Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

The population of the District Council of Yankalilla is 5,500, spread across 750 square kilometres within 10 small townships. Some families are geographically isolated, farmers are doing it tough and there are a number of people who are struggling with low income, drug and alcohol issues, as well as family violence. There are not many opportunities for work and no public transport options for those who don’t have a car. While some support services are available in the community, most are outreach and not located in the district. In general, anxiety levels are higher than normal across the population groups. COVID fears and restrictions have added to this anxiety. Community members who are struggling usually want to connect with someone in their district to talk things over and find out what support is available.

The Council’s plan was ambitious – establish the Fleurieu Coast Community Network (FCCN) to foster help-seeking practices and build community connectedness and strength, with a focus of improving mental health. They successfully applied for a $9,000 In a Good Place grant from FRRR, funded by CCI Giving, to launch their plan to engage a coordinator who could provide the ‘first point of contact’ role and upskill community champions to expand the service across the district.

On paper, it was straight forward – set up a network of service agencies and community organisations, create a calendar of events focused on mental health and wellbeing messages, host informal community conversations and support community leaders, by providing them with mental health and wellbeing training. What they didn’t expect was COVID and local restrictions, which changed the planning and execution of all elements of the project plan. But each hurdle was successfully negotiated.

Meetings to form the Fleurieu Coast Community Network (FCCN) were held in a blended format. They received excellent feedback and became very popular within the sector. The Network is now well established, with high levels of information sharing and collaboration across the core group of about 22 organisations, which includes more than 70 service providers, businesses, local agencies and individuals who receive regular updates on FCCN activities and come together to connect, identify community issues and mobilise resources to provide information, advice, support and training.

The original concept of an event calendar was very time consuming to deliver and was not engaging as many people as the organisers had hoped. A decision was made to embed the events and activities within the Council’s web-based calendar and event information is also shared in digital flyer format through the Network emails.

Community conversations were held bi-monthly. This group was facilitated by Skylight Mental Health and themes discussed included community wellbeing during COVID and suicide prevention support. As a result of these conversations and other events, 14 individuals registered as Community Leaders; people who could be called upon by local community members when they needed information or just a friendly conversation. They are seen as a stand-by informal ‘Crisis Response’ group – people who are willing to do what is needed when the situation arises. So far, there has been a food delivery response for people isolated due to COVID or anxiety about COVID, as well as informal support for low income parents.

Because of travel restrictions, the planned community presentations and training offered had to be redesigned. The Network partnered with Country SA Primary Health Network to conduct the Fleurieu Coast Wellbeing Expo, which was very well attended by locals. They also supported the local Gone Fishing Day, which focused on mental health and was attended by more than 80 people; Lullabies of the Fleurieu 2022 for parents engaged over 100 people; No Scaredy Cats for Parents supported 10 families with children experiencing anxiety; and the Now and Next Program for parents of children with a disability.

Excitingly, the Council funded the program from 1 January to 30 June 2022, due to the successful pilot and the impressive involvement from service providers and Community Leaders. This allowed the Project Officer to sustain the momentum and goodwill of the FCCN and facilitate Accidental Counselling Training for Community Leaders.

Claire Taylor from the District Council of Yankalilla said, “This grant has been so influential in assisting our Community Team to establish and consolidate the Fleurieu Coast Community Network. It allowed us to demonstrate that the Network is truly valuable in a small regional district where we have to rely on good connections and relationships to maximise the access to services for our residents.”

Huon Valley council acknowledges Traditional Custodians of the South East Nation, the Melukerdee people of the Huon River and the Lyluequonny people of the Far South.

Following a number of suicides in the Huon Valley in southwest Tasmania, the community indicated an interest in learning more about mental health and how to best support a family member, friend or colleague who may be struggling with their mental health.

With the help of a $9,255 grant through the In a Good Place program, supported by CCI Giving, the Mental Health Community Response project was initiated. Its goal was to build capacity in the Huon Valley to respond to and prevent suicide and promote mental health through the delivery of mental health first aid training to community members and groups. By providing the tools, community members could better understand and support members of the local community who may be self-harming or suicidal.

