Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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”. 

Roof makeover in Warracknabeal

Anam Cara House Colac is a community owned hospice established to provide respite, palliative care and end of life care for the people of South West Victoria on Gulidjan Country. Carers, family and friends who support their chronically ill loved ones with at-home care commonly experience compassion fatigue when they are tasked with delivering the bulk of care requirements.

Supporting these carers, alongside improving the comfort of chronically ill community members, were the key drivers behind what Anam Cara House Colac aimed to achieve with their project. Community members who are either ill themselves or caring for others are often confused and/or unaware of available support services that could assist them to maintain their independence or live their lives more comfortably. For many, it is a time of vulnerability and fear, and having knowledge of, and access to, available services is critical.

Anam Cara House Colac received a $5,000 Gardiner Foundation Community Grant to run a series of three focused information sessions for community members living with, or caring for those affected by, life-limiting conditions.

Guest speakers from local health services, as well as a representative from My Aged Care, provided up-to-date and relevant information that is helpful and/or necessary to support someone with a chronic illness to live in a supported way that maximises independence. The choice of speakers was developed on the basis of anecdotal feedback from users of Anam Cara’s services.

Naomi Lettieri, Anam Cara’s Community Liaison Nurse, said that they experienced challenges with a slightly lower uptake than was expected, and they responded by involving the local radio station.

Anam Cara contacted Otway Community Radio (OCR), who agreed to record the second and third sessions. In doing so, they were able to reach more people, especially those who were unable to leave home due to their caring commitments. The sessions were aired both by OCR and shared on Anam Cara’s Facebook page as a podcast.

The grant covered the costs of advertising, catering, resources, and provision of respite to those who require it, with a portion directed to wages for planning and implementation of the events. It also included follow up for those in need, whether it be with advance care planning support or assistance in referral to other services.

Thanks to Anam Cara House Colac and the generosity of the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, this project allowed those in need to access information on caring for either themselves or those with chronic illness.

Capacity building grants support long-term recovery initiatives of local not-for-profits and community organisations

FRRR has awarded grants to four Victorian community groups playing a central role in the long-term recovery of communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.

Local groups playing a critical role in Victoria’s bushfire recovery to receive $400,000 in funding

The grants are the first to be awarded through the Bushfire Recovery Fund established thanks to a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund. The program is designed to strengthen the capacity of local not-for-profit organisations and community groups operating in fire-affected areas to support the ongoing recovery of communities.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that having access to longer-term, multi-year support is vital when it comes to creating effective solutions on the ground to allow these communities to recover and thrive.

“These grants recognise the vital role of these organisations and invest in the skills, tools and resources they need to support their community as they rebuild, and to sustain their work beyond the recovery. With the additional pressure of COVID-19, this multi-year support will mean they can confidently plan, invest and be there to support their community as needs change,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust CEO, Debra Morgan, said that the Trust believes local organisations are best placed to understand local needs, and that this is particularly the case in bushfire-affected areas, where it’s critical that organisations have the support they need to sustain their operations.

“The four organisations have identified the needs specific to their communities, and each has a unique approach to the road to recovery. The projects reflect the local context of each community and the interventions required for long-term recovery. We are pleased to support these strong organisations seeking to build organisational capacity and resilience, and we hope they will serve to strengthen the communities into the future,” Ms Morgan said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO, Leonard Vary, said that the Bushfire Recovery Fund aims to strengthen the operations of ‘backbone’ organisations and give each the means to implement effective and innovative approaches in supporting impacted communities over the longer term.

“Local organisations must be given the tools to develop and implement plans for sustainability and growth so as to support bushfire-affected communities into the future. These grants will help enhance organisational capability and improve the services offered to communities including future preparedness efforts,” said Mr Vary.

