Volunteer Emergency Services Fund
The Volunteer Emergency Services Fund grant program aims to support the needs of local volunteer emergency services and first responders supporting communities affected by the 2019/20 bushfires.
Grants of up to $25,000 are available for disaster preparedness and response activities that may include rebuilding or upgrading emergency services infrastructure and replacing or upgrading emergency services equipment; enabling the support and management of an emergency services volunteer workforce through recruitment and training; and programs to support volunteer mental health and wellbeing.
This grant program has been made possible through a private donation.
How to apply
Please read the information on each of the three tabs below to make sure this is the right grant for your project.
If you want to explore other grant options, please go to Find Funding Now.
I have a question, who can I talk to?
Ph: 1800 170 020
Confirm you are eligible to apply for this grant
To make sure this is the right grant for your community, please read the grant information below carefully. Click on each headline to reveal the detail.
What are the program objectives?
Through the provision of grants, the aim of this program is to address a range of needs, including but not limited to:
- Equipment and facilities that strengthen local volunteer emergency services groups and their activities;
- Capacity building or operational support including volunteer recruitment and training; and
- Activities that support volunteers’ mental health and wellbeing.
Is this grant available in my area?
Applications can be made by volunteer emergency services and first responder not-for-profit community-based organisations operating in rural communities in an LGA with a bushfire disaster declaration, from September 2019 to April 2020.
How much funding is available? Are there priority areas?
$1 million has been generously donated to this program. In Round 2 of the program, grants of up to $25,000 are available.
Applications should be clearly focused on the activities of emergency services volunteer groups or first responder groups that will build their capacity and capability, including the health and wellbeing of their volunteers.
The two priorities are:
$100,000 of funding will be dedicated to small grant applications for up to $6,000 for basic preparedness equipment that will support and enhance volunteer capability and general emergency response capacity. The following list of example items were funded to create ‘Go’ bags for volunteers supporting the community during emergencies, please consider what key items will enhance your group’s emergency response:
Sample basic response item list:
- First aid kits
- Traffic wands
- Emergency beacon packs
- Provenger nozzels
- Recharge packs for communications equipment
- Bushfire blankets
- Car fire extinguishers
- First responder raincoats
Priority 2: Priority will be given to activities that are responding to identified community need and priorities to ensure local groups are ready for the 2021/22 fire season, including those that will support volunteers’ wellbeing and mental health (grants up to $25,000).
Applicants are welcome to discuss their application with FRRR staff on the contact details above.
FRRR will carefully consider the charitability of proposed projects, and items and activities that are the responsibility of government will not be eligible to receive charitable funds through FRRR.
Applications are assessed based on the documentation received at the time of application. All eligible applications are considered on their merit.
What can be funded?
A broad range of charitable projects supporting community recovery will be considered under this program, including:
- Purchasing or hiring equipment and materials that aid disaster preparedness and/or emergency management;
- Volunteer emergency services facilities infrastructure projects to repair or enhance their function;
- Organisational capacity building to better enable operations or services delivery;
- Delivering or providing training activities that increase emergency services volunteers’ capability;
- Providing programs or events that support emergency services volunteers’ mental health and wellbeing; and
- Providing programs that engage the community in preparedness that supports emergency services and/or first responder operations.
Applicants are encouraged to ensure project applications suit their local community’s needs, priorities and interests, and are welcome to discuss their application with FRRR staff on the contact details above.
What can’t be funded?
There are several areas that we can’t fund through this program. If in doubt, please contact us.
- Projects that support core business and areas of responsibility of Federal, State or Local Governments;
- Ongoing core organisational operational costs (e.g. rent, utilities, regular wages, loan repayments);
- The encouragement or advancement of sport, recreation and social activities are not considered charitable activities under Australian law. Applications from sporting organisations need to clearly demonstrate charitable outcomes and benefit to the wider community that are above and beyond the sporting activities of the club;
- Overseas travel and overseas projects;
- Prizes, gifts, trophies or awards;
- Activities that have already occurred or will occur before the grant is confirmed;
- Political lobbying;
- Religious or faith-based activities;
- Activities that are for private benefit or which are the core responsibility of Government;
- Animal welfare;
- Rescue services;
- Medical research;
- Sponsorship or fundraising activities; and
- Contributions towards capital projects, major equipment and refurbishments that are reliant on other funding and approvals yet to be obtained in order to be completed.
Is my organisation eligible?
To apply, you must meet the following criteria:
- Applicant organisations must be a not-for-profit organisation with either an Incorporation Certificate and/or an ABN. If you are unsure if your organisation is a registered not-for-profit (for example, if you are a Co-operative, Other Unincorporated Entity, Public Company or Trust), please contact FRRR. For local volunteer organisations that do not have an ABN or Incorporation Certificate, please read information provided on page 4 of the Guidelines regarding Eligible Legal Entities that can support your organisation to deliver the project. This situation often occurs when the organisation delivering the activity or project is a branch of an overarching organisation – such as a local fire agency or SES branch.
- Applicants must be supporting the delivery of local volunteer emergency services or qualified first responder community organisations whose projects will take place in a declared fire-affected area. FRRR will use this list to inform eligibility, but it will not be the only basis on which an application is assessed and prioritised. If you believe that you are in a bushfire-affected community whose LGA is not listed, call us on 1800 170 020 to discuss.
- Project must be for charitable purposes and offer clear public benefit;
- Not-for-profit organisations with or without DGR-1 endorsement are eligible; and
- Delivery Organisations can submit one application per grant round.
