Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Support continues for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday bushfires

FRRR has awarded $499,959 in grants through its Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) programs, for 31 projects to help Victorian communities continue to build back better following the February 2009 Black Saturday fires.

Nearly $500,000 in grants awarded to grow community resilience and wellness

These grants are funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) thanks to generous contributions by the general public following the 2009 bushfires. More than 12 years on from the disastrous fires, FRRR has awarded more than $6.1 million in grants to local groups in impacted communities.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W)

Since 2011, the GR&W program has funded projects that strengthen and build the resilience of communities in regions affected by the 2009 fires including Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Alpine and Whittlesea. To date, $3,560,842 has been granted to 257 community-led projects through the GR&W program.

This round of GR&W sees 22 community groups from impacted regions sharing in $268,821 in grants for projects designed to support locally-led recovery. The initiatives include projects that will improve and enhance community meeting places and events that promote and support local arts and culture activities.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that over the past 10 years the Foundation has seen the needs and priorities of the recovering regions develop and evolve and the projects funded through the GR&W program have reflected this evolution.

“This round saw community groups wanting to continue to build back better and support their region’s resilience and wellness through projects that bring locals together, provide relevant support and opportunities, and help community members develop practical skills.

“Projects that improve and enhance community meeting places continue to be a focus for groups seeking support, with funds provided this round for improving accessibility of community spaces including the Alexandra Indoor Pool and the community garden in Long Gully, as well as equipment to boost the capacity of several local Community and Men’s Sheds. 

“The importance of arts and culture in disaster recovery continues in this round. Funding will support a comedy night at Clonbinane, and a variety of festivals and music sessions at Redesdale, Marysville, and St Andrews.

“A number of men’s sheds received funding, highlighting the important ongoing role of these facilities in providing opportunities and resources where people connect, develop skills, and create useful items for the benefit of the wider community,” Ms O’Brien said.

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

  • Traralgon South and District Association – Traralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby – $5,360 – Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
  • Redesdale Recreation Committee – Pavilion Completion – $13,992 – Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
  • Y Water Discovery Centre Inc – Yea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project – $20,000 – Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
  • Whittlesea Secondary College – Restore, Grow, Perform – $24,364 – Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake Ranges)

The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program awards grants to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges for projects that build resilience and increase the wellbeing of communities across the 2009 bushfire-affected region including Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi, and Flowerdale.

To date, 32 projects have shared in $882,913 in grants through the GR&W Kinglake program, which is now in its third year. This round there are nine projects sharing in a total of $231,138 in grants.

The program provides community groups and local not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to work together to get initiatives off the ground.

“Dindi Arts Trail is one such collaborative approach, with a series of murals to be painted across Flowerdale, Kinglake, Kinglake West and Toolangi. The arts-based recovery project will see each community work with a lead artist and local artists to paint the artworks. The initiative will enhance community pride and sense of place, as well as boost the local economy by encouraging people to visit the region and follow the Dindi Arts Trail across the Ranges,” Ms O’Brien said.

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

  • Kinglake West Primary School – NAIDOC Week Celebrations – $3,500 – Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
  • Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc – ‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book – $18,404 – Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
  • Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges Inc – The Next 10 Years – $3,925 – Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
  • Toolangi District Community House Inc – Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment – $33,007 – Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.  

The full list of grant recipients can be found below.

Next round

The next round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges will open later this year. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are encouraged from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017.

More information on these grant programs is available here.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are listed below:

