Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Nine projects funded across NSW, QLD and WA

While drought is out of the media spotlight, for many communities it is still a very real and significant issue. FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program has just awarded $86,083 to nine community initiatives in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia still dealing with the impacts of drought.

Mural painted on shed of an old car.

TTTT is a long-running, collaboratively-funded program that helps drought-affected communities to access the funding and resources they need to tackle the long-term impacts of drought. This round of grants will help fund a variety of projects run by local not-for-profit organisations and community groups, including a series of art workshops for both adults and children, a community event featuring Aboriginal artwork, the creation of murals and skills training to support community members experiencing loss and grief.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that there are still many regions across Australia being impacted by drought.

“During this round of grants, the number of eligible LGAs dropped from 152 to 47. While we’re delighted to see such a significant drop in the number of communities being impacted by drought, it’s crucial that we continue to provide support. A lot of places, like remote SA, are still tackling extreme periods of dryness while others are very much still in drought recovery mode. Not to mention the fact that communities are dealing with a variety of other factors as they continue to stand strong and keep their community connected and supported.

“In this round of applications, we saw a lot of projects that are aiming to improve volunteer capacity and build a sense of social connectedness. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that our remote, rural and regional communities need volunteers and a strong sense of community in order to thrive.

“When we carried out our Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey last year, the results showed that the effects of drought, as well as the cumulative effects of multiple other disasters, have left volunteers feeling extremely fatigued, and those living in rural communities feeling isolated. That’s why we’re so pleased to be able to fund these kinds of grassroots initiatives at a time when they’re truly needed,” Ms O’Brien said.

Among the other projects funded this round were:

  • Red Ridge Ltd – Longreach, QLD – Outback Fashion Festival – Canvas to Catwalk – Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event. $10,000
  • Rattler Railway Company Ltd – Gympie, QLD – Fatigue Management Accommodation- Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers. $10,000
  • For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) Incorporated – Chapman Valley & Nabawa, WA – Winter Art Series in Chapman Valley – Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops. $7,900

The full list of grant recipients and their projects is listed on the FRRR website.

The TTTT program supports drought-affected regions of Australia by giving community groups and local not-for-profit organisations access to the resources they need to respond to, and recover from, long-term rainfall deficiencies. This program has granted over $18 million to initiatives that are helping communities to tackle the tough times that come with drought.

Funding for this program is generously contributed by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Pratt Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Paul Ramsay Foundation, The Snow Foundation,  Henroth Group and private donors from across the nation. To join these donors, and support grants like this through FRRR, you can make a tax-deductible donation at frrr.org.au/giving/.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Moama and District Pre-School Centre IncMoama & District Preschool Brings Sober in the Country to Moama
Improve the community’s social and emotional health and encourage local involvement by hosting a community dinner and guest speaker on drinking culture and supporting healthy choices.
Moama$9,150
QUEENSLAND
Congregation of Central Western Qld UCAEdgely Hall Improvements
Improve volunteer vitality and support social connection by installing air-conditioning in the multi-purpose room of the Longreach Uniting Church.
Longreach$10,000
Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) LimitedOutback Fashion Festival - Canvas to Catwalk
Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event.
Longreach$10,000
Rattler Railway Company LtdFatigue Management Accommodation
Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers.
Gympie$10,000
Kumbia & District Memorial School of Arts IncKumbia & District School Memorial of Arts Inc Hall Improvements
Boost and strengthen the local economy and reduce social isolation with town beautification in Kumbia through mural art.
Kumbia$10,000
Connecting Communities Australia LtdLet the Show Go On
Improve volunteer vitality and support strong social connection by providing a team of volunteers to assist the Longreach Show Committee prepare and coordinate the Longreach Annual Show.
Longreach$9,933
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The Isolated Childrens' Parents Association of (WA) Inc2022 ICPA Federal Conference
Build communities’ resilience to continue to face the many ongoing issues and uncertainties that are inherent for families living in rural and remote Australia by hosting a conference where participants connect and learn from one another.
Various$10,000
Busselton Hospice Care IncorporatedIncreasing the Capability to Support Grief and Bereavement in our Compassionate Community
Empower a community group by providing skills training and capacity building to further support community members experiencing loss and grief.
Busselton$9,100
For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) IncorporatedWinter Art Series in Chapman Valley
Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops.
Nabawa$7,900

Thirty-four local groups and not-for-profits that delivered food and care hampers to regional communities during the height of the 2021 COVID-19 restrictions will share in $300,000 from the NSW Government’s COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program.

