Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Final round of Black Saturday funding for community-led initiatives
The final round of the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Kinglake Ranges program opens Tuesday 5 July, with FRRR inviting applications from local not-for-profit groups. The program is designed to assist communities to rebuild, reconnect and recover from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.
Thanks to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, funding is available to not-for-profit groups in Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale. In total, there is approximately $570,000 available, with no minimum or maximum amount per grant. However, applications for more than $30,000 should be discussed with FRRR before being lodged.
Applications must be for new projects that directly assist those individuals and communities that were affected by the 2009 fires and must identify a specific hardship or distress caused by the bushfires, which the activity intends to relieve.
Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, encouraged local communities in the Kinglake Ranges to apply now to fund their community-strengthening and resilience-building projects.
“We know that the fires had an immense impact across the Kinglake Ranges, and despite it now being more than 13 years ago, recovering communities still need support to reconnect, share experiences, enhance wellbeing and resilience and build capacity for the future.
“The community consultations during May and June were a great opportunity to hear directly from communities about how these grants can best support Kinglake’s ongoing recovery and we look forward to reading about the projects the community has prioritised,” Ms O’Brien said.
FRRR staff in Kinglake Ranges to chat about applications
FRRR team members Karly Smith-Whelan and Brooke Williams will be in the Kinglake Ranges area on Tuesday 5th (Kinglake) and Wednesday 6th July (Toolangi and Flowerdale) to chat to community groups about their project ideas. To book an appointment, email email@example.com or call 1800 170 020.
As a reminder, the GR&W Kinglake program has a focus on supporting projects that benefit the wider community, and applications should demonstrate community support and the involvement of a range of community groups or representatives.
Applications close Wednesday 16 August 2022, at 5pm AEST, with successful applicants announced in December 2022. For more information and the guidelines, visit https://frrr.org.au/grants-for-resilience-wellness-kinglake/ .
To date, through GR&W Kinglake, FRRR has awarded over $1.1M for 35 projects to local groups in the Kinglake Ranges. Any community impacted by 2009 bushfires and not located in Kinglake Ranges region can apply for support through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program.
A much-loved playgroup is going from strength to strength in the Flowerdale community in Victoria, following the engagement of a qualified facilitator to assist parents to develop their skills and confidence to support their child’s wellbeing and development. More than 20 families now participate in the facilitated weekly program, after the Flowerdale Community House received $26,000 from FRRR via the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Kinglake Ranges program in 2020 to engage a qualified Early Childhood Educator to plan and deliver the program. Previously, families who wished to access these services would have had to travel more than 30 km to either Kinglake or Yea.
While there were a few hiccups due to COVID lockdowns, the program has bounced back and is once again supporting children and families across the Kinglake Ranges. Led by experienced educator Jill, the program provides opportunities for parents to learn about local services, to meet with other parents for support and friendship and to build social support networks in the communities in which they live. It also provides the space for the participants, both children and adults, to forge new friendships and have fun.
“We know that relationships and community connectedness is at the heart of our community’s ongoing recovery. Playgroup plays a vital role in all communities to bring parents together, to share experiences and break down isolation; this is even more important here [in Flowerdale] as our town stretches a long distance, so meeting in the street is not a likely option as people need to travel by car to get to locations,” said Flowerdale Community House coordinator Rebekah Grant.
“The children and parents respond very well to Jill’s calm and gentle nature, and the way she is delivering advise to sooth and encourage the children is very well received.”
The Community House is an ideal location for the supported playgroup to operate from, as they are able to sustain this group long term. Now with a facilitator on board, they can provide more support to all families, as well as vulnerable and socially isolated families, to engage with others and the service.
Black Saturday funding for community-led initiatives
FRRR today announced that the final round of grants to assist Kinglake Ranges communities to rebuild, reconnect and recover from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires will open soon.
While a lot has changed in the 13 years since the fires, FRRR knows that the impacts are still being felt. This funding, thanks to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, will help to address those needs, particularly around mental health and wellbeing.
