Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

On Waveroo Country

The exquisite Bruarong Community Centre, on the site of the old Bruarong School, serves as a hub for the people of this tiny hamlet situated on the road between Yackandandah and Myrtleford in Victoria’s High Country. The Community Centre plays an important role within the small community, which is 314 km from Melbourne. It is both a place to prepare and for emergency response, and thanks to upgrades that followed the 2009 Victorian bushfires, it is now a designated Safer Place, and a potential base for fire-fighters to rest and recuperate during emergency response.

It’s also a place for people to meet and gather, to create a sense of place and a sense of belonging. After 2009, the Community Centre’s management committee recognised that despite the bushfires it was an opportunity to strengthen community engagement, enhance the understanding of the history of the area and create an inviting community resource for Bruarong, Hillsborough, Sutton, Tunnel Gap and Back Creek residents. Initially upgrades to the building and access to water supply for bushfires were achieved. They had an underlying goal to help reduce social isolation, as well as enhance the hall, both visually and acoustically.

They sought a grant through the Grants for Resilience and Wellness program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, which so many members of the public contributed to, following the fires. The funding would help them to research, digitise appropriate images, and produce a series of historical panels to be displayed permanently in the Bruarong Community Centre, thereby also enhancing the amenity of the hall.

They secured a grant of $9,750 and the five-person sub-committee set about implementing their carefully staged community development project. The original plan was to collect images and objects to be displayed in the Hall during a community morning tea designed to introduce the concept and get people talking and remembering stories. However, COVID intervened and instead, they moved to digital invitations and word of mouth. There was still strong buy-in from the community and so they set about gathering information, approaching long-standing families to be involved and share histories through images, objects, supporting documents and some oral histories. This was the first of the collaborative elements of the project, with many people and groups from across the community, many of whom provided letters of support for the project, engaged in research and capturing the unique stories. Several open days were held, inviting the community for a cuppa and to come and share their stories and images. Resourcing this project also included local areas e.g., loan of recording equipment from neighbouring Stanley Community Centre.

Then it was time to decide what was to be displayed and exactly what panels would be most appropriate to achieve their goals. Attention turned to the text and graphics, including photography, scanning and digitisation. This was undertaken by the volunteer committee collectively reviewing all the information and images. A curator and graphic artist assisted to ensuring a high-quality product was achieved.

While COVID impacted the delivery of the project, the efforts of many over more than 18 months came together with the official opening of the exhibition and reveal of the panels at a community event. Various groups visited the Community Centre to view the interpretative panels including local Men’s Shed Groups, Individual families joining together and historical societies. This provided an opportunity for socialisation during COVID

According to Heather Hillas, Project Leader, the Centre now has gorgeous interpretive panels, charting the history of this area, from the indigenous history up to current day including Thillangananga, Sutton and now Bruarong.

“Bruarong Community members, past and present reconnected and reminisced, sharing the positivity of the day, in addition to poring over the detail of the panels. It was very special to welcome back families who had supported the Bruarong Primary School and worked so hard to create the Community Centre when the Bruarong School closed. The current committee is conscious of maintaining the Centre in trust for our present and future community,” she wrote.

This is a valuable resource for ongoing connection. With the support of further funding from FRRR, the collection of over 10,000 images, family stories and articles are being collated and digitised for the local Yackandandah, Beechworth, Myrtleford and Victorian State Libraries. Further funding has been resourced from Saluting Our Service. This has enabled development of an interpretive panel through research into World War I and II service people and the refurbishment of the Honour Boards. This history will be included in the digitalised collection. Following this, a Bruarong History book is the next project on their agenda, which is also being supported by FRRR. In addition, further open days for the community are planned so people can view the interpretive panels and join together in friendship. Engagement with the community is a priority and is growing, signifying the continuing strength and resilience of this community.

For more inspiring stories like this, head to our FY 2021/22 Annual Review.

The Yinnar & District Memorial Hall Committee has achieved significant outcomes in improving the lives of local mature people. Led by Hall President, Glenys Webster and supported by Kathleen Millett, Specialised Exercise Therapist, the health and wellness program has created a welcoming, special place designed specifically for the needs of older people.

“You get to a certain age and you realise there is a whole group missing out.” Glenys Webster

Funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund through several rounds of FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness program, this initiative commenced as a bushfire recovery activity following the 2009 Black Saturday fires. More than a decade on, it continues to bring local people together in an accessible and supportive environment to look after themselves, build friendships and connect with others. It has also created a local gathering point in the community for other services to connect with participants to share information and assistance, such as the provision of meals through COVID lockdowns.

The classes cater for seniors of various abilities, with the exercise specialist adapting and modifying the exercises designed for residents to remain independent and in their own homes. Tai Chi is practised each week, along with exercises involving strength, balance and mobility. Staying well and reducing injuries are among the varied topics covered through interactive sessions. Time at the end of each class for participants to have a cup of tea and connect socially is an important component of the program.

In 2019, Federation University evaluated the health and wellness program, finding that it has made a significant local impact:

  • Increased social connection and sense of belonging amongst participants leading to increased mental health benefits. This program has significantly reduced isolation and loneliness, for many it’s the one activity they look forward to going to each week.
  • Improvements in confidence, fitness levels and overall physical health, function and movement. This may lead to fewer hospital admissions.
  • Increase in vitality and vigour and the ability of participants to remain living independently and in their own home and community.
  • The program also provides an opportunity for service providers to engage with mature aged community members living remotely, learn from them and share information and resources.

