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Community drought recovery projects to share in more than $1M in grants

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FRRR’s long-running Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program, has awarded grants totalling $1,086,794 to 35 not-for-profit organisations to support drought recovery projects in remote, rural and regional communities across Australia.

Now in its eighth year, the collaboratively-funded TTTT program supports drought-affected communities to undertake a broad range of grassroots initiatives that help locals access the resources needed to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought. To date, thanks to the support of FRRR’s donor partners, the program has granted out more than $17.3 million.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that for many communities, drought is still a very real and significant issue, and communities are dealing with a variety of factors as they continue to stand strong and keep their community connected and supported.

“Capacity within rural communities has been significantly hampered by both the long-running drought, and more recently, the uncertainty of COVID-19. Fundraising is a real challenge, and volunteers are really fatigued. However, they remain committed to bringing people together to support one another at a time when doing so is perhaps more important than ever.

“So, programs like Tackling Tough Times Together are an important source of funding, as it means community groups can continue to run programs and events that help to reduce feelings of social isolation. The grants also help alleviate volunteer fatigue, as community-minded people are so often very stretched and stressed by not being able to offer the services they know are so valuable to their community,” O’Brien said.

Successful projects include the Warramboo Community Club’s playground replacement on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Like many remote areas, the Community Club is a focal point of the district for events, sports, celebrations, training and information days.

They are receiving a $25,000 grant to encourage children’s learning and development by replacing the deteriorated playground on the grounds. This creates a key meeting point for the important social contact that binds isolated farming families together.

In the Central region of Queensland, the Flinders Shire Council has devised a plan to boost local tourism and support the economy by fitting out the Agricultural Zone at the Flinders Discovery Centre redevelopment in Hughenden. With their $150,000 grant, they aim to increase tourist activity and enhance economic recovery and renewal by completing the revitalised regional Centre’s new agricultural zone with fit out displays including an interactive sheep shearing display, touchscreens showing agriculture practices and paddock to plate processes.

Some of the other projects awarded this round include the following.

Wandoan Community Commerce and Industry Group from Queensland received $46,073 for Illuminating Wandoan. The project aims to boost local tourism and support the local economy through establishing an outdoor illuminated mural on silos in Wandoan.

Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway Incorporated in Victoria received $18,000 to help fund stage one of the Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway Infrastructure Strategy project. The team hopes to use the funds to reduce volunteer fatigue and build the capacity, capability, and sustainability of an important historical asset through the development of Infrastructure Strategy – Stage One for future usage planning and facility enhancements.

Karridale Primary School in Western Australia received $6,000 for their “Growing our Sense of Place” initiative, which supports opportunities for connection through a bushland art project.

Meanwhile, Shire of Mingenew will use their $5,240 grant to fund their Town Beautification with Children’s Art Workshop. This initiative aims to encourage children’s learning and development with art workshops and mural paintings for town beautification.

The Tackling Tough Times Together program is possible due to the contributions of the Australian Government which committed $15M to be distributed from 2019-2021. Generous contributions have also been made by The Pratt Foundation, Stockland CARE Foundation, Paul Ramsay Foundation, The Snow Foundation, Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Henroth Group and private donors from across the nation.

Applications are currently open for Round 22 of TTTT and groups in areas experiencing prolonged dry conditions are encouraged to apply for funding for drought recovery projects.  Applications close 5pm AEST, 24 August 2021.

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