The Huon Valley Council took on a project coordination role, working closely with the Rural Alive and Well program, to reduce the stigma of suicide by promoting events widely across the community, encouraging conversations about mental health. They also ran three 12-hour Mental Health First Aid programs across some of the smaller communities in the Huon Valley, as well as delivering two self-injury focused workshops to community members struggling to support family members who self-harm.

The Huon Valley Council’s contribution was significant, as participants appreciated being able to complete the training at an affordable cost and within their own local community. COVID posed several challenges, with the delivery of training delayed, as it was agreed that face-to-face sessions were important, given the nature of the training.

Communities and individuals in the Huon Valley are now better equipped to support each other, their community, family members and colleagues dealing with serious mental health issues such as self-harm or suicidal ideation. Community networks were built and reinforced by the project. At the completion of the project, participants had the confidence and resilience to share stories and have conversations in a secure and inclusive environment, to further reduce barriers associated with discussing mental health and suicide.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.

The small, rural town of Mooral Creek is around 260 kms north of Sydney. Following the devastation of the 2019/20 bushfires, the Mooral Creek Hall & Progress Association Committee embarked upon a project to bring the whole community together to connect, reflect and support each other through the bushfire recovery process.

With the help of a $25,000 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, supported by the Fire Fight Australia Fund, came Creative Spark – an arts project aimed at encouraging creative expression and developing confidence and skills in a range of artistic forms. Through a series of visual and performance arts workshops in 2021, the project brought together the people of Mooral Creek and neighbouring communities. The project culminated in an uplifting Showcase event that celebrated the community’s achievements.

Project organisers coordinated the delivery of 14 different workshop series over 55 sessions, all while negotiating the difficulties of local flooding and COVID restrictions. More than 75 community members participated in at least one workshop.

Participants benefited from the skill, enthusiasm and encouragement of 11 local facilitators who aimed to shift focus from loss and trauma to positivity and inspiration. The facilitators themselves benefited from being able to share their knowledge, expertise and creative skills, while strengthening their community relationships. Sadly, the Fire Chief passed away during the project, however his wife found solace in delivering her painting workshop, and old and new friends were able to journey with her through grief and creativity.

Some of the resulting artworks from the many workshops directly reflected the subject of the bushfires and gave the town many beautiful keepsakes. In one workshop, participants painted the windows of Mooral Creek Hall with a stained-glass effect. They depicted their homes surrounded by colours, lines and shapes that evoked fire, smoke, landscape and nature. The overall effect for the Hall was transformative – creating a vibrancy and cathedral-like space, which can now be appreciated from both inside and outside the hall. The result of another workshop was a painting on a nearby utility pole – a simple memorial of the Black Summer Bushfires, in recognition of the work of the RFS and particularly, their Fire Chief. It depicts a koala, a goanna and a crimson rosella, some of the local fauna that suffered from the impact of the fires.

Other workshops had a stronger focus on coming together to learn physical skills, with a focus on mental wellbeing, such as ‘The Magic Circus’, Tai Chi and drumming workshops. The Middle Eastern Dance workshop saw women of all ages develop skills and collaborate over many weeks to choreograph a belly-dancing performance. The performance, titled Out of the Ashes, was described by many at the Showcase event as the best thing they had ever seen at the hall.

As well as exhibiting the artworks created during the workshops, the Showcase also displayed photographs taken during and immediately after the fires. This proved very thought-provoking, with many locals using them as a talking point to share their experiences of the bushfires. Also on display were several portraits commissioned from a local artist, which recognised community members who experienced significant loss from the bushfires, and were gifted to the sitters following the event.

The benefits of the Creative Spark project were far-reaching and effectively assisted the community to work through the trauma and experiences of living through the bushfires. Many residents were able to be involved in different ways – whether as a workshop facilitator or participant, having their portrait done, or as an audience member at the Showcase event. The breadth of arts activities and incredible scope of the project created a vibrant energy in the community and residents were amazed at what they were able to achieve. Several activities have continued throughout 2022 – evidence of the ongoing benefits of the project.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.

