Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

In the East MacDonnell ranges of the Northern Territory, The Harts Range Amateur Race Club (HRARC) hosts a 73-year tradition – an annual bush sports weekend that attracts more than 2,500 visitors to this very remote community. It is one of few events that brings this extremely disadvantaged community together, to connect socially and facilitate community wellbeing.

The Club’s facilities are also used for Central Land Council meetings, consultations, and community events. But the canteen, which is run by Isolated Children’s and Parents Association, was in much need of repair. The Club received $10,000 through the Strengthening Rural Communities program, thanks to the support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation. They used the funding to purchase two domestic rangehood exhaust fans plus fittings, and for a roof spinning ventilator for over the BBQ area. In addition, they were able to attract in-kind support from other organisations, members and volunteers in the community, enabling a full upgrade to the canteen. Mark Coffey, the Club’s Public Officer, reported that the project brought together volunteers, most of whom live more than two hours away, local businesses and the Atitjere community for a project that will provide an improved working environment for the community for many years to come.

“For everyone, COVID-19 has made this year a challenge, so it was great to be able to form such a good partnership between HRARC, Scope and FRRR, which made this project so much easier to deliver especially for our volunteers. “We are proud that this kitchen upgrade will ensure a modern and more functional kitchen for years to come.”

Mark Coffey, HRARC Public Officer

An innovative program drawing on the personal experience of its founder’s family is making an impact on veterans and current service personnel in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley.

Bootstraps is a volunteer-operated charity that runs a drop-in recovery centre for former service personnel who may be having difficulties connecting with family or society at large. Given the proximity of the RAAF Base at Amberley, Army Aviation at Oakey and Signals Regiment at Cabarlah, and with RSL Sub-Branches dotted through the Lockyer Valley, the organisation is well-located to offer this support.

President and founder of Bootstraps, Sam Kavanagh, was taught leatherworking by his father, who was in the air force and practised this craft as a kind of therapy. Building on this, as part of its offering, Bootstraps runs a leatherworking program to facilitate reconnection and social interaction. Ex-service personnel, current serving personnel and their families take priority, but space allowing, the program is open is open to anyone in the community.

The organisation needed some equipment to deliver the program and applied to FRRR for funding for an industrial leather sewing machine and a new computer, which they received in the form of a $5,407 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, funded by The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation.

The computer replaced a small inefficient laptop and enhances the organisation’s day-to-day communications and planning, while the sewing machine supports every level of the Bootstraps leatherwork training program. The model chosen is capable of being hand-cranked, which facilitates use by veterans with lower limb disabilities in particular, and those confined to a wheelchair.

The grant application noted, “There are not many (if any) families in the Lockyer Valley that do not have a military and/or a horse connection that could benefit from the leatherwork activities run by Bootstraps.”

Bootstrap’s new leather sewing machine

At the time of reporting, Bootstraps noted that more than 250 patrons have used the Bootstraps facilities, including the new leather sewing machine. The new IT facilities have meant better access and clearer information is available to the public about the program, via a more responsive and efficient website and communications.

These important pieces of equipment will help the program’s participants further their craft, while enabling social connection and helping veterans and the general community remain in a good head-space.

Includes more than $640,000 to support 2019-20 bushfire recovery

FRRR has awarded $1,062,484 in grants for 85 projects that will help boost remote, rural and regional communities across Australia, through its Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

Strengthening Rural Communities grants awarded

The grants awarded will go toward a broad array of inspiring initiatives that will strengthen and build the long-term viability and vitality of smaller remote, rural, and regional communities across Australia, including projects to support community healing and renewal following the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Grants range from $2,700 to help the South Australian Beachport community access lifesaving equipment, through to a $25,000 grant to improve the security and amenities at the Corryong Community Hall in Victoria.

The SRC program is collaboratively-funded and offers two streams of funding. Small & Vital awards grants up to $10,000 for locally-led initiatives that build resilience and enhance the vibrancy of rural Australia by addressing the needs identified by the community. This round of SRC has seen 49 projects sharing in a total of $420,003 in Small & Vital grants.

The second stream provides grants up to $25,000 for projects designed to help seed and strengthen the recovery of regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires. Thirty-six bushfire recovery initiatives have been awarded a total of $642,481 in this round of SRC grants.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that over the past year rural people have demonstrated the true meaning of resilience and determination and continued to find ways of addressing the needs of their communities.

“The pandemic has highlighted that community groups need to be agile and able to adapt and respond to changing circumstances. To do this successfully, they need to be well resourced, with facilities, equipment and the right knowledge, skills and capabilities. The pandemic has also reinforced the importance of community-led initiatives that promote individual and community health and social wellbeing.”