HEADING: Regional NSW groups reimbursed $300,000 for COVID relief hamper delivery.
IMAGE: High angle view of a cardboard box filled with multicolored non-perishable canned goods, conserves, sauces and oils shot on wooden table. The composition includes cooking oil bottle, pasta, crackers, preserves and tins.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said more than 72,000 hampers were delivered to residents in regional and rural parts of NSW, including Ballina, Tweed Heads, Leeton and Albury.

“These groups and organisations dropped everything and dipped into their own funds to support isolated residents during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions by partnering with Resilience NSW to prepare and deliver food, essential items and relief packs to those in need,” Ms Cooke said.

“The $300,000 will cover expenses like fuel, couriers, and logistics costs, helping these groups and organisations to continue their wonderful work into the future, including at the Ballina Hot Meal Centre which is using its $5,024 grant to purchase new freezers.”

Each grant being provided through the CRCS program ranges from $1,000 to $30,000 and is administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal.

Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal CEO Natalie Egleton said the funding recognises the critical role that local community groups played during the pandemic.

“We’re delighted that 23 per cent of applications are from Indigenous community groups, all of which played such a vital role in ensuring that their community members were cared for, and we are pleased to be able to support them with this funding,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications are currently being accepted for grants of up to $50,000 for capacity building initiatives, such as attracting and retaining volunteers and staff, enhancing governance skills, building digital capacity and creating partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.

See the full list of recipients below:

OrganisationLocationsGrant
Agape Outreach IncorporatedTweed Heads - Byron Bay$1,681
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodshareAlbury$13,500
Allambi Care LimitedLake Maquarie - Warners Bay - Central Coast - Cessnock - Newcastle$7,000
Armidale / Uralla Meals On Wheels IncorporatedArmidale$3,183
Ballina Hot Meal Centre IncorporatedBallina$5,024
Belong Blue Mountains IncorporatedBlue Mountains$1,000
Camden Haven Community at 3Lakewood$1,125
CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-ManningNewcastle - Tareer - Forster - Maitland$1,977
Christian Outreach CentreKempsey - South West Rocks - Macksville - Nambucca Heads$1,350
Community Resources LimitedWollongong$3,540
Coonamble Neighbourhood CentreCoomamble - Gulargambone - Quambone$10,810
Food For Life Community Care IncorporatedShoalhaven - Primbee - Wollongong - Kiama $13,500
Galambila Aboriginal CorporationNambucca Heads - Coffs Harbour - Woolgoolga - Bowraville$30,000
Gloucester Worimi First Peoples Aboriginal CorporationGloucester$1,000
Gunnedah Meals on Wheels AssociationGunnedah$5,514
Indigenous Futures Foundation LimitedTweed Heads South - Lismore - Ballina - Grafton$30,000
Ivanhoe Central SchoolIvanhoe - Balranald - Carrathool$6,100
Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health And Community ServicesBatemans Bay - Narooma - Bega - Catalina - Dalmeny$30,000
Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre IncKempsey$4,500
Leeton Community Care Development IncorporatedLeeton$13,500
Lions Club Of Raymond Terrace IncorporatedRaymond Terrace$1,420
Livefree Project IncorporatedNewcastle$13,500
Miyay Birray Youth Service IncorporatedMoree - Mungindi - Garah - Boomi$18,345
Moree Sports Health Arts And Education Academy Aboriginal CorporationMoree$5,723
Orana Support Service IncorporatedDubbo - Wellington - Narromine$21,000
Oxley Community Transport Service IncorporatedWest Tamworth$4,500
Queer Family IncorporatedMullumbimby - Byron Bay - Lismore - Kyogle$2,250
Salt CareUlladulla - Bomaderry - Nowra - Kangaroo Valley - Jervis Bay$20,460
Sapphire Community Projects IncorporatedBega - Tura Beach - Bermagui - Candelo - Quaama$4,703
Seventh-Day Adventist Church - South New South Wales ConferenceBathurst - Blayney - Mandurama - Cowra$5,600
The Heartland Foundation LimitedPort Macquarie$5,000
The Mend AND Make Do Crew IncorporatedSouth Grafton$6,750
Uralla Neighbourhood Day Care Centre 1Walcha$4,860
Weilwan Local Aboriginal Land CouncilGulargambone$1,585