(Federation University, 2019, FRRR Health and Wellness Program 2019 Evaluation Report, Collaborative Evaluation Unit)

After running for such a long time, the Hall Committee has worked out that the key ingredients for success of the program are its affordability and accessibility, as well as the fact that it runs to a regular and consistent schedule, with skilled assistance. The sharing of common issues and needs develops a sense of belonging and collective strength, recognising that recovery takes time and being socially connected to the local community is important to the short, medium and longer term recovery process.

“It’s the connection that’s really important, enjoying each other’s company and the companionship they share with each other. For some people it’s the only thing they have if they live alone… After the COVID lockdowns, we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but the first week back we had 31 people turn up! And following the floods and storms that hit this area, mental health has become an even greater concern…. they are a positive and happy group of people, they accept everyone as they are and are there for each other when times get a bit tough,” Glenys said.

This project demonstrates the central role of community organisations like the Yinnar & District Memorial Hall Committee as champions of place-based, community-led, long-term community recovery.

During recent community planning led by Murrindindi Shire in the Yea region of Victoria, which is located around 100km from Melbourne, the need to increase awareness of local history and culture was highlighted. To address this need, a working group, named Honour the Taungurung Community Project Group, was formed.

The group, which are part of the Yea Community Service Group, set out to address a lack of local information and visual acknowledgement of the past and present Taungurung people. The group decided that the creation of a meaningful Taungarung designed art installation was the perfect way to begin telling the true history of their shire.

Yea Community Service Group successfully applied for a grant of $28,734 from the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The grant funded the artwork, engineers’ drawings, Council permits and the installation, as well as a welcome ceremony, research and project administration.

Now, with the project complete, the significant and celebratory artwork is located in the main street of Yea and acts not only as a centrepiece for the town but also as a meeting place and a celebration of local history.

Once the art installation was completed, an unveiling and welcoming ceremony was held and attended by many town members. As a result of this project, the town now has a meaningful site where Indigenous days of recognition can be celebrated, as well as an enduring landmark in honour of the Taungurung people. Community connectedness, sense of place and community identity have all been strengthened in the months following the installation.

Grant awarded to Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc

FRRR has awarded an out-of-session grant for $30,000 to the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc, via the Grants for Resilience & Wellness – Kinglake Ranges program, funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF).

The project, titled “Co-designing our Future: Community Conversations – Kinglake Ranges Talks”, continues the ongoing support for the Kinglake Ranges communities in their long-term recovery and rebuilding following the Black Saturday bushfires that devastated the region in 2009. Specifically, the grant aims to strengthen the community’s ability to identify opportunities and priorities for the Kinglake Ranges through place based community-led consultation.

Black Saturday funding available for community-led initiatives

Twelve years on from the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires, FRRR is offering another round of funding to support impacted communities as they continue to rebuild, reconnect and recover.

Black Saturday funding available for community-led initiatives
Whittlesea Community Garden

Supported by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), the funding is available through FRRR’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) program and the Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake) program. The grants of up to $20,000 will support not-for-profits and community-based organisations to lead projects that aid recovery and build community resilience.

The GR&W and GR&W Kinglake Ranges programs fund initiatives that:

  • Improve mental health and wellbeing of communities and individuals;
  • Enhance wellbeing and resilience of pre-school, primary and secondary school-aged children and young people;
  • Strengthen community connections, sense of place and community identity; and
  • Increase the community’s ability to prepare for future disasters.

To date, FRRR has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to local groups, thanks to VBAF funding, which comes from the generous contributions by the general public following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. Through this round of funding there is a total of $360,000 available for GR&W grants and a total of more than $700,000 available for GR&W Kinglake projects.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that the impact of COVID-19 has increased the need to support recovering communities to reconnect socially and continue to enhance their wellbeing.

“Despite the restrictions that the pandemic has put on people coming together, local groups report services and activities that enhance wellness and resilience are still well attended. One program funded twice previously by FRRR, the Be Well in the Ranges program, has been fully booked out, and the Yinnar Memorial Hall exercise group continues to attract 30-40 participants each week,” Ms O’Brien said.

“The GR&W programs provide flexible support to respond to issues as they emerge. More than a decade since the fires, communities are focusing on building resilience for the future,” Ms O’Brien explained.

Applications for both GR&W and GR&W Kinglake close at 5pm AEDT, Wednesday 21 April 2021.

Potential applicants should visit the GR&W and GR&W Kinglake webpages and review the guidelines before applying.

Funding for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday fires

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded nearly $725,000 in grants to support 31 projects that will help communities impacted by the February 2009 Black Saturday bushfires continue to rebuild, reconnect and recover.

Supported by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), these grants are funded through three grant programs – Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W), GR&W Kinglake Ranges and the final round of Community Group Futures (CGF).

The VBAF funding comes from the generous contributions by the general public following the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. More than a decade on from Black Saturday, FRRR has awarded more than $4.5 million in grants to local groups through these programs.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness

The GR&W program is tailored to support community-led projects that focus on strengthening and building the resilience of those places impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Now in its nineth year, this round of GR&W sees $233,089 in grants awarded to 15 community groups. The funded projects will support and improve the wellbeing, resilience and mental health of community members, help people keep coming together, and help build community capacity and preparedness for future disasters.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that this round, there were many communities wanting funding for projects that help people connect and also retain their sense of place and community identity.

“Many communities reach a stage in their long-term recovery where reconnecting with place, the environment, and community becomes an important part of the healing process,” explained Ms O’Brien.

“Rediscovering and rebuilding these connections can happen in many different and meaningful ways, and this round of GR&W is a perfect example of that. For some communities, it involves improving community meeting places and venues for activities. Others are using arts and cultural projects to both increase community connectedness and grow community identity and awareness of local history. Other places are helping their community to connect through events and activities like concerts and walking trails.