“Several grassroots solutions designed to support these key initiatives and develop these vital skills have been awarded grants in this round of SRC, including the Oura Oura House – Interpretation Room project in Cygnet, Tasmania, which will strengthen connection to local Aboriginal culture, and in Biggenden, Queensland, the primary school is supporting student health and wellbeing through an amenities upgrade.

“Recovery in bushfire-affected regions has been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, but local organisations are still seeking to do what they can to meet the local priorities in their community. This round we saw an increase in requests to fund projects that will provide access to services and activities as impacted communities begin to resume normal activities and reconnect one year on from the fires. This includes Tenterfield in NSW, where a series of creative workshops will support the social and mental health of locals.

“Improving and repairing infrastructure is also an important part of the recovery process for many of these communities. These meeting places, like Katanning’s central shopping precinct in Western Australia and the local Hall in Charleston, South Australia, played a vital role during the bushfires, providing the community with a safe place to gather during the fires, or as a space to gather in order to reconnect and seek support after the disaster,” Ms Egleton explained.

Some of the 85 projects awarded include:

  • Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd, NSW – 35th Anniversary Celebration – $9,443 – Celebrate WAMS’ 35 years of service in the community by holding a series of events throughout 2021.
  • Careflight Limited, NT – Obstetrics Training for CareFlight Flight Nurses – $8,800 – Improve safety and health outcomes for babies and mothers from remote communities with Midwifery Training for Careflight nurses.
  • Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Community Radio Association Inc, QLD – Stanthorpe Community Radio Transmission Equipment – $9,773 – Increase communication of local news, events and emergency information, by supporting the establishment of a community radio station.
  • Nipapanha Community Aboriginal Corporation, SA – Irish Well Hut Cultural Heritage Museum Development – $9,300 – Help people gain an awareness of local culture through the provision of display material for a museum.
  • East Coast Regional Development Organisation Inc, TAS – Raising the Roof on the Bread Oven – $5,332 – Encourage people to come together by redeveloping a community gathering space.
  • Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc, VIC – Giving Youth a Voice – $25,000 – Increase youth representation in community recovery and development, through employment of youth workers to support youth leadership in the Upper Murray.
  • Fitzgerald Biosphere Group Inc, WA – Dancing in the Dirt Gala Ball – A Community Event – $5,000 – Build community wellbeing and strengthen mental health by supporting ‘Dancing in the Dirt’ Gala for small, drought stricken community.  

The SRC program is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors, which are listed here –

The next round of SRC applications is currently being assessed and will be announced by June 2021. The current round is accepting applications until 25 May 2021, with funds to be awarded in September.

Visit here for more information on FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program and other grant programs to strengthen local non-profits, community groups, volunteers, and to provide opportunities for skills, networks and leadership development.