Through the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) Kinglake Ranges program, funding will be available to not-for-profit groups in Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale. In total, there is approximately $570,000 available, with no minimum or maximum amount per grant. However, applications for more than $30,000 will need to be discussed with FRRR before being lodged.
The GR&W Kinglake program has a focus on community-strengthening and resilience-building projects, and recognises that recovering communities need support to re-connect, share experiences, enhance wellbeing and resilience, and build capacity for the future.
Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that this is a great opportunity for the local community to ensure that important projects get the resources and support they need.
“This funding has always been earmarked to support the medium to long-term recovery of communities across the Kinglake Ranges, which we know were so badly affected by the 2009 fires. The focus is on improving mental health and wellbeing – of the community and individuals, and especially young people. There has been a lot of change in the community too, so the funding can help strengthen community connectedness and assist in rebuilding a sense of place and community identity.
“But now it’s up to the community to identify just what the projects are that will be put forward. We know that the best projects will be those that are community-led and which have broad community buy-in. We have supported Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House to host a series of facilitated community conversations and some smaller ‘kitchen table’ talks to explore key priorities and grant ideas to inform the final round of funds, so we encourage you to make sure that you get involved.
“If you have an idea, we’d also love to speak to you about it. Karly and Brooke from our team plan on visiting the region during July, and will be available to meet with community groups to discuss applications, and answer questions you may have. We’re really excited about what these grants can do to support Kinglake’s ongoing recovery and I look forward to reading the applications,” Ms O’Brien said.
Applications for GR&W Kinglake will open 5 July, and close Wednesday 16 August 2022, at 5pm AEST, with successful applicants announced in December 2022. For more information and the guidelines, visit https://frrr.org.au/grants-for-resilience-wellness-kinglake/ .
Projects must directly assist those individuals and communities that were affected by the 2009 fires, and must identify a specific hardship or distress caused by the bushfires, which the activity intends to relieve.
To get involved in the local community discussions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. To book a time to meet with the FRRR team and discuss potential applications, community members are encouraged to email email@example.com.
To date, through GR&W Kinglake, FRRR has awarded over $1.1M to 35 projects run by local groups in the Kinglake Ranges, which is assisting communities to re-connect, share experiences, enhance wellbeing and resilience, and build capacity for the future.
This included the Dindi Arts Trail, which received more than $150,000 to support the delivery of the art trail, featuring 11 public murals on concrete water tanks, which enhances local connectedness and will help attract more visitors to the region. The grant funded the employment of a project officer to coordinate the project.
Any community impacted by 2009 bushfires and not located in Kinglake Ranges region can apply for support through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program.
Grant awarded to Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc
FRRR has awarded an out-of-session grant for $30,000 to the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc, via the Grants for Resilience & Wellness – Kinglake Ranges program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF).
The project, titled “Co-designing our Future: Community Conversations – Kinglake Ranges Talks”, continues the ongoing support for the Kinglake Ranges communities in their long-term recovery and rebuilding following the Black Saturday bushfires that devastated the region in 2009. Specifically, the grant aims to strengthen the community’s ability to identify opportunities and priorities for the Kinglake Ranges through place based community-led consultation.
In the 12 years since the 2009 Bushfires, almost half of the residents of Kinglake are new to the area. So the work of Kinglake Landcare Group is important in helping to improve the new residents’ understanding of their natural environment and the importance of fire safety. As a subsidiary of Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH), Kinglake Landcare Group provides support to the natural environment of Kinglake by undertaking community engagement activities and promoting sustainable agriculture.
With support from our Grants for Resilience & Wellness – Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake) program, Kinglake Landcare Group was able to make quite an impact on the community with their organised activities. The Group used their GR&W Kinglake grant to facilitate bushwalks and workshops to provide a practical way for residents to become familiar with the native flora, including how to care for it.
