Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

When faced with the heartbreaking reality of rising deaths among young people, the team at Byron Youth Service (BYS) stepped in to remind their community that young lives matter, and that everyone deserves to feel happy, safe and valued. 

Since 1987, BYS has been advocating for young people between the ages of 12 to 24 years old, by creating, supporting and leading community action. Made up of a team of eight staff and ten volunteers, BYS has been the primary provider of youth services in Byron Bay and the surrounding area since their inception. 

Sadly, for many disadvantaged and at-risk students in the area, there is no access to computers or the internet at home. Having access to the right information and support can help these students overcome issues such as mental health, substance misuse, self-harm, sexual assaults and eating disorders. 

Among one of their many projects, the team at BYS runs Mullumbimby Cottage, where up to 40 disadvantaged students access outreach programs using modern technology, that are designed to build resilience and create a sense of place. The programs on offer at the Cottage provide skills training and facilities that help support and empower young people to overcome the challenges they may face. 

Being able to discuss the issues they’re facing without fear of shame, fear or embarrassment is key in building resilience – and BYS has found that delivering programs using technology can support better outcomes than traditional methods might. 

The laptops at Mullumbimby Cottage allow BYS to run information sessions, show videos, and educate participants on safe social media privacy settings. In both individual and group settings, laptops allow youth workers to provide the support needed to disclose any issues or concerns young people have, in a safe and trusting environment. 

And, after using the same computers to access these programs for over a decade, Mullumbimby Cottage needed a major technology upgrade. Through FRRR’s ANZ Seeds of Renewal program, BYS received a grant for $6,895, which allowed them to purchase five new Apple MacBooks. In addition to having access to the programs BYS run, the new laptops are also available for writing resumes, searching for jobs, researching courses and completing homework. 

The contribution Byron Youth Services has made to their local community is incredibly important, and FRRR is proud to support Mullumbimby Cottage on their mission to help every young person reach their full potential.

When teachers at Nambucca Heads High School in northern NSW decided to embark on a practical vocational skills program to help their students become job-ready, the community came on board to help out.

Principal Simon McKinney and Trade School Coordinator Gary Cattanach were looking for an innovative, student led project that would lead to higher retention rates for students and would also boost employment opportunities for Aboriginal students in the community. They settled on designing, creating and constructing a total of five sculptures with cultural significance that continue to be celebrated in a community sculpture installation. The project allowed students to lead their own learning, a method that had already been successful in improving student retention and engagement.

Aboriginal students worked together with community groups, who offered workspaces, mentorship and other in-kind support. The work was completed before, during and after school, in both paid and voluntary capacities, to create these fantastic sculptures. A $20,000 grant from the Innovation for Community Impact (I4CI) program, funded by the NSW Dept of Family and Community Services and The Sally Foundation, meant they could afford the materials they needed, making their dream a reality.

Students who participated in the program also had the opportunity to earn their Bronze Medallion and learn valuable small business skills, increasing both their employability and social capital in the community. By the end of the program, many students had achieved full time, part-time or casual employment.

In the acquittal report, Simon McKinney said, “The project allowed all students – girls, boys, and those with special needs – to be on an equal footing. Training and development for future employment were at the centre of all their achievements. The wider benefit is that Aboriginal people are developing and leading communities in employment and youth development.” The project came together in the Maagunda Festival, held on the main beach in Nambucca. The whole community came together to view the statues and learn about the cultural motivations and meaning behind them. To this day, the presence of the sculptures has become a tourist attraction; a welcome outcome for a community heavily reliant on tourism and recovering from bushfires.

For high school students studying agriculture in South East NSW, hands on experience gives them the skills they need to gain employment when they finish their studies. For 200 students from across 11 different schools around Nowra, this meant having a go at the School Steer Spectacular at Nowra Showgrounds.


A $5,500 grant from the ABC Heywire initiative meant that South Coast Beef Producers Association (SCB) could spend three months mentoring students as they learnt how to feed and prepare steer for the Hook and Hoof competition. This involved hands on, industry-based learning with a pathway into the agriculture industry.


In addition to the steer competition, SCB conducted a number of skills-based workshops to build the students understanding of the techniques required in preparing and showing. These included the selection, grooming, parading and judging of cattle, and carcass assessment. Students were also expected to present a report on the project to a panel of judges. The presentations had to demonstrate: the hands-on preparation of the steer, the animal science and recording of the steer project, the agribusiness and commercial outcomes and how the project was recorded and reported.


The project mentored secondary school students who are studying agriculture and who are interested in a future career in the agriculture industry.


Some schools returned home to commence preparation for the next Spectacular with the students from Moruya High starting their own Beef Cattle Club and negotiating with a local beef producer to provide them with cattle to train for the 2019 Spectacular. Already, a number of students involved in the Spectacular are now studying agriculture at a tertiary level.


One of the teachers involved said of the day; “Thanks for providing the students with the fantastic opportunity, they really did enjoy and learn which was fantastic.”


Another teacher said; “There is more fruit from the Spectacular, more kids down at the ag plot breaking in cattle, older kids mentoring younger or inexperienced ones. Great stuff!”