On Jukembal, Kamilaroi and Bundjalung Country

The TenterLIFE Suicide Prevention Network was formed in 2019 in the northern NSW rural community of Tenterfield. By bringing members of the community together to talk and learn about suicide prevention, the organisation hopes to reduce the number of suicide and suicide attempts in the area.

Tenterfield has been through many traumas over the past few years. Drought, fires and more recently COVID have taken their toll on the community. The effects of the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires are still being felt by the community, with the landscape still blackened. This affects people’s mental health.

Tragically, there were 154 suspected or confirmed suicide deaths reported in NSW from 1 January to 28 February 2021. This is similar to the number of deaths reported within the same time period in 2019 and 2020, so this is an ongoing issue that needs dedicated focus.

Chairperson of TenterLIFE, Lexie Sherren, explained that the numbers for the Inverell / Tenterfield area are among the highest in the state.

“By informing communities of the drastic need to be more aware of the situation, hopefully these numbers can reduce,” she explained in their application.

The compelling case, plus the support of a range of local stakeholders, including health, allied health, education and charity sectors, plus community members with first-hand experience of mental health and suicide impacts, coupled with their track record, saw TenterLIFE awarded a $25,000 Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant, thanks to the support of a private donor. The funds went toward printing flyers, purchasing t-shirts and windcheaters to be worn on their public walks and running Suicide Prevention First Aid training. Having spent less money on the shirts and jackets, FRRR approved a variation that meant they also purchased a PA system to use at events, rather than borrowing from one of the members.

The group has held regular ‘Walk ’n’ Talk’ events, marked White Wreath Day where they remembered those lost to suicide, as well as participated in Stress Down Day, where there was a talk on stress management and then the group sang and blew bubbles.

“All the comments were positive and I don’t think I’ve seen everyone attending smile and laugh so much. We played People Bingo, had an A-Z Scavenger Hunt and played lots of games.

“These events instil a sense of belonging for community members. Knowing someone cares can provide relief for a person who may be suicidal. Giving voice to their thoughts and expressing their feelings aloud, knowing someone is there to listen, can be truly lifesaving. Isolation or feeling alone can also increase suicidal tendencies, while connection with another person can have the reverse affect,” Ms Sherren said.

The group has more activities planned throughout the year.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.

Jeremy Yipp and Lauren Clair from our partners at CCI Giving recently joined one of our team meetings as part of an overview of the CCI Giving / FRRR partnership, which supports mental health in remote, rural and regional Australia, to discuss the “awesomeness” that is the In a Good Place (IAGP) program.

IAGP is a national program that focuses on place-based, grassroots mental health and wellbeing. It supports community-driven projects, services, activities or initiatives, and targets vulnerable community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues. Like other FRRR programs, it supports communities doing it for themselves. Projects typically bring people together, sometimes to heal, always to learn. The program helps to bring mental health and wellbeing out into the open – making it OK to talk about, OK to reach out, OK to ask for help.

CCI Giving is a foundation established by Catholic Church Insurance in 2017, and in its relatively short history, has already distributed more than $1.8M in grants, to over 200 projects right across Australia.

A large part of these funds have been distributed via the IAGP program, which began as a five year partnership in 2018, distributing $200,000 annually. We were very pleased to jointly announce a continuation of the partnership earlier this year, with a subsequent agreement in place for a further five years, and distributions increasing to $250,000 each year.

In the session, Jeremy shared one of his favourite projects with us, which was a $20,000 grant awarded to Kanyini Connections. They have developed an equine-assisted therapy program specifically for young veterans, run by a qualified equine therapist who is a young veteran herself, with lived experienced of PTSD. Funds will support two 12-week equine-assisted therapy programs to provide intensive support to 48 young veterans.

HEADING: Partnership helps put communities 'In a Good Place'. IMAGE: Hoofbeats Sanctuary sign.

Jeremy said, “It’s projects like these that need seed funding behind them to prove up their model, to see what works and what doesn’t, and why. Without assistance through programs such as the In a Good Place program, these projects may never have the opportunity to really get off the ground and reach their full potential, or it would take a lot longer for them to do so.”

