Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Wiradjuri Country

When bushfires move through towns placing lives, homes and income at risk, the emotional and financial recovery can take years. In the wake of the 2019/20 bushfires, many communities continue to feel stress and anxiety from the loss of employment and the trauma of evacuating and leaving their homes behind. In Tumbarumba, in New South Wales, many people lost their homes, sheds, fences, stock, and other assets in the fires creating a financial burden that has left much of the town physically and emotionally exhausted. However, the residents are trying to rebuild.

The members of local organisation Artists on Parade Co-op Ltd wanted to help their town reconnect to their home, and with each other after the fires. Thanks to a $7,000 grant from the VISY Tumut Region Recovery Fund, funded by The Pratt Foundation, Artists on Parade held 16 workshops over several weekends in October 2020.

Throughout the year, Artists on Parade are responsible for hosting exhibitions featuring local artists. Their gallery space is often used for community activities and events. With access to this fantastic space, it became a perfect location for their hands on workshops to take place. Children, teenagers, and adults in the community participated in activities – not just art – that were specifically chosen to increase relaxation and inspiration among the attendees.

Artists on Parade wanted to ensure the residents of Tumbarumba didn’t miss out on interests and pursuits that were deemed as “non-essential” or “unnecessary” due to financial restraints. They therefore kept workshop fees low to allow as many people as possible to participate.

The workshops were a success, with 115 people from a wide demographic participating. The activities included pyrography workshops, canvas work, cardmaking, sketching, bike maintenance, pastel portrait painting workshops and cakes, coffee, and milkshakes as well.

The workshops provided a safe and relaxing space for the residents of Tumbarumba to gather and meet new people who have the same lived experiences. There were many examples of attendees meeting for the first time after realising they lived on the same street and had gone through very similar experiences in the fires. By the end of the workshops, they had started carpooling together to attend more sessions.

In addition to creating connections between the residents of Tumbarumba, many attendees were also able to take home a finished art piece to mark the occasion and close off a terrible year.

$970,136 in grants awarded

12 August 2020: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with the Pratt Foundation, has granted a further $241,386 to support 13 community-led projects in the Snowy Valleys region.

The Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund was established in February 2020 to support community-led projects designed to address a diverse range of bushfire recovery needs and community priorities in the Snowy Valleys. A total of $970,136 in funding has been granted to 36 projects over the last seven months, and the program is now closed.

Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman of Visy, said the organisation has been so pleased to have been able to support the Snowy Valleys region.

“It is wonderful to have seen how these grants have been put into action by community groups to make a real difference to the region’s recovery,” said Mr Pratt.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that there have been many great projects funded through the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund.

“Thanks to the early response and support of the Pratt Foundation, many recovery projects in the Snowy Valleys region have already been able to get underway, such as the RegenerART project. With funds received in a previous grant round, the Tumut Art Society is running workshops in Talbingo, Adelong, Batlow and Tumbarumba to ensure that there are local opportunities to come together and enjoy learning diverse art practices.

“I’m just as confident that the local organisations that have been awarded grants for projects this final round will play a critical role in the ongoing recovery of these communities. Projects like Eastern Riverina Arts’ Woodlands Film Festival and the Sounds of Summer Camerata String Orchestra Snowy Valleys Council Tour will help to build community spirit and strengthen social connections.

“Other local organisations have been awarded grants for projects that support the recovery of their community by updating, rebuilding or developing community infrastructure, including the Ournie Fire Brigade’s shed, the Adelong Men’s Shed entrance and the Batlow Sound Shell, memorialising the Batlow Cannery lost in the Dunn’s Rd Fire. These are all great examples of local community groups playing a vital role in disaster recovery because they are on the ground and best placed to know what is needed,” said Ms Egleton.