“Recovery takes time and the process is different for every place, so it’s important that we listen to communities and their local leaders and let them decide what priorities need to be addressed, as things evolve,” Ms O’Brien said.

Some of the projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:

  • Buxton Primary School, Buxton – Buxton Bush Tucker Trail – $15,000 – Enhance curriculum through delivery of an innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
  • Yarra Valley ECOSS, Wesburn – Crops for Community to Market – $20,000 – Build a vibrant resilient local food economy through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges

The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program gives community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges the opportunity to work together and increase local capacity to get initiatives off the ground. This round, $461,993 has been awarded to 14 projects in the region.

A great example of the collaborative and innovative local thinking is Bees for the House, which will increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.

Among the other GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:

  • Flowerdale Community House, Flowerdale – Flowerdale Playgroup Program – $26,250 – Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
  • Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre, Kinglake – Indigenous Sensory Bush Tucker Garden with Community Mural – $17,530 – Increase cultural and environmental learning through establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural at a newly developed bush tucker garden.

The next rounds of GR&W and GR&W Kinglake Ranges open early March 2021 and close April 2021. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are now invited from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

Community Group Futures

The CGF program focuses on not-for-profit groups in communities impacted by Black Saturday. It was designed to provide them with the tools to create strong and lasting improvements within their organisation. This is the final round of the CGF program, with $898,237 granted across ten rounds.

Some $29,483 has been awarded to two projects to support the Yackandandah Fire Station and the Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room. The funds will increase their capacity through the purchase of equipment and by funding professional administrative support.

Ms O’Brien said that more than a decade on, these community organisations continue to experience operational and service delivery challenges due to the 2009 bushfires.

“For these community groups, they have had to face the challenge of managing their own recovery while also continuing to provide support and services the people in their communities. The CGF program has supported these organisations to look ahead to the future and implement longer term climate resilience initiatives that will help them achieve their aspirations,” said Ms O’Brien.

“For some community groups, these goals have included greater organisational capabilities, for others it’s been about long-term viability and sustainability, while others looked for ways to improve cost efficiencies for community infrastructure.

“The CGF grants have helped strengthen and sustain these community groups so that they can continue to do what they do best and support their community,” Ms O’Brien explained.

The final projects funded through the CGF program are:

  • Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Yackandandah – Yackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply – $9,983 – Increase the capacity of the organisation to reduce costs and remain available during emergencies through the purchase of a generator that will enhance the Fire Station’s new battery and solar system’s capacity.
  • Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room Indigo Shire Council, Stanley – Prepare and Protect – $19,500 –Increase organisational capacity by employing professional support to catalogue and preserve Stanley Historical Space’s significant local collection. The project will include training that will leave a legacy in the organisation.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationAwarded
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE AND WELLNESS
Alexandra Football & Netball Club IncReserve Development
Enhance facilities that support community connectedness and fitness, via upgrade of power supply for new community hub at Alexandra Football & Netball Club
Alexandra$15,000
Art Resource Collective IncPottery and Print Equipment Fund
Increase access to the arts, and local connectedness through, upgrade of ceramics equipment and infrastructure for community arts group
Yinnar$18,997
Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade
Country Fire Authority – Head office
Spreading the Knowledge-Bushfire Education Program 2020
Build community resilience, through development of resources to deliver local CFA bushfire awareness program across five schools impacted by the 2009 bushfires.
Strathewen$20,000
Bruarong Community CentreProtecting and Sharing – Developing the Bruarong Collection Research Resource
Preserve and protect the community’s heritage, through uploading and cataloguing images, objects, and documents.
Bruarong$18,500
Buxton Primary SchoolBuxton Bush Tucker Trail
Enhanced curriculum through, delivery of innovative environmental and Indigenous education program that supports custodianship of local ecology.
Buxton$15,000
‘Honour the Taungurung’ Community Project Group
Yea Community Service Group Inc
Honour the Taungurung
Work towards reconciliation and acknowledgement of traditional owners through creation of a community meeting place featuring Taungurung designed artwork celebrating local Indigenous culture.
Yea$28,734
Kilmore District Men’s Shed IncSolar Power
Enhance sustainability of local Men’s Shed, through the installation of solar panels.
Kilmore$8,960
Kilmore District Men’s Shed Inc  Plastering
Enhance sustainability of local group, through the completion to construction of a local Men’s Shed
Kilmore$6,054
Marysville Community Action Team
Murrindindi Cycle Club
Feasibility Study for more cycling options in the Marysville Area to increase tourism
Explore potential for ecotourism development and rejuvenation of community’s economy by extending visitor season with feasibility study into Cycle Trails
Marysville$14,000
More Murals
Rubicon Forest Protection Group Inc
Life of a Leaf: Notes from the Forest
Enhance creative development and recovery, through creation of a 16-track compilation CD reflecting on the Black Saturday fires
Marysville Buxton Taggerty$15,200
Rotary Club of AlexandraMusic in the Park Increase local connection and enhance culture, through supporting the delivery of community music event.Alexandra$5,450
St Matthew’s Church
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc
Hope…It Grows! Renewal
Increase community access and renew facilities, through upgrade to community garden and space.
Long Gully$15,300
Wandong Heathcote Junction Community Group IncProvide Seating along the Say G’Day trail at Wandong
Enhance local walking trail and increase accessibility for residents with different abilities, through installation of seating areas.
Wandong$6,695
Whittlesea Men’s Shed IncDust Extraction and Air Filtration System
Improve the health and well-being of community participants, by upgrading the air filtration system in the wood working workshop.
Whittlesea$20,000
Yarra Valley Ecoss IncCrops for Community to Market
Build vibrant resilient local food economy, through employment of a disability support worker to deliver and develop programs for disaster affected residents.
Wesburn$20,000
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE AND WELLNESS – KINGLAKE RANGES
Flowerdale Community House IncFlowerdale Playgroup Program
Increase support for local parents, and enhance early childhood education, through facilitated playgroup program at Flowerdale Community House. 
Flowerdale$26,250
Kinglake Football Netball ClubCommunity coming together with healthy mind and body
Increase local connectedness and reduce social isolation, through delivery of a family focused event at local Sports ground.
Kinglake$3,530
Kinglake Ranges Children’s Centre IncIndigenous Sensory Bush tucker Garden with Community Mural
Increase cultural and environmental learning through, establishment of a yarning circle, firepit, and student inspired mural, at a newly developed bush tucker garden.
Kinglake$17,530
Buzz of the Bees
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc  
Bees for the House
Increase access to infrastructure that supports community education, through development of an apiary at the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House.
Kinglake$7,508
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncDindi Collective: Supporting Organisational Capacity of Neighbourhood & Community Houses across Murrindindi
Increase capacity and collaboration between seven Community Houses in Murrindindi Shire, though establishment of a supportive Network and delivery of professional development.
Kinglake$64,173
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncKinglake Ranges Fund – Community Grant Development Officer
Increase local capacity to develop community projects and apply for grant funds, through employment of a Community Grants Officer.
Kinglake$41,941
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncMakerspace Mates
Increase opportunities to support connection, reduce isolation, and learn about new interests, through the delivery of free, no skill needed, creative workshops.
Kinglake$19,763
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncThe Matanya Effect – Healing with Horses – Skills for a Calmer Life
Increase access to locally based support for mental health, through the delivery of equine assisted learning to residents of the Kinglake Ranges.
Kinglake$17,700
Kinglake Trust Reserve IncEllimatta Centre Periodic Maintenance Project
Increase access to spaces where the community connect, through preservation and maintenance of community hub at Kinglake Trust Reserve.
Kinglake$25,850
Kinglake Historical Society
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute Hall and Reserves Committee Inc
Strengthening Community Understanding of Kinglake’s Heritage
Increase space and resources for Historical displays and research, through expansion to Kinglake Historical Society and purchase of additional equipment.
Kinglake$162,334
Middle Kinglake Primary SchoolProviding Opportunities for Positive Social Interaction
Increase use of outdoor areas at Middle Kinglake Primary School for learning and socialising, through purchase of outdoor cushions and beanbags.
Kinglake Central$1,000
Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges IncRotary and Lions Storage Facility
Reduce volunteer fatigue and increase local capacity, through the installation of a centrally located storage shed for community equipment.
Kinglake$39,910
Toolangi-Castella Local History Action Plan Working Group
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi-Castella Local history Action Plan
Increase local connectedness to culture and heritage, through development of an oral history and photographic display, and website for Toolangi-Castella.
Toolangi$14,742
Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Toolangi Tennis Court and Surrounds Re-development
Enhance local meeting space and increase safety, through upgrade of pathways, retaining walls, and landscaping at Toolangi Tennis Court reserve
Toolangi$19,762
COMMUNITY GROUP FUTURES
Stanley Athenaeum and Public Room
Indigo Shire Council
Prepare and Protect
Increase awareness of local historical collections significance, and protect it from future disasters, through engaging a Collection Management Consultant.
Stanley$19,500
Totally Renewable Yackandandah IncYackandandah Fire station – Resilient Power Supply
Increase local resilience and preparedness through installation of a generator at the Yackandandah Fire Station.
Yackandandah$9,983

More than $580,000 in grants awarded

22 July 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $584,971 in grants to support twenty-eight projects that will assist the continued recovery of communities impacted by the Black Saturday Bushfires in February 2009.

The funds come from its Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W), GR&W Kinglake Ranges and Community Group Futures (CGF) programs, thanks to the support of the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF), which the general public generously contributed to in the immediate aftermath of the Black Saturday fires. More than a decade on from the tragedy, nearly $4 million in grants has been provided to community groups through these programs.

The GR&W program focuses on community-strengthening and resilience-building projects for communities. This is the 16th round of the program, confirming that recovery does take time. This round sees 13 projects share in $195,234 in grants. Projects funded this round will help to strengthen community connectedness, create a sense of place and enhance community identity.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that creating spaces for the community to meet and feel safe continues to be a priority for the ongoing recovery of many communities impacted by the Black Saturday bushfires.

“When communities have lost so much, having a safe, comfortable space to come together is so important. It facilitates opportunities for people to reconnect, maintain good mental health and prevent isolation. It’s therefore important that these spaces are in good condition, are comfortable and have the appropriate amenities and levels of accessibility.

“Communities continue to look for ways to build resilience, particularly when it comes to their young people. Activities such as workshops and training provide these young people with the chance to come together and share their experiences while building their skills and resilience,” continued Ms Egleton.

“Other communities are finding ways to continue their recovery through the arts, such as Marysville’s Singing Saturday Choir or Bruarong‘s place-based oral and visual history gathering project.

“The diversity of these needs, more than 10 years on from the initial bushfire events, highlights the importance of having flexible funding available in the medium to long-term.”

Some of the projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include:

  • Flowerdale Hall Reserve Committee of Management received a $20,000 grant to increase community pride and continued access to local meeting space due to an upgrade to the exterior of Flowerdale Community Hall. 
  • Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry received a $5,380 grant to increase youth involvement in volunteering and provide training and support through delivery of La Fiera Festival Young Ambassador Scheme.

In addition, a further $289,252 has been awarded through the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program. In this second round of funding, eight projects have been awarded grants, with several also pointing to the importance of increasing connection with others and the region’s environment.

