Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

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

In Eden and the wider Far South Coast region of NSW, there has long been a problem with disengaged and disadvantaged youth. Youth unemployment accounts for 25% of all unemployed people in Eden (ABS, 2016). Twelve percent of students in Eden don’t complete year 12, which is double the state average. Young people are unable to get meaningful employment or job-ready skills, and as a result become disengaged. It is a problem that poses a challenge for many communities.

The Eden Game Development Centre in conjunction with the Eden Community Access Centre received a grant for $9,262 through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program. It was to deliver their version of the Heywire Step Up initiative to inspire disengaged young people to take the first step on their journey to success.

William Sharples, who led the development and implementation of the project, drew on his personal experience to inspire and motivate a team of young people to  facilitate the ‘Opportunity Youth Festival’, which was held in Eden in April 2019. Like many others in his community, William had tried to seek meaningful and enjoyable work, but living in a rural town, felt his opportunities were limited.

Discovering a passion for video game development and coding, along with the suport of a few key mentors meant William became more engaged. He has followed his dream and now runs the Eden Game Development Centre, teaching young people tech skills like coding, game development and virtual reality.

As a Heywire Trailblazer alumnus, William jumped at the chance to adopt and adapt the Step Up idea to create a fun event, featuring free food and great entertainment, to attract local young people. To ensure it resonated with local youth, he involved young people in the planning and execution of the day.

With so many people and local organisations putting in efforts to create opportunities for local young people, this was a great chance to showcase the opportunities in a fun and engaging manner to attract young people to investigate options available to them.

The theme of the festival was ‘opportunity’ and there was plenty of that to go around. Around 400 youth came from all over Eden and surrounding areas to spend a day showing off their talents, as well as learning about what the future might hold for them.     

Weeks of planning by the Youth Project Committee resulted in a spectacular day of fun and frivolity, including local youth bands and singers, displays from 35 services and sporting organisations, and plenty more activities.

Feedback was very positive, with participants and services asking if the event was going to be held again in 2020. In acquitting their report, Eden Community Access Centre said they found their greatest success (and challenge!) was letting youth ‘run the show’, with the Steering Committee merely facilitating their ideas and keeping the event safe and within budget.