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at

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

Jump to: NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

Bushfire Recovery Projects
Bega Valley Meals on Wheels Co-operative LtdBega Valley Mobile Community Freezer
Increase food security, including for future disasters, through the purchase of a mobile freezer.
Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism IncKeeping Bermagui Connected & Safe
Boost communication capacity during and before natural disasters through the purchase of wireless computer and printer equipment, and re-establishing signage for the 17 km Heritage Trail.
Bermagui Pre School Co-operative Society LimitedThe Cobargo / Bermagui Growing-Growers Project 2021 with Costa Georgiadis & Paul West
Increase social connectedness and local food security in fire-affected community, through delivery of collaborative preschool garden activities and Costa Georgiadis events.
Burragate Rural Fire ServiceOffice Equipment for the Burragate Fire Shed
Boost the community's ability to prepare for future disasters by purchasing computer and office supplies to support Burragate Rural Fire Service.
Delegate Progress Association IncRecovery BBQ
Support community connection and recovery by installing an electric barbeque at Memorial Park to host community barbeques and debrief events for the bushfire-affected community.
Eden Mountain Bike Club Inc - Eden Community Access Centre IncorporatedEden Mountain Bike Trails
Design a community-driven mountain bike trail in the Eden region to support economic recovery, through development of Environmental Impact Study and Concept Plans.
Eungai Hall Section 355 Committee of ManagemenNambucca Valley CouncilKitchen Upgrade for Community Use and Resilience
Expand the use of the Community Hall by upgrading the kitchen facilities to allow for more community events and activities to occur.
Eungai Creek$12,441
Ewingar Theatricks - Clarence Valley CouncilTheatrical Production
Support the community's recovery by bringing people together to deliver a locally-set play.
Glen Innes Severn CouncilWytaliba Rises - Sustainable Community Music Events
Encourage people to come together and support recovery by providing equipment for music events.
Diehard, Wytaliba$9,267
Glenrac IncorporatedProviding Homes for our Hollow Nesting Species
Encourage local species back to their habitat following the bushfires, through the creation of nesting boxes at facilitated workshops.
Glen Innes$19,756
Granite Borders Landcare Committee IncorporatedReconnecting Communities - Workshops Focusing on Health and Wellbeing for Fire-Affected Villages in the Tenterfield LGA
Reduce social isolation and support community recovery, through the delivery of workshops in remote towns across the Tenterfield Shire.
Lawrence Historical Society IncorporatedWorkshop for Sharing, Supporting and Skills
Support community recovery and increase volunteer engagement at Lawrence Historical Society by building a new workshop shed.
Make a Difference PMQ IncorporatedM.A.D. Mobile Food Van
Increase capacity to support outreach to homeless and vulnerable populations in fire-affected communities, through fit-out of a mobile food van and construction of an event stage.
Port Macquarie$25,000
Make It Tenterfield IncorporatedCreativity Abound Workshops
Support social and mental health recovery through the delivery of creative and supportive community-based workshops.
Marlee Rural Fire BrigadeMarlee Safer Place Upgrade
Increase preparedness for future disasters, through upgrade to central meeting space to create a Neighbourhood Safer Place for the community.
Mingoola Hall Management CommitteeBringing Mingoola Community Together to Celebrate our Uniquely Beautiful Environment
Strengthen community connection and recovery in Mingoola via the delivery of the inaugural Mingoola Big River Picnic event.
Monaro Early Intervention Service IncorporatedWheelchair Access to Sensory Garden
Improved access to sensory garden to support wellbeing of children affected by fires, through construction of a ramp at early intervention service.
Nowendoc Ladies AuxileryKeep Us Fit and Healthy
Increase health, wellbeing and individual recovery, through delivery of weekly exercise sessions for ageing community members in Nowendoc.
Nowendoc Memorial Hall Land ManagerSave Us From Frosty Toes and Nose!
Increase comfort and amenity at the Nowendoc Memorial Hall to support community recovery, through the installation of air conditioning.
Nymboida P&C AssociationEstablish a Nymboida Community Kitchen by Upgrading the Nymboida P&C Kitchen Facilities to Complement the Nymboida PS Community Vegetable Garden
Increase capacity to cater for school and community recovery and preparedness activities, through the upgrade of the school kitchen / canteen area at Nymboida School.
Rotary Club of Guyra - Guyra Garden ClubThe Guyra Spring Flower Festival 2021 incorporating a Memorial Avenue and a Mandala Garden
Deliver the inaugural annual 'Guyra Spring Flower Festival' in 2021 and plant a Memorial Avenue and Mandala Garden to honour service people.
Wilsons Creek Community Hall IncPrepare, Respond and Recover - Wilsons Creek, Huonbrook, & Wanganui
Increase preparedness for future disasters through resourcing and upgrading the local hall as a local evacuation centre.
Wilsons Creek$23,078
Wingham Showground Land ManagerAcknowledging Our Heritage, Respecting our Future
Strengthen sense of place and connectedness during recovery by erecting four Billboards displaying historically significant photographs of the Showgrounds.
Small & Vital Projects
Burringbar Community Association IncorporatedBurringbar Village Community Plan - Priority Projects
Build community capacity through the collective development of a Community Plan.
Jiggi School of Arts IncorporatedStrengthen and Increase Community Participation by Upgrading Community Facilities
Increase community participation via a kitchen upgrade to the Jiggi Hall.
Jiggi, Georgica, Mountain Top$9,012
Carinda Hall Committee - Let's Dance Carinda Tribute Committee IncorporatedCooling our Hall
Increase the comfort and use of the Carinda Diggers Hall by installing six new fans.
