent Museum to Display Local History
Build a stronger local economy and celebrate a historically rich culture through the establishment of a history museum.
Edenhope$10,000
Geelong Food Relief CentreThe Weekly Purchase of Nutritious Food for the Geelong Food Banks
Improve food security in vulnerable communities through purchasing and distributing nutritious food.
Geelong (G1 Region)$10,000
Gellibrand Community House IncorporatedHeating Hearts in the Gellibrand Hall
Improve volunteer vitality and organisational resilience by installing split systems.
Gellibrand$10,000
Goulburn Region Pre-School Association IncViolet Town Bush Kinder
Enhance early learning and appreciation of nature through the development of a bush education program for kindergarten children.
Violet Town$4,264
Karramomus Hall and Recreation Reserve Greater Shepparton City CouncilRejuvenating the Karramomus Community Hall
Strengthen social engagement for senior’s groups and expand hire of a local hall, through the upgrade of furniture.
Karramomus$9,750
Koroit Irish Festival Committee IncCaring for our Kids
Increase organisational capacity and young people’s engagement with a heritage festival through the purchase of marquees.
Koroit$7,500
Korumburra Men’s Shed Milpara Community House IncThe Korumburra Castle ‘Hub 1’
Foster greater engagement and connection by installing an accessible kitchen at the men's shed.
Korumburra$9,600
Ladybird Education North East Regional Pre-School Association IncorporatedLadybird Education Music Incursion Program at Chiltern Kindergarten
Support early childhood pre-literacy development through the introduction of a music program at Chiltern Kindergarten.
Chiltern$6,800
Mirboo Recreation Reserve IncorporatedReverse Cycle Replacement
Strengthen community connectivity and engagement through the purchase and installation of split systems.
Mirboo$2,000
Portland Community Garden IncorporatedExpand our Work Space Expand our Opportunities
Enhance engagement opportunities for the Portland community through the establishment of a workshop space at the community garden.
Portland$10,000
Pyramid Hill and District Historical Society Inc A0016804KPyramid Hill Historic Plaques
Increase community connection and promote history and tourism in Pyramid Hill by installing historic plaques within the township.
Pyramid Hill$8,253
The Growing Abundance Project Inc2022 Harvest Program Coordinator
Enhance community wellbeing via a food security program and support volunteer management by employing a project coordinator.
Castlemaine$10,000
Wandong History Group IncLinking Our Heritage - Wandong
Increase access to local history and boost community participation through establishing a new website.
Wandong$8,327
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Bushfire Recovery
City of AlbanyAlbany Community Preparedness and Resilience Project
Building community resilience by supporting community planning and preparation for emergencies or disasters.
Goode Beach$8,350
Small & Vital
Badgingarra Primary School Parents and Citizens AssociationUpgrade School Kitchen
Expand the use of the school’s kitchen by installing new cupboards and appliances to increase capacity to deliver food technology programs and provide catering at school events.
Badgingarra$10,000
Cranbrook Community Men's ShedShed Extension
Grow opportunities to connect and support skill development by extending Cranbrook Men’s Shed to allow a separate metal working area.
Cranbrook$8,273
Dunsborough Toy LibraryDunsborough Toy Library - Building Capacity, Awareness and Resilience
Increase opportunities for families to connect and children to access educational toys, with new website and promotional material for toy library.
Dunsborough$3,605
Foodbank of Western Australia IncFood Relief Support for Isolated Meekatharra & Wiluna Families
Increase access to food for remote communities of Wiluna and Meekatharra, through provision of food hampers.
Meekatharra$9,750
Indigenous Remote Communications Association Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation2022 Remote Indigenous Media Festival
Boost Indigenous media skills by funding workshops and forums supporting skills development, networking and industry development.
Kimberley$10,000
Walitj Aboriginal CorporationBoosting Shearing Training Capability for Noongar Young Adults in Great Southern WA
Develop workplace skills to address labor shortages in the wool industry through purchase of a wool press that will support industry training and grow a viable social enterprise.
Redmond$10,000
* Tailored grants

Cumulative disasters have taken a heavy toll and left local leaders in remote, rural and regional communities feeling “uncertain”, “frustrated”, and “tired/fatigued”, although hopeful, according to a study released today.

Heartbeat of Rural Australia Report Out Now

Commissioned by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), a charity dedicated to supporting grassroots community groups and not-for-profits in remote, rural and regional Australia, the Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey sheds a light on these often unseen and unheard organisations and shares their firsthand experience of how non-metro communities are faring.

FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton, says that the study is among the first to attempt to quantify the critical role these groups play in remote, rural and regional communities, as well as what needs to change if they are to continue to deliver services that sustain rural communities.

“These organisations are vital to the health, wellbeing and prosperity of these communities. In particular, they provide vital social connections; manage and maintain critical community infrastructure; deliver essential services to community members; and a range of other supports.

“These small groups, most of which are not normally eligible for either government funding or philanthropic support, are the backbone of their communities, with nearly 90 percent of respondents saying they play some kind of economic role. Many are responsible for more than one aspect of life in their community and almost all play a critical cultural or social role.

“What this study really highlighted was that if they were to fold – which some told us could occur without additional support – the communities they serve may well ‘‘wither and die”. At the very least, there would be significant gaps in services, the burden for which would move to government and the private sector,” Ms Egleton explains.