The four groups funded are:

  • Alpine Valley Community Leadership (AVCL) – $90,000 – Build AVCL’s capacity to strategically plan and deliver leadership training that can more effectively support and build community recovery capacity in north-east Victoria.
  • Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc – $103,340 – Increase operational capacity by providing an additional .8 FTE to the core staffing levels. The increased resource will enable Corryong Neighbourhood House Inc to continue to progress its strategic social enterprise and community development work including participation in bushfire recovery work.
  • Mallacoota Community Health Infrastructure and Resilience Fund Inc (CHIRF) – $113,230 – Enable the employment of a skilled local project manager, who will progress the current aims for developing the local mental health services offering through strategic planning, fundraising and project design and development.
  • Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre (MBNC) – $102,500 – Increase operational capacity of the organisation, which will allow it to develop a prepared and resilient community. The driving force behind this application is the volunteer-run Keep Calm Committee, which works alongside MBNC.

More information about the Bushfire Recovery Fund is on this website.

Farmers for Climate Action (FCA) is a growing organisation that has made it their priority to spread the word amongst those in agriculture that it’s time to act on climate change.

In a sector steeped in custom, tradition and routine, being a champion for change can sometimes prove challenging. FCA’s savvy approach to facilitating change and the traction they’ve gained in a relatively short time indicates that there are many that share their desire to take action. They have spent the last few years building their foundations and growing their programs, which not only inform and educate, but are facilitating lasting change at a grassroots level.

One such program is the Climate-Smart Fellowship, which was recently delivered to more than 50 forward-thinking farmers in Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. It entails training on critical subjects such as climate smart agriculture, climate change science and local capacity building. The program featured experts presenting topis including on-farm change, renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, communications and building advocacy in their local region. These new agents of change were then encouraged to take these learnings into their local area through events, community outreach and calls to action.

By adopting this kind of approach, FCA has expanded their network exponentially, teaching and inspiring a growing nationwide network of farmers. These producers are now equipped with the skills, support and resources – and no doubt the passion – to employ smart farming practises to minimise their impact on the environment.

With FRRR’s support over the past few years, primarily through a Not-For-Profit fundraising account, FCA has grown from a well-intentioned group of dedicated people to a well-funded and structured organisation with a strong foothold in the area of actioning climate change in Australia.

FCA established the account in 2017 to allow them to leverage FRRR’s special tax status to bolster their fundraising whilst they sought to obtain DGR endorsement. In total, $823,340 was raised through the account, thanks to FCA’s focused efforts on crowdfunding appeals, monthly donor programs, corporate donations and various grants.

Recently FCA secured DGR-1 status allowing them to offer their donors tax deductibility, so they no longer need the partnership with FRRR to support their fundraising. However, James Atkinson, Fundraising Manager at FCA, says that the support from FRRR was critical in the success of the organisation.

“Our partnership with FRRR has been crucial in securing new funding relationships, both due to the fundraising account and the strength of our relationship in rural and regional Australia. Several funders reported that they were pleased to hear we had such a close relationship with FRRR.”

James Atkinson, Fundraising Manager at FCA

Natalie Egleton, FRRR CEO, said “The ongoing positive impacts of FCA’s programs in remote, rural and regional Australia is a credit to their commitment and we look forward to continuing to support and amplify FCA’s activities into the future as they go from strength to strength.”

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the world, and more than 2,000 Australians die from this disease each year. If diagnosis occurs early, the fatality rate is significantly reduced. Outside Melbourne, skin specialists are limited with just 15 out of 199 dermatologists in Victoria holding clinics in eight country towns and centres. On top of this, there are no publicly funded skin cancer check programs in Victoria.

The Districts of Lions International in Victoria and Southern New South Wales identified a distinct need for a mobile skin cancer check and awareness unit to operate across Victoria and Southern NSW, and in particular, in remote areas and towns and centres not serviced, or fully serviced, by dermatologists or other skin specialists. In 2019, a group of trustees representing the five Lions Victorian districts and Southern NSW established the Lions V District Cancer Foundation Inc (LVDC). Its remit is to deliver improved health outcomes in rural areas by offering access to free skin cancer check-ups.