Local community groups and not-for profit organisations in remote, rural and regional NSW are being offered grants to boost preparedness for future pandemics and other disasters.

Woman unloading fruit box out of the back of a van

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the program, funded by the NSW Government, was established to strengthen groups that have played a critical role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19.

“These grants are being offered through the Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program and are administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR),” Ms Cooke said.

“Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded toward regional capacity building initiatives such as those that attract and retain volunteers and staff, train to enhance governance skills, build digital capacity and create partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that regional organisations in NSW have gone above and beyond for their communities during the pandemic, especially when for many it was also on top of floods, fires and the mouse plague.

“Remote, rural and regional community groups and not-for-profits really stepped up in what were extraordinary times. We take our hats off to them for how they have persevered, especially in the face of so many challenges.

“The findings of our Heartbeat of Rural Australia study last year highlighted that many community groups were really fatigued and able to operate at only a fraction of their usual capacity. They were struggling to find volunteers and staff, and while many groups turned online, the digital divide that exists between urban areas and regional areas became really apparent, as did several other capacity constraints.

“This program has been designed in partnership with the NSW Government to enable community groups to address these issues and fill the gaps that became more evident during the pandemic. We know that every community is different, so it’s deliberately flexible and will support community groups to be better prepared in future,” Ms Egleton said.

To find out what can be funded through the capacity building stream, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/ResNSW-Covid-Support.

Applications close 5pm AEST on Friday 29 April 2022.

Four local NFPs awarded grants

In partnership with the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation, FRRR has awarded a further $50,293 to support four not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in the Bay & Basin area. Bay & Basin NFPs have now received nearly $150,000 to date through the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, which is helping to address locally-identified priorities.

Heading: Further $50,000 investment in Bay & Basin not-for-profits. IMAGE: Bay and Basin group shot.

The IRCF program is a multi-year program designed to foster collaboration between local NFPs and strengthen their capacity, so they can continue to have a positive impact on the vibrancy and wellbeing of their communities. The program operates across the South Coast region, and in three other locations across NSW.

As part of the IRCF program, local leaders participated in community meetings and created a roadmap of the future opportunities they envision for their communities. This helped to identify the areas where the community groups and NFPs need support and ensures that the solutions being provided through the program are community-led.

The four funded projects cover various areas including strategy development, resilience training, equipment upgrades and human resources. One example is the Huskisson Op Shop who are engaging a paid Coordinator to support the Op Shop Volunteers, as well as a Business Advisor, who will help to modernise the Op Shop to support their food pantry in St Georges Basin.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that multi-year programs, like IRCF, are vital for these remote, rural and regional communities.

“The NFPs in Bay & Basin play a big role when it comes to the quality of life for people living in these communities. Local leaders know what will work, so our role is to support them to create locally-led solutions that can be implemented over a series of years. This ensures that these communities thrive long into the future,” Ms Egleton said.

David Impey, CEO Community Enterprise Foundation, the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s charitable arm,  said that the grant recipients are committed to developing all aspects of their organisations.

“It’s inspiring to see these people who are willing to take such a multi-faceted approach when it comes to building resilient communities. Through this program they’re developing their skills, strengthening their relationships with their peers, improving their processes and engaging in some really productive conversations.

“These organisations are powerful advocates for their communities. We’re very thankful to be able to support their efforts in creating sustainable and long-term solutions that will see the lives of everyone in Bay & Basin made that much more vibrant,” Mr Impey said.

