Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Sixteen community initiatives that will act on issues that matter to remote, rural and regional youth will share in $148,721 in grants, through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.

Heywire winners presenting at the 2023 Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. Image credit: Bradley Cummings
Heywire winners presenting at the 2023 Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. Image credit: Bradley Cummings.

Now in its 11th year, the youth-focused program offers funds for communities to adopt, adapt and act on the ideas generated by young Australians at the ABC Heywire program’s annual Regional Youth Summit.

This year’s 39 young Summit participants developed six exciting ideas for change on issues that matter most to rural youth, with themes addressing boredom relief; easy access to mental health support; cost of food relief; education and diverse learning needs being catered for; ensuring youth voices are heard; and creating better futures for young people with disabilities.

The idea that received most applications was ‘Boredom Relief’, which resonated extensively with young people. One of the projects receiving funding to respond to Boredom Relief will be led by 2023 Heywirer Blake, who says there is a lack of opportunities for fun youth events in rural communities such as his.

“In small rural towns, it can feel like there is nothing for young people to do. We need to make sure that there are safe events and spaces for youth, or else they will look to drugs and alcohol for entertainment and excitement.

“Our project will see young people design and lead a one-day event of live music and activities. The drug and alcohol-free event will involve young and upcoming artists, and include art and cultural activities. I know it will help the young people in our community to build connections and give them practical experience in event management.

“I’m excited for it to get underway!” Blake said.

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that this program helps to put youth-led ideas at the forefront of rural communities and helps young people to feel heard.

“Young people are the future and often we find that grassroots organisations know how important it is to involve the youth and make them part of the community, but they simply lack the capacity to do so.

“Thanks to our donor partners, this program gives community groups the support and resources they need to overcome these barriers and focus their time and energy on initiatives that will make young people feel seen and empowered.

ABC Director, News, Justin Stevens, thanked FRRR for its support.

“Heywire amplifies young rural and regional voices across our ABC platforms and the Regional Youth Summit encourages their inspiring ideas for change and helps bring them to life,” he said.

“These young innovators are Australia’s future leaders and their ideas demonstrate their understanding of what their communities need.”

Examples of this year’s projects include:

  • Zero Positive for Schools in Scone, NSW received $6,200 to develop the Idea 4 Change idea by preventing climate anxiety for youth with a summit featuring youth environmentalists and support for implementing school-based action plans.
  • Nganmarriyanga School in Nganmarriyanga, NT, received $10,000 to develop the Boredom Relief idea by fostering youth agency and responsibility with the opportunity for youth to design their own Boredom Relief project.
  • Breakaway Toowoomba in Toowoomba, QLD, received $10,000 to develop the We Are Not Alone idea by encouraging greater visibility of disability with a youth-led accessible community event to establish support networks.
  • Tomorrow Movement in TAS (statewide), received $10,000 to develop the Hear Our Voices idea by preparing youth to become leaders of community-driven climate solutions with workshops to develop skills in facilitation and visioning sessions.
  • Birchip Neighbourhood House Inc in Birchip, VIC, received $10,000 to develop the Boredom Relief idea by empowering youth with skills in event management through the delivery of a youth-led arts and culture event.
  • Kununurra Community Garden Kitchen in Ringer Soak, WA, received $10,000 to develop the Homegrown Hub idea by growing cultural education on Indigenous plants and increasing access to food security with the installation of a community kitchen garden.

These grants are possible thanks to the generous support of The Sally Foundation, David Mactaggart Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, AMP Foundation, as well as several private donors.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Barkindji Maraura Elders Environment TeamBoredom Relief
Strengthen community connections and wellbeing with on-Country camps for youth.
Dareton$10,000
Grand Pacific Health LimitedBoredom Relief
Enhance a youth-led music festival to provide opportunities for young people to engage in their community.
Pambula Beach$9,265
Zero Positive for SchoolsIdea 4 Change
Prevent climate anxiety for youth with a summit featuring youth environmentalists and support for implementing school-based action plans.
Scone$6,200
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Nganmarriyanga SchoolBoredom Relief
Foster youth agency and responsibility with the opportunity for youth to design their own Boredom Relief project.
Nganmarriyanga$10,000
QUEENSLAND
Breakaway ToowoombaWe Are Not Alone
Encourage greater visibility of disability with a youth-led accessible community event to establish support networks.
Toowoomba$10,000
Bridges Health and Community Care LtdEasy Access
Equip students with strategies to improve wellbeing and navigate difficult conversations through mental health education delivered through theatre.
Monto$5,500
Coen Region Aboriginal CorporationBoredom Relief
Encourage youth and the community to come together at a series of outdoor movie events.
Coen$10,000
Now I Can RunWe Are Not Alone
Encourage wellbeing and physical activity with an event to introduce race running to youth with mobility impairments.
Townsville$9,700
Puuya FoundationEasy Access
Strengthen youth wellbeing with on-Country camps that provide culturally appropriate mental health supports.
Lockhart River$10,000
TASMANIA
Kind Schools LimitedIdea 4 Change
Foster resilience and kindness in children through mental health training for primary students.
Invermay$10,000
Tomorrow MovementHear Our Voices
Prepare youth to become leaders of community-driven climate solutions with workshops to develop skills in facilitation and visioning sessions.
Statewide$10,000
VICTORIA
Bendigo Sustainability GroupHear Our Voices
Support youth skills in creative and community advocacy with workshops to develop a digital-storytelling program.
Bendigo$9,500
Birchip Neighbourhood House IncBoredom Relief
Empower youth with skills in event management through the delivery of a youth-led arts and culture event.
Birchip$10,000
Creswick Neighbourhood Centre IncBoredom Relief
Create a youth space to reduce isolation and improve mental health for local youth to come together.
Creswick$10,000
Standing Tall in HamiltonWe Are Not Alone
Support mentors to become more confident and capable of working with disabled young people with youth-led access and inclusion training.
Hamilton$8,556
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Kununurra Community Garden KitchenHomegrown Hub
Grow cultural education on Indigenous plants and increase access to food security with the installation of a community kitchen garden.
Ringer Soak$10,000

