Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

The community of Corryong in north-eastern Victoria is nestled at the foot of the surrounding mountain ranges, and has a population of around 1,200. The Corryong Neighbourhood Centre (CNC) is very active in the community, and their mission is to make a difference for people in their community by providing a vibrant hub of lifelong learning that brings people together, connects them with services, programs, employment and activities and points them in the right direction.

The CNC operates two successful social enterprises, which not only increase the opportunities for work-based training in the community and support the ongoing operating costs of the CNC, but also meet an identified gap in current services and supplies available in Corryong.

One is a community bakery, which had an 11% increase in sales in its first year and a 28% increase in its second, contributing over $83,000 to CNC operations in its first two years of trading. The second social enterprise venture is a community garage, which uses the same model as the bakery and aims to be financially viable and self-sustaining within a reasonable timeframe. Both ventures are managed by an experienced industry professional with training skills and a community focus with business and administrative support from the CNC team.

To ensure that the funds generated from the social enterprises are sustainably and effectively utilised within the Upper Murray, the Upper Murray Innovation Foundation (UMIF) was established as a Community Foundation operated by the CNC in June 2016. UMIF partnered with FRRR in 2017 to create a Fundraising Account to channel these funds through, meaning that any contributions made to the account receive a tax deduction within Australia. UMIF’s purpose is to support the activities of the CNC and the wider Upper Murray Community through learning, activities and initiatives that improve life in the region and, particularly since the devastating Black Summer bushfires, build resilience and growth at the community level. 

Since opening the account with FRRR, UMIF has raised $333,462 for bushfire recovery and $245,000 for their community garage social enterprise. Distributions are made to support community groups such as the footy clubs at Bullioh, Federal, Cudgewa and Corryong, which were adversely affected by the Black Summer bushfires. Corryong College received funding for a support dog; Cudgewa Hall for tree works; the Corryong CRC for the development of a community calendar; Biggara Recreation Reserve for community hall upgrades; and a Freemasons project to assist with the clearing of damaged fencing, erosion and damage to waterways resulting from the bushfires and subsequent landslides in difficult access areas.

Sara Jenkins from UMIF said that the funded activities have provided stand alone benefits, start up funds or contributed to larger projects for a wide range of groups. Some of the distributions have also enabled groups and organisations to work together to develop strategies and solutions to address wider community issues (e.g. the community calendar project).

When asked what some key learnings were for the Community Foundation, Sara mentioned the ongoing importance of developing and using comprehensive procedures and documentation and maintaining regular contact with recipients and partners.

“Keeping up-to-date with the status of projects, the people on the ground, and being involved in any problem solving or amendments required reduces confusion, duplication and helps the process run smoothly, despite ongoing delays,” she said.

UMIF continues to foster several project partnerships, working closely with Freemasons Victoria, Towong Shire, CRCs and various unincorporated community groups. They are also auspicing and supporting a number of bushfire recovery grants and projects for unincorporated community groups that will support the community to continue the recovery process.

Seville Township Group operates in Victoria’s Yarra Valley and aims to improve Seville for the benefit of the local community and those in the surrounding areas. They hold an FRRR Not-for-profit Fundraising account on behalf of the Seville War Memorial Committee. An “epic” eight years in the making, this project is now very close to completion. While the Committee hosted a Remembrance Day Service in November 2021, after adding finishing touches at the end of last year – including lighting – the group is now planning what they believe may be the first local Dawn Service for ANZAC Day next month.

While it’s a War Memorial first and foremost, it is also a public work of art, and an emotive and educational tribute to the nation’s military heritage. Constructed out of four glass panels with images and text on the internal and external surfaces, the almost four-metre tall design is a modern memorial, commemorating the service and sacrifices of local veterans, including George Ingram VC MM, a Seville local who was awarded the Victoria Cross in WWI.

In the latter half of 2021, The Seville Township Group were focused on completing the final touches on their project, including lighting design.
They proudly hosted their first Remembrance Day Ceremony in November 2021, and in April 2022 they hosted what they believe may have been the first ever Anzac Day Dawn Service in Seville.The StarMail Upper Yarra reported that there was a strong show of support with hundreds gathering. This included many community groups coming together as one, and the service included tributes from the Seville Fire Brigade, Seville Football Netball Club and the 1st Seville Scouts.

The service was also captured by Yarra Ranges Life TV as a live broadcast which you can watch here. 

The group noted that completing the project under budget while still achieving what they set out to do was a challenge, especially given COVID-related disruptions. Derry Aulich, President of the Seville Township Group wrote, “Our biggest learning curve was managing the project and its milestones.”

Holding an FRRR Fundraising account meant that they could receive tax deductible donations from the community. In total, they raised $60,173 througHolding an FRRR Fundraising account meant that they could receive tax deductible donations from the community. In total, they raised $60,173 through the account – around one third of the total project budget. “FRRR’s support throughout the project has been crucial in our budgeting and planning,” Derry wrote.

This unique War Memorial will stand out, not just in the Yarra Valley, but among memorials across Australia, and the community of Seville now, for the first time, has a dedicated place to pay respects to those who have perished in active service.  They hope it will be an educational tool for future generations, lest we forget.

Lest we forget.

If your group would like to know how you could partner with FRRR to raise funds for an important community priority, contact Jo Kemp, Philanthropic Services Manager.

Did you know that some schools in remote Australian communities might have as few as 15 books in their library?

That discovery in 2017 prompted Corey Tutt to start sourcing and supplying resources himself, initially from his personal library. DeadlyScience Limited was established in 2020, and is now a registered charity. Through DeadlyScience, Corey is seeking to inspire a new generation of scientists.
It focuses on providing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and early learning reading resources to remote Australian schools to help increase engagement.

The initial priority is schools with a high proportion of Indigenous children. Where possible, and appropriate, DeadlyScience sources materials from Indigenous authors, artists, and translated versions in Indigenous languages. In the three and a bit years since inception, DeadlyScience has had more than 110 schools requesting resources.

They have delivered more than 16,000 books, 500 telescopes (and basic science kits), 80 educational resources and six greenhouses (plus seeds, and educational materials to support food production projects) to more than 100 Australian schools and/or communities.

This growth looks set to continue as the organisation gains more momentum and profile. Another key activity involves maintaining a website to support teachers in remote schools with access to high quality scientific research and relevant experts in their fields (also of Indigenous background, where possible). 

In 2020, DeadlyScience partnered with FRRR to set up a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account, allowing them to attract tax deductible contributions from a broad range of donors to expand their activities and support the overall capacity and operations. 

You can add your support by donate securely online, or check out the DeadlyScience website to learn more about their work.

To learn more about opening a Not-For-Profit fundraising account, get in touch with Jo Kemp.