Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

$175,000 available to bring youth-led initiatives to life

FRRR is inviting remote, rural and regional community groups apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help fund projects that provide innovative solutions to five priority issues identified by participants at the inaugural Heywire Youth Ideas Lab, held recently in Broken Hill.

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

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. To date, more than $1 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 130 projects in over 160 communities.

This year, due to COVID-19, the ABC needed to pivot their approach to how the ideas were generated. Typically, they come from the annual Heywire Youth Summit in Canberra, but instead, over three days 27 young local leaders from Broken Hill and surrounding regions came together. Broken Hill was chosen as the host town because it had the most entries in the annual Heywire story-telling competition. The young leaders learnt new skills, shared their stories, and workshopped ideas to help make rural and regional Australia an even better place for young people to live and work.

These ideas now form the basis of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants, and include:

  • Discover Your Future: Giving young people a chance to explore and learn more about their future career options.
  • Open Field Fest: Bringing music, art and people together to help create a community-run music and arts festival.
  • Support Squad: Training young leaders to provide support, knowledge and companionship to peers who may be struggling with a variety of challenges.
  • The Story Link Project: Tackling discrimination through sharing diverse stories that help people within regional communities understand the impact of discriminatory language.
  • Contribute to the Change: Helping young people improve their mental health knowledge and understanding, so they are confident to seek the help they need.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said each year she is impressed by the ideas that Heywirers bring to the table, and this year is no exception.

“The five ideas developed by Broken Hill’s young people are insightful and meaningful and provide a snapshot of the issues currently faced by young rural people across Australia. The beauty of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants is that they fund projects driven by these young Australians’ ideas.

“We encourage community groups to engage with local youth when considering which idea to adopt and adapt. These capable young leaders understand local context and can help adapt an idea to best suit the priorities of local youth and assist in leading a meaningful project that will make their community more inviting and inspiring for other young people to live and work,” Ms Egleton said.

Youth Ideas Lab and Heywire participant Ashlyn speaks of how proud she is of herself and her Broken Hill community for coming up with the five ideas which were designed to combat challenges they themselves have faced. 

“The Youth Ideas Lab was such an incredible and inspiring experience. I’m so glad our Broken Hill community was given the opportunity to come up with these ideas that will soon be turned into realities. These ideas were formed by our unique experiences; now it’s your chance to take them on in your own community. I can’t wait to see where they go and how they grow!”

This program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, and private donors. This year, thanks to their generosity, $175,000 in grants is available.

Applications close Thursday, 19 August 2021 and recipients will be announced in early November. More information is available here.

24 projects funded that will bring young rural Australians’ ideas to life

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $185,855 in grants for 24 community-led projects that will help tackle the real, and at times confronting, issues faced by young Australians living in rural, regional and remote areas of the country.

Funded through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program, these grants will support local community groups to adopt, adapt and implement one of six ideas that were developed by 55 young leaders who attended the 2020 ABC Heywire Regional Youth Summit. These ideas address the most pressing issues facing young Australians, including the environment and climate change, cultural inclusivity and diversity, access to education and shared spaces, and career pathways in agriculture.

Now in its eighth year, the Youth Innovation Grants are usually announced at an event hosted by the ABC. This year, due to COVID-19, community groups were awarded their grants at a virtual awards ceremony earlier this afternoon.

The 24 projects will support young people in rural communities throughout Australia, ranging from as far north as Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, to Sippy Downs in Queensland, Orange in New South Wales, Golden Square in Victoria and Hobart in Tasmania, across to Karoonda in South Australia, and as far west as Geraldton in Western Australia.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that although each place has its unique challenges, these grants show that there are common themes and concerns among young people throughout rural Australia.

“We’ve been heartened to see such an impressive response from rural communities wanting to address these six ideas and implement them in ways that are relevant and meaningful to the young people in their own community.

“We are inspired by the work that the ABC does to help shine a light on the issues affecting young people and thank our donor partners for their continued support. It’s through these partnerships that FRRR is able to support communities and their young leaders to come up with ideas and solutions that empower them to forge their own future,” Ms Egleton said.

ABC Director, Regional and Local, Judith Whelan, said that these young leaders and their ideas demonstrate the strength and resilience of Australia’s rural and regional communities.

“Heywire is a fantastic demonstration of the ingenuity of our young people and, thanks to the support of FRRR and its donor partners, we can help bring their inspiring ideas to life. It’s clear from this year’s Heywire ideas and Youth Innovation Grants that Australia’s future is in good hands.” Ms Whelan said.