At the 2020 ABC Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra, 37 young regional Australians developed six exciting ideas to create a better future for young people across Australia. One of those ideas was We Need Farmers – educating and taking younger generations behind the scenes of farming. Timothy, Ebony and Taylor were the Heywire team behind the We Need Farmers project concept. They hoped that the project would increase the level of awareness and understanding that everyone has of Australia’s farmers. And especially, the hard work, time and effort that’s required to produce the produce for our nation.

“Our family farm is a third generation working farm. I love being there. The welcoming smell of the fresh air and the vast open landscapes. However, when my dad was a kid… they had 52 horses. Now there are 2. And over the last 25 years… our sheep numbers have fallen by 70%. We Need Farmers would help educate students on the hard work, time and effort that is required to stock those supermarket shelves and keep you full.”

Ebony, 2020 Heywirer, Western Australia

Gulf Youth in Ag was one of three groups that responded to the We Need Farmers project concept, receiving a grant for $9,979 to deliver a series of Paddock to Plate microdocumentaries.

Gulf Youth in Ag is an initiative of the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (now Gulf Savannah NRM) that supports youth in the Gulf who are looking towards careers in sustainable agriculture. They support youth to engage with the agriculture industry with projects and networks to support young people.

The grant, which was funded by Friends of FRRR, enabled 12 members of the Gulf Youth in Ag group to complete a three-day intensive Film Making 101 course with a local production company. Students learnt film and sound production, developed storyboards, and the basics of editing.

Participants then formed three groups and chose a local farm to develop a film about the paddock to plate journey of the farm’s produce, to illustrate why we need farmers. They spent two days capturing farm footage and stories and interviewing the farmers.

The Paddock to Plate videos were launched to an audience of more than 70 local farmers, education providers, dignitaries and alumni of the Gulf Youth in Ag group. The finished videos were then distributed to 22 schools in the region and have been shared with the public through the Gulf Youth in Ag’s social media. The videos continue to be utilised in regional schools for use in the technology and science streams of the curriculum. The videos provide a resource for teachers to make the curriculum lessons relatable to the region.  

Click on the image below to watch a short snippet explaining the project and showcasing the three videos.

Contribute to the Change was one of the project ideas developed at the 2021 Heywire Ideas Lab. The group of young people who developed the idea wanted to see mental health support become destigmatised and delivered in ways that were personalised to meet the needs of young people.

Riverland Youth Theatre (RYT), based in Renmark SA, adapted the Contribute to the Change idea to deliver a costume design project for young queer people in the Riverlands. Their project was called There I Am, and encouraged young queer people to image and create the best version of themselves through imaginative and colourful costumes.

RYT identified that within the region there were few safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth to explore their identity, nor groups aimed at supporting them. This resulted in a decline in mental health, and young people leaving the community because they lacked accepting and supportive adults and peers in their community. RYT developed There I Am to address this issue, aiming to create a safe, supportive environment where young struggling LGBTQIA+ youth could come and explore their authentic selves. 

Participants spent five days working with a costume designer to create a costume that told their story and helped them imagine the person they wanted to be. The project built on the idea that self-expression through clothing can be an affirming and validating act for queer youth who are exploring their identity.

“I feel like my outfit kind of says ‘hey I’m here, I might not be able to talk, but I am still a person, and I can be present here, even if I don’t feel like it that much.”

Rowan, one of the youth participants, said that their costume helped them feel in control in a world where they have little control. “I kind of based it on a part of myself that I’ve suppressed over the years and bringing that into the light. With my costume it’s about being able to control whatever I want and it can all go perfectly.“

Projects such as There I Am have begun to establish Riverland Youth Theatre as a safe space for queer young people in the Riverlands. Youth have a place where they can seek support and be their authentic selves.  

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants have continued to support the development of this safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth in Riverlands with another grant in 2022 for The Allies Project, which they once again adapted to their specific local context. Their project, Ally Merit Pins and Awards, empowers teens to decide what an ‘ally’ is and makes allies more visible.

The concept was developed by a young non-binary student who suffered from homophobic bullying and spoke of their exhaustion of not knowing which adults were safe or supportive. They proposed the merit badges as a way to encourage schools to be proactive in creating safe spaces for queer students and empower the queer community within their school. The project was awarded a $10,000 Heywire Grant and will be delivered in 2023, continuing to ensure that there a place within the Riverlands where LGBTQIA+ youth can find their tribe.

By Deb Samuels, People Portfolio Lead

With the rates of volunteering on the decline, how will we replace these tireless volunteers with a new generation of community leaders? It’s encouraging to know the Australian Government is making an investment in the future of volunteering. The recent press release from Minister Andrew Leigh’s office ‘Getting more young people back into volunteering’ provides some targets and strategies for engaging with and encouraging more youth volunteering and developing an open source ‘playbook’ for the sector.