Central West Leadership Academy LimitedProject Perseverance
Enhance knowledge and capacity in STEM learning through free Space Science workshops to primary school students.
Goolgowie CWACountry Womens Association of NSWCWA Room Improvement
Build community capacity through the refurbishment of the Goolgowi CWA hall.
Henty Public School Parents & Citizens AssociationHenty Community Garden
Empower the local school community through the development of a Community Garden.
Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service Ltd35th Anniversary Celebration
Celebrate WAMS' 35 years of services in the community by holding a series of events throughout 2021.
Small & Vital Projects
NTSV - Careflight LimitedObstetrics Training for CareFlight Flight Nurses
Improve safety and health outcomes for babies and mothers from remote communities with Midwifery Training for Careflight nurses.
Hermannsburg Potters Aboriginal CorporationHermannsburg Potters Men's Development Project
Develop income earning and self-employment opportunities in very remote community through provision of Men's Group Ceramics Workshops.
Nhulunbuy Corporation LimitedInspire Week: Health Services Career Pathways Festival for Young People in Nhulunbuy
Upskill young people with first aid training and encourage youth to pursue employment opportunities in the medical sector with a Health Careers Expo for High School students.
The Castle IncorporatedDrovers Memorial Park Restoration
Provide opportunities for remote community to gather through watering system for Drovers Memorial Park.
Newcastle Waters$10,000
Wagait Arts Group IncMay Art Month (Part of Wagait Arts Festival)
Provide opportunity to participate in the arts through nine community arts workshops in the lead up to the Wagait Arts Festival.
Wagait Beach$4,500
Bushfire Recovery Projects
Atherton Men's Shed IncorporatedEnlarging Atherton Men's Shed Space
Support local men, and projects benefiting the wider community, through expansion of Atherton Men's Shed workspace.
Charters Towers Rural Fire BrigadeInteractive Screen for Training
Increased rural fire brigade's ability to deliver training and presentations, through the purchase of an interactive screen.
Charters Towers$6,435
Creative Recovery NetworkDisaster Ready Regions - CQRASN 'Shine Bright' Creative Recovery Training
Boost community's ability to recover from disasters through creative recovery training for practitioners and community leaders.
Friends of Amamoor IncAmamoor Rest Room Upgrade
Increase capacity to deliver community events and support local recovery via tourism, through upgrade of public toilets.
Stanthorpe and Granite Belt Community Radio Association IncStanthorpe Community Radio Transmission Equipment
Increase communication of local news, events and emergency information, by supporting the establishment of a community radio station.
Small & Vital Projects
Act for Kids LimitedSpecialist Abecedarian Playgroups
Foster love of learning and prepare young children for school and beyond with specialist playgroups and parent support in Roma region.
Augathella and District Progress Association IncorporatedStories From the Grave: Reconnecting With Our Heritage to Develop a Sense of Place In Our Communities
Increase community pride and resilience through local history project, mapping graves in the Augathella area.
Biggenden Primary P&C AssociationStudent Retreat for Everyday Living, Social and Emotional Support
Support student health and wellbeing with refurbished school bathroom and upgraded kitchen appliances for school breakfast program.
Central & Upper Burnett District Home for the AgedGunther Village Curtain Project
Enhance environment and improve comfort in Gunther Aged Care Home with installation of new curtains.
Central Highlands Science Centre IncorporatedFilling the Discovery Space Void
Inspire students to engage with science and become the budding scientists and inventors of the future with new, educational science exhibit.
Chrrup LimitedPodcast Series: Community Driven
Promote volunteering and community leadership through podcast series with local community champions.
Gympie Medical Transport IncVolunteer Services & Training Desk and Fleet Management Desk
Support volunteers to provide seniors transport to medical services.
Longreach Regional Enterprise IncorporatedLongreach, 4730: Live, Work and Play
Promote liveability and lifestyle opportunities in Longreach to attract new residents, via three promotional videos.
Mundubbera Baptist ChurchUpgrade to Toilets
Increase attendance at monthly market and other community events with upgrade of bathroom facilities to all abilities access.
National Trust of Australia (Queensland) LimitedJames Cook Museum - Bama Dreaming
Support a unique cultural and historical tourism experience, The Gaamay Dreaming Track, through interpretative signage at James Cook Museum.
Queensland Police-Citizens Youth Welfare AssociationHealthy Body, Mind and Life - Small Schools
Provide educational opportunities to rural youth and support a smoother transition to High School for remote students with Life Skills program.
Mount Murchison$10,000
Rattler Railway Company LtdSustainable Stations Project
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operational overheads of not-for-profit tourism venture, the Red Rattler Railway, providing social and economic benefits for the region.
Bushfire Recovery Projects
Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation - Flinders FoundationMental Health First Aid Training - Kangaroo Island & Adelaide Hills
Increase access to support for community members through the delivery of Mental Health First Aid Training to five bushfire-impacted communities.
Charleston Community Centre IncEstablishing a Charleston Community Hub
Increase use and amenity at the Charleston Hall to support recovery, through installation of air conditioning and upgrade to power supply.
Penneshaw Progress Association IncPenneshaw Town Hall Evacuation Centre Catering Facilities
Increase preparedness for future disaster events by upgrading the kitchen at the Penneshaw Town Hall.
Rotary Club of Onkaparinga IncOnkaparinga Rotary Fencing Project