The study highlighted a lack of digital connectivity is significantly hampering rural Australia’s ability to thrive, and to maintain critical social connections.

“Access to digital technology in rural Australia really hasn’t improved in decades. Even where there is connectivity, it is expensive. While external funding often covers the hardware, there is insufficient income to cover the ongoing operational costs such as WIFI access, managing cyber security and training volunteers.”

There were also key issues raised around workforce attraction (including housing availability), mobilisation and infrastructure, which smaller and more remote communities require tailored solutions to, according to Ms Egleton.

While more than half of respondents reported that uncertainty is of greatest concern to them, resulting in “increased general stress / mental health”, by far the most detrimental effect of the pandemic has been the inability to meet with one-another, resulting in isolation, reduced wellbeing, and increased stress – especially for those also recovering from disasters.

The onset of the pandemic weakened the ability of community organisations to play their various roles in the community, at a time when, for many, demand for their services increased. Many – especially organisations with revenue of less than $50,000 – saw significant reductions in income from not being able to run fundraising events and income-generating activities and, in some instances, funders redirecting their support.

“At a community group level, the disruption has been constant, with the effects of cumulative disasters topped off by the pandemic. This has left local communities in a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty.

“It’s also meant that community groups – more than half of whom are made up entirely of volunteers – are being called on to do more, for longer. The reality is that they are not resourced to endure this level of disruption. Yet, in many smaller communities, they simply have had to do it as there is no one else. That is fatiguing; that’s the pure exhaustion that we heard – the effort to keep focusing on your town, your small business community; keeping people connected and supported – especially when there are so few volunteers bearing the load,” notes Ms Egleton.

FRRR is calling for those that are concerned about rural communities to come together to better target support for rural, regional and remote not-for-profits and community groups.

“This report gives us a great opportunity to step back and consider how we can better support and resource these organisations to do what is critical work – and work that only they are really able to do effectively because they are in and of these places. At present, the broader funding mechanisms and policies don’t value these organisations in line with the contributions that they make.

“We are still working through the findings in detail, but it certainly points to an opportunity to come together – philanthropy, government, corporations and individuals – and explore how we can better support these groups for the long-term. We need to take a coordinated approach to removing many structural barriers that are evident in this research if we want rural Australia to prosper,” Ms Egleton explains.

To explore the full report, head to www.frrr.org.au/heartbeat. FRRR has also partnered with Seer Data and Analytics to make the full dataset available online. The data can be cross-referenced with other publicly available data, enabling community groups in particular to better advocate for the support that they need to survive.

FRRR will host two webinars to explore the findings in more detail. The first, focused more on community groups, will be held on Tuesday 30 November, and a session tailored to funders, policy-makers and the broader sector will be held on Wednesday 1 December. Both sessions will begin at 12.30pm AEDT and be held online. Register at www.frrr.org.au/heartbeat.

Calling all not-for-profits in rural Australia

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) is calling on leaders of not-for-profit organisations and community groups across remote, rural and regional Australia to tell it like it is in the Foundation’s inaugural Heartbeat of Rural Australia study.

Make your voice heard in the Heartbeat of Rural Australia study

Established in 2000, FRRR is a charity dedicated to connecting the genuine local needs of remote, rural and regional people and places with the good will of government, business and philanthropy. Since 2000, FRRR has distributed more than $115 million in grants to more than 11,000 rural projects.

Working deeply in rural communities over the past 21 years means that FRRR is acutely aware of the critical role that small not-for-profit organisations and community groups play in keeping their communities vibrant and resilient.

However, Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, says that not everyone outside of these rural communities knows or understands it.

“Many organisations find it tough to keep going at the best of times, but we know that many places have been heavily impacted by drought, fires, floods, the mouse plague and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – often in succession – and the cumulative impacts are really significant. But how significant? What does it mean for their future?

“There is funding and support being channelled to these communities, but is it getting to the right places? Is it delivered in the right way? What exactly has the impact been of events like the bushfires and COVID on community groups? How are they getting funding to keep going? How are they resourcing themselves, given the volunteer fatigue?

“Our day-to-day work means that we know that without these volunteer-led groups, there would be a lot more gaps in the critical services that sustain remote, rural and regional communities across Australia. But because there is not really any hard data to measure the value of the work they do, and the challenges they face, it’s nearly impossible to quantify the important economic, social and cultural role of these groups.

“We have lots of anecdotal evidence to answer these questions from the thousands of grant applications we’ve seen in the last 18 months and our day to day conversations, but the reality is that is only a snapshot.

“That’s why we have commissioned this study. We need some hard data to inform policy and ensure that funding gets where it’s needed,” Ms Egleton said.

For this survey to be meaningful, FRRR needs as many local community groups as possible from remote, rural and regional communities to participate.

“We’re encouraging responses groups and organisations working with and representing the diversity of the people and places that make up country Australia to ensure we are telling as much of the story of remote, rural, and regional Australia as possible.”

The results of the study will be shared widely with government, philanthropy and business, to inform and influence policy. The report will also provide local groups with the evidence they need to successfully advocate for their community and to tell their stories.

“This survey will be a great tool to provide you and the people you live alongside, with the help and assistance that you need. So, it’s important that you make your voice heard, tell your story and help to shape the future of your community,” Ms Egleton said.

To complete the survey and share it across your community, go to https://frrr.org.au/heartbeat.