ABC Heywire Summit 2023 presentation
ABC Heywire Youth Summit 2023
Photo credit: Bradley Cummings

For rural, regional and remote communities, harnessing the energy and social consciousness of young people represents an incredible opportunity – and unique challenges – to do things differently when it comes to local community leadership and volunteerism. The work we do at FRRR supports so many volunteer-run groups providing critical services across these communities that may not otherwise exist. As the Government funded work unfolds to inspire future volunteers, developing a targeted strategy for engaging young people living in rural, regional and remote contexts will be so important to ensure the viability of these essential volunteer-run resources.

My work at FRRR provides an up-close view of the hopes, dreams and frustrations of young people living in rural, regional and remote Australia, through our partnership with the ABC Heywire, Takeover and Trailblazer programs. Young people who care deeply about fairness, diversity and equity, who are keenly aware that they will be emerging into adulthood in a world suffering the impacts of climate change, and who have grown up with technology and access to instant information at their fingertips. Young people who have lived their formative years impacted by a series of traumatic events – bushfires, drought, floods and a global pandemic – missing much anticipated milestones and often feeling unsure about what opportunities might still be open to them in the future. Young people who want to make sure the voices of diverse and marginalised people are heard, and who value flexibility and investing in wellbeing. Young people who, when given the opportunity and voice, are a source of innovative and practical solutions to some of the biggest challenges Australia’s rural, regional and remote communities are facing.

What I’m also seeing in our place-based capacity building programs, like Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF), is that the volunteers who have been the backbone of small community organisations for decades are now looking to retire and pass the baton. They are exhausted because so much of the recovery work, from the series of disasters in recent years, has fallen on their shoulders. They know the answer lies in engaging young people as the next generation of leaders but are often not quite sure how. We also see that young people want to connect and help, but they struggle to see themselves in the same roles their parents and grandparents have held, doing things the way they have always been done.

Instead of inviting regional young people to take a seat at the existing community leadership table, what if we first co-design a new ‘table’ with them? To hear and really listen to the ways they are inspired to connect. I couldn’t agree more that taking on a volunteer role can be empowering and career building for young people, but first we need to make sure we get the ecosystem right.

Could some volunteer opportunities be done remotely or more flexibly? Could a broader model of shared leadership be adopted? Could some traditional volunteer roles become paid or partially paid roles, so that young people without the means to donate their time, can still be involved in their community in meaningful ways and become inspired for a lifetime of connection to the sector? And definitely not to be left out – how can we make sure there’s a healthy dose of fun in volunteering?

There is sometimes an assumption made that because they are not showing up in familiar ways, young people don’t want to show up for community. What I see and hear is the exact opposite. Young people in regional communities are looking at complex problems, with fresh eyes, and coming up with entrepreneurial solutions. Like the volunteer Youth Leadership Committee at Heywire grantee Human Nature, who shaped their alumni program with the flexibility for young people to participate in activities that interest them and suit their personal life goals. And like the Regional Education Support Network (RESN), a youth volunteer-led organisation that has connected 1,400 school students with over 400 online peer tutoring volunteers across regional NSW and Victoria.

As young people imagine their futures, wouldn’t it be great if they had a career with a social impact focus on their radars as an exciting and viable one? To see staying in their rural, regional or remote community as a first choice to do work that aligns with their values, and not one that comes with a long list of compromises.

It brings me so much joy in my work at FRRR to know that we are committed to deeper engagement with regional young people. We are adding meaningful opportunities for their powerful voices to be present and truly heard in decision making that values their knowledge and reflects their values. This year, with generous donor support, we are embedding paid youth advisor roles to work alongside NFP’s implementing youth-designed projects funded through the Takeover Mildura program. We have also shifted a volunteer ABC Heywire Youth Internship role to a paid position, along with offering an honorarium for our Youth Advisory Panel who assess grant applications. This will ensure that all eligible young people have the opportunity to take a leadership role in deciding what projects best meet the needs of young people.

We never want to lose the opportunities for unpaid volunteering. However, when we are asking young people to share their expertise and lived experience, we need to make sure those unique skills are valued. Re-imagining how small volunteer-centred NFPs in remote, rural and regional communities might survive and continue to operate as vital community resources and services in the future is no small challenge. The answer lies with the young people who will both lead and need these programs and services. They are the solution, so let’s take every opportunity to listen and learn.

Grants of up to $10,000 available nationwide

Grants of up to $10,000 are now available to fund community-led projects, developed by young people, to respond to the six issues identified at this year’s ABC Heywire Youth Summit, including mental health, accessibility, youth voices, addressing costs of living and creating safe spaces – all issues that concern youth.

IMAGE: ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra. HEADING: Empowering and addressing issues that matter to rural youth

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural, and regional youth since 2013, providing them with the opportunity to not only identify the issues that matter most to them but also take action to combat them.

This year, there is $115,000 in grants available nationally and an additional $35,000 specifically to fund projects in Queensland, thanks to a new partnership with The John Villiers Trust.

The six ideas respond to common issues of concern identified by the 39 regional youth who attended the ABC Heywire Youth Summit, a youth leadership and skills development event held last month in Canberra.

