Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
While drought is out of the media spotlight, for many communities it is still a very real and significant issue. FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program has just awarded $86,083 to nine community initiatives in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia still dealing with the impacts of drought.
TTTT is a long-running, collaboratively-funded program that helps drought-affected communities to access the funding and resources they need to tackle the long-term impacts of drought. This round of grants will help fund a variety of projects run by local not-for-profit organisations and community groups, including a series of art workshops for both adults and children, a community event featuring Aboriginal artwork, the creation of murals and skills training to support community members experiencing loss and grief.
Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that there are still many regions across Australia being impacted by drought.
“During this round of grants, the number of eligible LGAs dropped from 152 to 47. While we’re delighted to see such a significant drop in the number of communities being impacted by drought, it’s crucial that we continue to provide support. A lot of places, like remote SA, are still tackling extreme periods of dryness while others are very much still in drought recovery mode. Not to mention the fact that communities are dealing with a variety of other factors as they continue to stand strong and keep their community connected and supported.
“In this round of applications, we saw a lot of projects that are aiming to improve volunteer capacity and build a sense of social connectedness. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that our remote, rural and regional communities need volunteers and a strong sense of community in order to thrive.
“When we carried out our Heartbeat of Rural Australia survey last year, the results showed that the effects of drought, as well as the cumulative effects of multiple other disasters, have left volunteers feeling extremely fatigued, and those living in rural communities feeling isolated. That’s why we’re so pleased to be able to fund these kinds of grassroots initiatives at a time when they’re truly needed,” Ms O’Brien said.
Among the other projects funded this round were:
- Red Ridge Ltd – Longreach, QLD – Outback Fashion Festival – Canvas to Catwalk – Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event. $10,000
- Rattler Railway Company Ltd – Gympie, QLD – Fatigue Management Accommodation- Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers. $10,000
- For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) Incorporated – Chapman Valley & Nabawa, WA – Winter Art Series in Chapman Valley – Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops. $7,900
The full list of grant recipients and their projects is listed on the FRRR website.
The TTTT program supports drought-affected regions of Australia by giving community groups and local not-for-profit organisations access to the resources they need to respond to, and recover from, long-term rainfall deficiencies. This program has granted over $18 million to initiatives that are helping communities to tackle the tough times that come with drought.
Funding for this program is generously contributed by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Pratt Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Paul Ramsay Foundation, The Snow Foundation, Henroth Group and private donors from across the nation. To join these donors, and support grants like this through FRRR, you can make a tax-deductible donation at frrr.org.au/giving/.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Moama and District Pre-School Centre Inc||Moama & District Preschool Brings Sober in the Country to Moama |
Improve the community’s social and emotional health and encourage local involvement by hosting a community dinner and guest speaker on drinking culture and supporting healthy choices.
|Congregation of Central Western Qld UCA||Edgely Hall Improvements |
Improve volunteer vitality and support social connection by installing air-conditioning in the multi-purpose room of the Longreach Uniting Church.
|Red Ridge (Interior Queensland) Limited||Outback Fashion Festival - Canvas to Catwalk |
Provide opportunities for Aboriginal artists from seven outback Queensland communities to participate in fashion print design workshops which culminate in a catwalk runway community event.
|Rattler Railway Company Ltd||Fatigue Management Accommodation |
Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of Rattler Railway Company Ltd through infrastructure restoration and renovation to support volunteers.
|Kumbia & District Memorial School of Arts Inc||Kumbia & District School Memorial of Arts Inc Hall Improvements |
Boost and strengthen the local economy and reduce social isolation with town beautification in Kumbia through mural art.
|Connecting Communities Australia Ltd||Let the Show Go On |
Improve volunteer vitality and support strong social connection by providing a team of volunteers to assist the Longreach Show Committee prepare and coordinate the Longreach Annual Show.
|The Isolated Childrens' Parents Association of (WA) Inc||2022 ICPA Federal Conference|
Build communities’ resilience to continue to face the many ongoing issues and uncertainties that are inherent for families living in rural and remote Australia by hosting a conference where participants connect and learn from one another.
|Busselton Hospice Care Incorporated||Increasing the Capability to Support Grief and Bereavement in our Compassionate Community|
Empower a community group by providing skills training and capacity building to further support community members experiencing loss and grief.
|For a Better Chapman Valley (FABCV) Incorporated||Winter Art Series in Chapman Valley|
Facilitate social connection and enhance opportunities for the Chapman Valley community to participate in creative activities through the delivery of art workshops.