2020 Heywire Winner, Sam Kane, from Golden Square, Victoria, was one of the young leaders that developed Skillin’ It – a locally-driven initiative that enables knowledge-sharing between individuals and community organisations to build skills that young people are keen to learn about.

“I’m thrilled that Skillin’ It, an idea that our group of 6 young people developed while at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit, is now being piloted in my local community in Central Victoria.

“To be part of this project from the brainstorming, to it now being implemented in my community with a partner organisation, means a lot to me – and shows just how far one idea can go,” Mr Kane said.

Some of the other projects inspired by the six Heywire Youth Innovation Grants ideas are:

  • Centralian Senior College, in Alice Springs, NT received $10,000 to adapt the Filling The Gap idea by providing Alice Springs youth with the opportunity and platform to Fill the Gap in education by telling local Indigenous stories, to be incorporated in local curriculum and promoted throughout the community.
  • City of Albany, WA received $9,038 to adapt the Green Book idea by promoting grassroots environmental activities through the delivery and filming of five hands-on environmental workshops that will be released at Albany Sustainability Festival and through schools.
  • Towri Aboriginal Corporation in Bathurst, NSW received $10,000 to adapt the L.E.D. (Let’s Embrace Diversity) idea by celebrating the rich culture and history that Aboriginal people have to offer by enabling local youth to lead local education.
  • Northern Gulf Resource Management Group in Dimbulah, QLD received $9,979 to adapt the We Need Farmers idea by developing relevant local educational resources for schools in the Northern Gulf Region through the creation of three, youth-created farming documentaries.
  • Yarram Neighbourhood House, VIC received $10,000 to adapt the Skillin’ It idea by cultivating youth skills in project planning, hospitality and horticultural skills through the establishment and delivery of a foodbank and community garden program.
  • Migrant Resource Centre (Southern Tas) in Hobart, TAS received $10,000 to adapt the Filling the Gap idea by empowering young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to educate the wider community about their culture and histories.
  • Stand Like Stone Foundation in Mount Gambier, SA received $10,000 to adapt the Just Relax idea by promoting understanding about life with disability across area schools by the delivery of a hands-on, educational program.

To date, through $1.2 million in community and philanthropic investment, including the support of a number of donors, such as The Sally Foundation and the David Mactaggart Foundation, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants have helped to implement around 100 youth-developed projects in more than 160 communities.

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

Jump to: Filling the Gap | Green Book | Just Relax | L.E.D. | Skillin’ It | We Need Farmers

Organisation

Project

Location

Grant

Filling the Gap

Centralian Senior College

Provide Alice Springs youth with the opportunity and platform to Fill the Gap in education by telling local Indigenous stories, to be incorporated in local curriculum and promoted throughout the community.

Alice Springs, NT

$10,000

Chancellor State College

Enrich the education of Chancellor State College and empower young people by providing a number of excursions and workshops, where students can learn about diverse cultures, and share their learnings with the student body.

Sippy Downs, QLD

$9,740

Migrant Resource Centre (Southern Tas) Inc

Empower young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to educate the wider community about their culture and histories.

Hobart, TAS

$10,000

Green Book

Snowy Mountains Grammar School Limited

Increase access to environmental education and empower young people to spread environmental messages through workshops and blogs.

Jindabyne, NSW

$2,880

Alice Springs Town Council

Provide access to youth education on environmental actions and host a youth-led climate change seminar featuring environmental workshops.

Alice Springs, NT

$8,429

Bundaberg Regional Council

Upskill youth development action team to enable delivery of hands on environmental activities and an educational awareness film event for youth.

Bundaberg, QLD

$10,000

Beechworth Secondary College Student Representative Committee
Beechworth Secondary College

Rejuvenate edge of the Beechworth Secondary College school grounds to increase biodiversity in fire ravaged environment and create an outdoor classroom.

Beechworth, VIC

$9,600

City of Albany

Promote grassroots environmental activities through the delivery and filming of five hands-on environmental workshops that will be released at Albany Sustainability Festival and through schools.

Albany, WA

$9,038

headspace Geraldton
Youth Focus Inc

Promote environmental awareness through participation in conservation works at a youth camp and delivery of local environmental solutions via video productions.

Geraldton, WA

$4,555

Just Relax

Youth Action Committee of Karoonda East Murray
District Council of Karoonda East Murray

Improve disability access and road safety through the development of a concept plan to establish a safe walking / riding / wheelchair accessible pathway.

Karoonda, SA

$9,600

Just Relax: Let’s talk about (Dis)ability
Stand Like Stone Foundation Ltd

Promote understanding about life with disability across area schools by the delivery of a hands-on, educational program.