The In a Good Place program has a definite and important role to play in supporting rural communities in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and the importance of promoting and supporting good mental health and wellbeing. While applications have closed for this year, perhaps now is the time to start planning your community’s project for the 2023 round.

Fourteen mental health initiatives across remote, rural and regional Australia will share in $204,607 in grants awarded through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program.

Thanks to CCI Giving, the charitable foundation established by Catholic Church Insurance (CCI), these grants will support grassroots, community driven projects that increase social participation, help to reduce social isolation and encourage community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues to seek help. FRRR and CCI Giving are now in the fifth year of their partnership.

This year, the grants range from $8,000 for an initiative that will build the confidence of primary school children in Mount Murchison, QLD to $20,000 for a project that will help various communities in the Northern Territory to better understand what a developing mental health problem or crisis looks like, and respond appropriately.

Jeremy Yipp, CCI Chief Risk Officer of CCI and Chair of CCI Giving, said that the sustained interest in the program is a sign of how essential it is.

“Each year, we receive applications and expressions of interests that really highlight the gap in funding when it comes to flexible grants that are geared towards grassroots mental health programs and services. The goal of this program is to help fill that gap and offer rural communities a say in how their mental health resources are used. After all, they are the people who are being directly impacted,” said Mr Yipp.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said this program is particularly crucial now because of the increase in mental health struggles in rural Australia stemming from pressures of the pandemic and other natural disasters like floods, bushfires and drought.

“The last few years have seen remote, rural and regional communities facing challenges like never before. Often these events occur one after the other – or even at the same time. This has meant that many people in rural communities have been unable to access mental health services or support at a time when they need it most.

“In this round, we were delighted to see an increase in applications from the Northern Territory. Remote communities are often the places with the most limited access to mental health services, so it’s great to be able to help fill that gap. We also saw more requests for funding to support initiatives focussed on young people, and again, we are pleased to be able to support several of those projects to help equip them with the skills and strategies to cope with the many challenges they face,” said Ms Egleton.

Some of the 14 initiatives being funded include:

