Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

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.

Outstanding young leaders who are creating positive change in regional Australia are chosen annually to attend the Heywire Summit. These ‘Trailblazers’ are a new generation of change-makers busy making regional Australia a better place, tackling issues from climate change to period inequality. The Sally Foundation and ABC recently partnered with FRRR to support these emerging leaders to build their leadership skills, and their capacity to make a difference in their communities. 

The Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund awarded seven grants totalling $20,000. One of the recipients was E-raced Inc in Mt Gambier, who is using their $2,000 grant to deliver cultural awareness programs in rural SA and Victorian schools.  

E-raced fights racism through storytelling. The organisation has a team of storytellers who share their experiences as refugees or migrants with students at schools, breaking the stigma around refugees and migrants.     

The Trailblazers Development Fund grant allowed E-raced to purchase the equipment they needed for their organisation to grow, including a printer, camera and children screenings and police checks for each E-raced Mount Gambier team member. 

“This grant is very appreciated and lifts the weight off our team”, E-raced branch manager Chanceline Kakule said. 

Partner Organisation

Project Name

Location

Awarded

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Deadly Science

Improve educational outcomes and nutrition among young people, and increase food security in three remote Indigenous communities through the installation of greenhouses.

Robinson River NT
Dareton NSW
Purnululu Frog Hollow WA

$4,000

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Autism Our Way – No Shame in Sharing PODCAST

Build awareness of autism and support for Indigenous communities in managing autism through a podcast on Autism and Cultural Safety.

Cardiff NSW

$2,000

Mindfull Aus Ltd.

Digitally Mindful

Improve education and awareness of mental health and wellness in rural and regional communities through a series of online interviews.

Gippsland VIC

$2,131

North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources Incorporated

Pallinup River Monitoring – Connecting our Community and Culture to Science

Improve water quality in the Pallinup River through a river monitoring and community education program.

Gnowangerup WA
Borden WA
Ongerup WA

$2,180

E-Raced Incorporated

Erasing racism one story at a time

Build capacity of E-Raced to deliver cultural awareness programs in rural SA and Victorian schools through the purchase of technology equipment and contribution to travel expenses. 

Mount Gambier SA
Warrambool VIC
Penola VIC

$2,000

Woomelang & District Development Association

Look at these Endangered Species of Mallee

Improve town amenity and build community pride in Woomelang, Victoria, through installation of lighting and signage for a local mural art project depicting endangered animal species.

Woomelang VIC

$3,689

Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG) Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Corporation

Systems Check

Improve organisational capacity of Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good to provide support to Indigenous young people through finalisation of their Human Service Quality Framework. 

Cairns QLD

$4,000