Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Grants of up to $10,000 available nationwide

Grants of up to $10,000 are now available to fund community-led projects, developed by young people, to respond to the six issues identified at this year’s ABC Heywire Youth Summit, including mental health, accessibility, youth voices, addressing costs of living and creating safe spaces – all issues that concern youth.

IMAGE: ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra. HEADING: Empowering and addressing issues that matter to rural youth

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural, and regional youth since 2013, providing them with the opportunity to not only identify the issues that matter most to them but also take action to combat them.

This year, there is $115,000 in grants available nationally and an additional $35,000 specifically to fund projects in Queensland, thanks to a new partnership with The John Villiers Trust.

The six ideas respond to common issues of concern identified by the 39 regional youth who attended the ABC Heywire Youth Summit, a youth leadership and skills development event held last month in Canberra.

FRRR and its partners will fund grants that enable activation of these ideas across rural Australia, enabling community organisations and not-for-profits that work with young people to either implement these ideas or to develop their own projects to address the issues raised, which include:

  • Boredom Relief: How might we create safe spaces for youth?
  • Easy Access: How might we empower regional youth to take charge of their mental health and support their mates?
  • Homegrown Hub: How might we create cost of food relief in communities across Australia?
  • Idea 4 Change: How might we provide resources to ensure young people are supported and engaged in their education, with their diverse learning needs catered for?
  • Hear Our Voices: How might we ensure that all youth voices are heard and represented on issues that matter to them?
  • We are not Alone: How might we create a better future for all young people living with a disability to feel understood and supported in regional Australia?

More details about each of these ideas can be found on the ABC Heywire website.

Kadee from Barcaldine, Queensland, Iningai Country, is a 2023 Heywire Winner and was part of the group that developed the Idea 4 Change project. Kadee said it was inspiring knowing their idea would become a reality in rural Australia.

“I’ve already had educators of my school asking heaps of questions and having me go into depth about our idea. I’m feeling intrigued to see how everyone’s ideas evolve over time and how they impact our country.”

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that to truly create impact for young people, they need to be at the table in making decisions and the Youth Innovation Grants program facilitates this.

“From idea development, through to assessing grant applications that are recommended to the FRRR Board for funding, the Youth Innovation Grants program is led by rural youth, at all stages of the program. This process ensures that funding is allocated to create impact where it matters most for young people in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“Our long-term partnership with ABC has been instrumental to the success of this program. The ABC Heywire Summit is such a powerful platform for young Australians to share their voices and ideas to policy makers, and across the nation. To be able to invest in these ideas with funding that allows communities to act on these ideas is such a phenomenal opportunity.

“We encourage rural community groups to connect with local young people, consider the six issues and work together to develop a project and application that addresses one of the issues, in a local context. Our Youth Assessment Panel and I look forward to exploring all the innovative ideas developed,” said Ms Samuels.

This is the 11th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to once again partner with FRRR to invest in youth ideas across remote, rural and regional Australia,” said Warwick Tiernan, ABC Director, Regional and Local.

“We know that young people are keenly aware of the issues that affect them and given the chance, they have the skills to develop solutions to them. Being able to back these ideas with grants to make them come to reality shows young people we are doing more than just listening, we are acting on them.

“We’re excited to see what pioneering projects come to life this year and share these stories through the ABC network.”

To date, more than $1.4 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 174 projects in more than 130 communities. This round of FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, AMP Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, David Mactaggart Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Wednesday 7 June, and recipients will be announced in September. More information is available on the Youth Innovation Grants page.

Image is of ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra, by Bradley Cummings.

In partnership with the Sally Foundation and ABC, FRRR is awarding grants to support six young leaders who are working on projects that respond to challenges, issues and opportunities in remote, rural and regional Australia. The young people have partnered with local community organisations to receive the grants.

Through a Giving Sub Fund, the Sally Foundation partners with FRRR to ensure that funding reaches groups that they could not normally fund, usually due to their tax or organisational status.