Please note you will be considered ineligible if the:
- Application is submitted by individuals, sole traders, private or commercial businesses (as per the submitted ABN);
- Application is submitted by an organisation that is not a legal entity, without the written consent of the governing / partnering body who holds the ABN / Incorporation number;
- Application is submitted without required financial documentation (see additional information on the second tab);
- Final report/s from any FRRR grants awarded to the organisation delivering the project in the previous seven years have not been acquitted. Contact FRRR to discuss any outstanding final reports prior to developing an application;
- Application is for a project or activity that has already occurred / is occurring prior to the announcement of funding; and
- Application is incomplete. NOTE: Due to the volume of applications received, applications are assessed based on the documentation received at the time of application. FRRR is unlikely to follow up missing documentation after applications have been submitted.
If you need to share this information with others, you can download the guidelines above.
Gather information to support your grant application
Please read the information below to support the planning and preparation of your project. It also sets out what you MUST include for your project to be considered. There are plenty of helpful resources to support you along the way.
Please contact FRRR if you have any questions about the following information.
Your grant application MUST include:
Eligible legal entities
Every application needs to be made by, or have the support of, an organisation that holds either an ABN or Incorporation Certificate. If your organisation doesn’t have an ABN or Incorporation Certificate, FRRR may still fund the project (with your organisation as the delivery organisation) but you need another organisation’s support, which we refer to as the ‘legal organisation’.
Even though your delivery organisation may complete the application (and will be doing the work), it’s the overarching legal organisation’s legal and financial information that needs to be provided. They also need to provide a letter of support, confirming they are willing to play this role.
This situation often occurs when the organisation delivering the activity or project is a branch of an overarching organisation – such as a local fire agency or SES branch.
Why is this important?
This program is only able to distribute funds to not-for-profit organisations with an ABN or Incorporation Certificate, and FRRR needs to know that the organisation with that ABN / Incorporation number understands and agrees to carry out their responsibilities in relation to your project, if successful.
Applications received without the requested financial information are ineligible. Providing incorrect financial information is currently the most common reason why applications are not able to be considered. You must attach the following:
- For organisations that have audited financial reports: Attach the most recent annual audited statements;
- For organisations that do not have an annual financial audit: Attach the most recent 12 months Income and Expenditure Statement. If you have a Balance Sheet, please also submit this;
- For organisations less than one year old: Provide Bank Statements for the period you have been operating.
- If financial documents are more than 18 months old, please provide an explanation as to why the organisation does not have more recent documents;
- Bank Statements are only acceptable as financial documentation if your organisation has been operating for less than one year;
- Please explain any deficits and steps to sustain the organisation financially;
- Provide a brief explanation of any large financial surplus or current assets and reasons why FRRR funds are still required;
- Income and Expenditure statements must cover a full 12-month period.
Please contact us if you cannot provide required financials or you are unsure about what to provide.
Why is this important?
FRRR uses this information to understand your organisation’s financial viability and ability to manage grant funds.
You must include a project budget that clearly shows the items that FRRR grant funds would be used for and that also shows all income and expenses related to your project.
Budgets should be realistic and must add up – i.e. total expenditure must match total income.
Applicant contributions in cash or in-kind are highly regarded. Quotes or detailed rationale for items over $1,000 are required, where possible. Note: FRRR suggests costing unskilled volunteer labour at $41.00 per hour.
Why is this important?
A clear budget helps FRRR to understand the size of your project, exactly how FRRR funds will be spent and helps demonstrate community support for your project through in-kind contributions either from your organisation or partners / community members.
FRRR strongly recommends that you provide supporting materials such as community preparedness plans, photographs, and research reports that can demonstrate the project need, and reference how partners are involved in the project.
Large documents should be referenced and explained in the application.
Why is this important?
FRRR seeks to fund projects that are well-supported by the broader local community, are locally-led and delivered, show good partnerships and benefit multiple parts of the community. As FRRR is not always familiar with your community, our staff consider support material as evidence toward understanding the level of community need, benefit and support.
Clear project information
A clear description of exactly what the grant funds will be used for, when and where the project will happen, who will benefit and who will be involved in delivering the project, why the project and grant funds are needed, how funds will be spent and how the activities and success of the project will be recorded, evaluated and shared.
Where possible, we encourage you to make it really clear that your organisation is ready and able to deliver the project and, if required, provide ongoing support for the initiative.
Why is this important?
FRRR needs to clearly understand your project to assess its merits. Applicants should focus on addressing the what, when, where, who, why and how of the project, as this is the best way to clearly communicate the details of the project.
A ready community is best placed to achieve the aims of your project, so during assessment, our staff look for information that tells us that good leadership, skills and awareness exist in your community to support the project now and in the future.
Submit your grant application via the Grants Gateway
Please contact FRRR if you have questions about any aspect of the Grants Gateway online application form.
Before you submit your application via the online Grants Gateway, please ensure you have:
It is time to submit your application. If it is helpful, you can download a copy of the application form.
If you have significant issues accessing a stable internet connection, please contact our team to discuss an alternative way of applying:
Ph: 1800 170 020 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspiration – Past projects
Explore some of the projects that we’ve previously funded in a similar space to see how other organisations have helped their community thrive.
Desert paramedics get new kit bags
Ngangganawili Aboriginal Health Services in remote WA received funding to replace their ‘go bags’, improving the safety and efficiency of the Community paramedics who service an area of some 184,000 square kilometres.
One dilemma less for Gracemere SES
During significant weather events, Gracemere SES in Queensland is faced with the dilemma of which communities get assistance first, with only one of their two vehicles was fitted with a storm and rescue tray.