The grant recipients are below:

OrganisationProject SummaryGrantLocation
Adelong Men’s Shed IncConcrete Driveway Build organisational capacity of Adelong Men’s Shed with the construction of a concrete driveway to improve member access. Adelong$19,223
Adelong Swimming Club IncAdelong Community Aquatic Centre Shade and Solar Improve community infrastructure and capacity, upgrading the Adelong Community Pool with adequate shading and a structure to support solar heating for increased winter patronage.Adelong$35,000
Adelong Tennis Club IncAdelong Tennis Clubhouse Roof Replacement Improving community infrastructure by replacing the Adelong Tennis Clubhouse roof to support community group meetings.Adelong$10,000
Batlow Apple Tree Learning Centre Co-operative LtdOutdoor Play Space Upgrade Build community capacity and resilience, upgrading the outdoor play space at Batlow Apple Tree Learning Centre to support early years learning.Batlow$15,000
Batlow Development LeagueSounds and History of Batlow Increase community capacity and support economic recovery in Batlow by constructing a sound shell to memorialise the Batlow Cannery and support local events. Batlow$30,000
Cycle Tumbarumba IncLink to Mason’s Hill Trails Improving community infrastructure for local and tourist use through extending the trail bike link with a safe off-road bike path for children and adults.Tumbarumba$10,000
Eastern Riverina ArtsThe Woodlands Film Festival Build community spirit through reviving the Woodland Film Festival and presenting local stories at a landmark site for all the community to enjoy.Pilot Hill Arboretum$19,390
Montreal Community Theatre IncMontreal Community Theatre Shop (Cafe/Bar) Build organisational capacity developing a café shop front at the Montreal Theatre Space to provide a retail and cultural hub for community development. Tumut$30,000
Ournie Rural Fire BrigadeOurnie Community Recovery Project Build community resilience and connectedness by improving the Ournie Fire Brigade shed facilities to create a community meeting space and better local RFS facility.  Ournie$10,000
Snowy Valleys CouncilTooma Hall Transfer Pump and Water Storage Build community resilience by upgrading community infrastructure at the Tooma Hall with water storage for evacuation and everyday community use.Tooma$32,000
Talbingo MTB Club IncTalbingo Mountain Bike Park Shelters Enhance community facilities through the installation of bike shelters to support local and tourist patronage.Talbingo$11,373
Tumbarumba Artists on Parade Co-Operative LimitedSounds of Summer Camerata String Orchestra Tour Enhance the cultural vibrancy of the Snowy Valleys with performances by classical musicians at local venues in Tumut, Tumbarumba and Khancoban.Khancoban$13,400
Upper Murray Community Radio Inc.Training of Additional Volunteers for Operation of Community Radio -3 RUM (Tumbarumba site) Build community capacity training volunteers as operators at Tumbarumba Community Radio and increasing skills for local content broadcasting.Tumbarumba$6,000

Bendigo, 5 May 2020: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with the Pratt Foundation, has granted a further $79,600 to support four projects that will help Tumut region communities recover from the recent bushfires. This is in addition to the $649,150 in grants that have already been awarded through the Fund.

Tumut Bushfires

The Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund grants help to address a diverse range of needs, including improving social connectedness, access to services and outreach support for mental health and wellbeing.

Visy Executive Chairman, Anthony Pratt says, “The Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund is very pleased to be able to provide immediate assistance for a wide range of projects and it’s wonderful to see these grants already being put into action and making a real difference in the region’s bushfire recovery.”

FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton, says that an important part of disaster recovery is strengthening social connectedness and ensuring outreach support continues for those affected by the bushfires, despite the current pandemic management plans.

“While COVID-19 is slowly getting under control, we know that it will be quite a while before things get back to normal. But it’s still important for people to have things to look forward to, and to find ways to connect – whether that’s virtually or in person. That’s why we have supported Khancoban’s You Khan Uke Festival. It is hoped that this will become an annual Ukelele festival, stimulating economic recovery now and into the future.

“It’s critical to have access to flexible funding to support different priorities for different parts of the community – now, and into the medium to long-term. So, it’s been fantastic to see projects being adapted to meet community needs, like Tumbarumba Community Church’s bushfire recovery outreach project. By receiving this funding, the Church can continue to support the mental health and wellbeing of communities in the Snowy Valleys Council region by practicing social distancing when checking-in with local farmers.”

Funding that is being provided to Khancoban Primary School and Puggles Early Learning Service will contribute to both of these organisations purchasing vehicles that will increase their ability to provide access to educational activities for young children in fire-affected communities.