Enable volunteers to support community recovery through the purchase of tools, materials, and equipment.
Small & Vital Projects
Arno Bay District Bowling Club IncBarbeque Roof
Expand the use of a community facility by installing a covered area in an outdoor space to make it more comfortable and welcoming.
Arno Bay$9,526
Beachport Surf Life Saving Club IncDefibrillator at Council Toilet Block
Help the community access lifesaving equipment through the purchase of a defibrillator.
Morgan Volunteer Support Group IncMeals on Wheels Support Vehicle
Improve community health by supporting a volunteer meal service, through the purchase of a new vehicle.
Nharangga Aboriginal Progress Association IncKeeping it Safe in the Kitchen
Improve the Association's ability to support and service the community, through a kitchen upgrade.
Nipapanha Community Aboriginal CorporationIrish Well Hut Cultural Heritage Museum Development
Help people gain an awareness of local culture through the provision of display material for a museum.
Small & Vital Projects
Derwent Valley Arts IncTravelling Arts in the Derwent Valley
Encourage people in the community to access arts events by purchasing a portable all-abilities toilet.
New Norfolk$10,000
East Coast Regional Development Organisation IncRaising the Roof on the Bread Oven
Encourage people to come together by redeveloping a community gathering space.
South East Tasmanian Aboriginal CorpOura Oura House - Interpretation Room
Strengthen connection to local culture through the development of an Aboriginal history and philosophy program.
Bushfire Recovery Projects
Corryong and District Community Youthclub IncRefurbishment of the Corryong Youth Hall to Better Support the Community
Increase amenity and security at Corryong community hall to support community recovery activities, through upgrade to meeting area and storage space.
Corryong - Upper Murray$25,000
Corryong Neighbourhood House IncGiving Youth a Voice
Increase youth representation in community recovery and development, through employment of youth workers to support youth leadership in the Upper Murray.
Upper Murray Innovation FoundationPower to the People
Boost and strengthen economic recovery and promote climate friendly travel, through installation of Electric Vehicle charger at Walwa.
Small & Vital Projects
Glenelg & Southern Grampians Local Learning & Employment NetworkSupport, Encourage and Inspire (Standing Tall, Future Leaders, Young Leaders)
Grow ways to support the educational outcomes of disadvantaged and disengaged students by providing train-the-trainer workshops to teachers and mentors in the community.
Anam Cara House Colac IncPalliative Volunteer Support and Co-ordination
Support volunteer engagement and skill through conducting online palliative care training via a community hospice.
Derrinallum Park IncPicnic Tables
Boost the use of a community reserve through the upgrade of worn-out seating, making the space comfortable and welcoming.
Drop In Centre - WycheproofBuloke Bright Sparks
Help children have better access to social and educational opportunities by providing equipment for use in a program designed specifically to support them.
Indigo Valley Landcare Group IncNature in the Neighbourhood Workshop Series
Encourage community to be active and involved in local conservation through the delivery of a series of Landcare workshops.
Indigo Valley$3,950
Inglewood & Districts Health ServiceEnhancing the IDHS Residential Aged Care Outdoor Environment
Improve health and wellbeing for residents of the local aged care hostel by providing an outdoor area that caters for people with specialised needs.
Murray Human Services IncKyabram Supported Employment Program
Improve employment prospects for people living with a disability in Kyabram, by delivering a program that engages local representatives.
Nagambie Healthcare IncCreating Moments that Matter - Connectedness in Regional Aged Care
Improve the health and wellbeing of people in residential care through the development of an outdoor gathering space.
Rushworth Community House IncUpgrade of Rushworth Community Garden
Expand the use of a community garden by re-landscaping the area to allow people with mobility issues to gain access to plots.
St Kilda MumsEureka Mums - Time to Grow Project
Improve the organisation's ability to support and service the community through equipping a warehouse space that is used for material aid support.
Central Highlands Region (incl Ballarat)$9,951
Stanhope Recreation Reserve Committee of ManagementStanhope Community Recreation Precinct Project
Strengthen connectivity and engagement through the development of a recreation reserve, a well-utilised gathering space in the town's precinct.
Taggerty Community Progress Group IncEasy Access for All
Improve Taggerty Hub's ability to support and service the community through the installation of an all-abilities entrance.
Bushfire Recovery Projects
Shire of KatanningVibrant Katanning
Support economic and social recovery through upgrading Katanning's central shopping precinct.
Small & Vital Projects
Bulyee Hall CommitteeStaying Together Going Forward
Improve amenities and strengthen social connection with kitchen refurbishment at Bulyee Hall.
Director of National Parks - The Trustee for National Parks Conservation TrustChristmas Island District School - Crab Cadets and Student Rangers Program
Grow appreciation and interest in the local environment among young Christmas lslanders through innovative citizen science education program.
Christmas Island$10,000
Fitzgerald Biosphere Group IncDancing in the Dirt Gala Ball - A Community Event
Build community wellbeing and strengthen mental health by supporting 'Dancing in the Dirt' Gala for small, drought-stricken community.
North Midlands Project IncorporatedCooling The Exchange!
Increase use of 'The Exchange' community hub through installation of air conditioners to combat extreme heat conditions.
Yungngora Association IncRefurbishment of Yungngora Community Tele-Centre
Enable access to the internet for education, online banking and emailing and through provision of computers for very remote community.
Yungngora Indigenous Community$10,000