In many rural communities, non-denominational school chaplains promote strong community connection, participation opportunities and engagement to reduce isolation and encourage better physical and mental health. While these positions are generally funded through local donations, in recent years there simply hasn’t been the money to fund them locally due to drought and, more recently, reduced tourism from COVID-19 restrictions.
Through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together grant program, Scripture Union Queensland received $131,490 to support chaplaincy positions at Ravenswood State School, Charter Towers Central State School and Mareeba State School until June 2022. The grant was made possible through generous donations from the Sidney Myer Fund and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.
This funding ensures all programs and activities coordinated by the chaplains, including one-on-one pastoral care conversations and classroom support, are free for all children, young people, families and school staff. These activities help to reduce isolation and increase wellbeing and community participation in communities suffering from the long-term effects of drought.
Since funds were awarded in 2019, the schools have been able to implement change and growth within their chaplaincy programs. At Ravenswood State School, chaplain Anne – a much loved member of the community – was finally able to retire at 83 years old. Her position has been filled by a long term local Charters Towers resident, who works two days a week.
The chaplain at Charter Towers has been able to increase her support to two days a week and is seeing a positive response to the ‘Girls with a Purpose Resilience’ program. Twelve students completed the program in 2019 and there was general consensus among the participants that it was a special time engaging with facilitators and peers. After the COVID-19 school closure in 2020, all girls in grade 6 are now taking part in the program.
A particular highlight for the Mareeba State School has been the implementation of the Bike-Bus program to encourage regular physical activity and increase school attendance and social and community engagement. Since being established in mid-2019, the program has engaged 30 students, as well as parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and police. It also led to the creation of the Bike Repair Club – an alternative for those who enjoy hands on learning, with all students becoming much more engaged in their education.
The principal of the Mareeba State School, Mandy Whybird, noted the program’s positive impact.
“Our school chaplain provides an invaluable source of support for the students at Mareeba State School. Aside from running friendship groups, supporting children in classes and running lunchtime activities for children who may find the playground challenging, our chaplain also assists in providing breakfasts for children in need and working with children who may have experienced loss or trauma.
“The chaplain also assists to support staff well-being. When our school was shaken by the loss of a teacher last year, our Chaplain was integral to the recovery process for staff,” Ms Whybird said.
The town of Dirranbandi, in southwest QLD, was suffering from a lack of Christmas cheer and the general community spirit was a bit flat, following relentless drought over many years. This was also having significant impacts on mental health.
In a bid to tackle these issues, while also putting Dirranbandi on the map for both tourists and locals, the Dirranbandi Progress Association used a $60,000 Tackling Tough Times Together grant, funded by the Australian Government to spark some joy in the township with a stunning lights installation.
With the support of Balonne Shire Council, the Dirranbandi Progress Association brought local tradespeople on board, as well as their local Arts Council, the business community and a work camp, which consisted of skilled prisoners who were being reintegrated back into society. Together, this dedicated team of people designed and fabricated a beautiful display of fairy lights that were installed and displayed throughout the main streets of their town all year round.
Alongside the permanent display, the grant funded Christmas lights, which is the main feature of an annual event attended by around 300 people. Locals from the around the community gather for a BBQ and watch the Christmas lights being turned on, while school children sing carols and everyone embraces the magic of Christmas.