The list of Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund recipients from this round is below:

  • Khancoban United Volunteer Association Incorporated – $9,500 – Strengthening social connectedness and supporting economic recovery through Khancoban’s first Ukulele festival, You Khan Uke Festival.
  • Tumbarumba Community Church – $5,100 – Ensuring continuity of outreach services to support community mental health and wellbeing services in the wake of fires and during COVID-19.
  • NSW Government Schools – Khancoban Primary School – $15,000 – Supporting student participation and social connectedness by buying a second-hand bus for student activities and excursions, and in case of fire evacuation.
  • Snowy Valleys Council – Puggles Early Learning Service – $50,000 – Expanding coverage of the Tumut region and increasing access to support for early years education by buying an additional van from which services are delivered.

Applications for the next round of funding are now open. Applications will close on 30 June and are expected to be announced late July.

Bendigo, 3 April, 2020: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), in partnership with the Pratt Foundation, has granted $649,150 to support 19 projects that will help Tumut region communities to recover from the recent bushfires.

The funding is through the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund. The grants will help address a diverse range of needs, including improving social connectedness, enhancing community spirit and providing mental health support through workshops, activities and infrastructure.

FRRR’s CEO Natalie Egleton says that from FRRR’s 18 years’ experience in supporting disaster-affected communities, they know that every community is different, so access to flexible funding that can help address different priorities is crucial – now, and into the medium to long-term.

“While COVID-19 has made things much more complex, we know that bushfire affected communities still need support on their recovery journey. It’s wonderful to be able to partner with the Pratt Foundation to get this funding on the ground to assist local community groups to lead local recovery efforts in a way that meets the needs of that community.

“An important part of disaster recovery is strengthening social connectedness and stimulating economic recovery, especially in areas reliant on tourism and agriculture. The current restrictions on gatherings will make this more difficult, however, grants have still been provided for events like the Snowy Valleys Council’s Rock the Turf music festival and the Tumut Art Society Inc’s RegenerART project. We understand that there may be changes to projects in response to Covid-19, but keeping funding flowing into the community to support recovery is critical. These projects offer the community opportunities that will have many and long-lasting benefits.”

Visy Executive Chairman, Anthony Pratt said, “The Tumut region was heavily impacted by the tragic bushfires earlier this year and because Visy is part of the local community, we were keen to be actively involved in the recovery effort. I’m so thankful the applications to Round 1 of the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund have resulted in immediate assistance for a wide range of projects all of which will benefit the community.”

Other strong themes in the grants awarded were addressing mental health, supporting the rebuild of community infrastructure and replacing equipment and facilities that were lost, and helping fund resources to coordinate recovery activities. Some examples of these grants include:

  • Regional Development Australia – Riverina’s Landholder Welfare & Resilience Workshops – directly helping landholders affected by bushfire through a series of accessible and practical workshops that will build resilience and wellbeing across multiple communities; and
  • Montreal Community Theatre Inc – improving the reliability of local radio communications, particularly during times of emergency through purchase of battery, transmission and broadcasting equipment.

More grants are expected to be announced at the end of April.





Adelong Junior Sports Foundation IncorporatedInstallation of outdoor community fitness equipment

 Increase the mental health and wellbeing of residents in Adelong through the installation of exercise equipment in public spaces.



Adelong Pre School IncWellness Program for Preschool Children

 Improve mental health of pre-school children and their families in Adelong through yoga and music therapy sessions for the children.



Adelong Progress AssociationBack to Adelong

 Improve vibrancy, visitation and build community connectedness through a weekend festival in Adelong incorporating markets, tours, exhibitions and dinner dance.



Adelong Showground Management CommitteeUpgrading Dining/Kitchen Area at the Adelong Showground

Improve community infrastruture and meeting spaces at the Adelong Showground by upgrading the kitchen/dining facilities.



Festival of the Falling LeafSnow Valleys Festival Pack

Increase community capacity to deliver locally led festivals and events through the purchase of equipment including chairs, tables, marquees and generator.

Tumut, Tumbarumba, Batlow, Adelong


Gilmore Progress Association IncorporatedGilmore Hall Renovation and Upgrade

 Improve community meeting facility at the Gilmore Hall through upgrades to the kitchen area.