FRRR and its partners will fund grants that enable activation of these ideas across rural Australia, enabling community organisations and not-for-profits that work with young people to either implement these ideas or to develop their own projects to address the issues raised, which include:

  • Boredom Relief: How might we create safe spaces for youth?
  • Easy Access: How might we empower regional youth to take charge of their mental health and support their mates?
  • Homegrown Hub: How might we create cost of food relief in communities across Australia?
  • Idea 4 Change: How might we provide resources to ensure young people are supported and engaged in their education, with their diverse learning needs catered for?
  • Hear Our Voices: How might we ensure that all youth voices are heard and represented on issues that matter to them?
  • We are not Alone: How might we create a better future for all young people living with a disability to feel understood and supported in regional Australia?

More details about each of these ideas can be found on the ABC Heywire website.

Kadee from Barcaldine, Queensland, Iningai Country, is a 2023 Heywire Winner and was part of the group that developed the Idea 4 Change project. Kadee said it was inspiring knowing their idea would become a reality in rural Australia.

“I’ve already had educators of my school asking heaps of questions and having me go into depth about our idea. I’m feeling intrigued to see how everyone’s ideas evolve over time and how they impact our country.”

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that to truly create impact for young people, they need to be at the table in making decisions and the Youth Innovation Grants program facilitates this.

“From idea development, through to assessing grant applications that are recommended to the FRRR Board for funding, the Youth Innovation Grants program is led by rural youth, at all stages of the program. This process ensures that funding is allocated to create impact where it matters most for young people in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“Our long-term partnership with ABC has been instrumental to the success of this program. The ABC Heywire Summit is such a powerful platform for young Australians to share their voices and ideas to policy makers, and across the nation. To be able to invest in these ideas with funding that allows communities to act on these ideas is such a phenomenal opportunity.

“We encourage rural community groups to connect with local young people, consider the six issues and work together to develop a project and application that addresses one of the issues, in a local context. Our Youth Assessment Panel and I look forward to exploring all the innovative ideas developed,” said Ms Samuels.

This is the 11th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to once again partner with FRRR to invest in youth ideas across remote, rural and regional Australia,” said Warwick Tiernan, ABC Director, Regional and Local.

“We know that young people are keenly aware of the issues that affect them and given the chance, they have the skills to develop solutions to them. Being able to back these ideas with grants to make them come to reality shows young people we are doing more than just listening, we are acting on them.

“We’re excited to see what pioneering projects come to life this year and share these stories through the ABC network.”

To date, more than $1.4 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 174 projects in more than 130 communities. This round of FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, AMP Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, David Mactaggart Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Wednesday 7 June, and recipients will be announced in September. More information is available on the Youth Innovation Grants page.

Image is of ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra, by Bradley Cummings.

Many regional students face a range of challenges and barriers to post-secondary education, including financial disadvantage, greater travel distances, and limited choice. In Broken Hill in Far Western NSW, fewer than 45% of year 12 students attended university, which is well below 80.3% of their metropolitan counterparts (Source: https://profile.id.com.au/).

In 2021, the Heywire Ideas Lab was held in Broken Hill, due to the cancellation of the Canberra Summit because of COVID. Broken Hill was chosen as the location because of the high number of Heywire competition entries from the community each year.

Twenty-seven students from Broken Hill High School spent a week at the inaugural Broken Hill Ideas Lab. In an incredible week full of storytelling, on-air interviews and developing ideas for change, Broken Hill youth had their voices amplified, and developed five exciting ideas to champion positive change for youth across Australia. 

Common line of questioning sparks idea

Young people are asked almost daily what they want to do with their life, and what their future plans are – questions that can be overwhelming, particularly when you don’t yet know what careers are even possible. Even if you do, how do you get there? How can you connect with experts in the field and find the right contacts to start your dream career? It was this challenge that Ella, Angel, Kloe, Ellie & Emerson set out to address, coming up with the Discover Your Future project idea during the Ideas Lab.

Far West University Centre (UC) attended the ideas pitch and were so inspired by the Discover Your Future idea that they decided to work with the youth team to make it a reality in Broken Hill.

The idea and the voices of youth continued to be at the centre of the development and delivery of the project. The group took part in all stages of the project lifecycle and worked collaboratively with UC staff to implement the project.

Helping young people make decisions about their post-school life

With the help of a $7,269 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant, funded by Findex Community Fund, Far West UC was able to collaborate with two of the initial group members to host a Discover Your Future event, aimed at giving young people a chance to explore and learn more about their future career options.

This day-long event held in May last year was an amazing opportunity for students from Broken Hill High School and Willyama High School to connect with local professionals and industry experts to learn about career paths in Far West NSW.

Close to 150 students were joined by 30 local professionals across 15 organisations, who provided an insight into a vast array of careers and employment opportunities. The day also created connections and increased young people’s confidence in seeking support to navigate post-school life.

Students reported feeling motivated to keep exploring different career opportunities and said that they learned about new careers that they had not considered before.

“It’s definitely helped a lot of the people here today already, that have come through. They are really excited about things that they could possibly go into,” said Emerson, co-creator of the Discover Your Future idea.

Industry participants reflected on how the day was incredibly successful due to its youth-centric, youth-driven approach with a platform for equal voices for youth.

“It’s great to see young people so engaged in a different way than we normally do around careers. It’s open, and they have the opportunity to talk and ask questions, and at the same time giving us some great information about what they want in Broken Hill,” said Dionne, from Broken Hill Council.  

From Ideas Lab to reality …

Far West UC said that the grant made it possible for them to bring the project to life and stay true to the original intent of the project idea. Funding covered venue hire, catering, videographer and photographer, marketing and advertising, and resources for activities.