Since having the lights installed and hosting these events, the local community, which was crippled by drought, has been able to congregate, reconnect and have its vibrant spirit reignited. As an added benefit, the local council committed to providing extra support and resources, not only for Dirranbandi, but for surrounding towns as a result of the project.
When COVID restrictions hit Woomelang, the tiny Victorian town with a population of 201 was already struggling after being hit by major drought.
More than half the residents live alone, with many people having chronic diseases and some having mobility and travel issues. The closure of the town’s primary school and football club has reduced the interaction and connectedness of families and left community members fragmented. People on farms affected by the drought were working hard and spending a lot of time alone. So there was a clear need to create opportunities for social interaction.
A grant from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program, funded by the Australian Government, allowed Woomelang & District Bush Nursing Centre to do just that.
The Centre used the $5,000 grant to create ‘Meet, Eat and Play’, in an effort to relieve the social, emotional and financial stress facing the community.
The grant enabled the group to fund venue hire, staff and catering to create several lunchtime and evening social gatherings, which included themes such as Feast and Film, Xmas in September, Biggest Morning Tea, volunteer lunches, COVID clinics, Crafty Ladies and a Women’s Health Morning Tea.
Centre Manager Carol Paech said idea behind the project was for people to ‘meet, greet, eat and have fun’. It meant single people did not need to eat alone. COVID restrictions meant they couldn’t hold all the planned monthly gatherings but over the course of 2020-21 they were able to host a variety of catchups.
“The project was so challenging because of lockdowns and ever-changing restrictions. We ended up doing a lot of home deliveries, and part of the deal was that the residents were encouraged to wear a festive outfit or have Christmas decorations to get into the spirit of things, just to make it a bit of fun,” she said.
Deep in country Victoria, a definitive before and after makeover is apparent. For years the Golf Club of Warracknabeal, about 340 km north west of Melbourne, made do with a rusty and weathered roof sitting atop a building nearly 100 years old.
While the region is known for its grain, the town has been hit hard by the ravages of drought and subsequently COVID-19. Since the mid 1900s, the Warracknabeal Golf Club has held birthday parties, weddings, wakes, meetings and everything in between. A warm welcoming atmosphere has always been their intention, although this has become increasingly difficult to offer with the decline of the building, most notably its roof.
But with the support of a grant through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program, funded by the Australian Government, the Warracknabeal Golf Club launched their Green Roof Project.
With the $46,125 grant, and with the help of professionals and a swathe of willing and hardworking volunteers, they replaced the old leaking roof with a green’ roof. In addition to the new roof, the old and worn guttering was replaced and insulation and sisalation installed to facilitate far greater energy efficiency.
David Baxter from the golf club commented that modernising the building has reignited interest in the Golf Club as somewhere for people to gather and come together as a community in a now very comfortable environment.
“In recent years, we had seen very few functions but this year the increase in its use has been great. Organisations such as VFF, Lions Club, local schools, Grain Corp, the Arts Council and Lutheran Ladies have since used the facility and commented on the improvements particularly on the heating/cooling aspect.”
Mr Baxter noted his resounding gratitude for the project being able to go ahead.
“So much has been achieved thanks to the grant from FRRR, which made it possible earlier than we anticipated, as major fundraising over a number of years would have been required.
“More than ever, we are looking forward to becoming an important cog in our community in providing a place to meet, socialise and celebrate”.
38 projects will help communities cope with drought
Thanks to FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program, 38 community initiatives in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia will share in $1,316,217. These projects will help local communities tackle the ongoing impacts of drought.
The TTTT program supports drought-affected regions of Australia by giving community groups and local not-for-profit organisations access to the resources they need to respond to, and recover from, long-term rainfall deficiencies. This program has granted over $18 million (through rounds 1-22) to initiatives that are helping communities to tackle the tough times that come with drought.
The program is possible thanks to the support of several donors, including the Australian Government, which committed $15M to be distributed from 2019-2021.
Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s Chief Executive Officer, said these grants will utilise the last tranche of Australian government funding.