When a popular city-based summer school music program made plans to bring the beat to the bush and put on a show alongside it, the whole community of Tenterfield NSW let the rhythm takeover.

Recently ravaged by drought and fires, the small town was experiencing some hard times. Charitable organisation Hartbeat of the Bush teamed up with the Cuskelly College of Music’s Winter Music School in a bid to provide Tenterfield and the surrounding communities with a brief respite from it all – the result was a week long ‘Beat of the Bush’ festival during the July 2019 holidays.

Dr James Cuskelly has run a Summer School music program in Brisbane for years, but it was his long-held dream to bring the music back to the bush, to his roots. Despite the evidence that incorporating music in a child’s education shows life changing benefits, such as improving literacy, numeracy, confidence, behaviour and wellbeing, 63 percent of primary schools in Australia offer no classroom music. In regional and remote schools, there is limited or no musical and arts-based education, and opportunities for children to actively participate as performers and artists, under the mentorship of professionals and in front of an audience, is rare and for some non-existent.

Hartbeat of the Bush supports arts, music and cultural development programs in regional and remote communities. This initiative was designed as a whole of community project, to enable participants to socialise with others from across and beyond their region. In total, around 160 participants attended the Winter School, travelling from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Ashford, Texas and Newcastle and lots of other little places in between.

The program kicked off with the Big Chilly Sing, a day-long singing and song-writing workshop that gave locals a chance to converge and get the toes tapping. This was followed by a range of courses and concerts for students of all ages delivered by more than 50 teachers, many of whom are internationally-acclaimed.

A range of concerts were also put on by the Winter School music educators themselves, which were attended by 220 people each night. Locals and visitors alike were treated to a folk concert, jazz performances, a chamber music concert, an opera night, a piano concert and of course, the final night culminated in one of the biggest concerts Tenterfield has ever seen. The finale was a rendition of the legendary Peter Allen song Tenterfield Saddler, performed by all of the Winter School attendees, and arranged by Pete Churchill, who led the Jazz studies program.

Musical experiences like this help children develop social skills and build confidence. Children from all over the region who had never met one another, played an instrument nor sung in a choir before this program amazed their family members with the talent and skills they had learnt in just five days. Many of these children are still in contact with each other and cannot wait for the next event.

What’s more, the economic benefits for the town were significant, with cafes, restaurants and retail outlets benefitting from a lot of foot traffic at a time when the drought impact was being deeply felt. A large number of local community groups were involved in some way, from making lunches and morning teas to providing venues for the concerts.

Hartbeat of the Bush President Ms Helen McCosker said it was a whole of community effort.

“The whole community was abuzz – even though we had had fires, drought and could no longer drink the town’s water, we had provided the businesses with a little sense of what was normal, something to look forward to and grow for our little country town.”

The $20,000 grant received by Hartbeat of the Bush was funded by the Australian Government through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. This covered the costs of running free daily buses within a 100 km radius for commuters from Warwick, Bonshaw, Glen Innes and Tabulum, as well as accommodation at the local Tenterfield Motor Inn for tutors (both overseas and those from Brisbane) and volunteers.

Drake is a small town in the shire of Tenterfield, located on the border of NSW and QLD. With one pub, one shop, one community centre and most properties coming in at around 100 acres, there is little opportunity for interaction and entertainment between community members. There was an interest among residents in learning more about permaculture, particularly as the land can be quite unforgiving when trying to grow food and plants. 

The Granite Border Landcare Committee (GBLC) saw an opportunity to teach the community new skills, create new shared community resources and foster connections and relationships between neighbours through the creation of a six-part permaculture workshop series.

With a $4,000 Small Grant, funded by The Yulgilbar Foundation, the GBLC was able to create and deliver this workshop series over a six month period.

Amanda Craig, who managed the program, said the project established a strong, energetic, community focused group with a core membership of 10 people.

“While the overall aim was to establish a permaculture group, which it has done, the community benefits are greater than that.”

“The group members and other interested people that attended workshops have established strong ties within the small isolated community and are now branching out to include other activities as the recent garden make over at the community resource center,” Amanda said.

The workshops included Build a Chook Pen, Build a Raised Garden Bed in a Mandala Circle Garden, Learn to Build Compost Bays, Building Swale’s Workshop, Propagating Vegetable Seedlings, Build a Wicking Bed and How to Build a Greenhouse. The six-month series helped to build community connectedness, improve local community infrastructure, and develop a volunteer community group.

Since completing the series, this group has continued to hold workshops and is working on beautifying the garden around the local community centre.

30 communities share in small grants

Schools, sports clubs and a rural fire brigade are among the 30 not-for-profit organisations in rural and regional cotton-growing communities to receive a $5,000 boost from the Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities program.

This year marks the seventh round of the Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities program, which the Crop Science division of Bayer delivers in partnership with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). This year’s program takes the total investment into cotton communities to more than one million dollars.

Local cotton growers nominated each of the not-for-profits that are receiving funds, which will help strengthen community resilience and positively impact the wellbeing of cotton-growing communities. 

FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton said a consistent theme across nominations this year was a strong desire to boost morale and maintain community spirit in the face of drought.