Geordie Scott-Walker, a botanist from Wildlife Experiences, guided a group of 22 enthusiastic participants on a walk from Captains Creek Road. Along the way Geordie would stop and identify local plants, explaining each ecosystem and the importance of the relationships between plants and the environment. After a quick lunch break, the walkers were then led to the nearby Wombelano Falls where the lesson continued. Social media posts allowed residents from surrounding areas, including Whittlesea and Strath Creek to participate in the activity as well.
The grant also made it possible for Kinglake Landcare Group to hold a propagation workshop with horticulturalist, Michael Cincotta, from the Latrobe Wildlife Sanctuary. Residents were shown how to grow indigenous flora through seeds and cuttings. The pots, soil and stakes were provided at the workshop. Attendees were able to take home their own small clipping of the Round-Leaf Pomaderris plant, which is endangered in the Kinglake area.
The success of these events prompted Kinglake Landcare Group to schedule more walks that have been postponed due to the coronavirus. With the enthusiasm and support from other nearby towns, the natural environment of Kinglake ranges will continue to improve and flourish.
By attending either of the activities these local communities were able to build on the knowledge and understanding of their natural environment. The hope is that each resident who participated in the walk or workshop will continue to share the information with others. The skills learnt at the bushwalk and the workshop have given individuals the power to help maintain the natural flora and take an active role in their community.
Support continues for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday bushfires
FRRR has awarded $499,959 in grants through its Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) programs, for 31 projects to help Victorian communities continue to build back better following the February 2009 Black Saturday fires.
These grants are funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) thanks to generous contributions by the general public following the 2009 bushfires. More than 12 years on from the disastrous fires, FRRR has awarded more than $6.1 million in grants to local groups in impacted communities.
Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W)
Since 2011, the GR&W program has funded projects that strengthen and build the resilience of communities in regions affected by the 2009 fires including Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Alpine and Whittlesea. To date, $3,560,842 has been granted to 257 community-led projects through the GR&W program.
This round of GR&W sees 22 community groups from impacted regions sharing in $268,821 in grants for projects designed to support locally-led recovery. The initiatives include projects that will improve and enhance community meeting places and events that promote and support local arts and culture activities.
Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that over the past 10 years the Foundation has seen the needs and priorities of the recovering regions develop and evolve and the projects funded through the GR&W program have reflected this evolution.
“This round saw community groups wanting to continue to build back better and support their region’s resilience and wellness through projects that bring locals together, provide relevant support and opportunities, and help community members develop practical skills.
“Projects that improve and enhance community meeting places continue to be a focus for groups seeking support, with funds provided this round for improving accessibility of community spaces including the Alexandra Indoor Pool and the community garden in Long Gully, as well as equipment to boost the capacity of several local Community and Men’s Sheds.
“The importance of arts and culture in disaster recovery continues in this round. Funding will support a comedy night at Clonbinane, and a variety of festivals and music sessions at Redesdale, Marysville, and St Andrews.
“A number of men’s sheds received funding, highlighting the important ongoing role of these facilities in providing opportunities and resources where people connect, develop skills, and create useful items for the benefit of the wider community,” Ms O’Brien said.
Some of the other projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:
- Traralgon South and District Association – Traralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby – $5,360 – Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
- Redesdale Recreation Committee – Pavilion Completion – $13,992 – Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
- Y Water Discovery Centre Inc – Yea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project – $20,000 – Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
- Whittlesea Secondary College – Restore, Grow, Perform – $24,364 – Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.
The full list of grant recipients can be found below.
Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake Ranges)
The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program awards grants to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges for projects that build resilience and increase the wellbeing of communities across the 2009 bushfire-affected region including Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi, and Flowerdale.
To date, 32 projects have shared in $882,913 in grants through the GR&W Kinglake program, which is now in its third year. This round there are nine projects sharing in a total of $231,138 in grants.
The program provides community groups and local not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to work together to get initiatives off the ground.
“Dindi Arts Trail is one such collaborative approach, with a series of murals to be painted across Flowerdale, Kinglake, Kinglake West and Toolangi. The arts-based recovery project will see each community work with a lead artist and local artists to paint the artworks. The initiative will enhance community pride and sense of place, as well as boost the local economy by encouraging people to visit the region and follow the Dindi Arts Trail across the Ranges,” Ms O’Brien said.