“FRRR was grateful to have the support of the Government alongside 15 other donors, as that enabled this program to expand nationally, just at a time when the drought was spreading across the entire country.
“While there have been good rains in places, there are many places that continue to experience severe drought, or are just coming out of drought. Enduring such prolonged dryness is really tough on these communities and their local industries. The pandemic has also meant that many of the fundraising initiatives and events that would normally have brought the community together and injected vital funds into the local economy haven’t happened now for 18 months. As a result, some people are more socially-isolated than ever.
“That’s why we’re so pleased to be able to support these projects at a time when they need it the most. Each of these remote, regional and rural communities has their own complex and individual needs, which is why it’s crucial that their support and recovery efforts are community-led.
“The projects being funded in this round range from investing in infrastructure and building organisational capacity, to providing services and developing skills, which really highlights the diverse range of needs in these communities,” Ms Egleton said.
Among the groups being funded is Parachilna Community Association who are refurbishing a school building, so that it can be used as caretaker residence at the community caravan park. This upgrade to local facilities will help Parachilna to attract tourists, which in turn will help to financially support the community. The $44,643 grant means they can install and renovate a bathroom, kitchen and living room.
Another organisation receiving funding is Pikedale Community Inc for their Drawing Through Drought initiative. This will fund a series of art classes in the rural, grazing community of Pikedale, west of Stanthorpe, which will allow the local community to meet, connect, refresh and ease the stress and mental fatigue caused by the hardship of prolonged drought.
Among the other projects funded this round include:
- Country Women’s Association of NSW, Walgett NSW – Tranquillity – $13,860 – To provide a green space of tranquillity that is accessible by wheelchair. Funds will be used for concreting the disability access and installing a rainwater tank and irrigation system for the garden.
- Cunnamulla & District Show Society Incorporated, QLD – Cunnamulla Show Society Multi-Purpose Function Centre, Stage 2 – $145,000 – The grant will be used to undertake stage 2 of the construction of the new, large multi-purpose function centre at the Showgrounds.
- Friends of Yantanabie Incorporated, SA – Yantanabie Hall Roof Restoration – $17,050 – The project aims to restore the roof of the Yantanabie Hall. A master builder has assessed that these repairs will ensure the structure remains safe for future generations and community use.
- Rupanyup & District Consultative Committee, VIC – Landscaping Rupanyup Community Space – $60,000 – To create a new community space in Rupanyup where community members can gather and relax. Funding will be used to clear the site, prepare garden beds, install access and paths, plant trees and shrubs, install an irrigation system, build seating and pergolas.
- Lake Grace Community Men’s Shed, WA – We Need a Bigger Shed – $60,000 – This will double the members’ workspace by adding another shed to the current one. The increased space will give them separate working areas and the option of including a mezzanine floor and a hoist in the future.
In addition to the Australian government, generous contributions have also been made by The Pratt Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Paul Ramsay Foundation, The Snow Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Henroth Group and private donors from across the nation. To join these donors, and support grants like this through FRRR, you can make a tax-deductible donation at frrr.org.au/giving/.
With recent rains in many areas, FRRR will take the opportunity to review the shape of the Tackling Tough Times Together program in the coming weeks, meaning the next round is likely to open early in the new year.
The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.
|NEW SOUTH WALES|
|Up to $60,000|
|Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (South Eastern Section) |
|RuralCONNECT: Activity Days for Isolated Children and Families in Drought-Affected Areas|
Support families with young children living in remote north-western NSW by providing opportunities for social and educational participation in creative programs.
|Up to $20,000|
|Country Women's Association of NSW||Tranquility|
Enhance community well-being and local amenity by providing a green space of tranquility for community use.
|Up to $150,000|
|Cunnamulla & District Show Society Incorporated||Cunnamulla Show Society Multi-Purpose Function Centre - Stage 2|
Support the Cunnamulla and District Show Society Inc's resilience and capacity to contribute to a stronger local economy and an engaged, participative community, through the completion of their multi-purpose centre.