Ensuring that the event met the needs of the young people and keeping them involved as event organisers was critical to the success of the project.

“We didn’t think anything would happen with it. Like we just thought it would be something we thought of and created but we didn’t think it would actually come this far to like the actual day now, it feels very surreal,” Emerson said.

Mutually beneficial relationships created

Far West UC is pleased to have developed a strong relationship with youth and is looking at further opportunities to work together in supporting local youth to explore initiatives to improve youth self-efficacy in navigating post-school transitions. Furthermore, through consultation and collaboration with high school partners the Discover Your Future team was successful in coordinating the attendance of students from year 10, 11 and 12 from both local high schools.

Danielle Keenan from Far West UC said that while the primary aim of the project Discover Your Future was to increase the visibility of career and education options within our region, it also moved to address wider community issues such as the retention of young people, workplace development, economic growth and social outcomes.

She also said that feedback from industry evaluations suggests the event was seen as a worthwhile experience for the local industry, with 86% of survey responses stating that they would be likely or very likely to attend another event. An anonymous quote from the evaluation survey captures the positive feedback: “This event was extremely well executed. The Discover Your Future event engaged young people in a variety of interesting and exciting ways which kept the energy level of the participants high and created an opportunity for more open dialogue during the career engagement section of the session”.

Most importantly, almost 80% of students who completed the post-event survey (67 responses) said they have learned about new careers that they have not considered before.

Danielle said, “The success of the event hinged on the solid and diverse engagement of the community across multiple employment sectors and education stakeholders. The project team developed a strong communication strategy that was able to highlight the mutual benefit of professional involvement in the careers networking event. Subsequently, the project also proved to be an innovative and creative contribution to bolstering the community’s workforce attraction and youth retention strategies.

“In turn, Discover Your Future was able to increase exposure to a vast array of careers and employment opportunities and increase young people’s confidence in seeking support to navigate post-school life.”

Nineteen grassroots initiatives across remote, rural and regional Australia will share in $172,069 in grants through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.

Riverland Youth Theatre member wearing a rainbow feather boa. There's someone else standing behind them with a rainbow umbrella.
Riverland Youth Theatre in Renmark, South Australia received a $10,000 grant through this program last year to empower youth to explore their identity through performance art and costume design to image their best, bravest future self.

This year, the program took ideas generated by young Australians at the ABC Takeover Shepparton Summit and offered rural community organisations the opportunity to apply for a grant that would bring one of the six ideas to life. This year’s ideas for change centred around the themes of LGBTQIA+ allyship; hands on learning for young people; promoting healthier communities; supporting people in need; cultural awareness; and homelessness.

These 19 grants will mean that community organisations will have the support and resources they need to help address some of the issues that matter most to young people.

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that this program is so important because it gives young people a say and prepares them for future leadership roles within their communities.

“This program not only gives young Australians a platform to champion the causes that matter to them but, more importantly, it puts their thoughts and ideas into action. Young people are the future and the initiatives being funded are a great example of how they can have a direct and positive impact on regional Australia.

“The young people who participate in this program – either in developing the ideas or helping them come to life in their community – often go on to do great things in their communities and beyond. For the last couple of years, due to COVID we’ve had to adapt the way the ideas are generated, yet young people have continued to step up and show their dedication to working towards a better future for regional Australia,” Ms Samuels said.

Deakin, one of the young people who attended this year’s 2022 Takeover Shepparton Summit, run by the ABC in partnership with VicHealth, said it is so exciting to see that communities are going to adapt and adopt the ideas they were part of developing.

“Participating in Takeover this year was an amazing experience. Having the opportunity to get together with likeminded young people who are passionate about improving the future of regional Australia was really empowering.

“The conversations we had were really productive and, now, seeing the ideas we came up with turn into real initiatives and projects is amazing. I’m proud to think that the ideas we came up will reach so many communities,” said Deakin.

The FRRR Program Advisory Committee, which recommends the applications to be supported to the FRRR Board, is also made up of ABC Heywire alumni. This ensures young people to have an input in each step of the program, giving them a say in which initiatives best align with the issues affecting young people. The Committee role means they also gain valuable insight into the world of philanthropy and see just what’s involved in assessing and validating the applications, under the guidance of FRRR Directors and staff.

The Board endorsed 19 projects, some of which are highlighted below:

  • The Scouts of the 1st Burrill-Ulladulla Sea Scout Group in Ulladulla NSW, received $2,782 to develop the Humanity Helping Homelessness idea by reducing food insecurity with the installation and promotion of a community food pantry and vegetable gardens.
  • Melaleuca Refugee Centre Torture & Trauma Survivor’s Service of the Northern Territory Inc in Darwin, NT, received $10,000 to develop the Fusion Festival idea and encourage cultural inclusivity, by running a multicultural festival featuring food, workshops and live performances that provides an opportunity for migrants and former refugees to share their culture with the community and explore business opportunities to utilise their culture and skill set.
  • RoboCoast Sunshine Coast Robotics Association in Bamaga, QLD, received $10,000 to develop the Hands On Learning idea by providing youth throughout remote Australia with a hands-on opportunity to learn about Robotics.
  • Roxby Downs Community Board in Roxby Downs, SA, received $6,393 to develop the Take Care idea by empowering youth with the skills to recognise and respond to a friend experiencing a mental health problem or a crisis situation through Mental Health First Aid training at Roxby Downs Area School.
  • Launceston Hazara Community in Launceston, TAS, received $10,000 to develop the Supporting People In Need idea by supporting upskilling and social opportunities for youth in the Hazara community through a program of culturally safe and supportive social opportunities.
  • Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Ltd in Shepparton, VIC, received $10,000 to develop the Hands On Learning idea by expanding the use of the current ‘Pit Stop’ program with a series of workshops for youth focusing on hands-on projects such as woodwork, car maintenance and push bike refurbishment.
  • City of Albany in Albany, WA, received $4,664 to develop The Allies Project by highlighting the stories of what it means to be a LGBTQIA+ ally in the Albany community through the production of The Ally Podcast.