Zoe Support Australia received funding for their Mentally Healthy Mothers project to employ a case manager to provide support wrap around support for young mums who are struggling with their mental health.
  • Trustee for St Francis Xavier Primary, Lake Cargelligo – Lake Cargelligo, NSW – Earlymind – $9,062 – Develop resilience, a positive mindset andawareness of self by implementing and embedding The Resilience Project School Partnership Program to support the social and emotional health and wellbeing of students and the broader community.
  • Bluearth Foundation – Ltyentye Apurte, NT – Active Leaders Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) – $13,000 – Develop the confidence, resilience and self-awareness of senior students to enable them to create and guide physical activity and wellbeing programs for the primary school students to encourage and promote physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Kanyini Connections Ltd – Doonan, QLD – Young Veterans PTSD Program – $20,000 – Support a tailored equine therapy program by providing funds for essential program materials, equipment and consumables to assist 48 young veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have not responded to other therapy options.
  • Lameroo Forward Inc – Lameroo, SA – Southern Mallee Mental Health Presentations – $10,000 – Grow community understanding of mental health and increase awareness by bringing in a guest speaker to share vital tips and advice at two community presentations.
  • Zoe Support Australia – Mildura, VIC – Mentally Healthy Mothers – $20,000 – Augment the current support for vulnerable young mothers by employing a case manager to provide support wrap around support, connections with community supports and knowledge around mental health for those who are struggling with their mental health.
  • Tradies IN Sight – Dubbo region , NSW  The Real Reconnections Tour $10,000 – Support tradies in rural communities to connect and develop trusted relationships that support, empower and encourage gain better understanding of mental health issues and break down stigma around dealing with emotional struggles.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
The Rural Woman Co-Operative LtdMental Health Matters - Circles of Support
Enhance the mental health and wellbeing of rural women by providing a series of professionally facilitated and moderated online groups and a training program to enable participants to connect, learn, seek support and thrive.
Armidale$14,100
Tradies IN Sight IncThe Real Reconnections Tour
Support rural communities to connect and develop trusted relationships that support, empower and encourage gain better understanding of mental health issues and break down stigma around dealing with emotional struggles.
Dubbo, Tullamore, Narromine, Coonamble, Parkes$10,000
Trustee for St Francis Xavier Primary, Lake CargelligoEarlymind
Develop resilience, a positive mindset and awareness of self by implementing and embedding The Resilience Project School Partnership Program to support the social and emotional health and wellbeing of students and the broader community.
Lake Cargelligo$9,062
NORTHERN TERRITORY
SabrinasReach4Life IncHeads Up
Increase the capacity and confidence of local communities to better understand what a developing mental health problem or crisis looks like, and develop the skills and confidence to offer and apply help offering behaviours to reduce the incidences of suicide.
Darwin, Jabiru, Litchfield, Katherine$20,000
Bluearth FoundationActive Leaders Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa)
Develop the confidence, resilience and selfawareness of senior students to enable them to create and guide physical activity and wellbeing programs for the primary school students to encourage and promote
physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa)$13,000
QUEENSLAND
Chinchilla Family Support Centre IncEating With Friends in Chinchilla
Increase social connection and awareness of support services by initiating an Eating With Friends program to improve the mental health of isolated members of the community, particularly older people and
FIFO workers.
Chinchilla$11,950
Kanyini Connections LtdYoung Veterans PTSD Program
Support a tailored equine therapy program by providing funds for essential program materials, equipment and consumables to assist 48 young veterans living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who have not
responded to other therapy options.
Doonan$20,000
Mount Murchison State SchoolGame Changer: helping Students Achieve their True Potential
Cultivate confidence in primary school children to cope with life and change by supporting five schools to implement a locally facilitated program, including staff development, to foster positive learning environments and enhance social and emotional wellbeing.
Mount Murchison$8,000
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Lameroo Forward IncSouthern Mallee Mental Health Presentations
Grow community understanding of mental health and increase awareness by bringing in a guest speaker to share vital tips and advice at two community presentations.
Lameroo$10,000
VICTORIA
Crossenvale Community Group IncYarn in the Park
Create a safe, welcoming space for locals experiencing mental health issues to attend weekly support group sessions to receive support, connection, information and resources.
Echuca$18,295
Zoe Support AustraliaMentally Healthy Mothers
Augment the current support for vulnerable young mothers by employing a case manager to provide support wrap around support, connections with community supports and knowledge around mental health for those who are struggling with their mental health.
Mildura$20,000
Let's Talk Foundation LtdLETS TALK, Woolshed to Clubhouse
Build community engagement with the LETS TALK initiative through a series of local presentations that encourage helpseeking behaviour, and raise the level of community competence in supporting
someone with mental health issues.
Terang, Hamilton, Port Fairy$15,225
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Northam Senior High SchoolNortham Senior High School Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program
Improve the knowledge, skills, and selfefficacy of Northam SHS staff and parents/caregivers to teach, model and support social and emotional competencies to students, and support students to
improve their own social and emotional wellbeing.
Northam$20,000
York District High SchoolSocial and Emotional Learning Programs 
Improve the social and emotional wellbeing of K-Year 10 students through teacher training and purchase of resources to support the implementation across the school curriculum.
York$14,975

There are many elderly residents living there in aged care in the Southern Highlands in New South Wales who have limited financial support. In fact, the community-owned Harbison Memorial Retirement Village – which provides up to 50% of their residential places to residents who can’t afford to pay for their care and accommodation – receives no government funding for wellbeing, or capacity building programs. 

In 2021, Harbison initiated the Grand Friends Pilot Program, an inter-generational community initiative connecting elderly residents with Kinder to Year 2 students, their families and the wider community. Partway through, the program was suspended due to COVID and a lack of funding. But the Southern Highlands Community Foundation – an organisation fostering local philanthropy to support community needs and initiatives – auspiced a grant application on behalf of Harbison, and received $20,000  through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program to complete their pilot.

Through the generous support of CCI Giving, this IAGP grant helped restart Harbison’s pilot program, which concluded in December 2021 following a short suspension. And with benefits for both aged care residents and children alike, the program has now begun to roll out to other local schools.