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has entered a new three-year partnership with the Kellogg Australia Charitable Foundation (KACF).

FRRR partners with the Kellogg Australia Charitable Foundation to help tackle food insecurity

Creating better days for Australians, Kellogg Australia is committed to tackling hunger and helping to create a more sustainable future for generations to come. Now, with the new partnership between KACF and FRRR, their combined efforts can help tackle hunger and build resilience in vulnerable rural and regional communities throughout the country.

Over the course of the partnership, KACF will donate $300,000 to support grants going towards low socio-economic regions in need, and disadvantaged communities facing high levels of food insecurity.

The funds will be part of FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program, which aims to give small remote, rural and regional communities across Australia an opportunity to access funding to strengthen their vitality and resilience. Grants are flexible and respond to community-identified priorities, such as food security. 

In addition to the KACF funding, Kellogg Australia has also put forward in-kind support in the form of food donations, as well as skilled and unskilled volunteering from its employees.

Esme Borgelt, Managing Director Kellogg Australia, said, “The last couple of years have seen so many of our communities facing increasingly difficult times. From droughts to bushfires to a global health pandemic, the impact on everyone has been significant, and those hardest hit have been our remote, rural and regional communities.

“Almost a quarter of Australians experiencing food insecurity live in regional or remote areas and the aim of the KACF partnership with FRRR is to provide support at a grassroots level to help these communities implement innovative, locally led solutions.” 

With FRRR being the only national foundation centred on social and economic strength in remote, rural and regional Australia, the partnership will help to tackle food insecurity with the knowledge and experience of the local needs by local leaders on the ground.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said, “It’s fantastic to see a leading global food manufacturer like Kellogg’s make it their overarching mission to leave a mark of meaningful difference. We are delighted to be partnering with them to ensure that support reaches vulnerable communities beyond metropolitan boundaries.

“While the grants will be awarded based on locally identified community priorities, there will be a focus on supporting food security initiatives and enterprises, food affordability and food access programs, as well as projects such as community gardens and school and educational food programs,” Ms Egleton explained.

Unlike most other youth music programs, CRASHENDO! Bairnsdale is not only about the tunes. Modelled after Venezuela’s National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs El Sistema Global, CRASHENDO! uses music education as a vehicle to help children develop their self-esteem, resilience, and social skills.

To support the purchase of new instruments and to help cover tuition fees, the CRASHENDO! team successfully applied to FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program, receiving a $10,000 grant funded by The William Buckland Foundation (managed by Equity Trustees).

They sent us a detailed plan outlining how they planned to use the funds over the course of two years, and how excited they were to get on with their music classes, events, and other activities.

What they couldn’t have known, however, was that the years that followed – 2019-2020 – would be some of the most challenging years their community had ever experienced.

The CRASHENDO! program, which supports around 120 children in Bairnsdale and surrounds, had a great start to the year in 2019, with in-schools tuition, pre-orchestral, orchestra and early years programs in full swing. They also hosted several special events such as the Latrobe Orchestra Workshop and the Christmas Street Parade, both of which brought much joy to the community. 

But as Christmas drew closer, so did the devastating bushfires that were already tearing through parts of NSW and VIC. And when the semester was set to begin again in the new year, the CRASHENDO! students had no school to return to.

The facilities, including all their instruments, were destroyed in the fires. Several families in the community had also lost their homes.

But despite these unimaginable challenges, children and tutors alike demonstrated once again the resilience and fighting community spirit we so often see in rural and regional Australia. The classes were moved to another school, and the children found some relief in returning to something familiar and normal – their music practice.

With support from their wonderful and engaging tutors, and by working together in groups, the children continued to develop both their musical skills and interpersonal skills.

But as we all know too well, 2020 brought with it its own set of challenges.

Soon after the COVID-19 virus reached Australian shores, life for the Bairnsdale community was once again turned upside-down. The community went through two remote learning periods (April – June and July – September), which meant all programs had to be moved online.

During this those unusual times, CRASHENDO! Bairnsdale Youth(ful) Orchestra (CBYO) reduced their sessions, halted expansion plans, and cancelled concerts and community performances.

The future was looking uncertain and bleak. But the CRASHENDO! team – both children and staff – were not about to give up that easily. They already knew the strength they had within them, especially when working together, so they kept their heads high, their Zoom cameras on and their smiles BIG – as they found new and engaging ways of delivering their programs.

Instead of having concerts, they produced videos. Instead of cancelling all Special Events, they scaled down the delivery time and incorporated video compilations. The creativity was flowing and proved to be a great learning experience across the board.