“Local cotton-growing communities, already dealing with the stresses of sustained drought, have told us of the additional strain caused by COVID-19 restrictions. For these groups, normal fundraising activities have been turned on their head with local businesses, already struggling to survive, unable to lend their support to these community organisations,” Ms Egleton said. 

“It’s wonderful to have partners like Bayer to be able to help to alleviate some of their fundraising challenges as they work hard to keep their communities connected and address critical community needs.

“There are so many not-for-profit groups and local charities doing wonderful things to make cotton-growing communities great places to live and work. This year we’ve seen many groups seeking support to develop and build organisational and community resilience. Their determination to see their communities thrive, despite the challenges they face, is inspiring,” Ms Egleton said. 

Bayer Crop Science Head of Customer Marketing for Australia and New Zealand Tony May congratulated the winners and said the funding will assist in bringing people together again after being disconnected by COVID-19 restrictions.

“Many of the projects being funded will ensure cotton-growing communities can interact and connect with one another safely during the pandemic,” Mr May said.  

“The grants will help build community gardens, upgrade facilities for digital learning and enhance outdoor areas to foster connections.”

Gogeldrie Rural Fire Brigade in central north Riverina NSW, was a recipient of one of the 30 Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grants. The brigade plan to use the grant to invest in suitable gym equipment to ensure the safety of its users. Currently gym users are improvising, including dragging around spare tyres tied on with rope.   

On hearing they had been successful, Gogeldrie Fire Brigade Captain David Pike said it was fantastic news and would make a big difference to their small community.  

“Providing appropriate gym equipment will be a nice reward for our volunteer fire fighters and motivate our farmers to come together and put their health and wellbeing first, more often,” Captain Pike said.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

Jump to : NSW Communities | QLD Communities

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Darling River Food & Fibre (Bourke)
Bourke & District Children’s ServicesEnhance community identity and connection through the installation of a culturally relevant outdoor space.Bourke$5,000
Gwydir Valley
Moree & District Historical SocietyDevelop organisational resilience and capacity through the installation of solar panels.Moree$5,000
St Philomenas Catholic School Moree P & FSupport school engagement and enhance learning outcomes through the construction of an outdoor classroom.Moree$5,000
Lower Namoi
Wee Waa Branch Country Women’s Association of NSWIncrease community inclusion through construction of a safety ramp to support access to the CWA hall.Wee Waa$5,000
Wee Waa Rotary Club IncSupport organisational capacity through the purchase of a portable coolroom.Wee Waa$5,000
Macquarie
Trangie Country Women’s Association – Country Women’s Association of NSWIncrease community inclusion through the installation of safety railing to a newly installed ramp at the CWA hall.Trangie$5,000
Warren Central SchoolSupport life long learning through the establishment of a kitchen garden program.Warren$5,000
Warren Youth Support Group IncorporatedFacilitate positive engagement and support of young people through the installation of a permanent gazebo and outdoor furniture.Warren$5,000
Mungindi Water Users
Mungindi Junior Rugby League Club IncFoster social wellbeing and connectivity through a kitchen upgrade.Mungindi$5,000
Southern Valleys
Coleambally Central School P&C AssociationEnhance educational opportunities through the construction of a covered area linking classrooms and providing a safe all-weather play area.Coleambally$5,000
Gogeldrie Rural Fire BrigadeSupport individual and community health and wellbeing through the purchase of gym equipment.Gogeldrie$5,000
Griffith Public School Parents and Citizens AssociationIncrease educational opportunities through the purchase of readers for junior classrooms.Griffith$5,000
Hillston Billylids IncEnhance educational opportunities and social skill development through the purchase of digital learning resources and upgrade to play area.Hillston$5,000
Country Education Foundation of Coleambally-Darlington Point Incorporated (CEFCPD)Support lifelong learning, education and training through the support of a grants program that enables young people to complete post secondary education.Coleambally$5,000
Murrumbidgee Shire CouncilFoster community health and wellbeing through fencing of a community garden.Coleambally$5,000
Upper Namoi
Carroll Community Bus IncorporatedFoster community connectivity and resilience through repairs to the community bus.Carroll$5,000
Ooranga Family Mobile Resource Unit Assoc IncProvide access to diverse learning environments through the replacement of the existing kitchen.Gunnedah$5,000
Spring Ridge Public School Parents and Citizens AssociationEnable participation in educational opportunities through support of an annual student trip to Canberra.Spring Ridge$5,000
QUEENSLAND
Central Highlands
Rolleston Cricket Club IncBuild community resilience through the purchase of a defibrillator and ice making machine.Rolleston$5,000
Darling Downs
11th Light Horse Darling Downs Troop Inc.Support the preservation of local history by upgrading facilities that house historical memorabilia.Highfields$5,000
Cecil Plains History GroupSupport organisational resilience and the promotion of local history through the installation of a rainwater tank and purchase of display stands.Cecil Plains$5,000
Friends of Jondaryan Woolshed IncEnhance the preservation and promotion of local history through exhibit fencing to protect historical artifacts.Jondaryan$5,000
Rotary Club of Dalby IncIncrease organisational capacity through upgrade of existing catering trailer.Dalby$5,000
Wheatlands Primary P&C AssocEnhance student learning opportunities and support community connection, through the provision of a protected outdoor space.Wheatlands$5,000
Dawson Valley
Theodore Bowls Club IncorporatedDevelop organisational resilience and capacity through the provision of a ride on mower and outdoor vac.Theodore$5,000
Dirranbandi
Dirranbandi Arts Council IncorporatedIncrease volunteer comfort and safety through the installation of meeting room air conditioning and security cameras to community spaces.Dirranbandi$5,000
Macintyre Valley
Lundavra Primary P&C AssociationSupport student wellbeing and community resilience, through the purchase of a water tank to maintain school grounds.Lundavra$5,000
Macintyre Ag Alliance Inc.Support environmental outcomes through the purchasing of weed spraying equipment.Goondiwindi$5,000
St George
St George Tourism and Museum Association Inc.Support community resillience and raise community morale through restoration of a historical building.St George$5,000
Northern Australia (North of Latitude 21.15 degrees South)
Cowboys Charity LimitedSupport learning opportunities for Indigenous students through fit out of boarding room accomodation.Townsville$5,000