The weekly program involves Kinder, Year 1 and Year 2 classes hosting their Grand Friends, with everyone participating in structured activities, conversation and a shared morning tea. In between visits, the children write letters, make cards, rock friends and complete activities to prepare for the next Grand Friends visit – Grand Friends become part of the day-to-day discussions and activities in the classroom. Residents reported reduced loneliness and incidences of depression, improved memory, mood, confidence and mobility, and an increased sense of meaning and purpose in their life.. The program also saw evidence that participating children develop empathy, social confidence and language skills.

Harbison resident, Harold Griffin, believes it is a gift to be able to visit his junior class each week.

“I get a thrill out of attending the school visit. The energy and excitement the kids have, created by our group attending their school, is wonderful,“ Harold said.

$200,000 available to fund community-led mental health projects

Remote, rural and regional communities across Australia can apply now for grants through FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program to support community-driven activities focused on mental health and wellbeing. Offered in partnership with CCI Giving, there is $200,000 available through grants of up to $20,000 for projects that support vulnerable community members at risk of, or experiencing, mental health issues.

HEADING: Rural mental health initiatives given a funding boost. IMAGE: Mental Health First Aid group session.

The program supports a range of approaches that are preventative or responsive in nature, and clearly and directly focus on strengthening mental health and wellbeing. These include initiatives that increase social participation and connections with the community, and reduce stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging open discussion and supporting self-help-seeking.

Jeremy Yipp, CCI Chief Risk Officer and Chair of CCI Giving, said that greater access to mental health services and support is vital to those living in rural communities, particularly following times of crisis.

“Rural and remote communities continue to be affected by events such as fires and flooding, and in recent years the pandemic. It’s more important than ever to encourage people to stay connected and seek support, especially for those living in places with limited access to mental health services.

“Our partnership with FRRR helps CCI Giving reach remote, rural and regional communities, to build and nurture social connections and community participation, and provide access to mental health training and education,” said Mr Yipp.

Jill Karena, FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead, said that the events of the past few years have highlighted the need for rural Australia to have equitable access to mental health services and support.

“The impact of the pandemic, and the subsequent isolation, is still being felt and understood. But clearly, access to mental health tools, services and support that are driven by community need, are critical to improving and strengthening the mental health of remote, rural and regional Australians, particularly younger members of the community.

“As an example, through the IAGP program, the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) in Swan Hill received funding of $13,480 to deliver a culturally specific Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program and establish a local support network – Deadly Yarning & Learning, targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

“Although initially intended to be delivered face-to-face, the COVID pandemic and lockdowns caused serious disruptions to the project. Instead, most training took place online. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people gained vital skills in MHFA, connected with each other, relevant workers and service providers, and increased their confidence and leadership skills while helping to shape local, culturally safe responses to mental health.

“Our partnership with CCI Giving means we can support these kinds of community-led approaches to mental health services that respond to community need and are accessible for people in rural areas who may otherwise have difficulty accessing services,” Ms Karena said.

Applications open on 20 April 2022. As in previous years, FRRR expects this will be a highly competitive program and so there is a two-stage application process. A brief Expression of Interest must be submitted no later than 5pm AEST, Wednesday 25 May 2022. The Expression of Interest form and more information is available on FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/funding/place/in-a-good-place/. Applicants can also call 1800 170 020.

The IAGP program is the centrepiece of a partnership between FRRR and CCI Giving which has just been extended for a further five years, to run until 2027. Since the partnership began in 2018, IAGP has awarded $800,000 in grants to 53 community-led initiatives that promote good mental health and wellbeing in remote, rural and regional communities.

$1.25m in grants to be made available

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and CCI Giving have agreed to a five-year extension to their partnership and national grants program, In a Good Place (IAGP). This means that the grant program will now run until at least 2027.

HEADING: FRRR and CCI Giving make further five-year commitment to rural mental health.
IMAGE: Group shot of the Deadly Yarning & Learning participants.

CCI Giving has also made a commitment to increase the funding available each year by $50,000, meaning that there will be $250,000 available to applicants annually, starting next year.

