Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

On Ngaiawang Country

The Morgan Volunteer Support Group is a not-for-profit organisation that delivers Meals on Wheels Monday to Friday including public holidays, for the Morgan, Cadell and Mount Mary areas in SA’s Riverland region. The Meals on Wheels service, which has run for more than 35 years, is invaluable for those requiring assistance to remain in their homes for as long as possible, as well as those who have problems such as a broken limb, drug rehab or failing eyesight, which diminish their ability to shop and cook. Additionally, Meals on Wheels delivery offers important social contact for people who use the service and may otherwise be socially isolated. This is of particular concern for those living in regional areas.

The Support Group has partnered with the local prison training program to cook the meals. This not only helps them gain skills for a future trade, but participants also gain satisfaction from helping the community.

In the past, the Morgan Meals on Wheels service used a car owned by Meals on Wheels SA. However, they wanted to sell the vehicle and instead have volunteers use their own cars. After some discussion, Meals on Wheels SA agreed to retain the vehicle for a further three years, to give the Morgan volunteers time to raise funds to acquire a vehicle of their own. Otherwise, the service would most likely cease.

This was also an opportunity to purchase a newer, more reliable, efficient and safe vehicle, as the car they were using was more than 10 years old. The Morgan Volunteer Support Group undertook a lot of local fundraising and secured a $10,000 grant through FRRR’s SRC program, thanks to the support of the Kellogg Australia Charitable Foundation. With COVID causing supply-chain issues, demand for second-hand vehicles was high but after much searching, they purchased a second-hand Toyota Camry Ateva. It met most other requirements – most importantly room for hot boxes, baskets and eskies.

In addition to using it for Meals on Wheels delivery, the group is also seeking to expand their delivery services. They also have plans to make the vehicle available at other times to offer transport solutions to the community, raising additional funds for the Support Group, at the same time as offering a valuable service for those who can’t drive or don’t own a car.

The group is rightly proud of what they achieved, on time and on budget.

“We had help from many different groups – Waikerie Men’s Shed, Waikerie Woolworths, Morgan Friendly Grocer, Morgan Roadhouse, Morgan Home Hardware, Morgan Commercial Hotel, Morgan Cadell Golf Club and hundreds of individuals.

“The car has been operational since March 2022 and is working well. We have been delivering meals for Meals on Wheels and for Morgan Activity Centre. Current customers can be assured of an ongoing service,” said Jakob Gamertsfelder, Secretary / Treasurer of the Morgan Volunteer Support Group.

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

Part of Things is a gathering place and ideas hub for young people in Barmera in the Riverland region of South Australia. They used a $10,000 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant to adopt and adapt their own version of the Skillin’ It project idea that was developed at the 2020 Heywire Regional Youth Summit. 

Riverland Skillin’ It was a 12-month project that brought together a leadership ‘squad’ of four local young people from across the Renmark Paringa, Loxton Waikerie and Berri Barmera local government areas to create a series of online and live workshops aimed at inspiring, connecting and upskilling young people. 

Despite being impacted by the uncertainties of COVID, including a full lockdown in June 2021, the project culminated in the Skillin’ It squad members curating and delivering Symposium – a two-day festival in September 2021 for local young people aged 18 to 26. Held in Barmera, Symposium featured in-person workshops to support participants develop small business, creative and life skills, while also encouraging knowledge sharing between individuals and community members. 

Across the life of the project, the Skillin’ It squad and festival presenters were actively mentored and supported by Part of Things founder and project mentor, Alysha Herrmann, who is an award-winning producer, youth arts worker and ‘doer’ who has been delivering community, arts and youth projects of varying scale across regional South Australia for over ten years. 

Kelsey Hogan from the Barmera District War Memorial Community Centre, which auspiced the application on behalf of Part of Things, said Riverland Skillin’ It was instrumental in providing a dedicated project with intensive and tailored mentoring for local young people to connect with each other and their community. 

“Young people are under-represented in leadership and decision making across the Riverland. This project has developed positive relationships between young adults and their community and provided a safe space for people to connect, develop confidence, try something new and community build,” Ms Hogan said. 

“We can’t plug all the gaps and overcome the challenges our region presents for young people. However, what we have done with Riverland Skillin’ It, is invest in a core group of local young people to ensure that they were able to successfully deliver a project for their community and now feel inspired, supported and ready to make greater things happen for themselves and others.” 

Together they were able to leverage the success of the Heywire grant to partner with all three Riverland councils, and attracted an additional $22,100 of funding. This increased the resources available for the project and added additional paid opportunities for the young people who participated, and also removed fees for participants to attend the final festival workshop weekend. 

A legacy of the project is The Knowledge Hub, an online resource housed on the Part of Things website that features downloadable resources, curated links, blog posts and other content, which exists to share and build ideas, skills and knowledge across a range of genres, disciplines and interest areas.