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS
Alexandra Community Shed / Eildon and District Woodworkers Guild IncSafety First
Encourage expanded use of a community program through the installation of an all-abilities entrance way and boost organisation capacity through the purchase of a forklift to safely move heavy materials.
Alexandra$18,279
Alexandra Indoor Heated Pool IncAquatic Wheels
Enhance accessibility for people with mobility issues to participate in swim classes and hydrotherapy through the provision of new equipment.
Alexandra$3,600
Allwood Neighbourhood House IncorporatedLa Luna Open Mic and Groove Nights – St Andrews
Encourage community connection and strengthen local arts through the establishment of a series of music events held at St Andrews Hall.
St Andrews$7,364
Alpine Health / Communities That Care AlpineAlpine Youth Voices - A Youth Strategy
Increase protective factors for youth in the Alpine Shire through the development of a Youth Support Strategy.
Bright & Kiewa Valley$30,000
Art Resource Collective IncorporatedThe ARC Print Studio Redevelopment Project
Increase access to the arts and local connectedness through the upgrade of a print studio for community arts group.
Yinnar$11,919
Bushfire Resilience IncBushfire Resilience - The Community Digital Presence
Help residents to better prepare and respond to bushfires through interactive webinars and an upgraded website.
Strathewen$6,828
Clonbinane Community Action GroupLaugh Out Loud
Improve community vitality and build social connections with a comedy night at Clonbinane Hall.
Clonbinane$3,500
Kiewa Valley Historical Society Apple Laptop Computer
Boost organisation capacity and support volunteer skill development through the purchase of a laptop computer.
Mt Beauty$2,226
Kilmore District Men's Shed IncUpgrades to Equipment and New Mower
Promote learning and development, and build organisational capacity through the purchase of 3D technology and a ride on lawnmower.
Kilmore$6,837
Men’s Shed at St AndrewsPortable Saw Milling Capability
Reduce social isolation and improve delivery capacity by purchasing portable equipment for the Men’s Shed at St Andrews.
St Andrews & Panton Hill$16,866
Nillumbik Shire CouncilNillumbik Place Shapers
Increase preparedness for future disaster events through the delivery of a placemaking program to develop community-led projects.
Hurstbridge, Christmas Hills & Strathewen$20,000
Redesdale and District Association IncorporatedRedesdale Arts Festival – Getting the (Arts) Show Back on the Road in 2021
Strengthen economic recovery and social engagement through the delivery of a community festival.
Redesdale$4,539
Redesdale Recreation CommitteePavilion Completion
Improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.
Redesdale$13,992
Reedy Creek Progress Association IncorporatedRCPA 2021-2022 Calendar of Events
Provide opportunities to build community resilience and connection, through the delivery of community gatherings at Reedy Creek Hall.
Reedy Creek$4,871
Saltbush Community Initiatives Inc / St Matthew's ChurchHope...It Grows! - Ramp Up
Allow whole of community access and renew facilities, through the installation of an all-abilities access ramp at a community garden.
Long Gully$19,000
St Andrews Primary SchoolKitchen Garden Community Space
Improve access to healthy food and educational activities by developing a school garden project.
St Andrews$20,000
Traralgon South and District AssociationTraralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby
Encourage generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project.
Traralgon South$5,360
Triangle Arts Group IncMarysville - Inside and Out, Music in the Park and more
Strengthen connection to local culture and encourage people in the community to access arts events by running a local music festival.
Marysville$14,000
Whittlesea Men's Shed IncorporatedAcquisition and Installation of New & Replacement Equipment
Create a safe environment, and improve the health and wellbeing of community participants with the purchase of safety equipment and band saw.
Whittlesea$4,576
Whittlesea Secondary CollegeRestore, Grow, Perform
Increase education opportunities and the amenity of the performing arts centre at Whittlesea Secondary College through upgrades and the purchase of technical equipment.
Whittlesea$24,364
Y Water Discovery Centre IncYea Wetlands Precinct Educational and Directional Biodiversity Signage Project
Increase connection to place and enhance the educational experience through the installation of updated educational and directional signage at the wetlands precinct.
Yea$20,000
Yarram Campdraft Club IncYarram Campdraft Emergency Community Access Project
Boost the community’s ability to prepare for future disasters by improving a track to provide access to a safe holding location for livestock during emergency events.
Yarram$12,250
GRANTS FOR RESILIENCE & WELLNESS KINGLAKE RANGES
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House IncDindi Open Studios
Boost tourism and the local economy, and increase access to the local arts scene with a pilot Open Studio project featuring local artists' exhibitions.
Kinglake$15,405
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc‘Kinglake Ranges Digital Archive for Arts Recovery’ Hardcover Book
Enhance local culture and identity, and ongoing recovery and resilience by publishing the story of arts-led recovery projects.
Kinglake$18,404
Kinglake West Primary SchoolNAIDOC Week Celebrations
Foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.
Kinglake West$3,500
Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges IncThe Next 10 Years
Build organisational resilience and attract new members through the development of a strategic plan for the Kinglake Ranges Rotary Club.
Kinglake$3,925
Toolangi District Community House Inc / Toolangi Tennis Court Action Team Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds Redevelopment
Expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.
Toolangi$33,007
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House Inc / Kinglake Ranges Arts
Dindi Arts Trail – Kinglake
Enhance community identity and awareness of local culture, and boost local economy through the development of a community arts project across the ranges.
Kinglake$86,052
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Kinglake West Mechanics Institute and Reserve Committee Inc / Kinglake Historical Society
Dindi Arts Trail – Historical Mural
Promote connection to Kinglake region's history with murals depicting historical scenes.
Kinglake West$19,500
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Toolangi District Community House Inc
Dindi Art Trail – Toolangi
Rejuvenate and enhance the town landscape, and boost community identity with the addition of murals in Toolangi.
Toolangi$30,640
Dindi Arts Trail projects
Flowerdale Community House Inc
Dindi Arts Trail – Flowerdale
Build community pride and enhance the urban environment with the creation of a mural featuring local iconic images.
Flowerdale$20,705

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.

The town of Strathewen located in the north-west of Victoria was one of the many communities impacted by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, the aftermath of which left a huge impression on the local community. There is no quick fix solution for a community when it comes to recovering from a natural disaster, and after nine years, Strathewen is still in the process of doing so.

The team at Arthurs Creek Strathewen CFA noticed that students at the local primary school were suffering post-traumatic stress after Black Saturday. Parents had been reporting that their children had been experiencing high levels of anxiety and panic attacks. This prompted the CFA to develop what is now the Strathewen Primary School Fire Awareness Program. The program is designed to support local students and help build their confidence around fire safety and preparedness.

To support this initiative, the CFA was given a $15,730 grant from the Grants for Resilience and Wellness program funded by Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The program was held weekly. Students were given the opportunity to discuss fire safety plans, evacuation strategies, and fire danger ratings. This positive learning experience equipped the students with the ability to teach others and to take their knowledge into their adult years concerning bush and fire safety.

At the end of the program, a picture story book was created that participants of the program could take home and share with their families. A behind the scenes making of the book was also produced with the help of the Strathewen Bushfire Relief Trust. Parents reported after the Fire Awareness Program, their children’s confidence levels improved significantly and that anxiety levels decreased.

This built on a previous program run by the Strathewen CFA for kids in the community. The previous project funded, called ‘Survive and Thrive’ allowed the children at the school to make a Claymation video about fire safety and fire danger ratings. It was an invaluable way to teach the kids about how to stay safe in a fire, and to understand what the fire danger ratings mean, and the project won the ‘2017 Resilient Australia’ award for Victoria, in the education division.

Recovery from bushfires is an ongoing process but grants like these provide opportunities for communities to heal.