The partnership between CCI Giving and FRRR began in May 2018 and, since then, $800,000 in grants have been awarded to 53 projects across remote, rural and regional Australia through the IAGP program.

This program strengthens mental health in rural communities by supporting locally-led initiatives that reduce social isolation, increase social participation and connectedness and encourage people to seek help in tackling mental health challenges.

Jeremy Yipp, CCI General Manager, General Insurance Claims and Chair of CCI Giving, said that they are committed to providing rural Australians with greater access to mental health care.

“There are many stressors when it comes to mental health and, sadly, the pandemic has exacerbated these, particularly among young people living in rural areas who don’t have the same access to mental health services as those living in cities.

“There are key groups working on the ground, at the local level, who we want to ensure have the support to implement initiatives that they know will make a difference.

“We are always stronger when we work with others, and we are delighted to be extending our relationship with FRRR. I know that working closely with FRRR is vital to the impact and effort of the many organisations who are supporting communities and people who are at risk of mental ill health. Five years and additional funds is something to really celebrate,” said Mr Yipp.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that this commitment from CCI Giving provides much-needed certainty to rural Australia.

“Historically, remote, rural and regional communities across Australia haven’t had the equity of access to the mental health and wellbeing resources that they need. With the added pressure of the challenges that these communities have faced in recent years, access to these kinds of services is now more crucial than ever before.

“Our Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey showed that as a result of consecutive natural disasters and the pandemic, there has been lowered resilience, increased fatigue and stress, and high levels of mental health illnesses in rural communities. CCI Giving’s commitment of increased grant funds and the certainty of it being on offer for the next five years, provides these communities with security and greater access to funding for community mental health projects that can have a profound impact for those involved.

“At FRRR, we have loved working alongside CCI Giving, providing support and tools to these vital, community-led initiatives. We couldn’t be more delighted to announce the five-year extension of our work together,” Ms Egleton said.

The next round of IAGP grant applications will open 20 April 2022. To find out more about this program go to https://frrr.org.au/funding/place/in-a-good-place.

Youth mental health is an issue that many organisations and communities across the country work hard to improve. Raising awareness through conversation and proper guidance is crucial to improving and strengthening the mental health of young Australians. In the northwest of Victoria, you’ll find the city of Swan Hill where Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) are doing just that. As the leading advocate for young people aged 12-25 in Victoria, they work closely with young Victorians and the sector to support them and deliver effective advocacy.


Over the past two years, YACVic have hosted the ‘Turning Ideas into Action’ and ‘What Matters’ youth forums across Victoria. Through these forums, young people have identified mental health as a major priority. A report conducted in 2010 (Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice) identified young Aboriginal people are at increased risk of experiencing mental illness and are also less likely to engage with mainstream youth mental health services. To improve this situation, YACVic wanted to create a space that would be culturally safe and relevant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

YACVic sought funding to deliver culturally specific Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program – Deadly Yarning & Learning. The training session would target 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and then ten additional people to work with them on a regular basis as mentors in Swan Hill and Robinvale. The training would be provided by AJ Williams-tchen from Girraway Ganyi to make sure that both the content and delivery is done in a competent and safe manner.

Using a $13,480 In a Good Place (IAGP) grant, supported by CCI Giving, YACVic would partner with local services in the area including Mallee District Aboriginal Services and Robinvale Secondary College to provide the training over two days in each location. The following six months would then involve regular monthly community of practice sessions for the 20 participants to discuss how they have been able to put into practice their training since the initial sessions. The catch ups would also be used as a safe space for debriefing and continued peer learning and development, but also as a way to identify any key issues that had arisen in the community.

After having one training session in each location, YACVic were required to quickly adapt the original plan, with the COVID pandemic and lockdowns causing serious disruptions to the project. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, YACVic decided to postpone the face-to-face youth training component of the project until restrictions eased. They were, however, able to take the mentor training online, which proved to be quite beneficial as they were able to bring five more people on as mentors.

By undertaking the training and participating in the monthly community of practice sessions, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people will gain skills in MHFA, connect with each other, relevant workers and service providers and increase their confidence and leadership skills while helping to shape local, culturally safe responses to mental health.