Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Grant funding is now available to support communities in remote, rural and regional Queensland and New South Wales who have been impacted by this year’s flooding events.
Suncorp and GIO have partnered with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), through the Rebuilding Futures program, to offer $500,000 in grants of up to $25,000 to help not-for-profit groups and local community organisations to rebuild and recover from this year’s flood events.
Suncorp’s Head of Flood Response and Recovery, Cath Stewart, said that this funding recognises that while the initial clean up may have concluded, many community groups still have a lot of work to do to support their community’s ongoing recovery.
“The floods were devastating and, sadly, some places were affected more than once. On top of weather events and the impacts of COVID, not to mention the increased costs of living that are putting pressure on local businesses and community members, many groups are finding it really hard to access resources they need to support their community.
“These grants, which can be used to support locally-identified recovery and rebuilding priorities, will hopefully relieve some of those pressures and allow the communities to start moving forward,” said Ms Stewart.
FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that Suncorp and GIO’s support means that there is flexible funding available to help communities rebuild and be better prepared for future disaster events.
“We know that local community leaders are the ones who are best-placed to know what their community needs. That’s why we made sure these grants can fund a wide range of activities, events, initiatives and small-scale infrastructure or equipment projects. The aim is to ensure that the community can build resilience by improving facilities for mitigation and preparedness and creating opportunities to reconnect, share experiences or support overall wellbeing and improved mental health, in whatever way makes most sense to that community.
“We look forward to engaging with these groups and are hoping that for some the grant opportunity can be a catalyst for projects that reduce the impact of future disasters on community wellbeing and physical infrastructure,” Ms Egleton explained.
For more information about who is eligible and what can be funded, visit www.frrr.org.au/Rebuilding-Futures.
A Grant Seeking Workshop including a Q&A on the Rebuilding Future’s grant program will be held online from 1 – 2pm AEST Tuesday 23 August 2022.
Applications close 28 September 2022.
The Rathdowney Memorial Grounds Association (RMGA) was established in 1947 to manage the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds and to organise an annual campdraft in honour of the young men in the district who lost their lives during the war.
Today, the Memorial Grounds and Caravan Park are managed by a small committee of local people, and the venue is used for a range of sport and community activities, including soccer, pony clubs, campdrafting, markets and camping. It also serves as a central place to coordinate the community response to natural disasters and emergencies, and was used by residents displaced in the 2019 Black Summer bushfires.
The annual campdraft is popular with locals and visitors alike, and central to the town’s identity and prosperity. It attracts around 1,000 visitors who come for the weekend and spend at the grounds and at local shops, making a vital contribution to the local economy. In 2020, the campdraft was cancelled due to COVID and the whole community suffered financially and socially.
The open-air equestrian arena at the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds was inundated by heavy rain in March 2021 and the arena surface was so badly damaged that the annual campdraft had to be postponed. Plans to refurbish the sand in the arena were delayed because the flood-damaged surface needed to be re-levelled, compacted and protected with crusher dust before new sand was added.
RMGA received a $15,000 Rebuilding Futures grant funded by Suncorp Group that allowed them to repair the equestrian arena, and to mitigate the impacts of future flood events on the Rathdowney Memorial Grounds.
President of RMGA Andrew Buchanan said that during the project delivery phase, the region continued to experience unprecedented rain, which held up the work. However this actually proved to be invaluable because the work that was being done was tested and could be improved straightaway.
“The arena is now safe to use regardless of the weather (exceptional circumstances not included), which allows the community to be able to plan and feel sure that our events will be able to go on regardless. The entire community is so grateful to be able to utilise the arena. This has had a huge impact towards the connectedness within our area.”
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.
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.
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Bermagui Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Inc||A 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.
|Bumbalong Valley Progress Association||Bumbalong Emu Project |
Boost community connection and support the conservation of the local emu population by replacing infrastructure damaged during the March 2021 floods.
|Hawkesbury City Council||Hawkesbury 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 Association||Huskisson 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.
|Kempsey Singers Incorporated||Kempsey'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.
|Kendall Men's Shed||Noise Level Reduction |
Boost the service offerings at the Kendall Men's Shed with noise reducing machinery encouraging community participation and connection.
|Make a Difference PMQ Incorporated||MAD SHED |
Boost the organisations capacity to support their community, particularly through recovery with the provision of a shed to house essential equipment and machinery.
|Mission Australia||The 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.
|Unkya Reserve Committee of Management Nambucca Valley Council||Stay 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.
|Quambone Resources Committee Inc||Quambone 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.
|River Cares Incorporated||To 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.
|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.
|Upper Macleay Pre-School Incorporated||Tranquil 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.
|Weemelah Hall||Beautification and Infrastructure Upgrade Project |
Enhance community spaces with the installation of a BBQ for community use and beautification of the Weemalah Hall.
|Young Men's Christian Association of Sydney||The 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.
|Rathdowney and District Memorial Grounds Association Incorporated||Repair 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.
|Tamborine Mountain A H & I Society Inc||Replacement of Safety Rails on Access Ramp |
Increase accessibility to the Tamborine Mountains Showgrounds Pavilion by replacing the handrails and the front of the pavilion.
Suncorp Group today pledged $1 million to FRRR for a dedicated program to support rural Australian communities impacted by significant natural disasters.
The first Rebuilding Futures program grant round opens today and closes on 15 September, with $200,000 available through grants of up to $15,000 each for local community groups and not-for-profits in areas impacted by flooding in March 2021. Successful grants will be announced in November 2021.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR said the Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the Suncorp Group on the dedicated funding initiative.
“From our many years working alongside communities as they recover from natural disasters, we have learnt that recovery is a marathon and local community groups and not-for-profits need funding for diverse recovery initiatives, as their needs evolve over time,” Ms Egleton said.
Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston launched the first round of grants to help NSW and Queensland communities impacted by flooding in March 2021.
“These communities are dealing not only with COVID-19, but the significant impacts of flooding,” Mr Johnston said.
“I’ve seen first-hand the devastation and emotional toll of natural disasters, which is why we are supporting affected communities to not just build back but to make themselves more resilient than before.
“As an insurer and bank our job is to help our customers to physically and financially rebuild, but we know the full recovery process continues for years after people are back in their homes. Through our long-term relationships with customers across Australia we see the importance of supporting wellbeing and the lasting value of a community’s spirit.
“Communities are best placed to steer their own future which is why these grants empower locals to come together to identify and design local solutions.”
FRRR facilitates funding and capacity building at the local level. It has the relationships and know-how to distribute grants to fund community-led solutions that build resilience and long-term viability of remote, rural, and regional communities across Australia.
“This program, with a focus on the medium to long-term needs and building back better, will mean that when there are significant disasters, the support will be available for local groups to address issues that are important to recovery, to rebuilding the sense of place that is often so badly damaged through events like the floods we saw in NSW earlier this year,” Ms Egleton said.
To support community groups and not-for-profit organisations in the eligible remote, rural, and regional communities impacted by the Storm and Flood events of March 2021 to develop their grant applications FRRR will hold a free online grantseeker workshop. The interactive session will provide key program information and helpful tips on how to apply for a grant.
The workshop will take place on Wednesday, 25 August, 1:00pm to 2:30pm AEST.
Attendance is free, but people are asked to register at: https://events.humanitix.com/suncorp-rebuilding-futures-grantseeker-workshop.
For more information contact Danielle Griffin or Fiona Bradshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1800 170 020.
More information on the Suncorp Rebuilding Futures grant program is available here.