Among the GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are:

  • Toolangi District Community House received a $59,649 grant to increase social connection and community participation in Toolangi Castella, through the purchase of resources and delivery of a 24-month program of engaging activities.
  • Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House received a $4,917 grant to increase the collaboration of the arts community in Kinglake Ranges through community consultation and development of a project plan for a local Art Trail.

Another stream of VBAF funding, known as Community Group Futures (CGF), is designed to strengthen the capability of local community groups and not-for-profit organisations to ensure they remain viable and sustainable. This is the ninth round of CGF, with seven projects sharing in $100,485 in grants. These projects will provide support and funding for skilled support to develop marketing materials and tools to increase community engagement, as well as support to undertake and implement plans into the future.

Ms Egleton said that it’s been a long road for many local not-for-profits supporting the recovery of their communities, and it’s important that these organisations can access support to explore their longer-term role within the community, as needs continue to evolve.

“That’s why the Community Group Futures program is so important. It helps not-for-profit organisations to think beyond day-to-day operations and short-term needs and look ahead to what is required to be sustainable and viable to meet the needs of the community in the years to come.”

Some of the projects funded through the CGF program include:

  • St Andrews Community Centre received a $20,000 grant to increase St Andrews Community Centre’s capacity to implement a Growth and Stainability Plan through increasing staff hours.
  • Whittlesea Men’s Shed received a $14,000 grant to increase direction and purpose for Whittlesea Men’s Shed members through the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan and an annual Action Plan.

The next round of GR&W, GR&W Kinglake Ranges, and CGF opens on 26 August and closes 23 September 2020. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are now invited from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

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

Jump to : GR&W | GR&W Kinglakes Ranges | CGF

Organisation

Project

Location

Awarded

GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS

Alexandra Community Shed / Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild Inc. 

Sherry’s First Wish
Increase access to functional space for community activities through upgrade to former government offices currently leased by the Alexandra Community Shed / Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild Inc.  

Alexandra

$19,894 

Bruarong Community Centre 

‘Capturing History – Bruarong Stories Remembered’
Improve social cohesion and build strong local cultural identity through place based oral and visual history gathering project.  

Bruarong

$9,420 

Coleraine & District Development Association Inc. 

Grasslands Walk
Increase local wellbeing and tourism attractions through completing construction of a 10km section of the Coleraine – Hamilton Rail Trail. 

Coleraine

$20,000 

Embassy of Ideas Inc. 

Community Feeding it Forward Food Garden
Increase local food security and community wellbeing through establishment of a community garden in Alexandra. 

Alexandra

$20,000 

Flowerdale Hall Reserve Committee of Management 

Facelift for the Flowerdale Community Hall
Increase community pride and continued access to local meeting space due to an upgrade to the exterior of Flowerdale Community Hall.  

Flowerdale

$20,000 

Marysville & Triangle Business and Tourism Inc. 

Mira Shared Community Shed
Increase space for community activities and events through construction of a storage shed at Marysville’s Information and Regional Artspace. 

Marysville

$16,250 

Middle Kinglake Primary School 

The Challenge for the Future- Resilience and Wellbeing – Youth Out Loud
Increase resilience among students at Middle Kinglake Primary School through delivery of the Youth Out Loud Program to grade 5/6 students.  

Kinglake Central

$3,000 

Mitchell Community Resources and Advocacy Group 

Kids2School Program (k2sP)
Increase school engagement for students at Broadford and Upper Plenty Primary Schools through the delivery of a breakfast program and facilitated resilience-building workshop. 

Mitchell Shire

$18,690 

Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. 

 

La Fiera Italian Festival Myrtleford -Young Ambassador Scheme
Increase youth involvement in volunteering and provide training and support through delivery of La Fiera Festival Young Ambassador Scheme.

Myrtleford

$5,380 

Nillumbik Shire Council 

 

Nillumbik Youth Connect
Increase engagement from local youth in Council planning and development through formation of a Youth Council and Youth Strategy.

Hurstbridge

$17,340 

Singing Saturday
Triangle Arts Group Inc. 

Singing Saturday Choir
Enhance wellbeing and community spirit through funding a music director and accompanist for newly formed community choir. 

Marysville

$8,590 

St Andrews Primary School  

 

Library ‘Broadening’ and Upgrade
Increase access to educational resources through the purchase of new books for the St Andrews Primary School Library.  

St Andrews

$19,250 

St Andrews Primary School 

St Andrews Mental Health Training and Support
Increase community support for individuals with mental health issues through delivery of Mental Health First Aid training courses. 

St Andrews

$17,420 

GR&W KINGLAKE RANGES

Kinglake Friends of the Forests Inc

KFF Forest Surveys Project
Improve community awareness of the biodiversity of the region; increased social connection; increased connection to place; and support for environmental recovery through equipment to support monitoring and community tours.

Kinglake

$2,200

Kinglake Landcare Group
(Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc)

Community and the Local Environment
Increase awareness and management of the local environment through the delivery of a series of expert led community workshops and activities.

Kinglake

$28,736

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc

Digital Archive for Arts Recovery Project
Celebration of the outcomes of arts-led 2009 bushfire recovery activities in the Kinglake Ranges, through development of a Digital Archive of art and its impact.

Kinglake Ranges and Online

$19,855

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House
Increase comfort and resources at Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House through upgrade to heating and cooling and increase to Foodshare Program options.

Kinglake, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek

$65,335

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc

Be Well in the Ranges Extension
Reduce barriers to mental health support for the 2009 fire affected Kinglake Ranges community, via providing access to locally based mental health professionals.

Kinglake, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek

$87,000

Toolangi District Community House Inc

Strengthening Our Community
Increase social connection and community participation in Toolangi Castella, through the purchase of resources and delivery of a 24-month program of engaging activities.