The four projects being funded are:

  • Vincentia Ratepayers and Residents Association Inc, Vincentia – Prepare, Develop, Publish and Regularly Update the Vincentia Ratepayers and Resident Association 2030 Strategic Vision Document – $7,000
  • Sussex Inlet District Chamber of Commerce Incorporated, Sussex Inlet – Sussex Inlet, a Vibrant Future- Building the capacity of our communitythrough resilience training and by developing a marketing campaign – $3,900
  • Sanctuary Point Community Pride Incorporated, Sanctuary Point – Boosting Pride by fostering community engagement and enhancing organisational capacity through the development of a website, communications strategy, and accounting software – $10,309
  • UCA – Bay & Basin, St Georges Basin – Growing the Husky Op-shop by building organisational capacity to enable a stable of aligned social enterprises – $29,084.

In addition to Bay & Basin, the IRCF South Coast program is also working in Nowra, Batemans Bay and Ulladulla, with the support of The Snow Foundation and in Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley in partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

For more information about the Investing in Rural Community Futures program visit – https://frrr.org.au/ircf-program/.

And support from new IRCF Program Manager and facilitator

Seven not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) are sharing in $135,471 for projects that will strengthen the NFP sector and inter-organisational relationships in Nowra, helping the community to thrive and achieve long-term stability. Nowra NFPs will also have on-the-ground support from a new South Coast Program Manager and local facilitator.

$135,000 funding boost for Nowra not-for-profits

Funded through FRRR’s Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program, in partnership with The Snow Foundation, these grants will allow Nowra NFPs to properly develop the tools, resources and skills they need to achieve longevity and create permanent change in their communities.

IRCF is a multi-year grassroots program aimed at building the capacity and connectedness of NFPs in select communities in regional New South Wales. As well as grants, these recipients will receive organisational support and coordination in the form of workshops that will help them to implement more effective systems, processes and training within their organisations.

Among the seven projects funded, there is a focus on developing leadership and business skills, technological transformation, cultural immersion and community engagement. These projects address needs highlighted through a community-led Roadmap, the development of which was facilitated by FRRR.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that these initiatives will have a lasting impact on the people of Nowra.

“It’s fantastic to see the not-for-profit organisations in this round of grants collaborating and learning from their peers, and successfully applying that knowledge to the unique needs and circumstances of their own communities.

“It’s wonderful to see local organisations prioritising community engagement and creating safe cultural spaces. This includes the South Coast Women’s Health & Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, which is using their funding to deliver cultural immersion sessions to 30 Nowra NFP representatives in response to vision identified in the Nowra Community Roadmap,” Ms Egleton said.

Terry Snow, Founder of The Snow Foundation, said partnering with FRRR has allowed his Foundation to have a significant impact on regional NSW areas such as Nowra.

“Having a home and running a business on the South Coast, I understand how important it is to support these not-for-profit organisations. They provide crucial support and fill gaps that help to keep these communities vibrant and self-sufficient. With the resources provided by this program, these organisations will create real change.

“A great example of this is the Nowra Community Food Store, which is using their grant to set up an E-commerce website with an option for contactless delivery, so that families in the Shoalhaven region who don’t own a car can still access fresh food.”

The five other grant recipients in the Nowra region are:

  • Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre Aboriginal Corporation, Nowra – Laying the Foundations for the Future of Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre Aboriginal Corporation – Support the Centre’s future vision and rapid growth by appointing a temporary Community Centre Team Leader to support the CEO in an operational capacity. $30,000
  • Nowra Sub-Branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia New South Wales Branch, Nowra – Nowra RSL Sub-Branch Upgrade Project 2021 – Accelerate digital transformation and enhance client experience through upgrades to IT equipment and furniture. $16,469
  • Shoalhaven Community Preschool Inc, Nowra – The Growth Strategy Project – Strengthen the leadership capacity of the Centre during the Preschool’s relocation and expansion by providing a wage subsidy, expert consultants and professional development. $22,000
  • Shoalhaven Health and Arts Inc, Bomaderry – Capacity Building for SHAA’s Future Strengthen the capacity of SHAA to respond to community demand for their mental health, arts and events programs by paying wages for the currently volunteer-based managers. $14,112
  • South Coast Beef Producers Association Inc, Nowra – Governance Training for South Coast Beef Management Committee Members Strengthen the governance and strategic vision of South Coast Beef through the training of the management committee in governance foundations. $10,590

New IRCF Program Manager – South Coast and Nowra facilitator

Helping Nowra’s NFPs to make the most of the IRCF program is IRCF South Coast’s recently appointed Program Manager, and South Coast local, Carolyn Ardler.