|Up to $60,000|
|Kingaroy State School Parents and Citizens Association||Inclusive Play and Learning Facilities for Children in Kingaroy|
Install new play and seating areas at Kingaroy State School, to meet the needs of the diverse children and families in this drought-affected community.
|Creative Country Association Inc||Murgon's Best Kept Secret|
Fit out of the Fossil Museum at the Murgon Cultural Centre, to attract tourists and stimulate economic activity in the town of Murgon.
|Goombungee Public Hall Inc||Goombungee Public Hall Upgrade|
Encourage better use of the community hall by repairing the facility to make the community space safer and more user-friendly, thereby securing its use for future generations.
|Mount Morgan Central Primary P&C Association||MMCSS Youth Warriors Course|
Inspire leadership, confidence and self-discipline in senior students, by installing an Adventure Obstacle Course.
|Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural Society||From Storing Outdoor to Making it Secure: Showground Community Storage Shed|
Reduce volunteer fatigue and build the capacity of Goondiwindi Pastoral and Agricultural Society through the purchase of a storage shed to support community events.
|Somerset Regional Council||An Annual Program of Art Making Activities for Children and Young People That Addresses the Impact of Drought, Assists with Recovery and Builds Resilience Through Creative Opportunity and Expression|
Encourage children’s learning and development with art workshops/creative activities at the Somerset Regional Art Gallery.
|Tamrookum Memorial Hall Incorporated||To support the Capacity and Sustainability of Tamrookum Hall with Upgraded and Refurbished Amenities|
Enhance economic stimulus of Tamrookum and surrounding areas by providing accessible amenities for locals, volunteers, visitors and user groups to use.
|Toogoolawah & District Progress Assoc Inc||New Canteen with Connection to Water, Electricity and with Shade Protection|
Increase volunteer safety and comfort at the canteen building which is used by the Toogoolawah Progress Association and other community groups.
|Gatton Show Society Incorporated||Gatton Show – Poultry Section WHS Upgrade|
Reduce volunteer fatigue and support local economic recovery by repairing the Poultry Pavilion, a major attraction at the Gatton Show.
|Blackall - Tambo Regional Council||Tambo Dam Lights - Stage 2 - Installation|
Contribute to local economic recovery by funding the transportation of an art installation on the Blackall Tambo dam.
|Balonne Shire Council||Mural of Historic Significance - Balonne Community Hub|
Contribute to a culturally vibrant community while also supporting local economic recovery during current times of drought and COVID-19.
|Up to $20,000|
|Stanthorpe Festival Association Inc||Food & Wine Fiesta|
Strengthen economic diversity and support cultural engagement by hiring artists to provide entertainment to support the 2022 Stanthorpe Food & Wine Fiesta.
|The Texas Historical Society Inc||Texas Technology Museum|
Build capacity and boost local economy by constructing an exhibition pavilion at the existing Texas Historical Museum with a technology focus, that aims to attract a broader (younger) demographic.
|Jandowae Timbertown Festival Inc||Jandowae Timbertown Festival Tours, Fireworks and Creative Chainsaw Demonstrations|
Reduce social isolation and support local economic recovery by adding extra tours/quality demonstrations to the 2022 Jandowae Timbertown festival program and provide night-time entertainment that will attract people to attend the festival and stay longer.
|QCWA Branch Jackson||Making it Easier|
Reduce volunteer fatigue and build the capacity of the QCWA Jackson Branch Hall through kitchen upgrades.
|Pikedale Community Inc||Drawing through Drought|
Enhance opportunities to participate in creative activities for the Pikedale community through the delivery of four art workshops over a series of weeks.
|Lions Club of Cecil Plains Inc||Shade and Shelter|
Build capacity by providing shade and shelter for volunteers and the community that attend their events.