Among the other GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:
- Kinglake West Primary School – NAIDOC Week Celebrations – $3,500 – Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
- Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc – ‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book – $18,404 – Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
- Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges Inc – The Next 10 Years – $3,925 – Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
- Toolangi District Community House Inc – Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment – $33,007 – Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.
The full list of grant recipients can be found below.
The next round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges will open later in the year. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are encouraged from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.
More information on these grant programs is available here. UPDATE: The next round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges will open during 2022.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are listed below:
|GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS|
|Alexandra Community Shed / Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild Inc||Safety First|
Encourage expanded use of a community program through the installation of an all-abilities entrance way and boost organisation capacity through the purchase of a forklift to safely move heavy materials.
|Alexandra Indoor Heated Pool Inc||Aquatic Wheels|
Enhance accessibility for people with mobility issues to participate in swim classes and hydrotherapy through the provision of new equipment.
|Allwood Neighbourhood House Incorporated||La Luna Open Mic and Groove Nights – St Andrews|
Encourage community connection and strengthen local arts through the establishment of a series of music events held at St Andrews Hall.
|Alpine Health / Communities That Care Alpine||Alpine Youth Voices - A Youth Strategy|
Increase protective factors for youth in the Alpine Shire through the development of a Youth Support Strategy.
|Bright & Kiewa Valley||$30,000|
|Art Resource Collective Incorporated||The ARC Print Studio Redevelopment Project|
Increase access to the arts and local connectedness through the upgrade of a print studio for community arts group.
|Bushfire Resilience Inc||Bushfire Resilience - The Community Digital Presence|
Help residents to better prepare and respond to bushfires through interactive webinars and an upgraded website.
|Clonbinane Community Action Group||Laugh Out Loud|
Improve community vitality and build social connections with a comedy night at Clonbinane Hall.
|Kiewa Valley Historical Society||Apple Laptop Computer|
Boost organisation capacity and support volunteer skill development through the purchase of a laptop computer.
|Kilmore District Men's Shed Inc||Upgrades to Equipment and New Mower|
Promote learning and development, and build organisational capacity through the purchase of 3D technology and a ride on lawnmower.
|Men’s Shed at St Andrews||Portable Saw Milling Capability|
Reduce social isolation and improve delivery capacity by purchasing portable equipment for the Men’s Shed at St Andrews.
|St Andrews & Panton Hill||$16,866|
|Nillumbik Shire Council||Nillumbik Place Shapers|
Increase preparedness for future disaster events through the delivery of a placemaking program to develop community-led projects.
|Hurstbridge, Christmas Hills & Strathewen||$20,000|
|Redesdale and District Association Incorporated||Redesdale Arts Festival – Getting the (Arts) Show Back on the Road in 2021|
Strengthen economic recovery and social engagement through the delivery of a community festival.
|Redesdale Recreation Committee||Pavilion Completion|
Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
|Reedy Creek Progress Association Incorporated||RCPA 2021-2022 Calendar of Events|
Provide opportunities to build community resilience and connection, through the delivery of community gatherings at Reedy Creek Hall.
|Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc / St Matthew's Church||Hope...It Grows! - Ramp Up|
Allow whole of community access and renew facilities, through the installation of an all-abilities access ramp at a community garden.
|St Andrews Primary School||Kitchen Garden Community Space|
Improve access to healthy food and educational activities by developing a school garden project.
|Traralgon South and District Association||Traralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby|
Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
|Triangle Arts Group Inc||Marysville - Inside and Out, Music in the Park and more|
Strengthen connection to local culture and encourage people in the community to access arts events by running a local music festival.
|Whittlesea Men's Shed Incorporated||Acquisition and Installation of New & Replacement Equipment|
Create a safe environment, and improve the health and wellbeing of community participants with the purchase of safety equipment and band saw.
|Whittlesea Secondary College||Restore, Grow, Perform|
Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.