Carolyn comes to FRRR and the IRCF program with extensive experience in place-based delivery to support communities to build capacity and reach their aspirations from the grassroots.

“I am excited to be working on the IRCF program as I strongly believe rural and regional communities have the solutions and strength within them to face their unique challenges. This program allows small not for profits to build their capacity and be more sustainable in the long term.”  Ms Ardler said.

Carolyn steps into her new position as Kate Dezarnaulds, FRRR’s previous Program Manager for IRCF South Coast, transitions into the role of IRCF facilitator for Nowra. In this role, Kate will be able to work more directly with Nowra NFPs to connect, build relationships and work together to improve their capacity and sustainability.

In addition to Nowra, the IRCF South Coast program is also working in Batemans Bay and Ulladulla with the support of The Snow Foundation, and in Bay & Basin with the support of Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation, and in Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley in partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

For more information about the Investing in Rural Community Futures program visit – https://frrr.org.au/ircf-program/.

When COVID lockdowns hit, it created issues for Boys to the Bush, a program that provides support for disadvantaged youth from a variety of regional and rural communities in NSW.

Distance learning and daily life disruptions created challenges. Camps were cancelled and the Boys to the Bush program was impacted at a time when disengaged senior school and school leaver youth required work experience and guidance the most.

CEO and Director Adam DeMamiel said restrictions impacted the way Boys to the Bush normally runs its program, which involves “packing lots of kids in utes and minivans to head out to workplaces and farming properties for MENtoring programs.”

A FRRR Westpac Rural Communities Grant of $10,000 helped ensure the boys, aged 10 to 19, could continue to connect and learn life skills, as well as earn accreditation toward employment in their community when restrictions lifted.

The funding enabled them to purchase workshop equipment for applied construction and maintenance projects in Albury, including much needed power tools, a chainsaw and a hydraulic log-splitter. The equipment is used for building furniture, making repairs to infrastructure and furniture and for their woodcutting social enterprise, ‘Tooled for (Winter) fuel’.

The program gives the young people an opportunity to visit properties in the region to cut trees, bringing the wood back to the Boys to the Bush shed to be split and stacked. The wood is both sold to community members as well as donated to people in need. As their skills develop, they can work on other woodworking projects for themselves and gifts.

“These tools have been used regularly by over 200 kids in the past 12 months alone. This is more than double what we expected.

“Tooled for Fuel” significantly boosts our capacity to provide a safe environment for working on applied construction and maintenance projects. We can welcome guest mentors to demonstrate techniques and fundraise for a sustainable future for Boys to the Bush.

The program helps the young people participate and become more engaged in their community, which Mr DeMamiel said can play a major part in turning lives around and has potential to end generational cycles of disadvantage.

“I am most proud of our ability to give back to the community. Instead of us asking the community to support us all the time we are able to in a small way donate things of value back,” Mr DeMamiel said.

Local groups and not-for-profit organisations that delivered food and care hampers to community members across regional NSW during the 2021 COVID lockdowns can now apply to recoup up to $30,000 of their distribution costs. Reimbursed funds will be available in late April 2022.

The Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program will be funded by the NSW Government and administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).

Eligible hampers for the program are those delivered to people who were directed by Health orders to stay in isolation, and had no other means to access food or personal care items themselves.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the NSW Government was committed to supporting community groups and not-for-profits in their important work.

“We know that many community groups had to dip into their own funds to distribute hampers and relief packs to people who needed extra support during the lockdowns,” said Ms Cooke.

“This funding opportunity will cover expenses like fuel, couriers, and logistics costs, helping them to continue their wonderful work into the future.”

Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons recognized the contributions that had been made to support communities impacted by COVID-19.

“These groups deserve our gratitude for all they have done to support their fellow community members in regional parts of the state,” said Mr Fitzsimmons.

“This program, which is being run by FRRR on behalf of Resilience NSW, will allow eligible organisations to be reimbursed up to $30,000.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that regional community groups across NSW have worked hard to support their communities through COVID, despite themselves facing funding and operational challenges.

“Rural not-for-profits’ resources are stretched incredibly thin, and for many groups, the costs of distributing these hampers came out of their own pockets, so getting money back into their kitty is vital,” said Ms Egleton.

“We have worked closely with Resilience NSW to ensure that the reimbursement application process is straight-forward but if you have any questions just give us a call on 1800 170 020 and our team will be happy to talk you through it.”

A second stream of this program will open in March. The Capacity Building Stream is designed to help strengthen local community groups and not-for-profits in regional areas, so that they are better able to continue supporting their communities through COVID and future crises.

To find out what can be funded through the Reimbursement Stream, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/ResNSW-Covid-Support.

Applications close 5pm AEDT on Tuesday 8 March 2022.

Residents of the severely drought-hit Marra Creek community, in NSW, have traditionally had to travel up to 250km to see a movie or drive 80km to the nearest hotel for social get-togethers.

The Marra Creek Public School Parents and Citizens Association decided things needed to change and set about creating an option for locals to enjoy pizza and a movie closer to home.

The school, located on the North West Plains, is one of the smallest in NSW, with a current enrolment of seven students, making it very isolated. Thanks to the ongoing and severe drought conditions in the area, the Marra Creek community has struggled with fundraising for workshops and events for local people.

P&C President Will Woolcock said the project aimed to combat isolation and bring the widespread district – which spans Bogan, Brewarrina and Warren – closer together to reconnect, strengthen community spirit, relax and enjoy a break.

“Between the lack of water and rain for crops, constantly feeding animals and financial difficulties, our community has had very little chance to get together,” he said. 

With the help of a $5,000 Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities Grant, their wish for a pizza oven and movie equipment for the school was been granted. The grant covered a media projector, outdoor screen, sound system, set top box and satellite dish as well as a pizza oven at the school. 

This means the community is now able to gather locally for social activities including film nights and watching major sporting events, although COVID-19 brought additional issues and delayed the launch event and initial planned activities.

Pizza and movie nights bring drought-hit Marra Creek community closer

FRRR has awarded five grants totalling $150,152 to a range of community groups in Taree and Wingham. These grants will enable local groups to invest in resources and build their capacity to support their communities’ ongoing recovery following the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires and floods earlier this year.

Taree and Wingham community groups share in more than $150,000

Funded through the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC) program, which is generously supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and a Taree-specific donor, these grants are part of an 18-month program. The program kicked off with a community workshop in October, where FRRR and local groups discussed local issues and how they could be resolved with community-led solutions.

This round of applications saw requests to support many of the issues raised during that session, including strategic and operational planning, marketing, revenue strategy and a digital solution to support volunteers and NFP organisations.

Joanna Kemp, FRRR’s INFPC Program Manager, said that there were many common themes among participants and community groups.

“Uncertainty and volunteer fatigue are real concerns for NFPs in Taree and Wingham, and in fact it’s something that FRRR is consistently hearing from rural organisations across the country. The cumulative impacts of disasters like fires, floods, the mouse plague and COVID-19 mean that community groups simply don’t have the volunteers, resources and training that they need in order to tackle the issues in front of them.

“The applications for this funding also align with what we heard in our recent Heartbeat of Rural Australia study – volunteer fatigue, excessive red tape in many grant application processes and a lack of resources are making it challenging for rural community groups. These are all issues that also came up during our community workshops, which is why we are delighted to be able to offer programs like INFPC that help address some of these issues.

“From engaging with these organisations, it’s apparent they have an unwavering commitment to bringing positive change to their communities’ and to becoming more prepared in the days ahead. The grants will allow these not-for-profit organisations to scale their operations and continue to provide essential services to their community as they recover from successive disasters,” said Ms Kemp.