Toolangi

$59,649

Kinglake Ranges Arts
(Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc)

Kinglake Art Trail Planning Project
Increase collaboration for the arts community in Kinglake Ranges through community consultation and development of a project plan for a local Art Trail.

Kinglake

$4,917

Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges

A Home for Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges and A Walking Track below the Ranges
Increase evidence and planning support for Kinglake Ranges forest walking track extension project through contracting consultants to develop feasibility study.

Kinglake

$21,560

COMMUNITY GROUP FUTURES

Embassy of Ideas Inc.

Social Enterprise Project Officer
Increase support for development of local food security initiatives through employment of a dedicated worker at the Embassy of Ideas.

Alexandra

$20,000

Mitchell Community Resources and Advocacy Group

Kids2school Program (k2sP)
Increase support and viability for school breakfast program pilot programs in Mitchell Shire through employment of a Project Officer.

Broadford

$17,250

Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges

Onwards and Upwards for the Kinglake Produce & Artisan Markets
Increase efficiency of volunteers and improve management of the Kinglake Produce & Artisan Market through strategic planning and review of policies and procedures.

Kinglake

$11,500

St Andrews Community Centre Inc

Wadambuk Future Viability Project
Increase capacity to implement a Growth and Stainability Plan through increasing staff hours at St Andrews Community Centre.

St Andrews

$20,000

The Anglican Parish of Eaglehawk – Saltworks
Bendigo Diocesan Trusts Corporation

Saltworks Community Engagement
Increase effectiveness of communication and attract stakeholders through redevelopment of brand identity and update of communication tools for Saltworks Bendigo.

Bendigo

$15,000

Toolangi District Community House Inc

Community House Audit and Action Plan
Increase workplace health and safety through review of policies and procedures at Toolangi Castella, Flowerdale and Kinglake Community House’s.

Toolangi

$2,735

Whittlesea Men’s Shed Incorporated

Strategic Planning and Implementation Support
Increase direction and purpose for Whittlesea Men’s Shed members through the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan and an annual Action Plan.

Whittlesea

$14,000

More than $1.5M earmarked to support ongoing recovery across the Kinglake Ranges following the 2009 bushfires has begun to roll-out through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges program. Two projects have received funding, both of which will be important pathways to further local investment.

Following a consultation process as part of the Kinglake Ranges Community Planning Project, a suite of 27 priority projects and initiatives were identified that the community would like to pursue. This planning was developed by Regional Development Victoria (RDV) in consultation with the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) Panel, Murrindindi Shire Council and community representatives from Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi and Flowerdale.

To help fast-track the development of the priority projects, Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) will host a part-time Community Development Officer for a year. This person, who has recently started in the role, will support local groups across the Kinglake Ranges to refine the project ideas identified through the community consultations. A Steering Group will provide strategic support, and FRRR will also provide a high level of support and advice to the Officer regarding the grant application process and eligibility.

“The 27 priority projects are now at the point where they need more detail, their feasibility needs to be tested and resourcing requirements determined. So FRRR will work closely with the Community Development Officer to support local groups involved in the consultation process to develop and progress these projects to application and delivery stage,” says Program Manager Recovery & Resilience, Emma Thomas.

“Eligible organisations will be invited to apply to the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) – Kinglake Ranges Program in March 2020.”

An additional project funded by FRRR in support of the community planning will see Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc (KRBN) engage a contractor to lead the development of the Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program. Stage 1 of the development program will involve surveying the local business community to identify their training needs, and the results from the survey will be presented and discussed at an Economic Strategic Session with the local businesses. This will then inform a calendar of industry-focused development activities for 2020.

Ms Thomas says that the 2009 disaster negatively impacted the local economy and the mental health of business owners, so additional support is important.

“The fire affected local tourism, the local environment and changed consumer patterns. Local businesses have struggled to create a new normal and overcome loss of income and level of change, while dealing with their own personal recovery. Local business owners, therefore, need support, and FRRR looks forward to supporting this development as it progresses.”

Further details about the projects funded are below.

Organisation

Project

Location

Awarded

Kinglake Ranges Business Network Inc.

Kinglake Ranges Economic Development Program – Stage 1

Strengthen the local economy in the Kinglake Ranges through scoping the training needs of local business and creating a calendar of industry focused development activities for 2020.

Kinglake Ranges

$17,637

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.

Kinglake Ranges Development Fund – Community Grant Development Officer

Increase support for community organisations in the Kinglake Ranges to develop project ideas to grant application stage in order to access the Kinglake Ranges Development Fund.

Kinglake Ranges

$74,031

 

Jindivick is a rural dairying community in the south-east of Victoria renowned for producing Jindi cheese and local gourmet produce. It is a small community striving to become put itself on the map as a popular tourist destination to strengthen its struggling local economy.

In 2009, Jindivick was affected by the Black Saturday bushfires – destroying homes, farms and local infrastructure. Residents and the surrounding communities worked hard to reconnect and recover from the devastating aftermath.

As the recovery effort evolved, it became apparent that it was going to take more than just repairing and rebuilding local infrastructure to restore the community. The bushfires had taken an enormous emotional toll on residents, and it was time for the community’s mental wellbeing became the recovery priority.

The Jindivick Progress Association developed an initiative to address the long-term effects of stress and grief that had plagued the local community, hosting five Community Wellbeing Retreats using a Grants for Resilience & Wellness grant of $14,750 funded by VBAF. Creating the promotional material, flyers and invites, the Jindivick Progress Association attracted 88 participants from the three local communities, Jindivick, Labertouche and Drouin West.