|Y Water Discovery Centre Inc||Yea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project|
Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
|Yarram Campdraft Club Inc||Yarram Campdraft Emergency Community Access Project|
Boost the community’s ability to prepare for future disasters by improving a track to provide access to a safe holding location for livestock during emergency events.
|GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS KINGLAKE RANGES|
|Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc||Dindi Open Studios|
Boost tourism and the local economy, and increase access to the local arts scene with a pilot Open Studio project featuring local artists' exhibitions.
|Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc||‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book|
Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
|Kinglake West Primary School||NAIDOC Week Celebrations|
Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
|Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges Inc||The Next 10 Years|
Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
|Toolangi District Community House Inc / Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team||Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment|
Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.
|Dindi Arts Trail projects|
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc / Kinglake Ranges Arts
|Dindi Arts Trail – Kinglake|
Enhance community identity and awareness of local culture, and boost local economy through the development of a community arts project across the ranges.
|Dindi Arts Trail projects|
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute and Reserve Committee Inc / Kinglake Historical Society
|Dindi Arts Trail – Historical Mural|
Promote connection to Kinglake region's history with murals depicting historical scenes.
|Dindi Arts Trail projects|
Toolangi District Community House Inc
|Dindi Art Trail – Toolangi|
Rejuvenate and enhance the town landscape, and boost community identity with the addition of murals in Toolangi.
|Dindi Arts Trail projects|
Flowerdale Community House Inc
|Dindi Arts Trail – Flowerdale|
Build community pride and enhance the urban environment with the creation of a mural featuring local iconic images.
More than $1.5M earmarked to support ongoing recovery across the Kinglake Ranges following the 2009 bushfires has begun to roll-out through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges program. Two projects have received funding, both of which will be important pathways to further local investment.
Following a consultation process as part of the Kinglake Ranges Community Planning Project, a suite of 27 priority projects and initiatives were identified that the community would like to pursue. This planning was developed by Regional Development Victoria (RDV) in consultation with the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) Panel, Murrindindi Shire Council and community representatives from Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale.
To help fast-track the development of the priority projects, Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) will host a part-time Community Development Officer for a year. This person, who has recently started in the role, will support local groups across the Kinglake Ranges to refine the project ideas identified through the community consultations. A Steering Group will provide strategic support, and FRRR will also provide a high level of support and advice to the Officer regarding the grant application process and eligibility.
“The 27 priority projects are now at the point where they need more detail, their feasibility needs to be tested and resourcing requirements determined. So FRRR will work closely with the Community Development Officer to support local groups involved in the consultation process to develop and progress these projects to application and delivery stage,” says Program Manager Recovery & Resilience, Emma Thomas.
“Eligible organisations will be invited to apply to the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges Program in March 2020.”
An additional project funded by FRRR in support of the community planning will see Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc (KRBN) engage a contractor to lead the development of the Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program. Stage 1 of the development program will involve surveying the local business community to identify their training needs, and the results from the survey will be presented and discussed at an Economic Strategic Session with the local businesses. This will then inform a calendar of industry-focused development activities for 2020.
Ms Thomas says that the 2009 disaster negatively impacted the local economy and the mental health of business owners, so additional support is important.
“The fire affected local tourism, the local environment and changed consumer patterns. Local businesses have struggled to create a new normal and overcome loss of income and level of change, while dealing with their own personal recovery. Local business owners, therefore, need support, and FRRR looks forward to supporting this development as it progresses.”
Further details about the projects funded are below.
Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc.
Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program – Stage 1
Strengthen the local economy in the Kinglake Ranges through scoping the training needs of local business and creating a calendar of industry focused development activities for 2020.
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.
Kinglake Ranges Development Fund – Community Grant Development Officer
Increase support for community organisations in the Kinglake Ranges to develop project ideas to grant application stage in order to access the Kinglake Ranges Development Fund.
After the devastation of Bushfires, it is often the volunteers who help bring rural communities back to life. The Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) Inc coordinates more than 50 volunteers to run the Op Shop and regularly participate in activities at the Centre.