They received $25,000 in funds through FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program, funded by The William Buckland Foundation (managed by Equity Trustees), to convert a van into a mobile screening clinic and purchase a truck to take it from town to town. The FRRR grant enabled the LVDC Foundation to leverage further grants, with the target total of $350,000 raised and exceeded with thanks to several corporate philanthropic donors, local Lions Club members and matched funding from the Lions Clubs International Foundation.

The screening van contains three examination areas equipped with dermascopes, enabling easier detection of suspect skin lesions. As Murray Baud, Assistant Treasurer & Foundation Trustee explained in the acquittal report, they canvassed and trained up volunteer dermoscopists who were willing to offer their services.

“With the appointments of a Screening Visit Coordinator and Driver Coordinator, the unit is now being booked by Lions Clubs across Victoria. The coordinators manage the process and identify screeners and driver logistics to maximise the efficiency of the unit as it travels. The unit was booked out for 2020 and has many reservations now in 2021 and even 2022.

“We took the mobile clinic to Canberra for the national Lions Convention, promoting a potential project for our northern states of NSW and Queensland. Media personality Deborah Hutton, who suffered from aggressive facial skin cancers, spoke in support of the project, and has now become an ambassador for the Lions Australia Skin Cancer projects.”

At the time writing, they’ve run 19 screening sessions in different rural towns, screening 1,005 people with 372 referrals to specialists.

Yarra Valley ECOSS is an environmental and educational not-for-profit organisation based on a 7.4 hectare permaculture-designed farm at Wesburn, just east of Melbourne. Their vision is to promote local food production, earth education, and multicultural living, while building work skills and developing a vibrant, resilient, inclusive and sustainable community.

They play a critical role in their community, supporting people with disabilities, as well as providing food relief. 

ECOSS currently has five part-time staff, supported by a management committee and an active and enthusiastic group of volunteers, students and work-experience partners. Like many not-for-profit organisations, their usual fundraising activities were curbed by the COVID-19 pandemic. ECOSS’s Executive Officer Chelsea McNab explained.

“At the beginning of 2021 we were all still thinking that 2020 was ‘the pandemic year’ and that 2021 would be able to go back to normal living.


“But there have been many adjustments – reacting to the ever-changing COVID restrictions and operating in a safe way. This includes constant updates to our COVID Safe plans, the ability to run programs and have people on site, purchasing of equipment, extra cleaning costs, building an outside kitchen and hand-wash stations, shutting down the office and staff working remotely, as restrictions require.”

Ms McNab said that with many facilitators and performers to account for, the costs of rescheduling events and school programs took a lot of staff time, and they have had to create new policies and strategies for adjusting to the instability of the times.

Despite it being a difficult year, ECOSS has actually shown its strength over the last six months.

“Our mission and focus on food security, volunteerism, and supporting small business have all been able to thrive through our Community Garden and The Valley Market.  We have found that we are able to continue all of these aspects of our NFP during the pandemic. The Crops for Community program has also been able to continue through lockdowns, as it is seen as an essential service, offering our community members with disabilities a place to continue to come in the community garden, and continue to grow crops that are distributed to two local food relief agencies. There has been a huge demand for food relief this year, and we are grateful to be able to support these programs.”

The pandemic forced ECOSS to think outside the box, and they have attracted new co-locator tenants, whose rent increases their income, and also enables ECOSS to support the growth of small businesses run by locals and new migrants. Chelsea McNab again:

“We have learned that we have to be able to adapt to the ever-changing scenarios very quickly. We have also learned that co-locator tenants’ income is a great way to underpin our finances, and offers a richness of diversity to the site.”

ECOSS partnered with FRRR in April 2019 to open a Not-for-Profit Fundraising Account, which allows them to receive tax deductible donations from donors to support their activities. This is how they hope to raise enough funds to cover one staff member for two and a half days per week.