HEADING: Trailblazers supported to strengthen rural communities. IMAGE: Tisha from the Cornucopia project.

This is the third round of this program, which builds on ABC’s Trailblazer program, which in turn builds on the Heywire program. This round was designed to help Trailblazers from 2021 or 2022 develop their leadership skills and their capacity to make a difference in their communities.

Co-founder of The Sally Foundation, Geraldine Roche, said “In establishing the Trailblazer Development Fund, Mike and I have sought to provide assistance at a key point in these community leaders journey to further their projects.”

FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager, Jo Kemp, said that the partnership between Sally Foundation, ABC and FRRR to offer this program is an exciting way to build the skills of young people.

“These six grants will help these Trailblazers grow momentum for their ideas, get runs on the board and then be in a position to leverage their experience for future funding opportunities.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the young people who have developed their projects through the ABC Heywire program to shape them into a ‘funding-ready’ application. A huge asset to the program is having Trailblazer alumni participate on the grant Advisory Panel, providing unique insights, curiosity and constructive feedback to the applicants.

“This year’s successful applicants tackled a range of issues, including access to STEM learning for children in remote communities, increasing wildlife rescue volunteers on the Limestone coast and raising awareness of children living with chronic illnesses in rural and regional NSW. The diversity of projects and people supported is a wonderful example of the range of issues that are driving young leaders in rural and regional communities across Australia,” Ms Kemp said.

Read the full list of projects supported below.

Hunter Business CentreJack’s Digital Outreach: The Giggle and Learn Program
Grow community awareness and involvement of children living with chronic illness in regional areas through the creation of fun and engaging media content and educational resources.
Melaleuca Refugee Centre Torture & Trauma Survivor's Service of the Northern Territory IncCornucopia
Build the capacity of Trailblazer participant to deliver an art and storytelling project profiling rural and regional migrants and refugees in the Northern Territory through the purchase of software, office supplies, and furniture.
RoboCoast Sunshine Coast Robotics AssociationRed Dirt Robotics
Increase access to STEM learning, including robotics and coding, for regional and remote children by building the operational capacity of Red Dirt Robotics.
Sunshine Coast$4,335
Rotary Club of Sunnybank Hills IncSkating Towards Inclusion
Boost community awareness and accessibility for people with disabilities to participate in a wider range of activities through Wheel Chair Moto Cross skate park demonstrations events and workshops in regional towns and cities.
Sunnybank Hills$4,340
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (Queensland Section) LimitedAviatrix Australia
Increase awareness of aviation career pathways for students in rural communities, particularly girls, through an educational podcast series and school visitation program.
South East Animal Welfare League of South Australia IncRescuing the Rescuers
Increase availability of wildlife rescue services across the Limestone Coast in SA through delivery of training, supplies and equipment, and essential health vaccines for volunteers.
Mount Gambier$5,330

Grants on offer to address issues that matter to young rural Australians

Grants of up to $10,000 are now open for local community groups that will help fund projects developed by youth and for youth. Adopting and adapting these projects will help create positive change by addressing priority issues such as career options, peer support, diversity and discrimination and mental health, which impact youth in rural communities.

HEADING: Funding available to bring youth-led initiatives to life. IMAGE: Riverland Youth Theatre member in rainbow feather boa.
Riverland Youth Theatre, who received funds to develop the Contribute to the Change idea in the Heywire 2021 grant round.

Since 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural and regional youth to address issues that matter most to them. This year, thanks to the generosity of FRRR’s partners,  $130,000 is available nationally, and $30,000 is available specifically for grants in or around the Shepparton region.

This year’s grant program ideas have come from the ABC’s Takeover Shepparton event in May. It brought together 44 young leaders from in and around Shepparton to share stories and workshop ideas on how to make rural and regional Australia a better place for young people to live and work.