When a popular city-based summer school music program made plans to bring the beat to the bush and put on a show alongside it, the whole community of Tenterfield NSW let the rhythm takeover. 

Recently ravaged by drought and fires, the small town was experiencing some hard times. Charitable organisation Hartbeat of the Bush teamed up with the Cuskelly College of Music’s Winter Music School in a bid to provide Tenterfield and the surrounding communities with a brief respite from it all – the result was a week long ‘Beat of the Bush’ festival during the July 2019 holidays.

Dr James Cuskelly has run a Summer School music program in Brisbane for years, but it was his long-held dream to bring the music back to the bush, to his roots. Despite the evidence that incorporating music in a child’s education shows life changing benefits, such as improving literacy, numeracy, confidence, behaviour and wellbeing, 63 percent of primary schools in Australia offer no classroom music. In regional and remote schools, there is limited or no musical and arts based education, and opportunities for children to actively participate as performers and artists, under the mentorship of professionals and in front of an audience, is rare and for some non-existent.

Hartbeat of the Bush supports arts, music and cultural development programs in regional and remote communities. This initiative was designed as a whole of community project, to enable participants to socialise with others from across and beyond their region. In total, around 160 participants attended the Winter School, travelling from Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Ashford, Texas and Newcastle and lots of other little places in between. 

The program kicked off with the Big Chilly Sing, a day-long singing and song-writing workshop that gave locals a chance to converge and get the toes tapping. This was followed by a range of courses and concerts for students of all ages delivered by more than 50 teachers, many of whom are internationally-acclaimed. 

A range of concerts were also put on by the Winter School music educators themselves, which were attended by 220 people each night. Locals and visitors alike were treated to a folk concert, jazz performances, a chamber music concert, an opera night, a piano concert and of course, the final night culminated in one of the biggest concerts Tenterfield has ever seen. The finale was a rendition of the legendary Peter Allen song Tenterfield Saddler, performed by all of the Winter School attendees, and arranged by Pete Churchill, who led the Jazz studies program.

Musical experiences like this help children develop social skills and build confidence. Children from all over the region who had never met one another, played an instrument nor sung in a choir before this program amazed their family members with the talent and skills they had learnt in just five days. Many of these children are still in contact with each other and cannot wait for the next event.
What’s more, the economic benefits for the town were significant, with cafes, restaurants and retail outlets benefitting from a lot of foot traffic at a time when the drought impact was being deeply felt. A large number of local community groups were involved in some way, from making lunches and morning teas to providing venues for the concerts. 

Hartbeat of the Bush President Ms Helen McCosker said it was a whole of community effort. 

“The whole community was abuzz – even though we had had fires, drought and could no longer drink the town’s water, we had provided the businesses with a little sense of what was normal, something to look forward to and grow for our little country town.”

The $20,000 grant received by Hartbeat of the Bush was funded by the Australian Government through FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. This covered the costs of running free daily buses within a 100 km radius for commuters from Warwick, Bonshaw, Glen Innes and Tabulum, as well as accommodation at the local Tenterfield Motor Inn for tutors (both overseas and those from Brisbane) and volunteers.

Four rural health services in NSW and VIC awarded grants

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $368,768 in grants to four community health organisations in rural, regional and remote New South Wales and Victoria to enhance the primary and preventative health service offering in their communities.

Funded through the Enhancing Country Health Outcomes (ECHO) program, these grants will help to fill identified gaps in rural health workforce support and development, and the provision of accessible health care in areas where services are limited. Regions that are benefiting from these grants include the smaller communities surrounding the service centres of Nowra, Wagga Wagga, Armidale and Dubbo in NSW and Kerang, Wedderburn and Harrow in Victoria.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the ECHO program has provided insights into the various challenges facing health services in rural communities, and the continuing inequity of service access and provision.

“There’s a real need for flexible funding of community-based primary and preventative health services in rural communities, so it’s fantastic to be able to support local health initiatives through the ECHO program and help fill some of these gaps. Projects like Northern District Community Health’s place-based Rural Health Matters initiative will address health needs, health inequities and service provision gaps across several rural Victorian communities,” Ms Egleton said.