A full list of the projects funded can be found on FRRR’s website.

These grants are possible thanks to the generous support of the Sally Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation and The Collie Foundation, Greater Shepparton Foundation as well as several private donors.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Eden Community Access Centre IncHands on Learning
Engage youth in disaster preparedness and resilience through a youth designed and developed game.
Eden$10,000
Farm it Forward IncHands on Learning
Support Farm it Forward with the installation of a greenhouse to enable future youth workshops and employment pathways.
Hazelbrook$10,000
Heal.ed Tribe LtdSupporting People in Need
Empower youth with the skills and knowledge to overcome mental health challenges with a peer-led reconnect program.
Mullumbimby$9,030
The Scouts of the 1st Burrill-Ulladulla Sea Scout GroupTriple H
Reduce food insecurity with the installation and promotion of a community food pantry and vegetable gardens.
Ulladulla$2,782
NORTHERN TERRITORY
Melaleuca Refugee Centre Torture & Trauma Survivor's Service of the Northern Territory IncFusion Festival
Develop a multicultural festival of food, workshops, and live performances that provides an opportunity for migrants and former refugees to share their culture with the community and explore business opportunities to utilise their culture and skill set.
Darwin$10,000
Corrugated Iron Youth Arts IncHands On Learning
Support performing youth with the teaching skills to become teachers to the next generation.
Darwin$10,000
Uprising of the People LtdSupporting People In Need
Encourage youth to connect with their community and elders with regular youth events.
Darwin$10,000
QUEENSLAND
RoboCoast Sunshine Coast Robotics AssociationHands On Learning
Provide youth throughout remote Australia with a hands on opportunity to learn about Robotics.
Bamaga$10,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Kimba Mental Health and Wellbeing Group IncFusion Festival
Foster cultural awareness in the local community through a youth led festival of storytelling, dance and activities showcasing the cultural makeup of the Kimba community.
Kimba$10,000
District Council of Karoonda East MurrayHands On Learning
Empower youth with the skills, equipment and mentoring to establish and run a coffee business.
Karoonda$10,000
Riverland Youth TheatreThe Allies Project
Help youth identify LGBTQIA+ allies and identify safe spaces within their community by developing The Ally Awards.
Renmark$10,000
Roxby Downs Community Board IncTake Care
Empower youth with the skills to recognise and respond to a friend experiencing a mental health problem or a crisis situation through Mental Health First Aid training at Roxby Downs Area School.
Roxby Downs$6,393
Nature Foundation LtdHands on Learning
Provide the future generation with the skills and knowledge of caring for country and future employment pathways.
Witchelina$10,000
TASMANIA
Launceston Hazara Community IncSupporting People in Need
Encourage the development of skills and social opportunities for youth in the Hazara community with a program of culturally safe and supportive social opportunities.
Launceston$10,000
VICTORIA
REACH FoundationSupporting People in Need
Improve youth mental health with the delivery of youth-led workshops that equip young people with the tools to set goals, deal with conflict and build emotional resilience.
Shepparton$9,920
Greater Shepparton Lighthouse LtdHands on Learning
Expand the use of the current ‘Pit Stop’ program with a series of workshops for youth focusing on hands on projects such as woodwork, car maintenance and push bike refurbishment.
Shepparton$10,000
The Foyer SheppartonTriple H
Support youth experiencing homelessness in Shepparton through the development of free and accessible video resources relating to affordable housing.
Shepparton$10,000
The Bridge Youth Service IncTriple H
Build on The Bridge’s current work in youth homelessness, with a program of initiatives to support youth experiencing housing insecurity including information and education sessions and an event to raise awareness of homelessness issues.
Shepparton$10,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
City of AlbanyThe Allies Project
Highlight the stories of what it means to be a LGBTQIA+ ally in the Albany community through the production of The Ally Podcast.
Albany$4,664

Part of Things is a gathering place and ideas hub for young people in Barmera in the Riverland region of South Australia. They used a $10,000 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant to adopt and adapt their own version of the Skillin’ It project idea that was developed at the 2020 Heywire Regional Youth Summit. 

Riverland Skillin’ It was a 12-month project that brought together a leadership ‘squad’ of four local young people from across the Renmark Paringa, Loxton Waikerie and Berri Barmera local government areas to create a series of online and live workshops aimed at inspiring, connecting and upskilling young people. 

Despite being impacted by the uncertainties of COVID, including a full lockdown in June 2021, the project culminated in the Skillin’ It squad members curating and delivering Symposium – a two-day festival in September 2021 for local young people aged 18 to 26. Held in Barmera, Symposium featured in-person workshops to support participants develop small business, creative and life skills, while also encouraging knowledge sharing between individuals and community members. 

Across the life of the project, the Skillin’ It squad and festival presenters were actively mentored and supported by Part of Things founder and project mentor, Alysha Herrmann, who is an award-winning producer, youth arts worker and ‘doer’ who has been delivering community, arts and youth projects of varying scale across regional South Australia for over ten years. 