The ideas they developed include:

  • The Allies Project: How might we celebrate the strength of regional LGBTQIA+ people and educate rural communities on the importance of being an ally?
  • Hands on Learning: How might we support young people to learn in ways that work for them?
  • Take Care: How might we promote healthier communities in regional Australia?
  • SPIN – Supporting People In Need: How might we improve morale in regional communities?
  • Triple H- Humanity Helping Homelessness: How might we reduce homelessness and support people who are experiencing it?
  • Fusion Festival: How might we raise cultural awareness and stop racism in regional communities?

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that young people always bring so much to the table, giving current issues a whole new perspective.

“I congratulate the ABC for running such a powerful event, where young people’s voices and ideas were able to shine and be celebrated. These incredible young people brought so much energy and heart to the table, and some fantastic ideas to address issues they face, which will no doubt be common to younger people all across the country.

“Thanks to our donor partners, we look forward to helping local community groups to adapt and adopt these ideas and bring them to life around the country. If you’re a local community group, I encourage you to reach out to your young locals and ask which of these ideas will help make a meaningful change for them. I look forward to reading the applications,” says FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton.

This is the 10th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to be working with FRRR to once again bring a set of incredible ideas to life, supporting regional communities to back their young people,” says Judith Whelan, ABC Director, Regional and Local. “We’re excited to see where these ideas go and to tell those stories through the ABC.”

To date, more than $1.2 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 150 projects in more than 130 communities. The program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, Greater Shepparton Foundation, The Collie Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Monday, 18 July 2022 and recipients will be announced in October. More information is available on FRRR’s website.

Students Against Racism (SAR) is a youth organisation based in Hobart, Tasmania. They believe that ‘in diversity lies strength’ and they seek to build a stronger more welcoming and supportive community by sharing stories and addressing misconceptions.

Tassie Youth teach Anti-Racism

It was formed in 2008 by multicultural youth with lived experience in just how damaging direct acts of racism from their community can be. Recognising that ignorance was a big part of these acts, they sought to change the way their community saw people from different cultures through the path of education.

For over a decade SAR have developed and delivered integral and multi award-winning learning tools that have since been incorporated into various organisations – including schools and community groups, the Tasmanian police recruit training program and a number of TasTAFE courses. A part of these programs involves teaching participants about the issues and challenges facing multicultural youth who are new to the Tasmanian community. 

As the proud recipients of a $7400 grant from FRRR’s HEYWIRE program, supported by the Sally Foundation, SAR attended the 2019 HEYWIRE Conference and made some long-lasting and vital connections that have since flourished into a greatly beneficial foundation for interstate learning. 

The funding allowed 18 SAR representatives from various cultural backgrounds to travel from Hobart to Bendigo and present their flagship educational anti-racism program ‘Living in Between’ to 110 local youth at Eaglehawk Secondary College in the Bendigo region. The workshop involved presentations, small group work, activities and training, and allowed a safe environment to ask questions in order to foster understanding and compassion for those with multicultural backgrounds.

“The program gives the students the platform to explain why they left their homelands, the journey that brought them to Australia, and their lives now.”

Seeing the deep-seated impact that the SAR representatives could make via their anti-racism program, the students and youth from the Bendigo region indicated that were inspired to hold their own similar workshop and have since done so with great effect. 

Through delivering this invaluable program, the youth of SAR have significantly gained self-confidence, increased teamwork and support, and have fostered deeper connections not just within their group but with the greater community. Helen Hortle who has been integral in the coordination of the educational adventure is pleased as punch with the outcome.

“It has been a fantastic experience for young members of SAR – one that wouldn’t have been possible without FRRR funding and support. Thank you!”

Wiradjuri Country

The transition from teenager into adulthood is widely acknowledged as a tough one. As we leave behind childhood and enter our formative years, a greater sense of responsibility, identity and independence can be extremely overwhelming for some. For those living in remote, rural, and regional Australia, this new life-stage can be even more daunting, especially as many young people are forced to move out of familiar environments to further their education or find employment.