The five grant recipients are:

  • Circartus Incorporated, Wingham – Making the Most of What We Have – Boost the capacity and future sustainability of local circus school, Circartus Inc, through the development of a strategic plan and webpage design. $10,152
  • First Steps Count Incorporated – Genuine Co-design with Community, Taree – Engage community in the development of the operational plan for a new community hub servicing children and families in Taree by resourcing a Co-Design Coordinator role. $25,000
  • Mid Coast Outreach Incorporated, Wingham – Mid Coast Outreach – Office and Marketing Support – Grow the capacity and profile of newly established organisation, Mid Coast Outreach, through support for human resources, branding & marketing, and IT infrastructure. $34,000
  • Mission Australia, Taree – Mid Coast 4 Kids Revenue Strategy – Boost the operational capacity of ‘Mid Coast 4 Kids’, collective impact project seeking positive social outcomes for children, young people and families, through the development of a revenue strategy. $6,500
  • Wingham Chamber of Commerce, Wingham – Not-for-Profit Portal – Build the capacity of not-for-profit organisations in Taree and Wingham through consultation and development of shared digital tools to improve volunteer efficiency and effectiveness, and overall organisational capacity. $74,500

For more information about the Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW program, visit – https://frrr.org.au/investing-in-not-for-profit-capacity-nsw/.

Much needed boost for 17 initiatives in affected NSW and QLD rural communities

FRRR, in partnership with Suncorp Group, has awarded $200,000 in grants to 17 community groups and local not-for-profits in rural areas impacted by the March 2021 floods and storms for initiatives that will support their recovery from the disaster.

$200,000 in grants for ongoing recovery from March ‘21 floods

Funded through the Rebuilding Futures program, grants awarded range from $1,573 to $15,000. This funding will help with projects such as restoring damaged infrastructure, improving buildings and maintaining equipment needed for future disaster events, developing local disaster-response knowledge and skills, and providing access to services that foster recovery.

These grants are the first to come from Suncorp Group’s $1 million pledge to FRRR to support rural Australian communities impacted by, or vulnerable to, significant natural disasters.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the grant recipients have showed a sense of resolve and strength when it comes to rebuilding.

“Recovery is not a quick process – not every community is going to have the capacity to take the same steps at the same time. Despite this, and the challenges of COVID-19 and volunteer fatigue, we’ve been genuinely impressed by the drive of local groups to actively seek support and funding to help their communities recover from the floods. It’s this kind of resilient spirit and motivation that will see these communities thrive once again.

“More than 50 percent of the applications we received for this round were for infrastructure and equipment, which shows not only the extent of the physical damage from the flooding, but also the long-term approach that these organisations are taking to the rebuilding of their communities,” said Ms Egleton.

Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston, said these grants will enable recipients to overcome challenges and take control of their futures.

“The recipients of these grants are determined to make sure their communities recover and bounce back from the March 2021 floods. Natural disasters can turn people’s lives upside down, but the challenge has become even greater with the added pressure of the pandemic.

“Our remote, rural and regional communities know how to come together and work to rebuild their own futures. That’s why grant programs like these, that champion community-led recovery, are so crucial,” said Mr Johnston.

Among the 17 projects funded this round are:

  • Bumbalong Valley Progress Association, NSW – Bumbalong Emu Project – $12,490 – Boost community connection and support the conservation of the local emu population by replacing infrastructure damaged during the March 2021 floods.
  • Hawkesbury City Council, NSW – Hawkesbury Community Tech Connect – $14,836 – Enhance access to internet and mobile phone coverage with the creation of community technology hubs across the Hawkesbury region reducing isolation and supporting disaster recovery activities.
  • Weemelah Hall, NSW – Beautification and Infrastructure Upgrade Project – $13,358 – Enhance community spaces with the installation of a BBQ for community use and beautification of the Weemelah Hall.
  • Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association Incorporated, QLD – Repair Rain-damaged Equestrian Arena and Make it Flood-resistant – $15,000 – Upgrade community infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Ground.

