Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
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
The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and The Snow Foundation have announced a $2.5 million, multi-year partnership that will help boost the confidence, ability and skills of not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in Batemans Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla.
This partnership has been formed to support a placed-based program – Investing in Rural Community Futures (IRCF). This program was first launched in 2018, with FRRR and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation partnering with local organisations in Leeton, Junee and Nambucca Valley across a five-year period.
Now, with the support of The Snow Foundation, FRRR can build on the momentum of this important program to support organisations across the Shoalhaven region to keep going, and ultimately, thrive.
The IRCF Shoalhaven program will see FRRR work with local NFPs over a five-year period to determine how they can best help themselves, so they can effectively focus on what they set out to do to help their community.
To kick-start the program, each community will receive up to $175,000 in Start-Up Grants for NFPs in Batemans Bay, Nowra and Ulladulla. FRRR will work with local groups to determine how this funding can be best utilised so it makes the greatest impact now, and into the medium to long-term. These Start-Up Grants are flexible and designed to support organisations in their capacity to deliver services. This support could include costs like investing in community leadership, skills and training, strengthening communications and networks, human resources, mentoring or even wages for operational planning.
FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton, says the team at The Snow Foundation share FRRR’s belief that local leaders are best placed to know what is going to make the biggest difference in their community.
“The drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 have highlighted the important role that not-for-profit groups play across the Shoalhaven region. They are embedded in the community, so they know what is needed. However, many groups are struggling to know how to sustain themselves so they can continue this important work. Through the IRCF program, we will work with local leaders so they can more effectively focus on what they set out to do and help meet both the current and emerging needs of their communities.
“The answers will come from within the community. FRRR’s role will be to act as facilitators and supporters, to enhance the ability of local leaders to deliver the change they wish to see. The ultimate aim of the IRCF program is to break the cycle of a reliance on short-term funding and invest in the long-term viability of core not-for-profit groups.”
The Snow Foundation’s Founder and Chair, Terry Snow AM, says that he expects NFPs in the Shoalhaven region to respond enthusiastically to the IRCF program.
“The great thing about this program is that it’s far more than just being about giving out grants. They are important, of course, but the heart of this program is about bringing community groups together, sharing insights, pooling resources and finding ways to work together, to become stronger and much more effective, and ultimately to help create a stronger community. This is critical, as we have so much to do to rebuild following the devastating bushfires and now the challenges of COVID-19.”
FRRR’s IRCF Program Manager, Alli Mudford, says that it’s fantastic to be able to bring this program to the Shoalhaven area, which is focused on securing the long-term future of community groups.
“This program will see us work with these communities over a sustained period of time, so the not-for-profit groups become stronger, more resilient and are able to fulfill their missions with greater impact.
“We know from our experience with our partner communities in NSW that communities have ideas – they just need the time, space and resources to come together and share ideas and collectively build solutions to problems.
“FRRR recognises the importance of having a local coordinator on the ground to implement the program. We are currently working to employ someone locally who can bring their deep local knowledge and existing contacts to this project. This project coordinator’s role will be to provide community level support to enhance the delivery of the supported projects, to add value to other locally driven initiatives, and to strengthen cross-sector and cross-community collaboration.”
The first step of the IRCF program is to bring local leaders together. This would normally be done face to face, but given the current situation, it will be online, with separate online meetings for each community, from 4 to 6 May. Details of these workshops are:
- Ulladulla: 4 May – 10am-12pm
- Batemans Bay: 5 May – 10am-12pm
- Nowra: 6 May – 10am-12pm
Participants can register for a session by visiting FRRR’s website.
Once the initial workshops have happened, local organisations will be able to apply for the Start-Up Grants. Individual, locally governed NFPs are eligible to apply, although collaborative applications are encouraged, as FRRR has found that organisations often have similar needs. Applications for Start-Up Grants will close Friday, 29 May 2020.