Wagga Wagga, in the Riverina region of New South Wales, currently has around 11,800 young people living in the area. While Wagga Wagga has a lot to offer its younger residents, from education to a vast range of sporting clubs, the youth unemployment rate sits at 11.6% (2016 Census data).

With a large portion of the population transitioning from adolescence into adulthood, headspace Wagga Wagga wanted to help make the process a bit easier.

Partnering with local organisation Youth Reference Group (YRG), headspace Wagga Wagga developed a program called “Adulting”, based on an idea developed at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit. The YRG is an active group of individuals aged between 16-25 who dedicate their time to issues that impact young people’s mental health. Through a mix of brainstorming and lived experience, the group was able to identify 10 aspects of adult life they wished they knew more about before they had to deal with the issues. The list included the voting process, understanding tax and superannuation, the maintenance of rental properties (including cleaning), organising healthcare (both private and public), the job interview process and making important appointments.

Using a $7,000 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grant, funded by The Sally Foundation, headspace Wagga Wagga and YRG were able to hire a videographer to help produce a video for each topic, which was then distributed on social media.

Heywire adulting workshop

The videos were released over 10 weeks, via a Facebook page moderated by the YRG team. The “Adulting” videos reached 500 young people who now have resources to build practical life skills.

At the end of the program, the “Hindsight Project” took place for the ten young people who were instrumental in creating and curating the content. This provided an opportunity for reflection and discussion about the project and also a chance for networking.

COVID-19 restrictions made promoting the videos and authentic engagement with the content challenging. However, with the content still online and available for those who need it, the videos will continue to reach young people and provide them with tips and advice for their big move into adulthood.

Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund grants awarded
E-Raced – 2020 Trailblazers grant recipient

The Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund has awarded grants totalling $26,650 to support six youth-led initiatives that address the needs of remote, rural and regional communities in Australia.

Trailblazers are invited to apply for funds to help them to take their project ideas to the next level, or for personal development opportunities to build their skills and networks and boost their capacity to strengthen their community.

Joanna Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager, said:

“The Trailblazers program builds the capacity of young people that have come through the ABC Heywire program by activating their ideas and vision for a vital and vibrant remote, rural and regional Australia.

“As an initiative of the Sally Foundation, and supported by the ABC, the Trailblazers program has shown to be an important stepping stone for the young people involved to achieve and exceed their goals within their communities, it’s a great opportunity for them to gain confidence in applying for and delivering a grant,” Ms Kemp said.

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander CorporationSaltwater Sistas Levelling Up
Build capacity of Trailblazer participant to promote marine conservation among Indigenous girls and women through support to develop skills in ocean photography to share via social media channels.
Coffs Harbour / Lady Elliot Island$5,000
Cunnamulla & District Show Society IncorporatedFocus on Female Ruralpreneurs
Build the capacity of Trailblazer participant to support rural and regional women in business by attending a certificate course in Training & Assessment and delivering a podcast and webinar program.
Rotary Club of Sunnybank Hills IncWCMX & Adaptive Skate
Increase community awareness and accessibility for people with disabilities across Australia to participate in wheelchair motocross and build mobility skills through development of demonstration wheelchairs for adults and children.
The South East Junction, Mental Health Activity and Resource CentreEveryone has a Role to Play
Grow awareness and education of mental health issues in the Limestone Coast region through the delivery of two community Mental Health First Aid programs.
Mount Gambier$4,400
Mindfull Aus LtdChanging the Narrative - In Motion
Boost education and awareness of mental and wellness in rural and regional communities through a series of video interviews featuring Gippsland residents.
Right Mate IncorporatedSober Mates is Changing the Way Australians Socialise!
Grow community awareness about how alcohol use can affect mental health and wellbeing in rural and regional communities and create opportunities for young people to socialise at alcohol free events.

When teachers at Nambucca Heads High School in northern NSW decided to embark on a practical vocational skills program to help their students become job-ready, the community came on board to help out.