Watch a clip from the adorable video performance here.

“Although extremely challenging we have been extremely excited about the opportunity to learn new ways of delivering programs, administration and promotion,” Hilary Rigg, Crashendo! Bairnsdale Coordinator said.

She explained that while the number of participants decreased during online delivery, it also allowed them to widen the scope of musical styles and instruments on offer in the program, as well as the geographic area in which participants lived (across wider Gippsland and Melbourne). As tutors could dial in from anywhere, CRASHENDO! also grew their pool of highly skilled tutors, from areas including Melbourne, Geelong and even interstate.

“We have widened networks, forged new or deeper collaborations with other local musical groups and personnel, and kept musicians connected and playing. Hence, most importantly contributing to the well-being of our community!”

Hilary Rigg, Crashendo! Bairnsdale Coordinator

The need for the diversification of industry has been well known to the Northampton community for many years, given the heavy reliance on agriculture. Drought and unpredictable seasons have seen the withdrawal of many farming families, leaving an ageing population. Northampton has a median age of residents that is significantly older than the national average. 

To address this issue, several community groups worked toward a common goal – to leverage the significant tourism potential of the town and bring in more visitors and diversify income. Northampton has a rich heritage, being one of only three towns in Western Australia to have attained the ‘Historic Town’ status. The development of an arts trail is a key feature of the plan, and the Northampton Friends of the Railway sought to add to it with the development and installation of a large 5m x 10m public sculpture. 

They worked with local artists and steel masons to design and construct the steal art sculpture with the $3,500 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, thanks to funding from the Bertalli Family Foundation, which was specifically used for its final design and painting. The piece depicts the historic Gwalla railway precinct with all of the original buildings of the railway station, some of which no longer exist, and is located exactly on a section of the first Government Railway in Western Australia. It’s an important interpretive piece to showcase the former area, given the significant role that the railway played in the township’s mining and agricultural history. 

This project brought together economic, heritage and artistic outcomes, celebrating and promoting a unique local history.

A Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant from FRRR, funded with the support of the John T Reid Charitable Trusts, helped enhance the availability of fresh fruit, as well as create more inviting, welcoming and cool streets in the remote Indigenous communities of Peppimenarti and Nganmarriyanga in the Northern Territory.

Home to the Rakpeppimenarti people, the region is inaccessible for five months every year due to annual flooding, and faces extremely high infrastructure costs due to geographic scale and terrain. It was independently measured to be the most disadvantaged in the Northern Territory, and the second most disadvantaged in Australia.

The West Daly Regional Council provides basic housing maintenance and essential municipal services to 13 homelands across 14,070 km2. While they work hard to provide high quality services to support the community, operating in a remote service delivery environment with limited financial resources is a challenge. However, they’ve identified that working with partners to improve service delivery and the quality of life for people in the West Daly region presents great opportunities.

In such extremely remote communities, food security is paramount – many of the homeland communities do not even have a shop and must travel vast distances for basic supplies. Fruit trees are a great resource in any community, as they contribute to support lifelong learning and education from Elders to young children, and promote individual and community health benefits in the form of delicious natural fruits straight from the tree, while enhancing and expanding the communities’ natural food resources.

They developed a project designed to engage community members in growing food and also create shady areas on the two homelands. In total, around 160 fruit trees and 45 shade trees were planted in designated public spaces near parks, ovals, and the local schools. The fruit trees selected included: lilly pillies, medlars, mulberries, custard apples, jaboticas, guavas, mangos and soursops. Shade trees included: native hibiscus, red coondoo, bloodwood and gum trees.

The Council used their $4,946 SRC grant to cover the costs of fruit trees and propagation powder, as well as contribute to freight – which accounted for more than 40% of the total cost of the project.

In Peppimenarti, the tree planting was done in collaboration with Peppimenarti School. About 50 trees were planted around the community with the assistance of Council Staff, CDP, Rangers, community students and teachers, totalling approximately 50 participants. A community barbeque was held after the tree planting to thank the participants for their support on this meaningful community project.

The Nganmarriyanga tree planting day was held in late December and was also a great success, with approximately 50 local men, women and children attending the activity. Trees were also provided to the residents of surrounding homelands such as Merrepen, Nemarluk, Nama and Wudapuli. 

The Council provided significant in-kind support via staff labour and travel costs, and also purchased hormone rooting powder, so that cuttings can be taken which will allow further plantings. They have also assumed responsibility for ongoing plant maintenance to ensure the sustainability of the project.

Through this project, community members will gain access to healthy food grown locally, experience increased food security, and improved local plant knowledge. Further, the engagement will bring a positive impact to community spirit and local shade amenity.

