Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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

 

After the devastation of Bushfires, it is often the volunteers who help bring rural communities back to life. The Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House (KRNH) Inc coordinates more than 50 volunteers to run the Op Shop and regularly participate in activities at the Centre.

To better support the volunteers and encourage others to get involved they established the Volunteer Murrindindi Resource Centre, an online portal providing an easy to use platform for connecting volunteers and organisations to request and find volunteers, with huge success.

They sought funding to update the online portal and engage a person to embed the policies / procedures, establish an evaluation framework, train existing staff and further connect KRNH with outside volunteer engaging organisations.

Community meetings held at the Neighbourhood Centre have identified that many community groups are struggling to provide support in terms of training and governance, leading to problems recruiting fresh volunteers and retaining existing volunteers.  The VMRC have developed Volunteering Policies and Procedures with the aim of supporting both the neighbourhood house and to share with local community groups. These need to be embedded into KRNH to ensure sustainability of the VMRC as an integral part of the KRNH.

With a Community Group Futures grant of $19,532 funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund the KNRH were able to improve the online portal Volunteer Murrindindi within the broad scope of the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House structure. We have developed the majority of the Policies and Procedures around the Volunteer Resource Centre and established annline presence through our Volunteer matching portal – www.volunteermurrindindi.com.au