“There are also significant workforce shortages and limited access to upskilling and professional development opportunities for rural health services. We are pleased to be able to support the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in NSW and Harrow Bush Nursing Centre in Victoria. With these grants, these organisations can now undertake staff training and improve professional development opportunities throughout a number of rural communities.

“We are also pleased support an initiative lead by the Services for Australian Rural & Remote Allied Health, which will work with selected rural communities in both NSW and Victoria, helping communities to build their own capacity to attract and support a long-term rural workforce in their regions.   

“This is the final round of the ECHO program, which was created thanks to a donation of just over $900,000 from Beyond Medical Education when they wound up. The program has highlighted the need for philanthropic support to help these local health services overcome health inequity in rural, regional and remote communities and we hope we can continue to help to fill these gaps,” Ms Egleton said.

Lynda Vamvoukis, former CEO of Beyond Medical Education, said that it is inspiring to see how Beyond Medical Education’s remaining funds have been used by groups to improve the local primary health care needs of the community.

“Building strong and sustainable relationships that support the health of these communities is critical. It has been rewarding to see this program support projects that foster this kind of long-term, health care provider collaboration,” said Ms Vamvoukis.

The four projects awarded grants this final round of the ECHO program are:

  • Cerebral Palsy Alliance – Armidale, Dubbo, Nowra, Wagga Wagga, NSW – $80,000 – Improve access to, and delivery of services to people with a disability in rural communities by providing essential equipment, resources and training for rural therapists.
  • Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health – NSW and VIC – $140,179 – Address persistent rural workforce shortages in small rural and remote towns in NSW and Victoria through an Attract, Connect, Stay project leveraging Rural Health Workforce Coordinators.
  • Harrow Bush Nursing Centre – Harrow, VIC – $33,589 – Increase organisational capacity and improve patient care by upskilling the existing rural workforce and upgrading the primary care vehicle to safely transport emergency equipment.
  • Northern District Community Health – Kerang, Wedderburn, VIC – $115,000 – Improve the current and emerging health needs for Buloke, Loddon and Gannawarra Shire residents through the delivery of a collaborative placed-based systems approach

The Pain Revolution, in conjunction with the University of South Australia, set out to establish a community-led health initiative to promote best-practice pain management services in country NSW and Victoria, by raising awareness of pain neurobiology and the use of a bio-psycho-social pain model of education and care.

If that all sounds quite complicated, these facts are simpler to understand, though not very easy to digest:

  • One in five Australians lives with chronic pain. In those over the age of 65, this increases to 1 in 3.
  • According to The Pain Revolution, persistent pain is a bigger disability burden on rural Australia than cancer and diabetes combined.
  • It is the most common reason for early departure from the workforce, and a known risk factor for severe depression and suicide.

What’s more, access to pain management services is poor in rural communities, and most attempts to address the problem include ‘travelling health teams’ and ‘country visits’ from city health specialists. With GPs reporting that they have insufficient knowledge, skill and self-efficacy to deliver best practice for persistent pain patients, The Pain Revolution stepped in to design a sustainable program of training, mentoring and resourcing with a focus on local capacity building.

Founded in 2017, The Pain Revolution is a cross sector collaboration led by Professor Lorimer Moseley from within the School of Health Science at the University of South Australia. It also draws on expertise from others working in the field, holding strong partnerships with the National Rural Health Alliance, Pain Australia, Australian Pain Society, the Australian Physiotherapy Association and the Australian College of Sports & Exercise Physicians. Their collective aim is to embed the capacity to deliver best practice pain education and care within rural and regional communities, and they are doing this through the Local Pain Collectives (LPC) program.

Pain science is an area with lots of interesting research and developments; new and effective approaches have been identified to prevent and manage persistent pain, placing emphasis on active approaches (movement and learning based) rather than passive ones (drugs, massage and surgery). These new self-management approaches can seem counter-intuitive amongst health professionals unless they have an understanding of contemporary pain science. International guidelines now universally recommend education as first-line treatment, but this is rarely delivered effectively as part of usual care.

The Pain Revolution determines where to target their efforts by assessing which rural and regional communities are flagged by the Australian Health Atlas as having excessive opioid prescriptions, back fusions and knee replacements. In response, the LPC program aims to upskill GPs and allied health professionals in best practise pain education and care within these communities, and establish a supported network amongst this difficult area of medical practice.

The Pain Revolution provided scholarships to twelve health professionals who live in regional communities across NSW/VIC. These individuals were trained to organise and deliver pain education events to the general public and other health professionals, and become clinical leaders and ‘champions for change’ within their community. Funding from the Enhancing Country Health Outcomes (ECHO) grant program enabled them to form a Local Pain Collective and deliver pain education in six regional areas of NSW: Wollongong, Nowra, Jindabyne, Cooma, Wagga Wagga and Albury/Wodonga.

Each Collective has delivered activities including pain education sessions, clinical support for knowledge to practice transfer, and a facilitated platform for peer-to-peer learning and resource sharing. A three-day workshop strengthened the network, bringing together the local pain educators, the reference group, content experts and facilitators, and monthly network meetings followed. The workshop also informed where skills could be developed, and this fed into the design and delivery of a monthly webinar series. Topics of direct relevance to the rural and regional context included understanding opioids, appraising evidence, facilitation skills, implementing behaviour change principles to pain care, and choosing words carefully when talking to pain patients.