Principal Simon McKinney and Trade School Coordinator Gary Cattanach were looking for an innovative, student led project that would lead to higher retention rates for students and would also boost employment opportunities for Aboriginal students in the community. They settled on designing, creating and constructing a total of five sculptures with cultural significance that continue to be celebrated in a community sculpture installation. The project allowed students to lead their own learning, a method that had already been successful in improving student retention and engagement.

Aboriginal students worked together with community groups, who offered workspaces, mentorship and other in-kind support. The work was completed before, during and after school, in both paid and voluntary capacities, to create these fantastic sculptures. A $20,000 grant from the Innovation for Community Impact (I4CI) program, funded by the NSW Dept of Family and Community Services and The Sally Foundation, meant they could afford the materials they needed, making their dream a reality.

Students who participated in the program also had the opportunity to earn their Bronze Medallion and learn valuable small business skills, increasing both their employability and social capital in the community. By the end of the program, many students had achieved full time, part-time or casual employment.

In the acquittal report, Simon McKinney said, “The project allowed all students – girls, boys, and those with special needs – to be on an equal footing. Training and development for future employment were at the centre of all their achievements. The wider benefit is that Aboriginal people are developing and leading communities in employment and youth development.” The project came together in the Maagunda Festival, held on the main beach in Nambucca. The whole community came together to view the statues and learn about the cultural motivations and meaning behind them. To this day, the presence of the sculptures has become a tourist attraction; a welcome outcome for a community heavily reliant on tourism and recovering from bushfires.

Outstanding young leaders who are creating positive change in regional Australia are chosen annually to attend the Heywire Summit. These ‘Trailblazers’ are a new generation of change-makers busy making regional Australia a better place, tackling issues from climate change to period inequality. The Sally Foundation and ABC recently partnered with FRRR to support these emerging leaders to build their leadership skills, and their capacity to make a difference in their communities. 

The Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund awarded seven grants totalling $20,000. One of the recipients was E-raced Inc in Mt Gambier, who is using their $2,000 grant to deliver cultural awareness programs in rural SA and Victorian schools.  

E-raced fights racism through storytelling. The organisation has a team of storytellers who share their experiences as refugees or migrants with students at schools, breaking the stigma around refugees and migrants.     

The Trailblazers Development Fund grant allowed E-raced to purchase the equipment they needed for their organisation to grow, including a printer, camera and children screenings and police checks for each E-raced Mount Gambier team member. 

“This grant is very appreciated and lifts the weight off our team”, E-raced branch manager Chanceline Kakule said. 

Partner Organisation

Project Name



Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Deadly Science

Improve educational outcomes and nutrition among young people, and increase food security in three remote Indigenous communities through the installation of greenhouses.

Robinson River NT
Dareton NSW
Purnululu Frog Hollow WA


Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Autism Our Way – No Shame in Sharing PODCAST

Build awareness of autism and support for Indigenous communities in managing autism through a podcast on Autism and Cultural Safety.

Cardiff NSW


Mindfull Aus Ltd.

Digitally Mindful

Improve education and awareness of mental health and wellness in rural and regional communities through a series of online interviews.

Gippsland VIC


North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources Incorporated

Pallinup River Monitoring – Connecting our Community and Culture to Science

Improve water quality in the Pallinup River through a river monitoring and community education program.

Gnowangerup WA
Borden WA
Ongerup WA


E-Raced Incorporated

Erasing racism one story at a time

Build capacity of E-Raced to deliver cultural awareness programs in rural SA and Victorian schools through the purchase of technology equipment and contribution to travel expenses. 

Mount Gambier SA
Warrambool VIC
Penola VIC


Woomelang & District Development Association

Look at these Endangered Species of Mallee

Improve town amenity and build community pride in Woomelang, Victoria, through installation of lighting and signage for a local mural art project depicting endangered animal species.

Woomelang VIC


Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Systems Check

Improve organisational capacity of Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good to provide support to Indigenous young people through finalisation of their Human Service Quality Framework. 

Cairns QLD