“We can achieve so much with extra staff hours. We have been able to support more volunteers, increasing and supporting their growth and skill development. The stability of having staff enables us to forward plan and to run the site more sustainably,” Chelsea says.

Yarra Valley ECOSS would appreciate your support. If you’d like to explore having a Fundraising Account for your community project, contact Jo Kemp, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager.

The Buchan Rodeo has been the highlight of the local event calendar for more than 50 years. Despite significant challenges, strong community leadership and strength overrode the challenging conditions and ensured this event proceeded in April 2021, considerably lifting local spirits and pride. 

Traditionally held on Easter Sunday, the event was postponed in 2020 due to impacts of the bushfire crisis six months prior. The bushfires began near Buchan in the East Gippsland region of Victoria in October 2019, well before the media began reporting on the crisis. Residents endured the threat for more than four months, often losing communication with the outside world.   

Buchan Rodeo Committee

Given their isolation and the lack of communication and media coverage, the remote community of Buchan has felt largely overlooked in their recovery phase. However, Buchan is a strong and resilient community, with sharpened skills in post-disaster recovery. 

In planning the 2021 Buchan Rodeo, there was much to consider in staging a COVID safe event. Despite this, the local volunteer committee was determined to proceed for the benefit of their community.

With only a 10-week lead time, much-needed funding and support came in the form of a $25,000 Strengthening Rural Communities grant, funded by the Firefight Australia Fund. This grant, along with support from other partnerships, not only allowed the Buchan Rodeo Committee to meet their safety guidelines and enhance their offering, but also enabled them to proceed with confidence.

The 2021 Buchan Rodeo was an electric event and though it saw many changes, it was heralded as one of the best-ever. It brought smiles back to those who worked so hard on the project and to the greater community who had endured so much.

“While the entire planet is enduring the COVID-19 crisis and looks to methods of recovery, we are still repairing our community in the aftermath of bushfires. A strong rural community is key and the staging of community building initiatives is of vital importance to us.” Buchan community member

Thirty projects from across Victoria’s three main dairy regions will share in $131,188 in grant funding to help build community capacity to deal with local issues and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Victorian Dairy Communities share in over $130,000 in grant funding

Now in its 19th year, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants Program is delivered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). The grants of up to $5,000 will help not-for-profit organisations in small Victorian dairy communities deliver projects that will benefit local people and strengthen their ability to deal with local issues.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Dr Clive Noble, said the funding ensures that Gardiner is contributing to locally identified issues.

“The Community Grants program continues to attract applications from a wide range of community organisations running varying projects. Through this partnership we are contributing to solutions unique to that community to create genuine, long-term impact.

“We also see communities leverage these funds. Often, that cash injection can be the catalyst that enables community groups to undertake projects of larger impact.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the longstanding partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been successful in creating many exceptional projects within Victoria’s dairy communities.

“Our long partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation has enabled us to support Victoria’s dairy communities with funding for projects that tackle local challenges and meet the needs and priorities of each place.

“The program is supporting several projects that will develop young people socially and educationally, and once again, there are fantastic initiatives to improve community spaces such as the addition of tiered seating in Neerim South, a hot water urn for the residents of Leitchville, and erecting shade sails over the hall deck to increase the utility of the Kawarren Recreation Reserve,” Ms Egleton said.

Supported projects include:

  • Gippsland Dairy Region – Manna Gum Community House received $4,650 to work with local youth to create provide a program for young people in the community to access to youth service, connection, and solidarity.
  • Northern Dairy Region – Rochester Secondary College received $5,000 to restore an existing vegetable garden and incorporate it into the Healthy Eating components of the syllabus.
  • South-Western Dairy Region – Anam Cara House received $4,501 to purchase digital equipment, which will allow the facility to offer residents and guests greater connectivity through enhanced internet service and equipment.

Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.9 million in this program and has supported a total of 497 community projects.

The full list of 2021 Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants Program recipients are:

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
GIPPSLAND DAIRY REGION
Fish Creek and District Primary School"Kids Own Reading Pavilion"
Grow access to literacy activities for students at Fish Creek District Primary school by funding the development of the "Kids Own Reading Pavilion".
Fish Creek$5,000
Hill End Community IncorporatedHistory Talks -Settlers' Histories A Generation On
Grow awareness of local history in the dairy industry for Hill End and surrounding districts by developing a book of local memoires and transcripts for publication.
Hill End$3,400
Loch Memorial Reserve IncorporatedTowable Spray Unit
Support volunteers to maintain the Loch Memorial Reserve by funding the purchase of a towable sprayer unit.
Loch $1,387
Maffra Golf ClubPurchase a Ride on Mower for the R.V. Park
Maintain community facilities through providing a ride on mower for the local R.V. park to benefit the local tourism economy and support community activity.
Maffra$5,000
Manna Gum Community House IncorporatedOur Place
Improve access to support facilities and programs for local youth by extending the "Youth Pop Up” activities at the Manna Gum Community House.
Foster$4,650
Mirboo and District Historical Society IncorporatedCataloguing of Collection
Support volunteers in cataloguing and collecting community history for future generations to come and visitors by providing funding to purchase technology equipment.
Mirboo North$4,837
Neerim District Cricket Club IncorporatedLet's Sit Together
Improve community access to seating at the local recreation reserve by installing a grandstand at the Neerim Recreation Reserve.
Neerim South$5,000
Nyora Cricket Club IncorporatedKitchen Refurbishment Project Phase 2 – Freezer
Grow volunteer vitality and organisational capacity by upgrading the freezer at the Nyora Cricket Club.
Nyora$5,000
State Coal Mine - Rescue Station Arts IncorporatedWellness Warriors
Improve the organisations ability to support the community by delivering an art therapy-based well-being program in Wonthaggi and surrounds.
Wonthaggi$4,040
Toora Primary SchoolClass Set of iPads
Improve access to technology to develop digital literacy and learning opportunities that will enhance education outcomes for rural students.
Toora$5,000
Poowong Kindergarten / Uniting (Victoria and Tasmania) LimitedPlayground Refurbishment
Improve access to sun smart play equipment for the children and families of Poowong Kindergarten by replacing worn shade sails at the centre.
Poowong$4,950
Wonthaggi Citizens Band IncorporatedEncouraging Participation in Music
Grow opportunities for children to experience self-expression through music by providing 10 weeks of brass band lessons, additional band rehearsals and an end of term concert for the children of Wonthaggi and surrounds.
Wonthaggi$5,000
NORTHERN DAIRY REGION
Kyabram Blue Light / Blue Light Victoria IncorporatedKyabram Blue Light - KyFit - Health Fitness & Wellbeing Center
Grow access to youth activities and services by developing the Kyabram Blue Light Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre.
Kyabram$5,000
Eskdale Public Hall Committee IncorporatedEskdale Community Hub
Grow community connection and cohesion and support volunteers in offering a user friendly and welcoming community facility by enhancing the Eskdale Public Hall.
Eskdale$3,020
Murrabit Public Hall Committee / Gannawarra Shire CouncilMurrabit Hall - Rolling On!