The retreats were able to provide the tools for relaxation and stress reduction techniques, education about nutrition, health and psychological wellbeing for the local community and were inclusive to men, women, young, older or disabled participants. The fifth retreat enabled Jindivick Progress Association to run a leaders retreat to reward community volunteers for their tireless work in the community.

The Jindivick Progress Association was able to engage the local community in the development of the retreats, supporting local business in the provision of catering and venues. Feedback from the events suggested that participants realised the importance of relaxation and caring for oneself, along with community engagement and connection. An overwhelming majority of retreat participants were supportive of the events continuing in future with one participant saying “I have had the value of community reinforced and enhanced. The value of support in times of struggle is inestimable.”

Bendigo, 8 January 2019:  Thirty-six community projects that will assist the continued recovery of communities impacted by the Black Saturday Bushfires will receive funding totalling $555,963. The groups are the latest recipients of the Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) and Community Group Futures (CGF) programs.

Funding is made possible by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) which the general public generously contributed to in the immediate aftermath of the fires.

Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) will support 27 community groups, who will share $425,082, to implement their local projects. To date, the GR&W program has funded 200 projects to a total value of $2,603,788.80.

The GR&W program assists community strengthening and resilience building projects. Some communities will use their GR&W funding to support their Black Saturday 10th Anniversary commemorative activities in February 2019 with concerts planned for Arthurs Creek and Balook, commemorative service and community dinners in Boolarra and Traralgon South, Jeeralang North will also hold an event, while a community arts project and exhibition will take place in the Kinglake Ranges.

The Community Group Futures (CGF) program will fund $130,881 across nine community groups. To date, CGF has funded 43 projects, valued at $513,656.

The CGF program supports not-for-profit organisations think beyond day-to-day operations and look ahead to ensure they can meet on-going community needs. Solar energy projects again proved a powerful drawcard as community groups look to self-sufficiency and reduce overhead costs. The Royal Historical Society of Victoria meanwhile is looking to digitise their records given the bushfire-prone environment.

“As we approach 2019 and the ten-year anniversary of Black Saturday, it’s heartening to see these communities continuing to work together to recover. Community needs continue to evolve and local leaders – many of whom have been involved since 2009 – continue to find ways to support the community and bolster their resilience in the years to come,” said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.

“While it’s nearly a decade since this horrific event, it’s important that these communities take the time to reflect on the impact the fires had and, in many cases, continues to have,” Ms Egleton continued.

“As in the aftermath of the fires, it’s the communities themselves who know how to serve their people best, and we are pleased to be able to support them in achieving this.”

GR&W – Round 14
OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Alexandra Secondary CollegeMY ( Murrindindi Youth ) Reflective Garden
Increase connection to place and space for reflection at Alexandra Secondary College through establishment of a reflective garden.
Alexandra$16,014
Arthurs Creek/ Strathewen Brigade Country Fire AuthorityFire Safety Community Messages for 2019
Creation of two animated fire safety adverts to consolidate the learnings from Fire Education Sessions delivered at Strathewen Primary School.
Strathewen$20,000
Arthurs Creek/ Strathewen  Brigade

 

Country Fire Authority

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

Black Saturday 10-year memorial Eric Bogle Concert.
Increase opportunity for the Strathewen community to connect and support each other while acknowledging the 10th anniversary of the bushfire disaster through delivery of a community concert.
Arthurs Creek$3,455
Balook and District Residents Association (BADRA) Inc

 

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

Rainforest Rhythms
Increase community connections and stimulation for local tourism through delivery of a live memorial concert, Rainforest Rhythms, held in the Tarra Bulga National Park.
Balook$2,500
Boolarra Folk Festival Committee

 

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

Boolarra and District Community 2019 Commemorative Bushfire Event
Opportunity to reflect on the 2009 bushfire disaster for the 10-year anniversary, via delivery of a commemorative service and community dinner for Boolarra and the surrounding region.
Boolarra$19,000
Cire Services Inc.Supported playgroup for Healesville area based at Badger Creek
Increase support and reduced isolation for local parents, through delivery of supported playgroup program at Badger Creek Primary School.
Badger Creek$11,021
Hazelwood – Jeeralang Community Association Inc.

 

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

Hazelwood Jeeralang 2009 bushfire commemoration activities
Increase community connectedness and opportunities to support each other, through delivery of a Black Saturday 10th Anniversary event at Hazelwood Jeeralang.
Jeeralang North$9,193
Kinglake Historical Society

 

Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.

Kinglake Heritage Centre
Increase access to local historical information, through upgrade of an unused community space to accommodate the Kinglake Historical Society.

 

This organisation will also benefit from the project submitted to CGF Rd 7 by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria Inc. The project will support Kinglake HS to digitize and preserve historic material.

Kinglake West /

 

Pheasant Creek

$20,000
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.

 