In their application, Pain Revolution wrote that the project would deliver benefits on three levels. Of course it would benefit the rural and regional-based GPs and allied health professionals that participate. By improving pain education and care, it would also benefit the 1 in 5 rural Australians who suffer from persistent pain and the many more at risk of it because of a lack of up-to-date information and care.
The third level of benefit really speaks to the aims of the ECHO grant program:

“The extent to which persistent pain impacts entire communities – almost everyone is affected – means that this project will benefit entire communities by promoting informed self-management and resilience.”

FRRR is delighted to have been able to support this program, which is clearly making a difference to the lives of many rural people.

Investing in the long-term future of rural NSW communities

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $1,047,716 in grants to support 37 projects led by not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) across six rural communities in New South Wales, through the Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF) program.

The more than $1 million in grants is funded through FRRR’s partnerships with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and The Snow Foundation, which are both committed in helping develop communities in rural and regional NSW.

IRCF is a place-based program that provides local NFPs and community sector organisations with practical support and funding so they can be stronger, more resilient, and fulfill their purpose with greater impact. The program encourages collaboration and community-led solutions that will seed the long-term self-sufficiency of these organisations.

In partnership with the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, FRRR launched the IRCF program in the regional NSW communities of Junee, Leeton and Nambucca Valley. Now in their second year of the five-year program, these communities are sharing a further $557,698 in Ongoing Partnership Grants.

Alli Mudford, IRCF Program Manager, said that these grants mark the start of the second phase of the IRCF program.

“The first phase was about bringing community-based organisations together to explore common needs and identify areas where they could collaborate, as well as identify what support they required as individual organisations. The kind of issues that emerged included the need for staff, organisational training and skills development, and investment in community and organisational infrastructure.

“This second phase of the program is about helping the organisations take action on these common areas of need with the support of these grants.

“For example, in Nambucca Valley, a key challenge is broad community engagement. We are supporting Nambucca Valley Youth Services and Mujaay Ganma Foundation to develop projects to help them engage more deeply with locals, particularly the young people of Nambucca Valley, by providing training and mentoring opportunities.

“In Junee and Leeton, for example, Junee Rhythm and Rail, Junee Senior Citizens and Leeton Show Society will use their funding to purchase equipment and refurbish community infrastructure that is used by a number of local not-for-profits,” said Ms Mudford.

Some of the other projects funded through these IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants include:

  • Junee Community Power received $15,000 to alleviate energy poverty for the community by installing solar power to the Junee Senior Citizens Hall. This will be the start a bigger initiative for Junee not-for-profits and community power.
  • Leeton Connect received $90,000 to support Leeton not-for-profits by employing a coordinator to deliver training and development.
  • Jaanymili Bawrungga in Nambucca Valley received $30,290 to develop a strategic plan to assist with operational objectives and create cultural economic sustainability with the support of a consultant.

A full list of IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants recipients and their projects are below.

FRRR staff will continue to walk alongside these three communities, working with them to implement their community roadmap. Nambucca Valley has seen a strong demand for funding with the first tranche allocated to projects that will be managed in line with the region’s overall allocation for the life of the program. Further grants will be awarded in Leeton and Junee later in the year.

Program now rolling out on South Coast

In April 2020, FRRR and The Snow Foundation partnered with the commitment to increase their ongoing support of South Coast communities and to expand the IRCF program into Bateman’s Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla. As part of the program launch, these communities are sharing in $490,018 in Start-Up Grants.

Kate Dezarnaulds, IRCF Coordinator for Shoalhaven, said last summer’s bushfires and now COVID-19 have had a direct impact on the energy, capability, and resources of these largely volunteer-run NFPs.

“These Start-Up Grants will provide a range of dynamic grassroots organisations with funding for projects that will strengthen them and increase their capacity to support the recovery and renewal of their communities, which have been so clearly impacted by these disasters.

“For example, community organisations such as Shoalhaven Health & Arts and Milton Ulladulla Business Chamber are looking at ways to better connect with their community through improved digital infrastructure. 

“Other groups, like Shoalhaven Community Preschool, Ulladulla and Districts Community Resources Centre, and the Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance, are using their grants to improve governance and provide tailored training and mentoring opportunities for staff and volunteers. These are the kind of projects that struggle to find funding outside of the Investing in Rural Community Futures program, but they make a real difference to the viability and resilience of the not-for-profit sector in the region,”  said Ms Dezarnaulds.

Some of the other projects funded through these IRCF Start-Up Grants include:

  • The Family Place in the Batemans Bay area received $40,785 to develop a 5-year strategic plan that supports the urgent need to adapt to Telehealth to continue to provide services during COVID-19.
  • The Shoalhaven Women’s Resource Group in Nowra received $18,810 to work with a consultant to develop a new fundraising strategy that focuses on the launch of a social enterprise to provide a first employment opportunity for the women they support who are exiting prison.
  • Treading Lightly in Ulladulla received $25,000 to establish a Community Hub to host their regular program of small-scale community building meetings, workshops and activities for the regions affiliated NFP’s – these workshops and meetings often have an environmental sustainability and youth outreach focus.  