Support volunteer vitality and encourage community connection by enhancing the outdoor area at the Murrabit Hall.
Murrabit$3,390
Katamatite Pre School / Goulburn Region Preschool Association IncorporatedKatamatite Pre-School - Nature and Technology
Improve the organisations’ ability to host their Bush Kinder program with the provision of cameras and technology for offsite use and additional resources.
Katamatite$3,570
Leitchville Bowls Club IncorporatedHot Water for Leitchville
Support volunteers and improve community facilities at Leitchville Bowls Club by installing a 5-litre wall urn.
Leitchville$1,914
Milawa Primary SchoolMilawa Primary Community Hub
Improve school facilities to increase capacity for broader community use through installation of new shade sails in the playground of Milawa Primary School.
Milawa$5,000
Rochester Secondary CollegeEdible Garden
Grow opportunities for educational participation for students of Rochester Secondary College by funding their student developed Edible Garden project.
Rochester$5,000
Springhurst Primary School CouncilOvens Valley Mobile Arts and Crafts Centre (MACC)
Support the Ovens Valley Mobile Arts and Crafts Centre by providing storage space for arts and craft supplies at the Springhurst Primary School.
Springhurst$5,000
Lions Airfield Griffin Club Branch / The Lions Club of Cohuna IncorporatedCohuna Airport Maintenance and Safety
Help volunteers maintain runway safety at the Cohuna Airstrip with an airstrip sweeper.
Cohuna$5,000
SOUTH-WESTERN DAIRY REGION
Anam Cara House Colac IncorporatedStrengthening Community Connections through Information Technology
Improve the organisations ability to service and support the community by upgrading technology at the centre and promoting Anam Cara House.
Colac$4,501
Camperdown Toy Library IncorporatedCamperdown Toy Library Get Active
Encourage children’s learning and development through play by providing resources for the Camperdown Toy Library.
Camperdown$4,986
Colac Otway Residents Action Group IncorporatedSchool Lunches for Children that Do Not Have a Lunch
Improve the welfare and enhance educational outcomes for students in six primary schools across the Colac region by providing support for the Colac Otway Residents Action Groups School Lunches program.
Colac$5,000
Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee IncorporatedHADDAC Mower for maintaining the Common
Grow volunteer vitality by providing a zero-turn mower for the regular lawn maintenance of community facilities at Hawkesdale and District Development Action Committee.
Hawkesdale$2,500
Kawarren Recreation ReserveMade for Shade
Enhance community use of the Kawarren Recreation Reserve by installing shade sails over the outdoor entertaining area.
Kawarren$5,000
Macarthur Recreation ReserveStorage Shed Upgrade
Improve volunteer vitality and support by installing a storage shed at the Macarthur Recreation Reserve.
Macarthur$5,000
Terang & District Historical Society IncorporatedUpdate Terang Historical Society's Computers
Improve the organisation’s ability to support and service the community through the purchase of new computer equipment.
Terang$4,043
Terang Community Art Show / UCA - Terang Uniting ChurchTerang Art Show - Artist in school program
Improve access and engagement in education for children in years 5 to 8 in the Terang area by providing access to indigenous art lessons and local indigenous elders.
Terang$5,000
Warrnambool CollegeIndigenous Perspectives Project
Improve local students to access educational opportunities relating to local indigenous culture, language, and art by providing professional development of staff at the Warrnambool College.
Warrnambool$5,000