Kelsey Hogan from the Barmera District War Memorial Community Centre, which auspiced the application on behalf of Part of Things, said Riverland Skillin’ It was instrumental in providing a dedicated project with intensive and tailored mentoring for local young people to connect with each other and their community. 

“Young people are under-represented in leadership and decision making across the Riverland. This project has developed positive relationships between young adults and their community and provided a safe space for people to connect, develop confidence, try something new and community build,” Ms Hogan said. 

“We can’t plug all the gaps and overcome the challenges our region presents for young people. However, what we have done with Riverland Skillin’ It, is invest in a core group of local young people to ensure that they were able to successfully deliver a project for their community and now feel inspired, supported and ready to make greater things happen for themselves and others.” 

Together they were able to leverage the success of the Heywire grant to partner with all three Riverland councils, and attracted an additional $22,100 of funding. This increased the resources available for the project and added additional paid opportunities for the young people who participated, and also removed fees for participants to attend the final festival workshop weekend. 

A legacy of the project is The Knowledge Hub, an online resource housed on the Part of Things website that features downloadable resources, curated links, blog posts and other content, which exists to share and build ideas, skills and knowledge across a range of genres, disciplines and interest areas.

Grants on offer to address issues that matter to young rural Australians

Grants of up to $10,000 are now open for local community groups that will help fund projects developed by youth and for youth. Adopting and adapting these projects will help create positive change by addressing priority issues such as career options, peer support, diversity and discrimination and mental health, which impact youth in rural communities.

HEADING: Funding available to bring youth-led initiatives to life. IMAGE: Riverland Youth Theatre member in rainbow feather boa.
Riverland Youth Theatre, who received funds to develop the Contribute to the Change idea in the Heywire 2021 grant round.

Since 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural and regional youth to address issues that matter most to them. This year, thanks to the generosity of FRRR’s partners,  $130,000 is available nationally, and $30,000 is available specifically for grants in or around the Shepparton region.

This year’s grant program ideas have come from the ABC’s Takeover Shepparton event in May. It brought together 44 young leaders from in and around Shepparton to share stories and workshop ideas on how to make rural and regional Australia a better place for young people to live and work.

The ideas they developed include:

  • The Allies Project: How might we celebrate the strength of regional LGBTQIA+ people and educate rural communities on the importance of being an ally?
  • Hands on Learning: How might we support young people to learn in ways that work for them?
  • Take Care: How might we promote healthier communities in regional Australia?
  • SPIN – Supporting People In Need: How might we improve morale in regional communities?
  • Triple H- Humanity Helping Homelessness: How might we reduce homelessness and support people who are experiencing it?
  • Fusion Festival: How might we raise cultural awareness and stop racism in regional communities?

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that young people always bring so much to the table, giving current issues a whole new perspective.

“I congratulate the ABC for running such a powerful event, where young people’s voices and ideas were able to shine and be celebrated. These incredible young people brought so much energy and heart to the table, and some fantastic ideas to address issues they face, which will no doubt be common to younger people all across the country.

“Thanks to our donor partners, we look forward to helping local community groups to adapt and adopt these ideas and bring them to life around the country. If you’re a local community group, I encourage you to reach out to your young locals and ask which of these ideas will help make a meaningful change for them. I look forward to reading the applications,” says FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton.

This is the 10th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to be working with FRRR to once again bring a set of incredible ideas to life, supporting regional communities to back their young people,” says Judith Whelan, ABC Director, Regional and Local. “We’re excited to see where these ideas go and to tell those stories through the ABC.”

To date, more than $1.2 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 150 projects in more than 130 communities. The program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, Greater Shepparton Foundation, The Collie Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Monday, 18 July 2022 and recipients will be announced in October. More information is available on FRRR’s website.

$208,000 in grants awarded to 23 projects

Twenty-three projects in remote, rural and regional Australia have been awarded grants through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program to bring to life ideas developed at the Heywire Youth Ideas lab. These projects will tackle a range of issues such as discrimination, youth-led peer support, multigenerational connection, mental health and career opportunities for young people.

FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grantsfor 2021 awarded

These grants will mean that community organisations and local not-for-profits can implement community-led initiatives that will have a lasting impact.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said she is impressed by how all those connected with the program managed to pivot to respond to COVID-19 conditions.

“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ABC was unable to hold the usual Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra. Instead, they adapted and ran the first Heywire Youth Ideas Lab in Broken Hill. The determination of the young people of Broken Hill, and their willingness to make a difference inspired these projects, which will create meaningful change when it comes to mental health and wellbeing, skills development and equality in our remote, rural and regional towns.

“These grants highlight the importance of both providing support on the ground and ensuring that young people are driving the conversation about their priorities. These community-led initiatives, which all involve young people, will facilitate events, training and mentorship that will bring people together and ensure that our remote, rural and regional communities continue to thrive,” Ms Egleton said.

Youth Ideas Lab participant Emerson said that she feels proud to have been a part of a program that will make a difference for so many Australians.

“When we were telling our stories and developing our ideas at the Youth Ideas Lab, it was such an inspiring experience, but it was difficult to imagine our ideas actually being put into practice. Now, hearing and reading about all the wonderful projects that are going to actually happen because of the ideas that we brought to the table is amazing!”