More information on the Suncorp Rebuilding Futures grant program is available here.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism IncA Positive Future
Grow the organisations capacity to support the community with the provision of a portable projector and screen to enhance the delivery of community activities and events.
Bermagui$2,584
Bumbalong Valley Progress AssociationBumbalong Emu Project
Boost community connection and support the conservation of the local emu population by replacing infrastructure damaged during the March 2021 floods.
Bumbalong$12,490
Hawkesbury City CouncilHawkesbury Community Tech Connect
Enhance access to internet and mobile phone coverage with the creation of community technology hubs across the Hawkesbury region reducing isolation and supporting disaster recovery activities.
Bilpin, Colo & St Albans$14,836
Huskisson Public School Parents and Citizens AssociationHuskisson Public School Community Canteen
Boost community resilience and connection with upgrades at the Huskisson School canteen, providing appropriate cooking facilities for the community to cook, prepare and share meals.
Huskisson$10,000
Kempsey Singers IncorporatedKempsey's Bandbox Theatre Costume Conservation Project
Boost organisational capacity by repairing and mitigating future flood impacts at the Bandbox theatre and replace a portion of costumes damaged by the March 2021 floods.
Kempsey$5,000
Kendall Men's ShedNoise Level Reduction
Boost the service offerings at the Kendall Men's Shed with noise reducing machinery encouraging community participation and connection.
Kendall$1,573
Make a Difference PMQ IncorporatedMAD SHED
Boost the organisations capacity to support their community, particularly through recovery with the provision of a shed to house essential equipment and machinery.
Port Macquarie$15,000
Mission AustraliaThe Common Approach - A Whole of Community Response to Child and Youth Wellbeing
Grow community connection and wellbeing by providing activities through "The Common Approach" as a whole of community response to child and youth wellbeing across the Mid Coast region.
Taree$10,811
Unkya Reserve Committee of Management Nambucca Valley CouncilStay and Play - Unkya Reserve Playground Flood-Resilient
Upgrade Boost access to family oriented community spaces with the repair of stairs and the installation of picnic table, bench and shade at the Unkya Reserve.
Eungai Creek$15,000
Quambone Resources Committee IncQuambone Memorial Hall - Final Touches
Boost community connection by providing enhancements to the Quambone Memorial Hall, ensuring access to a comfortably appointed community facility for all to enjoy.
Quambone$12,500
River Cares IncorporatedTo Improve Emergency Preparedness and Resilience by Developing a Community Emergency Plan
Support emergency preparedness for Spencer and surrounding areas with the development of the Spencer Community Emergency Response Plan.
Spencer$14,832
UCA - Lifeline North Coast (NSW)Psychological First Aid Workers - First Response Volunteers
Strengthen community members mental health and wellbeing and assist in the training of community volunteer in Mental Health First Aid to support local recovery and resilience building.
Coffs Harbour$14,800
Upper Macleay Pre-School IncorporatedTranquil and Safe - Upper Macleay Preschool Flood Recovery Initiative
Support flooding preparedness by enhancing the Upper Macleay Preschool with repairs to flood damaged infrastructure and better preparing for future flooding events.
Willawarrin$12,487
Weemelah HallBeautification and Infrastructure Upgrade Project
Enhance community spaces with the installation of a BBQ for community use and beautification of the Weemalah Hall.
Weemelah$13,358
Young Men's Christian Association of SydneyThe Y NSW CoastTeen Project - Empowering Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Support for Young People Living on the Central Coast
Support community wellbeing with the delivery on the Youth Mental Health Peer Support program in the NSW Central Coast region.
Lake Haven$14,729
QUEENSLAND
Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association IncorporatedRepair Rain-Damaged Equestrian Arena and Make it Flood Resistant
Support the mitigation of impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds by repairing, leveling and compacting the sand arena damaged during the March 2021 floods.
Rathdowney$15,000
Tamborine Mountain A H & I Society IncReplacement of Safety Rails on Access Ramp
Increase accessibility to the Tamborine Mountains Showgrounds Pavilion by replacing the handrails and the front of the pavilion.
Tamborine Mountain$15,000