A full list of IRCF Start-Up Grants recipients and their projects are below.

Over the coming six months FRRR staff and facilitators on the ground will work closely with the three communities on the South Coast, supporting them to put their Start-Up Grants projects into action.

All 37 IRCF grantees will have until December 2021 to implement their projects.

Jump to IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants: JUNEE | LEETON | NAMBUCCA VALLEY
Jump to IRCF Start-Up Grants: NOWRA | ULLADULLA | BATEMANS BAY

Organisation

Project

Grant

IRCF Ongoing Partnership Grants
JUNEE

Junee Business & Trades

Junee Community Events Trailer

Enable improved coordination and resource-sharing through the purchase of a trailer and equipment for events to be utilised by the range of NFP groups.

$30,611

Junee Business & Trades

 

Junee Community Presentations

Improve organisational capacity and upskill leaders and volunteers of local Community Groups by conducting a series of presentations and workshops.

$20,000

Junee Community Power

Invest in the Junee Community Circular Fund (JCCP)

Increase organisational capacity and save operational costs for community organisations by investing in two solar systems to kickstart a circular fund for community-owned electricity generation in the Junee Shire.

$15,000

Riverina Boys

Public Address System Installation
Build organisational capacity and increase community engagement through installation of a Public Address system across four recreation areas in Junee.

$20,000

Junee Senior Citizens 

Saving the Senior Citizens Hall

Reduce volunteer fatigue, build the capacity of the Junee Senior Citizens Club, and assist the wider community by supporting the Junee Senior Citizens Hall upgrade.

$13,000

Rhythm & Rail

Junee Community AV

Build capacity across the not-for-profit sector and increase community engagement through the upgrade of a portable PA system and new control booth.

$19,944

LEETON

Leeton Connect

Leeton Connect – Connecting the Leeton LGA Not-for-Profits Now and in the Future

Build organisational capacity across the Leeton not-for-profit sector through training, resources, an online community directory, and community volunteer and asset registers.

$90,000

Leeton Art Society

LASI Website – Create, Community & Continuity

Improve community engagement and enhance digital literacy and organisational capacity of Leeton Art Society by investing in a new website and digital literacy program.

$15,500

Whitton Public School P&C

Hot Desk for the Whitton Community – Providing Strength from Within

Foster sustainability and connectedness of local community organisations in Whitton by providing a shared central office space complete with office equipment.

$10,207

Leeton Show Society

Leeton Show Society Combined Office Space – A Workspace for Partnering NFPs

Reduce volunteer fatigue and support NFP organisational capacity through upgrade of facilities at the Leeton Show Society combined office space.

$23,436

NAMBUCCA VALLEY

Alithia

Administration and Funding Support

Strengthen organisational capacity and community inclusion and connectivity by initiating a range of measures to support the Alithia learning space in Valla Beach.

$30,000

Bowraville Innovative Social Enterprises Precinct Incorporated

 

Scoping Governance

Build organisational capacity by developing and implementing a strong governance framework from which to train and support other local not-for-profits and social enterprises in Bowraville and the Nambucca Valley.

$44,912

Jaanymili Bawrungga Incorporated

 

Jaanymili Bawrungga Building Blocks

Strengthen organisational capacity and sustainability by developing internal systems, leadership, and governance structures.

$30,290

MiiMi Aboriginal Corporation

 

Gumbaynggirr Administration Support Role

Build organisational sustainability and capacity by employing a young local administrative person for 12 months to provide support to the organisation.

$55,735

Mujaay Ganma Foundation Aboriginal Corporation

 

Yuraal Guunumba Ngurraay: Gumbaynggirr Native Foods Community Garden Project

Foster community engagement, organisational capacity, and share cultural knowledge by engaging trainee coordinators and mentors to kickstart the Mujaay Ganma’s Yuraal Garden Project.

$38,443

Muurrbay Aboriginal Language & Culture
Co-operative

 

Strengthening Muurrbay & Aboriginal Languages for the Future

Support the sustainability of Muurrbay, and more widely the survival of local Aboriginal languages, by updating organisational policies, procedure and plans with the assistance of the Brangan Group working with Muurrbay Board and staff.

$14,600

Nambucca Senior Citizens Club

 

Nambucca Valley Newsletter

Promote community connectivity and reduce social exclusion by supporting a local Nambucca print newsletter and news desk at the Senior Citizens Hall.

$4,030

Nambucca Valley Phoenix Limited

 

The Phoenix Rising – Strategic Plan and Mentoring

Develop a five-year strategic plan to transform NVP into a sustainable social enterprise, supporting people living with disabilities and/or other disadvantages to participate in employment, training, and micro-enterprise development.  

$40,000

Nambucca Valley Youth Services Inc

Marketing and Business Administration Training for Staff and Volunteers Including Young People at the Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre

Upskill staff and volunteers at Nambucca Valley Youth Services Centre through three workshops across the Valley in marketing and administration and support the collection of content and design for a website and communications strategy.