Mount Gambier, SA

$10,000

L.E.D. (Let’s Embrace Diversity)

Towri Aboriginal Corporation

Celebrate the rich culture and history that Aboriginal people have to offer by enabling local youth to lead local education.

Bathurst, NSW

$10,000

Council of the City of Broken Hill

Celebrate diversity and empower local youth through a Colour Run #neonglow.

Broken Hill, NSW

$5,050

St Giles Society

Increase awareness of Tasmanian youth with a disability to enable visibility of life challenges and foster community-wide change.

Launceston, TAS

$9,000

Autism Support Network Albany Inc

Increase awareness and understanding of Autistic young people in the Albany community through the production of short videos.

Albany, WA

$617

Skillin’ It

Part of Things
Barmera District War Memorial Community Centre Inc

Upskill youth through creation of a youth-led digital bank of workshops to be presented at an International Youth Day Festival.

Barmera, SA

$10,000

Glenhaven Family Care Inc

Build community resilience and increase opportunities for youth employment through workshops in job readiness training for youth.

Sheffield, TAS

$4,547

Jumpleads NFP Limited

Develop skills of ten young people through a mentoring program which will result in the completion of a community project.

Golden Square, VIC

$10,000

Yarram Neighbourhood House Inc

Cultivate youth skills in project planning, hospitality and horticultural skills through establishment and delivery of a foodbank and community garden program.

Yarram, VIC

$10,000

Boyup Brook Community Mental Health Action Team Inc

Increase access to learning opportunities via two 10 week ‘Skillin’ It’ programs for youth.

Boyup Brook, WA

$5,600

Shire of Collie

Support life skills development through provision of ‘Skillin’ It’ workshops for youth in Collie.

Collie, WA

$6,000

We Need Farmers

Bowraville Central School
NSW Government Schools

Highlight opportunities in farming industries through creation of school resources by senior students and excursions to local farms.

Bowraville, NSW

$3,220

UCA – Kinross Woloroi School

Create an awareness of opportunities in agriculture via youth producing seven video documentaries and learning resources for primary schools in the region.

Orange, NSW

$8,000

Northern Gulf Resource Management Group Ltd

Develop relevant local educational resources for schools in the Northern Gulf Region through the creation of three youth-created farming documentaries.

Dimbulah, QLD

$9,979

In Eden and the wider Far South Coast region of NSW, there has long been a problem with disengaged and disadvantaged youth. Youth unemployment accounts for 25% of all unemployed people in Eden (ABS, 2016). Twelve percent of students in Eden don’t complete year 12, which is double the state average. Young people are unable to get meaningful employment or job-ready skills, and as a result become disengaged. It is a problem that poses a challenge for many communities.

The Eden Game Development Centre in conjunction with the Eden Community Access Centre received a grant for $9,262 through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program. It was to deliver their version of the Heywire Step Up initiative to inspire disengaged young people to take the first step on their journey to success.

William Sharples, who led the development and implementation of the project, drew on his personal experience to inspire and motivate a team of young people to  facilitate the ‘Opportunity Youth Festival’, which was held in Eden in April 2019. Like many others in his community, William had tried to seek meaningful and enjoyable work, but living in a rural town, felt his opportunities were limited.

Discovering a passion for video game development and coding, along with the suport of a few key mentors meant William became more engaged. He has followed his dream and now runs the Eden Game Development Centre, teaching young people tech skills like coding, game development and virtual reality.

As a Heywire Trailblazer alumnus, William jumped at the chance to adopt and adapt the Step Up idea to create a fun event, featuring free food and great entertainment, to attract local young people. To ensure it resonated with local youth, he involved young people in the planning and execution of the day.

With so many people and local organisations putting in efforts to create opportunities for local young people, this was a great chance to showcase the opportunities in a fun and engaging manner to attract young people to investigate options available to them.

The theme of the festival was ‘opportunity’ and there was plenty of that to go around. Around 400 youth came from all over Eden and surrounding areas to spend a day showing off their talents, as well as learning about what the future might hold for them.     

Weeks of planning by the Youth Project Committee resulted in a spectacular day of fun and frivolity, including local youth bands and singers, displays from 35 services and sporting organisations, and plenty more activities.

Feedback was very positive, with participants and services asking if the event was going to be held again in 2020. In acquitting their report, Eden Community Access Centre said they found their greatest success (and challenge!) was letting youth ‘run the show’, with the Steering Committee merely facilitating their ideas and keeping the event safe and within budget.