|Up to $60,000|
|Lochiel Progress Association Incorporated||Coming Together at the Lochiel Community Centre|
Re-invigorate the Lochiel Community Centre (LPC) by upgrading the facility, thereby enabling the Centre to host important community get-togethers to increase social inclusion, well-being and resilience.
|District Council of Loxton Waikerie |
Little Town Productions
|SHINE: Riverland Community Light Project|
Create a community arts event featuring a unique animated projection mapped to the façade of the historic St Peter’s church, and create sustainable creative skills for young people and lift the spirits of the whole community.
|Carrieton Progress Association Inc||Carrieton Community Halls Project -'Preserving and Restoring the Town Facilities'|
Improve the tired infrastructure and reduce community fatigue.
|Parachilna Community Association||Refurbish a School Building at the Community Caravan Park as a Caretaker Residence|
Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of the Parachilna Community Association’s caravan park through refurbishing a school building so that it can be utilised as a caretaker residence.
|Foodbank of South Australia Incorporated||Foodbank Ceduna Food Hub - Cool Room Project|
Increase capacity and capability of Foodbank of South Australia to provide food relief for regional and rural communities impacted by drought.
|Up to $20,000|
|District Council of Orroroo Carrieton||54 31 Collective|
Boost and strengthen the local economy by providing rural creators a platform to grow and showcase their locally made or sourced products, which will attract visitors/tourists to the region thereby benefiting the wider community.
|Friends of Yantanabie Incorporated||Yantanabie Hall Roof Restoration|
Improve volunteer vitality and support strong social connection by restoring the roof of the Friends of Yatanabie’s Community Hall.
|Moorook Hall Incorporated||Safety and Secure Storage - Moorook Community Hall|
Improve volunteer vitality and support strong social connection by restoring the Moorook Hall.
|Rotary Club of Peterborough Incorporate||The North East Drought Event and Inaugural Wool Show|
Reduce social isolation by facilitating social connection through supporting a Wool Show hosted by the Rotary Club of Peterborough Incorporate.
|Balaklava Community Arts Incorporated||Balaklava Community Arts Inc 2022 Production of "Shrek"|
To foster and encourage the Arts in the local region by staging a performance that will involve locals in many roles as participants but also in attendance at the event.
|Up to $60,000|
|Rupanyup and District Consultative Committee |
|Landscaping Rupanyup Community Space|
Improve social and emotional health and build resilience in the Rupanyup community by landscaping a community space.
|Up to $20,000|
|Corack Public Hall Inc||Corack Hall Kitchen Makeover|
Build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of the Corack Public Hall through refurbishment of the Hall’s kitchen.
|Buloke Women’s Network Inc||Celebrating Buloke Women in 2022|
Promote individual and community health and social wellbeing through community events that acknowledge and celebrate the economic and social contribution of women in the Buloke region.
|Up to $60,000|
|Lake Grace Community Men's Shed||We Need a Bigger Shed|
Improve the Lake Grace Men’s Shed to attract more members, reduce social isolation and improve mental and physical health.
|Lake Grace Community Resource Centre Inc||Fit For Purpose|
Support tourism opportunities that will strengthen the local economy through installation of outdoor fitness equipment to encourage motorists to stop and revive.
|Up to $20,000|
|Lake Grace Artists' Group||Comfy Safe Space for Our Community|
Improve volunteer vitality and organisational resilience to encourage more use of the community Art Space for social and educational participation by providing new chairs, stools and tables.
|Leeman Green Head Community Resource Centre Incorporated||The Leeman Green Head Community Resource Centre IT Upgrade|
Improve the Leeman Green Head Community Resource Centre’s (LGHCRC) ability to support and service the community through purchase of IT equipment for the delivery of training and provision of online services.
|Katanning Land Conservation District Committee||Katanning - Making the Swap to Green Caffeen|
Stimulate the local economy through an innovative project that tackles the environmental issue of waste production by removing disposable coffee cups from Katanning cafes through the Green Caffeen system.