$41,990

IRCF Start-Up Grants

NOWRA

The Shoalhaven Women’s Resource Group Limited

CREATING A FUTURE – Delivering Diversified Revenue to Thrive

Support sustainability and succession of The Shoalhaven Women’s Resource Group Limited by development of a diversified revenue strategy including feasibility studies into potential social enterprises to enhance their funding mix and reduce vulnerability to changes in grant funding.

$18,810

Shoalhaven Community Preschool Incorporated

 

Staff Wellbeing and Capacity Building Program

Empower the staff, strengthen their resilience post-bushfires, and increase their cultural awareness through the provision of a tailored staff development program, cultural awareness training and the employment of an Aboriginal Identified trainee.

$15,000

 

Shoalhaven Health and Arts

Shoalhaven Health & Arts – Website and Outreach

Create community awareness of the program of Arts & Health activities being developed for the Nowra community by the newly formed organisation – Shoalhaven Arts & Health Inc through the development of marketing and communications channels designed to reach those with lived experience of recent bushfire trauma and the local services that support them.

$10,000

Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services Inc

Client Management System (CMS) Enhancement to Enable Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services to Become More Sustainable, Flexible, and Adaptive

Streamline the delivery of in-home services through the purchase, migration, and implementation of a custom-designed CRM for Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services so that they can better support the aged and people living with disability in the Nowra area.

$28,304

South Coast Beef Producers Association Incorporated

Shoalhaven Cattle Industry Training Centre

Improve opportunities for commercial South Coast beef producers through the construction of a fit-for-purpose cattle handling, showing, and training facility at the Nowra Showgrounds.

$47,508

Tomerong School of Arts

Connecting Community, Building Resilience

Enhance community connectedness through the creation and distribution of a quarterly community newsletter and new-resident welcome pack that will promote community life, volunteering opportunities and events centered around the Tomerong School of Arts.

$5,900

ULLADULLA

Milton Promotions Committee

Milton Back in Business

Stimulate activity in the local economy to aid economic recovery from the fires and COVID through a cooperative marketing campaign seeking to encourage visitors and residents to shop local in Milton.

$10,000

Milton Ulladulla Business Chamber Incorporated

Community Connect Shoalhaven (CCSS)

Enable the fragmented community sector of the Ulladulla / Milton area to better communicate, collaborate and support each other through the creation of a community newsletter, website, and database of organisations, events and volunteers.

$17,870

Ulladulla and Districts Community Resources Centre Incorporated

Building Foundations

Develop supportive relationships and deeper connectivity to culturally diverse communities, especially the local Aboriginal community, through a research and training program for staff and volunteers followed by the formalisation and documentation of strategic partnerships with aligned organisations.

$45,902

 

Independence Ulladulla Inc

Everybody Deserves to THRIVE

Enable Independence Ulladulla to secure their tenancy and operations, modernise their operating systems and update their training to provide a much-needed School Leavers’ Employment Support program and expand their community engagement offering to non-resident disability clients.

$50,000

Treading Lightly Inc

 

Treading Lightly Community Hub

Establish a Community Hub for Treading Lightly to provide a visible focal point and an efficient delivery mechanism for the regions affiliated NFP’s to host their regular program of small-scale community building meetings, workshops and activities that often have a focus on environmental sustainability and youth outreach.  

$25,000

 

Red Head Villages Association Incorporated

 

Red Head Villages

Enhance social cohesion, get prepared with ‘shovel ready’ projects and improve future disaster preparedness through the preparation of a master plan for the five villages of the Red Head area just north of Ulladulla.

$31,971

 

BATEMANS BAY

Community Life Batemans Bay Inc

Look Listen Learn

Inspire and develop capacity and organisational sustainability by conducting a one-day workshop for directors, staff, and volunteers, with a focus on nurturing individual leadership, good governance, responsibility, and accountability.

$5,045

Eurobodalla Education and Therapy Services Ltd

Building Allied Health in the Eurobodalla

Strengthen organisational succession planning for the team at Muddy Puddles and retain local people and skills by establishing a student placement program for Allied Health workers.

$37,500

 

SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation

Community – Stronger Together

Prepare the SEARMS Aboriginal Corporation for their next chapter with the development of a community engagement plan and new strategic plan to capitalise on their partnerships and networks and adjust to changing funding dynamics.

$40,000

Clyde River and Batemans Bay Historical Society Inc

Aspire, Acquire, Become!

Build organisational capacity through the delivery of Governance training for the Clyde River & Batemans Bay Historical Society and their three local partner historical societies before a major expansion of built infrastructure and complexity of operations.

$22,923

 

 

The Family Place Inc

Growing a Strong Service for a Strong and Vibrant Community

Drive innovation in service delivery, strengthen governance and invest in leadership for The Family Place through the appointment of a consultant to guide strategic planning for the future while acknowledging trauma and providing space to heal after the fires.

$40,785

 

Southcoast Health and Sustainability Alliance

 

Turbocharging South Coast Volunteer, NFPs

Drive widespread and coordinated capacity building across 20+ grassroots NFP’s in the Eurobodalla area through the appointment of a project coordinator to support governance, leadership, and communications programs.

$37,500