To better support the volunteers and encourage others to get involved they established the Volunteer Murrindindi Resource Centre, an online portal providing an easy to use platform for connecting volunteers and organisations to request and find volunteers, with huge success.
They sought funding to update the online portal and engage a person to embed the policies / procedures, establish an evaluation framework, train existing staff and further connect KRNH with outside volunteer engaging organisations.
Community meetings held at the Neighbourhood Centre have identified that many community groups are struggling to provide support in terms of training and governance, leading to problems recruiting fresh volunteers and retaining existing volunteers. The VMRC have developed Volunteering Policies and Procedures with the aim of supporting both the neighbourhood house and to share with local community groups. These need to be embedded into KRNH to ensure sustainability of the VMRC as an integral part of the KRNH.
With a Community Group Futures grant of $19,532 funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund the KNRH were able to improve the online portal Volunteer Murrindindi within the broad scope of the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House structure. We have developed the majority of the Policies and Procedures around the Volunteer Resource Centre and established annline presence through our Volunteer matching portal – www.volunteermurrindindi.com.au
In the many years it takes to rebuild a region following a disaster like the 2009 Victorian bushfires, success in driving tourism back to the area can be make or break. It takes a concerted effort from a cohesive community to start seeing positive growth again.
In the Kinglake Ranges, the Foggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, held for the second time in 2015, achieved both of these important factors of recovery – driving community engagement while supporting wider economic development in a unique and exciting way.
The three day festival held last October (16th – 18th) attracted 1,500 attendees, 70% of which were visitors to the region. It included a Bush dance, music workshops, Bluegrass concerts, local produce, local talent, street performers, community concerts and a beard competition to support the Charity White Ribbon to raise awareness and funds to help stop violence again women. It brought local musicians back out in the open and connected a huge range of groups in the area, from the Kinglake CFA and Police to the Mountain Pickers Association of Victoria and the Australian Bluegrass and Old Timey Music Association. Many local food and accommodation businesses were booked out or sold out of products.
President of Foggy Mountain Inc, Brad Quilliam, said, “Overall we were extremely buoyed by the positive feedback from all involved and the festival achieving so many of its goals. The micro businesses in our area had rave reviews from all visitors which enhanced their confidence.”
Funding support came from a variety of sources – from the Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges, CERT, CFA, SES, Kinglake Neighbourhood House, Kinglake Foundation, and Kinglake Lions, with in-kind support from local organisations and businesses, and an estimated $6000 of volunteer labour – vital to the festival’s smooth operation.
Children given a voice through song
Foggy Mountain Inc applied to FRRR’s Grants for Resilience and Wellness program (GR&W) in order to run a special part of the music festival program – the song-writing program for local primary schools, which would culminate in 100 students performing their songs at the Sunday Community Concert at the Foggy Mountain Bluegrass Festival (with free entry all day to ensure the whole community could participate.)
GR&W granted $4,850, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, to support workshops for six primary schools in the region (Kinglake East, Kinglake West, Middle Kinglake, Strathewan, Toolangi and Flowerdale Primary School) as well as a sound engineer to record the children’s songs and stage for their performance, as well as chairs and an MC for the Community Concert. The workshops gave their students the opportunity to learn song writing skills and were facilitated by the acclaimed Carter and Carter.
“The workshops give the children a voice through song and in 2014 the children wrote about what they had lost and now what they have gained” Mr Quilliam reported.
Mr Quilliam said the students were the highlight of the day!
“It was a perfect platform to encourage participation, give self-confidence and show the work that the students had done in the song writing workshops leading up to the festival. The children were so excited to be performing to a capacity crowd in the main marquee.”
The community day also included workshops to learn new musical skills, benefitting up and coming musicians of all ages, and a Gospel Concert. Organisers are already talking about running a program for youth in production and video to expand on the value the festival can give to the area’s young people.
“This part of the program gives the locals a sense of pride and optimism,” Mr Quilliam said.