The small agricultural township of Orroroo in South Australia knows what it’s like to suffer through drought. With several local businesses closing down and the community running the taxing gamut of drought-related issues, something different needed to be done.
Fortunately, this small outer regional area has a dedicated group of people who are behind the push to ensure the town’s survival, by celebrating and showcasing Australia’s pioneering agricultural history. In the past, the area has relied heavily on a thriving agricultural foundation, but they saw the need to improve their economic diversity, starting with a new tourist attraction.
Over the past few years, the District Council of Orroroo Carrieton, the Orroroo Regional Tourism Group and a team of amazing volunteers have dedicated themselves to very carefully restoring the locally-famed Black Rock Woolpress – a generously donated, circa 1850s piece of manual machinery, which early research suggests may very well be the only one of its kind left in existence.
Plans for the impressive woolpress to be showcased in its very own building in the main precinct of Orroroo came a step closer to reality, thanks to a $20,000 grant from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program, funded by the Australian Government.
The grant allowed for a formal business plan to be drawn up by a local consultant, confirming the feasibility of the Heritage Hub project. The plan required input from all areas of the community – those working on the project directly, as well as in the wider community motivated to create an attractive tourist destination. As well, the funds were put towards the planning, architectural drawings and raw materials needed to construct the purpose-built rotunda for the Black Rock Woolpress.
This seed funding enabled the planning committee to produce a proof of concept, which attracted $143,252 in further funding from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program, again funded by the Australian Government, along with grants from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program and funding from the local Council.The stone and glass rotunda now houses the historic woolpress (circa 1851) as the centrepiece in a collection of heritage items on display as part of a landscaped Heritage trail in the town’s centre, with impressive interpretive signage, maps and promotional material. The FRRR grant also contributed to the official launch of the development, which recognise the generous funding organisations and the thousands of hours of volunteer involvement in restoring the woolpress.
District Council of Orroroo Carrieton community project officer Jodie Boully said “We have already had so many locals and visitors stop to comment how impressive the building is.
“It’s been such a huge success to date, a great story of local volunteers who have remained involved in the planning right the way through to highlight some of our early pioneer history.”
The project to create such an attractive tourist destination has already created strong bonds, with those in the community dedicated to seeing the town succeed despite the drought. They have self-funded, committed hundreds of hours of volunteered hours, and worked tirelessly together from the very beginning developing not only the beginnings of a beautifully built tourist hub, but a sustainable and diverse economic platform for the town to rebuild from.
For years, Central Western Queensland has been heavily impacted by the economic, environmental, and social effects of a prolonged drought. Topology, a grassroots community arts organisation, decided to tackle these impacts and empower their communities with music and performance.
Topology’s goal is to build the creative capacity of their participants and to help increase social connectedness through much needed community-based and intergenerational events. And that’s exactly what they achieved when they launched Top Up Central Western Queensland. This initiative consisted of a series of 12 workshops and a four-day creative bootcamp that culminated in a free community performance in Longreach, which was attended by 2,000 people.
Through our Tackling Tough Times Together program, Topology received a grant of $10,000, funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, as well as separate funding through the Building Better Regions Fund. This money paid the local artists who hosted workshops, as well as covering venue hire and event costs.
The Topology team said, “One of the things we are most proud of is seeing people of all ages, some with no previous experience of the arts, learn about their own potential for creativity – and to perform in public a new piece they have written and contributed to themselves. The feelings of self-accomplishment and pride achieved by the participants is a real and invaluable outcome of this program.”
The program was also the catalyst for Topology consulting with the community on the development of a Regional Creative Hub (RCH). This hub will have lasting impacts for local communities, as it will help to support and upskill rural creative practitioners and community arts organisations.
Top Up Central Western Queensland empowered, educated, and inspired the community to create, perform and tell their stories, while celebrating their community. It was a much-needed reminder of their resilience and their ability to thrive through tough times together.
