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Grants available to support ageing rural, regional and remote Victorians

2 min read

While aged care facilities are the traditional focal point when it comes to supporting older people living in rural and regional communities, the needs are far more diverse.

A report by Council on the Ageing Victoria (COTA Victoria) found that older people in rural and regional Victoria are more likely to be socially isolated and digitally excluded, and have poorer access to health, housing, transport and other essential services.

To help tackle these issues, grants up to $40,000 are available now for Victorian community-based, not-for-profit groups that provide programs and activities that support older people in rural and remote communities. The funds are available through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) program, which is generously supported by the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation.

FRRR’s General Manager Grants & Impact, Karyn McLeod, said that the CARA program is deliberately designed to help communities cater for all aspects of ageing by supporting projects that foster respect, integrity, creativity and sustainability.

“CARA can fund projects that local leaders identify will make the biggest difference to older people in their communities. It could be an initiative that reduces isolation, creates intergenerational connections, enhances aged care facilities or services, promotes lifelong learning, or supports community health and wellbeing.”

Now in its 14th year, funds of $225,000 are available across two grant tiers, small grants are up to $10,000 while large grants offer between between $10,001 and $40,000.

The Tallangatta Health Service is a previous grant recipient. It used funds from the large grant stream to complete a perimeter fence around the Bolga Court Residential Aged Care facility. While idyllically situated on the shore of Lake Hume on the Victorian-NSW border, for residents living with dementia, the location was also a potential danger. The installation of security fencing with a fob-operated gate assisted the Health Service to create a more secure environment and prevent residents from wandering into harm’s way, giving families comfort that their loved ones are safe.

Maldon Neighbourhood Centre’s Complimentary Caravan challenged the stereotypes and disconnect that often exists between different generations, bringing together elderly residents and local school children to co-create a sound and visual arts presentation.

A $5,104 CARA grant, funded with the support of the Ian Rollo Currie Estate Foundation, allowed for a series of recording sessions in the Victorian Goldfields town. Primary school students and local elderly residents recorded audio compliments, facilitated by artist Rose Turtle Ertler. Then, at the Maldon Market day during the Maldon in Winter festival, locals could step inside the small, custom-built Complimentary Caravan and listen to the audio compliments from both generations. Rose also worked with the students to create artworks responding to the compliments, which were made up into a small booklet and showcased during the Easter Parade. Maldon Primary School students joined Rose in presenting the books of compliments to older patients at the Maldon Hospital.

The success of the project reinforced that great outcomes can be achieved through intergenerational art-based projects. Both the children and their elders benefited from the interaction and relationship building.

Applications close 5 pm AEST, Tuesday 24 September 2019.

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Pearl Dy is a community manager and journalist. She is passionate about business and development particularly involving not-for-profits, charity and social entrepreneurship.


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