Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Nestled in the heart of the Bundaleer Forest lies a quiet haven where local South Australian families can visit to reconnect with nature, and each other. Just eight kilometres from Jamestown, the picnic area of the Bundaleer Forest and the idyllic Maple Walk have been a local favourite for years. And yet, something was missing.
Until 2018, families would have to drive more than 200km to visit the nearest nature play park. These types of parks provide an opportunity for children to ignite their imagination, and enjoy learning and developing key skills while being surrounded by nature.
After the devastating bushfires that tore through the Bundaleer Forest in 2013, it became clear that the community needed a new tourist destination to drive business into the area.
After three years of work by the Northern Forests Community Initiatives Group, The Bundaleer Forest Community Areas Association (BFCAA) was formed. Their mission is to protect, preserve, promote and enhance the recreational, environmental, cultural, historical and educational values of the community areas of the Bundaleer Forest – and delivering the nature play area was just one of their initiatives.
The local community applied for the FRRR Small Grants for Rural Communities program, which provided $5,000 in funding for the nature play area, thanks to support from The Yulgilbar Foundation. Over 12 months, the community banded together to design and build the new park, with enormous input from the BFCAA volunteers, and Lion Club volunteers.
The finished nature play area is full of things to do, with a basket swing, picnic table & story time area, goblin & fairy house, mud kitchen, stepping logs, giant xylophone, swinging bars, tight rope and climbing rope. The facility has encouraged local schools, kindergartens and other groups to visit locally, and enjoy the benefits of having such a fun and engaging play area right on their doorstep.
Each of the nature play structures has a specific goal for promoting the development of strength, creativity, and providing a sensory experience. Children can experience being in nature and enjoying the fresh air, while developing their balance, body awareness, concentration and gross motor skills.
“Anyone who sits quietly and observes children playing in the Bundaleer nature play space will fully understand the impact of this project. While it is impossible to measure, there is a phenomenal impact on many levels of children development through nature play. It’s where children’s imaginations can come to life, and world where fairies and dragons are more real than make believe. It’s where children cooperate to make music together on the giant instrument, and learn to take turns on the swing and hold the hand of a younger chid as they learn to balance on the stepping logs.”Mel Kitschke
Bundaleer Forest Community Areas Association
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.
Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) is a member and volunteer based, multi-generational, not-for-profit organisation for women from, or supportive of rural, regional and remote (RRR) areas, across all sectors and industries. Their focus is on building strong and diverse communities through connecting, developing and inspiring RRR women.
In 2018 they received $5,000 from FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the David Mactaggart Foundation to fund a history project as part of their 25th anniversary, which was celebrated at the QRRRWN annual conference in Kingaroy.
The project paid tribute to the QRRRWN women whose vision 25 years ago helped shaped the organisation as it stands today, as well as the communities they live in. Interviews were conducted with past and present QRRRWN women, and featured their stories, wisdom and achievements in a series of videocasts. These snapshots of the life of the organisation were launched at the QRRRWN 2018 Conference as part of an exhibit featuring memorabilia from the last 25 years.
There is also now a history page on the QRRRWN website, with a series of videocasts that members, prospective members, as well as the general public, can view. This history webpage hosts the previously hidden collections of QRRRWN history that can be viewed as slideshows: https://www.qrrrwn.org.au/history-project/.
Project lead and QRRRWN board member Dr Cecily Jensen-Clayton said that years of drought, economic downturn, cyclone damage and the shrinking of rural communities have led to a loss of energy and motivation in leadership.
“The greatest success from my perspective was the performance and effectiveness of the history project team. What I am most proud of is that these outcomes are enduring, these outcomes being legacies that continue to energise leaders, their communities, and the QRRRWN organisation.”
One significant benefit of the history project was that it showcased to younger members the greater capacity and capabilities of the organisation. One millennial board member has now gone on to take up an executive position this year, and other participants were gifted with new and different ways to think about using their voice as leaders, commensurate with the objectives of the organisation.
The National Remote Indigenous Media Festival is First Nations Media Australia’s major industry event celebrating achievements and supporting the training of the remote Indigenous media sector. Each year the festival location alternates between remote desert and coastal communities to make it as accessible and relevant for its participants as possible. With the annual change in locations comes the need to source funding.
First Nations Media Australia, formerly known as the Indigenous Remote Communications Association is the peak body representing and supporting the media and communications needs of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The organisation advocates for community-focused broadcasting, providing tools, networks and resources to support Indigenous media organisations and workers to upskill and build their capacity.
First Nations Media Australia secured $5,000 from FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by The Pratt Foundation, to purchase iPads, mobile phones and software to help deliver one of the 2017 festival’s key workshops, Working with Mobile Devices.
More than 100 remote Indigenous media outlets and industry partners from across Australia gathered in the community of Irrunytju (Wingellina) on Ngaanyatjarra country – about 1,700 kilometres north east of Perth near the borders of Western Australia and South Australia for an action-packed week-long industry event.
The festival provided an opportunity for delegates to work together toward innovative solutions for the challenges faced by the remote media sector, connecting people, places and stories across the country to strengthen culture, identity, and well-being. It involved industry forums and skills development workshops led by inspiring trainers and facilitators, and in the evenings, time was spent enjoying, acknowledging and celebrating local culture and talent, including movies, music and award presentations.
Some great work was produced during the workshop, including a high-quality animation entitled 7 Sisters, which was created by trainees and showcased at the final day’s workshop presentations to much acclaim by delegates. In most cases, participants were able to work independently after the initial training.
This small grant helped more than 100 people from remote Indigenous communities and media organisations to gain meaningful training and industry knowledge from experienced trainers and Indigenous leaders. Participants left inspired, enthused and more confident about their work in the sector.
Examples of completed work can be viewed on https://firstnationsmedia.org.au/.
Pemberton is a small community in the South-west region of Western Australia. With an employment shortage in the hospitality industry and limited access to local training for disadvantaged adults, the Pemberton Community Resource Centre (CRC) saw an opportunity to make a real impact.
They used a $4,890 Small Grant for Rural Communities to run a barista training course, which caters for disabled people and youth.
Working with other local community groups to identify people who would benefit from the barista training, the CRC were able to engage 42 participants!
The course was such a great success that the local school is interested in continuing to work with the CRC to provide the barista training to their students. It has also given local business operators the ability to employ locally, where previously they relied heavily on the itinerant workforce, helping to strengthen the local economy.