Ideas Information on Disability Education Awareness Services IncorporatedHang out, without hanging on! – EZYDUN in the Snowy Valleys

 Improve accessible public amenities at local festivals and events through provision of a portable all-abilities bathroom facility.

Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo


Local Leading Ladies IncorporatedCapacity Building for Snowy Valleys

 Build capacity of individuals and businesses to operate remotely through in person workshops and online training opportunities which will support local economic recovery and reduce financial hardship caused by the fires.

Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo, Adelong


Montreal Community Theatre IncEmergency Broadcast, Backup Power and Local Community Radio Communications Sustainability Project

 Improve reliability of local radio communications, particularly during times of emergency, in the Snowy Valley region through purchase of battery, transmission and broadcasting equipment.

Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo, Adelong, Rosewood, Tooma


Regional Development Australia – RiverinaLandholder Welfare & Resilience Workshops

 Build resilience and wellbeing of landholders affected by bushfire through a series of accessible and practical workshops across multiple communties in Snowy Valleys Council region.

Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo, Adelong, Oberne, Yaven Creek, Westbrook, Gilmore Valley


Snowy Valleys Council
Rock the Turf
Rock The Turf

 Increase community spirit, social connectedness and wellbeing in the Snowy Valleys region through the delivery of Rock the Turf public music event.



Talbingo MTB Club IncTalbingo Township Mountain Bike Trailhead, Skills Park and Foreshore Trail

 Increase tourism and available community activities through the development of a mountain bike trailhead at Talbingo.



Tumbarumba Artists on Parade Co-Operative LimitedConnecting the Community through hands on workshops

 Increase resilience, wellbeing and social connectedness of the Tumbarumba community through a variety of interactive hands on workshops.



Tumbarumba Rotary Club
Write Your Life Group
The 2020 Tumbarumba and Region Fires

 Contribute to community resilience, connectedness and preservation of local history through creation of a book documenting the bushfire experience of the Tumbarumba community.

Tumbarumba and surrounds


Tumut Art Society IncRegenerART: Re-creating a positive future

 Foster community resilience and connectedness across four fire affected communities through series of free art workshops

Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo, Adelong


Tumut Pony Club IncMini Camp for Zone 20 Pony Club

Enhance community wellbeing and connectedness through support of local pony club weekend event.



Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-operative LimitedLocal at Learmont’s

Support economic recovery of local food producers following bushfire event in Snowy Valleys through rental assistance at growers market.



Tumut Swimming Club IncBBQ and Shelter at the Tumut War Memorial Swimming Pool

Improve social wellbeing and opportunity for engagement in Tumut region through BBQ facilities and infrastructure at local pool.



Zone 20 PCA of NSW IncorporationZone 20 Camp 2021

 Build community resilience and engagement through support for annual pony club camp weekend.



Bendigo, 7 February, 2020: The Pratt Foundation has partnered with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) to offer grants to support the Tumut region to recover from the effects of last month’s fires.

Tumut sits on the north-west foothills of the Snowy Mountains

There is $1 million available through the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund for local not-for-profit organisations and community groups that are delivering locally-led projects and activities to support the recovery of all of the communities in the Snowy Valleys Council region.

FRRR’s CEO Natalie Egleton says that from the Foundation’s past experience of supporting disaster-affected communities, the organisation knows that access to flexible funding that can help address different priorities is crucial – now, and into the medium to long-term.

“The recent fires caused significant damage across the Snowy Valleys Council region, but the impact is different in each community. That means that what is needed differs place to place.

“So, we’ve deliberately designed the Visy Tumut Region Recovery Fund to ensure that it can support a wide variety of community needs.

“In some areas, the priority might be providing mental health support; for others it could be supporting environmental recovery and rehabilitating habitat, or simply providing opportunities for people to come together and share their experiences. That could be done, for example, through arts programs, theatre performances, gardening, community dinners, or informal mentoring and peer support groups.

“Some communities may need support to rebuild community infrastructure and replace equipment and facilities that were lost, while others might need support to help coordinate recovery activities.

“This program has the flexibility to support any of these activities – and more – so we encourage local leaders to put in an application for whatever is needed in their community to help start the recovery process.”

Applications for the first round of funding close 28 February, and FRRR anticipates the first grants will be announced at the end of March.

Applications will remain open with the second round closing date to be confirmed.