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FRRR gears up to support recovery in flood-affected FNQ

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With more than two metres of rain falling across Far North Queensland in the last few days, communities are now facing an unimaginable cleanup and recovery journey ahead. 

After working alongside disaster-affected communities for more than 20 years, organisations like FRRR knows that the small, remote communities in this region will need support in their recovery over the medium to long term. That’s why FRRR is launching a Flood Recovery Appeal. 

While the extent of the impact is still unfolding and immediate response needs are being coordinated, once that support has ceased, in about 12-18 months, there will still be significant community-level needs to be addressed.  

Those will evolve over the coming years too – moving from a focus on physical things that enhance safety in the event of a ‘next time’, to helping address volunteer fatigue and eventually supporting general community wellbeing, economic recovery and organisational capacity building. 

FRRR’s role – with the support of their partners – is to be there as they move through this journey, offering patience, continuity, flexibility and agility to move how and when the community is ready – with fit-for-purpose funding and resourcing support. 

That’s why FRRR established the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund (DRRF) in 2019 – to ensure that they can support grassroots community organisations across remote, rural and regional Australia that often miss out on receiving funds donated for disaster recovery. 

This Fund ensures that FRRR can support recovery when the community is ready, usually long after the headlines have faded. It also funds preparedness initiatives so that communities are in a better position to recover from a disaster event.  

Funds are invested with the returns used to fund grassroots groups to implement the recovery initiatives that they prioritise, long after immediate response and relief funding has ceased. 

Alternatively, donations can be made directly to the Prepare & Recover stream of FRRR’s small grants program, SRC, which provides grants of up to $25,000 to communities impacted by disasters.  

FRRR supporters can nominate that they want their funding directed to supporting communities impacted by a particular disaster, such as TC Jasper. They report regularly to their supporters and, for significant donations, can trace contributions through to the specific projects that funding has made possible. 

FRRR views disasters as environmental shocks that remote, rural, and regional communities regularly experience.  

In operational terms, FRRR has a standing disaster philanthropy model that they scale when a major disaster occurs. Each year, with support from hundreds of donor partners, they provide grants and capacity support to around 600 remote, rural and regional places across the country via almost 1,200 grants.  

This reach gives the organisation a good footprint and connection points that they can naturally tap into when disasters occur – and it means we are building on the resilience and capability that has been built up in between disaster events. 

Recovery and preparedness efforts depend on the social ties, quality of community infrastructure, depth and breadth of skills and networks, cultural knowledge, and the health of local service systems, not-for-profits and community groups. FRRR’s approach is to balance funding for recovery and preparedness to support people and community-led processes as well as infrastructure and equipment.  

This approach enables improved outcomes as communities move through their recovery and aims to support needs now and as they evolve. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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