UPDATE: The workshop was recorded and is available to watch below.

Free online workshop

FRRR is inviting community members in Myrtleford, Whittlesea, Beaufort, St Arnaud, Paynesville, Korumburra and Yarra Junction to a free online workshop on Thursday 15 July to find out how FRRR’s Disaster Resilient: Future Ready (DR:FR) program can support them build their community resilience for times of disruption and disaster.

This is the second workshop in a series of events designed for community members who are interested in developing a practical understanding of community resilience and exploring ways in which communities can lead and strengthen their resilience to thrive and evolve in positive ways when faced with the impacts of climate, natural disasters and other disruptions.

With support from guest speaker Paul Ryan, Director of the Australian Resilience Centre, this online conversation will explore what “resilience” means, how people and communities are building resilience and why it matters to you and your community.

The seven communities invited to take part in the workshop have been identified by FRRR as areas that experience high frequencies of flooding, bushfire, drought, and/or heatwave and may be willing to participate in the DR:FR program.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience & Recovery Lead, explains that when locals actively work together and are given the right support, they can determine what needs to be done to help the community be well prepared before and bounce back stronger after a disaster.

“This workshop is part of an exploratory phase of the multi-year program where we engage and work with communities to build knowledge of climate risks, encourage collaboration, understand their ‘readiness’ and willingness to collectively strengthen their resilience and participate in the program long-term.

“I encourage all community leaders, and anyone who wants to be part of a local movement that is strengthening community resilience so that they have the capacity to evolve in positive ways when faced with disruptions and disasters , to participate in this free online workshop and information session,” Ms O’Brien said.

The workshop is free and open to all interested community members, including Traditional Owners, youth, business owners, farmers, sports clubs, schools, volunteer emergency services, environmental volunteers, arts groups, health professionals and local government staff from the communities of Myrtleford, Whittlesea, Beaufort, St Arnaud, Paynesville, Korumburra and Yarra Junction.

Those who took part in the launch webinar late last year are also encouraged to join.

This live workshop will take placeon Thursday 15 July, 11:00am to 12:30pm AEST with the recording made available to those who register.

Register at: https://events.humanitix.com/community_resilience. For more information contact Jacqui Bell, DR:FR Coordinator at j.bell@frrr.org.au or on 1800 170 020.

FRRR acknowledges the support of The Maple-Brown Family Foundation, Doc Ross Family Foundation, H & L Hecht Trust, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and the Sidney Myer Fund in making this program possible.

To find out more about the Disaster Resilient: Future Ready program visit FRRR’s website: www.frrr.org.au/drfr-victoria/.

Supporting capacity of organisations in Victoria’s bushfire-impacted communities

FRRR has announced a multi-year partnership with the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust (HMSTrust) and the Sidney Myer Fund to build the capacity of local organisations playing a central, coordinating or networking role in the recovery of Victorian communities affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.

New partnership backs community-led recovery

The Bushfire Recovery Fund will award grants of up to $90,000 to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations working in Victorian fire-affected regions. The program will fund initiatives that enhance, improve or sustain operations of these keystone organisations for up to three years, and therefore strengthen community-led recovery over the medium and long-term.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the partnership is a result of a shared vision for aligning funding and support to community-led solutions that build resilience and continued viability and vitality.

“FRRR and our generous donor partners HMSTrust and the Sidney Myer Fund have come together to help local groups to be more viable, resilient, and sustainable. The program is designed to help address organisational needs, and strengthen capacity to adapt and respond to the changing or emerging needs of communities.

“FRRR’s role will be to act as a facilitator, to encourage and support these community groups so that they can continue to do the work that is so important to the ongoing recovery of their communities,” Ms Egleton said.

HMSTrust Executive Officer Lin Bender said that the Trust believes the key program goal of building organisational capacity is critical to ensuring local groups can operate in what are challenging economic, emotional, and ecological conditions.

“By supporting applicants that are deeply engaged with their communities to sustain or adapt their model or way of working, we aim to ensure more viable, resilient and sustainable organisations that can support ongoing recovery efforts,” Lin said.

Sidney Myer Fund CEO Leonard Vary said the broader intent of the program is to inform disaster recovery best practice by understanding and addressing the needs of critical community ‘backbone’ organisations.

“The capacity to manage normal day-to-day operations along with the demands of recovery has been identified as a challenge for many organisations in bushfire-affected communities,” Mr Vary said. “By engaging directly with these organisations, we can facilitate and fund not only the development of locally relevant, multi-year projects that build capacity and resilience but potentially identify new approaches to long-term community recovery.”

To reduce the burden on potential applicants, a shortlist of organisations from declared fire affected areas in Victoria, identified through broad stakeholder consultation, will be invited to apply for funding. The first successful grantees are expected to be announced in October 2021. Organisations who consider this opportunity to be aligned to their situation should contact FRRR to discuss their needs.

More information about the program can be found here.