The involvement of young people also extended to the assessment of the applications. For the last three years, the FRRR Program Advisory Committee, which reviews the assessments made by staff and recommends grants to FRRR’s Board, has been made up of former Heywire participants. The group learns about committee processes and governance, before participating in the assessment committee. FRRR directors, staff and some donors are on-hand with ABC staff to provide support. This is a deliberate approach to continue to invest in young people, so they can play an ongoing role in strengthening their communities.

Some of the 23 projects being funded are listed below:

  • CareSouth Deniliquin in Deniliquin, NSW, received $5,080 to develop the Support Squad idea bycreating a youth peer support network that will run an art therapy mentoring program.
  • Nganmarriyanga School Council Incorporated in Nganmarriyanga, NT, received $10,000 to develop the Open Field Fest idea by developing students’ creative skills with song writing workshops that showcase community, culture and language.
  • Heal.ed Tribe in Coombabah, QLD, received $5,400 to develop the Contribute to the Change ideaby supporting young women with a lived experience of an eating disorder to share their story and reduce the stigma surrounding it.
  • Umeewarra Aboriginal Media Association in Port Augusta, SA, received $10,000 to develop the Open Field Fest idea by growing the number of young first nations artists participating in music festivals in Port Augusta through a skills development program.
  • Beacon Foundation in Hobart, TAS, received $9,640 to develop the Discover your Future idea by encouraging secondary school students to adopt an entrepreneur mindset with a program to imagine, design and develop new businesses and products.
  • Youth Live 4 Life in Maryborough, VIC, received $10,000 to develop the Contribute to the Change ideaby developing a network of youth who are trained in mental health first aid and knowledgeable about the support services available to them.
  • Derby District High School in Derby, WA, received $10,000 to develop the Discover your Future idea by developing youth skills in horsemanship to broaden their career aspirations and provide a pathway into the pastoral industry.

The grants are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Sally Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, MaiTri Foundation as well as several private donors.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
The StoryLink Project
Council of the City of Broken HillCreate an inclusive community where diversity is celebrated through videos of young people highlighting the rich cultural makeup of the region.Broken Hill, NSW $10,000
GiveOUT IncSupport the young LGBTIQ+ community with a capacity building project, empowering them to tell their stories and create vibrant sustainable organisations.Online, VIC $10,000
Satellite FoundationImprove community understanding of the difficulties faced by youth who have a family member with a mental illness, with a video series highlighting the everyday prejudice faced by these youth.Gippsland, VIC $10,000
Support Squad
CareSouthCreate a youth peer support network by running an art therapy mentoring program.Deniliquin, NSW $5,080
Human Nature Adventure TherapyEmpower youth to share their mental health journey with their peers through a mental health training and storytelling workshop.Ballina, NSW $10,000
Young Men’s Christian Association of SydneyEstablish an LGBTIQ+ support group for the youth of Cooma and provide training to create leaders within the group.Cooma, NSW $9,878
Rascal Robot Art SpaceSupport youth to develop the skills and connections to establish an arts and culture festival that is fun, safe and inclusive for the community.Beaconsfield, TAS $9,800
Wimmera Development Association IncorporatedDevelop leadership skills for young multicultural youth in Wimmera to help them develop their own support networks.Horsham, VIC $10,000
Open Field Fest
Greater Hume Shire CouncilIncrease social opportunities for youth through the development of a fun and inclusive youth event.Culcairn, NSW $10,000
Nganmarriyanga School Council IncorporatedDevelop students’ creative skills with song writing workshops that showcase community, culture and language.Nganmarriyanga, NT $10,000
Umeewarra Aboriginal Media AssociationGrow the number of young first nations artists participating in music festivals in Port Augusta through a skills development program.Port Augusta, SA $10,000
Food is Free Inc Support Ballarat youth to create a community festival that celebrates sustainability through workshops, emerging artists and recycled art.Ballarat, VIC $9,904
Contribute to the Change
Snowy Monaro Regional CouncilImprove mental health literacy and awareness, by training a series of mentors to provide one-on-one support and guidance to youth.Cooma, NSW $9,200
RichmondPRA LimitedBuild the mental health literacy of Broken Hill youth through wellbeing workshops.Broken Hill, NSW $3,500
Heal.ed TribeSupport young women with a lived experience of an eating disorder to share their story and reduce the stigma surrounding it.Coombabah, QLD $5,400
Riverland Youth TheatreEmpower youth to explore their identity through performance art and costume design to image their best, bravest future self.Renmark, SA $10,000
Youth Live 4 LifeDevelop a network of youth who are trained in mental health first aid and knowledgeable about the support services available to them.Maryborough, VIC $10,000
Hindmarsh Shire CouncilCreate meaningful conversations about mental health with a youth presented podcast series with mental health professionals.Nhill, VIC $10,000
Discover your Future
Far West UCPrepare Broken Hill youth for their future careers by holding a networking event with local experts and education providers.Broken Hill, NSW $7,269
Sydney School of EntrepreneurshipInspire the youth of Dubbo to explore new pathways beyond school with a challenge-focused innovation and entrepreneurship program.Dubbo, NSW $9,150
Beacon FoundationEncourage secondary school students to adopt an entrepreneur mindset with a program to imagine, design and develop new businesses and products.Hobart, TAS $9,640
Food & Fibre Great South CoastInspire Geelong youth to explore a career in the food and fibre industry by connecting them with young leaders in the field.Geelong, VIC $10,000
Derby District High SchoolDevelop youth skills in horsemanship to broaden their career aspirations and provide a pathway into the pastoral industry.Derby, WA $10,000