79 community-led projects that will boost remote, rural and regional communities across Australia are sharing in $809,234 in funding from FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

In this round of funding, $446,638 will support 55 Small & Vital projects, while $312,596 will be shared across 22 bushfire recovery initiatives.

Grants awarded range from $1,800 to upgrade the Gujarati Cultural Association of Darwin website, through to $25,000 for Wangaratta Rural City Council, which will be used to purchase and install a generator in their Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort.

The funding follows the recent release of FRRR’s Heartbeat of Rural Australia Report, which highlights the challenges that local community groups across the country are facing in funding the vital community-strengthening activities that they undertake.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said  that the diversity of projects reflects the critical role that these groups play in the vitality of their communities.

“As we found in our Heartbeat study, rural community groups and NFPs really are the heartbeat of rural communities. However, many community groups have found it tough to access funding, especially over the last two years, so we are delighted to be able to step in and support them to deliver on local priorities.

“We are seeing initiatives address local needs ranging from enhancing organisational capacity, to providing training so that the groups can better support their communities, to upgrades in critical community infrastructure so that people a safe and accessible space where they can meet.

“This diversity of projects confirms that these community organisations are best placed to lead the way when it comes to supporting their communities, facilitating recovery, and building resilience,” Egleton said.

Funded by contributions from a number of donors, the SRC program offers two streams of funding. The Small & Vital Stream offers grants of up to $10,000 for locally-led initiatives that strengthen community resilience and capacity, while the Bushfire Recovery Stream offers grants of up to $25,000 to support recovery from the Black Summer bushfires in 2020/21.

“We often hear from community groups that the funding they receive from FRRR helps them secure the balance of funds for their projects. While we are awarding $446,638 toward Small & Vital projects, the total value of the projects we’re supporting is nearly $3 million. This means that, on average, for every $1 awarded by FRRR there’s another $6.50 going into the community either in cash or in-kind. That’s wonderful to see and we’re delighted to be able to help local organisations make progress toward getting these critical initiatives up and running,” Egleton said.

Some of the 79 projects awarded include:

Dunalley Tasman Neighbourhood House Inc Holistic Volunteer Strategy, Nubeena, TAS – $8,200 –
Increase the Neighbourhood House’s capacity to support volunteers through the establishment of a volunteer engagement strategy.

Bruny Island District School Association Incorporated Billabong Playground Upgrade, Alonnah, TAS – $10,000 – Improve educational, physical and social outcomes, by installing an age-appropriate outdoor play area for preschool children.

The Community Charity Shop Incorporated – Rylstone, NSW – Volunteer Celebration and Expo – $10,000 – Celebrate volunteerism and encourage local involvement through a two-day volunteer expo and celebration of local volunteer groups.

Gong-Dal Aboriginal Corporation – Gapuwiyak, NT – Miyarrka Homelands Mobile Bush Studio and Pilot Project – $10,000 – Upskill youth in video production skills and build a library of video resources for cultural education as well as the purchase of video equipment to develop On-Country bush video studio.

Fassifern District Historical Society Incorporated – Boonah, QLD – Ride on Mower – $6,200 – Increase volunteer safety and bushfire preparedness through purchase of a ride on mower.

Port Neill Progress Association Inc – Port Neill, SA – Health and Connectedness for our Community – $2,860 – Support physical and mental health for residents of Port Neill, through weekly fitness sessions throughout 2022.

Goulburn Region Pre-School Association Inc – Violet Town, VIC – Violet Town Bush Kinder – $4,264 – Enhance early learning and appreciation of nature through the development of a bush education program for kindergarten children.

City of Albany – Goode Beach, WA – Albany Community Preparedness and Resilience Project – $8,350 – Building community resilience by supporting community planning and preparation for emergencies or disasters.

A full list of grant recipients is available on FRRR’s website.

Featured image above: West Coast Connect located on the West Coast of Tasmania used a $9,200 grant to purchase a greenhouse, garden beds and planter boxes that are accessible for people with mobility issues. WCC used the green house to address skill shortages and provide job opportunities, after the area lost the TAFE Tasmania campus 10 years prior.