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

Respect and Remember – “The Kinglake Ranges Journey”
Opportunity for the community to reflect on the 2009 disaster event and 10 years of local recovery, via a six-week interactive community art exhibition displayed in Kinglake.
Kinglake
Kinglake West
Flowerdale Toolangi
$28,176
Lions Club of Kinglake Inc.Avenue of Honour
Recognition and commemoration of soldiers who fought for Australia with the creation of an Avenue of Honour leading up to and surrounding Kinglake’s war memorial.
Kinglake$2,000
Maiden Gully Hall Committee Inc.New Chairs for the Maiden Gully Hall
Increase comfort and safety for community groups that meet at the Maiden Gully Hall through the purchase of new chairs.
Maiden Gully$8,316
Men’s Shed at St AndrewsShed extension and machinery upgrade to enhance member and local community health and safety
Increase storage area and upgraded machinery, increasing space and improving working conditions at the Men’s Shed at St Andrews.
St Andrews$19,776
Mitchell Community Radio Inc.Broadford Monthly
Increase awareness of local initiatives and community activity, via outside community radio broadcast delivered from Broadford Living and Learning Centre.
Broadford$1,880
Firefoxes Australia Women Rising Together From Black Saturday90 Up: Stars burning brightly
Increase awareness of how to overcome adversity and build resilience, through capturing and sharing the stories of Murrindindi Shire residents who are over 90-years-old.
Alexandra
Yea
Eildon
Buxton
$20,000
Mudgegonga Hall Reserve Committee Inc.Mudgegonga Hall Child Safety Fence
Increase safety for families with children when attending community events and activities, due to upgrade of fencing around Mudgegonga Hall.
Mudgegonga District$10,863
Nillumbik Shire CouncilTech, Tea and Tales
Increase skills in technology and communication for local seniors via delivery of the youth led Tech, Tea and Tales program in collaboration with the St Andrews Community Centre.
St Andrews$20,000
Reedy Creek Progress Association
Reedy Creek Progress Association Inc.
Reedy Creek Community Gatherings
Opportunities to connect and build community resilience, through the delivery of seven community gatherings at the Reedy Creek Hall over 2019.
Reedy Creek$2,500
Resilience Planning Community of Practice Inc.Beechworth Festival of Change
Increase inspiration and motivation to implement solutions to community issues, through delivery of skill development and resources at the Beechworth Festival of Change.
Beechworth$20,000
Rotary Club of AlexandraGo Green
Increase support for residents to clean up their properties in preparation for the bushfire season, through purchase of tipping trailer for volunteer run green waste program.
Alexandra
Taggerty
Thornton
Eildon
$5,500
Toolangi District Community House Inc.Staging for the C J Dennis Hall
Support cultural development and improve audience experience with the purchase of a portable stage for community hall in Toolangi.
Toolangi$5,457
Traralgon South and District Association

 

10th Anniversary Commemorative Event

10-Year Black Saturday event
Opportunity to reflect on the 2009 bushfire disaster for the 10-year anniversary, via delivery of a commemorative service and community dinner for Traralgon South and the surrounding region.
Traralgon South
Callignee
$12,395
UCA – Kinglake West Uniting ChurchFeeding the Many Needs
Increase social and physical wellbeing and strengthened community networks through delivery of fortnightly community meal program.
Kinglake West /

 

Pheasant Creek

$4,400
Whittlesea Community HouseA mosaic of community connections and resilience
Strengthen community connectedness achieved through the delivery of inclusive creative art workshops that will produce four mosaic installations for the Whittlesea community.
Whittlesea$15,130
Women on Farms – West Gippsland IncSponsorship for women to attend the Women on Farms Gathering

 

Opportunity for farming women from bushfire affected areas to increase wellbeing and resilience, through support to attend the Women on Farms Gathering 2019 in Warragul.

Warragul$9,800
Yinnar and District Memorial HallNO LIMITS
Removing barriers to participation in facilitated health and wellbeing activities, through delivery of a weekly Exercise program for Seniors 60yrs+ in Yinnar.
Yinnar$18,500
Ellimatta Inc.A Bright & Positive Future for Youth – 2

 

Continue access to support services and programs for youth through supporting the employment of staff at Ellimatta Youth Service in Kinglake.

Kinglake$30,000
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.Be Well in the Ranges

 

Removing barriers to mental health support for the Kinglake community during the 10th Anniversary of Black Saturday by providing ease of access to locally based mental health professionals. Removing barriers to mental health support for the Kinglake community during the 10th Anniversary of Black Saturday by providing ease of access to locally based mental health professionals.

Kinglake$89,206
Community Group Futures – Round 7
OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Art Resource Collective IncorporatedSolar PV Project
Installation of solar panels for the Art Resource Collective Inc, Yinnar, reducing energy costs and increasing the viability of an entity that supports community access to cultural and artistic opportunities.
Yinnar$10,000
Ellimatta Inc.Ellimatta Sunshine for Power
Increase viability and sustainability for Ellimatta Youth Centre, through installation of a solar power system.
Kinglake$7,781
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.Sustainability in the Ranges – Solar
Build community resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through installation of 6.4 kW solar system.
Kinglake$10,000
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc.Kinglake Ranges Arts Recovery Officer
Increase collaboration and support for arts organisations and initiatives through employment of an Arts Recovery Officer for the Kinglake region.
Kinglake
Kinglake West
Pheasant Creek
Kinglake Central
$20,000
Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre Inc.Volunteering for Success
Increase volunteerism for community organisations in Mount Beauty, through employment of a Volunteer Coordinator to increase awareness of, resources and support for, volunteer roles.
Mt Beauty
Bright
Tawonga
Myrtleford
$20,000
Murrindindi Little Athletics CentreGood Governance in Murrindindi
Increase support for community-based Committees of Management, through delivery of Governance training to 10 groups in Murrindindi Shire.
Alexandra
Kinglake
Yarck
Taggerty
$14,300
Royal Historical Society of Victoria Inc.Digitise or lose it!
Preservation of local history through the purchase of equipment and the delivery of training to digitise historic documents and photos at four historical Societies in bushfire prone areas.
Marysville
Kinglake
Alexandra & Fawcett
$20,000
Toolangi District Community House Inc.Solar Panels for the Community House
Reduce running costs and increased investment in community through installation of solar power system for Toolangi District Community House.
Toolangi$8,800
Yarra Valley ECOSS Inc.Project Development Officer at ECOSS
Enhance program outcomes and organisational viability, through employment of skilled support to develop policies, procedures and workplans that underpin program delivery.
Wesburn$20,000