“West Daly Regional Council would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and its Donor Partner – John T Reid Charitable Trusts for the grant funding for our tree planting in Nganmarriyanga and Peppimenarti; a meaningful project that highly benefits our Indigenous Australians in our remote communities.”

Kristine Matienzo, Grants Manager, West Daly Regional Council

The Circular Head Community has gone through some difficult times recently, with the downsizing and closing of some major employers following floods and bushfires in the area. A street art installation in the main street of Smithton brought the community respite from the empty shopfronts and buildings that were still in need of repair. The community wanted to find a way to encourage artistic expression, bring the community together and encourage visitors to their town, while building on the creative art that already existed. With the incredible talent they have locally, it made sense to put on a three-week celebration of visual, creative and performing arts in what became the ‘Art About Town’ festival. Circular Head Council hoped that the project would not only provide employment opportunities for local artists but would also help to improve community engagement and social cohesion and boost tourism and the local economy. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from FRRR’s ‘Strengthening Rural Communities’ grant program and funded by the Sidney Myer Fund, the community was able to do all that and more.

The Art About Town organisers spoke to local schools, old and young artists, musicians, teachers, students, members of the Circular Head Heritage Centre and Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation to provide a diverse and well-rounded program of events and activities.

As part of the celebration, four original artworks were commissioned from local professional artists. The last one was a whole community art installation, led by a local artist in collaboration with the local school and wider community. Locals could enter portraits into the ‘Chartchibald Prize’ exhibit, which was shown as a local café and had upward of 30 visitors per day. Members of the community were also given the opportunity to have their artworks and photographs displayed in a local shopfront makers space and in a gallery space, with a youth and open age category with prizes available for entries. There was also an arts trail for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Dongara, a small town near Port Denison in WA, is home to a bevy of crafters and quilters. Every week, women from around town come together to craft and quilt. Every three years, they hold a ‘Hanging of the Quilts’ event, which attracts many visitors to come and admire the quilts and engage with other goods and services produced by locals.

Hanging of quilts

At the end of the festival, many of the quilts are donated to community charities and other organisations (such as Perth Children’s Hospital) to be enjoyed and loved by new owners.

The Dongara Patchwork Club needed some financial support to ensure that the 8th triennial Hanging of the Quilts festival would be able to go ahead. Support from the Strengthening Rural Communities program, thanks to the Bertalli Family Foundation, meant the daylong celebration of arts, craft and small-town creations was able to go ahead. The Dongara Patchwork Club used the grant to pay for venue hire fees, print catalogues, and to advertise the event.

On the day, more than 200 quilts were exhibited to visitors in themed rooms, many of which were hung with help from friends and family of those who had made them. The Veteran Car Club had a big display of vintage cars next door, which attracted more visitors. Dongara Denison Art Group, Geraldton Spinners/weavers and Lace Makers and the Pottery Club were also exhibiting their work and offered tutorials and hands-on demonstrations, and local producers set up market stalls to showcase their wares.

Allison Fosberry, who coordinated the event, told FRRR, “The members of the Dongara patchwork Club benefited from our exhibition through being able to display their workmanship and skills through the quilts they have made in the three years leading up to the exhibition. By being involved in the event, it strengthened the moral and health and wellbeing of the club’s members.

“The funds we raised will be used to allow the club to continue to make and donate quilts to community members and charity organisations in need of quilts.”

Ever heard of Wunghnu? It is a rural Victoria town, 215kms north of Melbourne and has a population of 270 residents. Situated in the farming region of the Goulburn Valley, many locals have a strong passion for vintage machinery – so much so that the Goulburn Valley Vintage Tractor and Farm Machinery Club has been running for around 30 years and has 75 members.

All Club members have a common interest in vintage machinery, whether is be tractors, engines or old farm machinery and they meet once a month to discuss any issues and hold regular working bees to keep the facilities and sheds in good working order.

A grant from FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, along with some keen negotiation skills and Club funds, helped to purchase a lathe and a sand blasting cabinet for the Clubs most recent vintage restoration project.

Every Wednesday, Club members come together to socialise and work on restoring a 800 Hp Crossley Engine.  This engine is a significant part of the region’s history, servicing Radio Australia as a backup power supply generator many years ago. 

The Club saved the 800 Hp Crossley Engine from scrap and had the huge task of restoring the mighty engine – the members had the skills but didn’t have the equipment they needed.

The lathe allowed Club members to fabricate and make new machinery parts, and after a lot of hard work and toil, the volunteers were very proud to see the engine running for the first time in 20 years. It can be viewed at the Club’s annual Vintage Rally.

The William Buckland Foundation in Victoria is proud to support this project through FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program and see a piece of the Goulburn Valley history restored and enjoyed by local residents.