In the Bogan Shire of New South Wales, you will find the town of Nyngan. Like many remote farming towns, social isolation is a big issue within the community. Farmers and their families have had to deal with the effects of drought for years, placing extreme pressures on many people and businesses in the community. Financial pressure can often be a driving force behind social isolation in these communities. Social events and participation can be some of the first things to go when trying to save money. This can create a bigger divide for many adults, particularly farmers and their families, in the town.
CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes (CCWF) was established in 1996 and covers 52% of Western New South Wales. Their diverse programs offer support for parents and children, counselling, help with financial management, mental health services and programs specifically for men, Indigenous communities, and young people.
In partnership with Bogan Bush Mobile, CCWF created The Wellbeing Mobile, which included travelling out to small communities and isolated properties within a 130km radius of Nyngan, providing an outreach service for mental and emotional wellbeing for adults. This program was based on the success of the Bogan Bush Mobile early childhood education sessions, which focused on children aged 0-5. This new program was dedicated specifically to help support the adults and parents within the community.
A $150,000 Tackling Tough Times Together grant allowed CCWF to visit 11 towns over two years, and offer fortnightly two hour sessions ranging from remedial massage, yoga, exercise and nutrition, to body alignment, pilates, art therapy, counselling, clinical hypnotherapy, financial counselling and community wellbeing days.
The response to The Wellbeing Mobile was fantastic, with 300 people benefiting directly from the activities, and many more family members benefiting indirectly. The sessions were designed to help fight “drought fatigue” by giving families a break from the stressful and anxious period caused by drought and social isolation. In particular, the sessions were a big hit with mothers in the community. Bogan Bush Mobile early childhood education kept young children entertained while their mothers were able to enjoy the social interaction and the relaxing activities.
Organising these events to avoid shearing and harvest time was important in the sessions achieving high participation rates. Accommodating people that needed to travel was also an issue. To solve this problem, introducing Activity Days allowed some people to experience several activities during the day. Having multiple activity sessions over the duration of the project gave residents more opportunities to participate if they were unable to attend a class.
Executive Leader of Program Development and Delivery, Dorothee Crawley said “The feedback was fantastic, with one lady saying she had lived on her farm for 20-years and this was the first time she had interacted with her neighbours. The Wellbeing Day provided services that had never been available in the town before, and everyone thanked us for organising this event in their community.”
The town of Stanthorpe, in Queensland is no stranger to hardship. After years of drought and bushfires, the community was already feeling the pressure when COVID-19 hit. Like many rural, remote, and regional towns, social isolation is a huge issue, now more than ever with strict rules on social interactions and gatherings. These restrictions made it particularly difficult for visitors to come to the area and spend money at local businesses, putting more financial pressure on the community already feeling the effects of years of severe drought. It was so bad, the town was even trucking in water for residents.
The Granite Belt Art and Craft Train Inc (GBART) was determined to push through all these challenges. GBART’s purpose is to support community wellbeing and economic diversity through improving the Granite Belt’s cultural vibrancy and identity. The region stretches from the Great Dividing Range in Queensland all the way to the New England region of New South Wales.
Thanks to a $20,000 Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) grant, GBART was able to hold the highly anticipated annual culture and tourism event, Open Studio, which took place over three days and attracted approximately 4,000 visitors.
Open Studio involved hands on workshops, classes and demonstrations, while also engaging with Australian art and craft in active, inclusive ways. The events were hosted at 27 different venues, including wineries that saw visitors stopping to taste, shop and eat.
The TTTT grant allowed GBART to fund a range of supporting resources such as the training and up-skilling of volunteers, purchasing office and IT equipment, venue hire, advertising and marketing material, COVID-19 cleaning equipment and training, plus salaries for an event coordinator, administration support, and a media consultant.
The event was a major success, bringing the community together and engaging visitors from surrounding towns. Best of all, there were little to no changes needed to their original plan. Event organisers said they were “proud of the venues, the accommodation and hospitality businesses that supported the artisans and hosted them in their venues, and we are proud of the artisans who provided the engagement that brought everyone here.”