18 communities impacted by the Black Summer bushfire will receive a total of $341,280 in grants for 20 projects that will support the recovery of their communities. This latest round of grants will come from The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) in partnership with News Corp.
In total, the News Corp Bushfire Fund has awarded $1,119,825 in grants to date to support 61 recovery-focused initiatives across affected communities. The next round of grants will be the final round for the News Corp Bushfire Fund and will bring the distributed funds to a total of $1.5 million.
Up to $25,000 of News Corp Bushfire Fund grants will be awarded to community groups in regions impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires for projects that address a range of needs and priorities for each community.
This round saw 20 community groups from bushfire-affected regions across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria awarded grants for initiatives that build community resilience and preparedness for future disasters, help people connect and support their wellbeing, and provide practical upgrades to emergency infrastructure and equipment.
Emphasizing community resilience
Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that the demand for a wide range of community resilience projects demonstrates how important it is to let local people decide what the need and priorities are for their community’s recovery.
“We know that local leaders are best placed to know what their community needs, especially as recovery happens at different rates for each impacted place. While projects may vary from place to place, building community resilience and making sure the community is prepared for future emergencies is a common goal for regions that have already been impacted by disaster,” Egleton said.
For some communities, building community resilience means repairing infrastructure damaged by the fire or purchasing emergency equipment such as generators and solar battery systems for use in future emergency situations similar to the Black Summer bushfire.
Meanwhile, other places prioritise improving amenities or increasing the capacity of community infrastructure where people connect, engage and support one another.
News Corp Australia’s community ambassador Penny Fowler said these grants were especially significant considering the timing.
“This third round of grants builds on the ongoing needs of each community to recover at their own pace – whether that be upgrading essential town halls, providing mental health programs for firefighters, or bringing people together through drive-in movie sessions,“ Fowler said.
“Recovery takes years, not months and we are committed to standing by these communities, remembering their loss, their stories, their pain and their bravery,“ she said.