Sixteen community initiatives that will act on issues that matter to remote, rural and regional youth will share in $148,721 in grants, through the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.
Now in its 11th year, the youth-focused program offers funds for communities to adopt, adapt and act on the ideas generated by young Australians at the ABC Heywire program’s annual Regional Youth Summit.
This year’s 39 young Summit participants developed six exciting ideas for change on issues that matter most to rural youth, with themes addressing boredom relief; easy access to mental health support; cost of food relief; education and diverse learning needs being catered for; ensuring youth voices are heard; and creating better futures for young people with disabilities.
The idea that received most applications was ‘Boredom Relief’, which resonated extensively with young people. One of the projects receiving funding to respond to Boredom Relief will be led by 2023 Heywirer Blake, who says there is a lack of opportunities for fun youth events in rural communities such as his.
“In small rural towns, it can feel like there is nothing for young people to do. We need to make sure that there are safe events and spaces for youth, or else they will look to drugs and alcohol for entertainment and excitement.”
“Our project will see young people design and lead a one-day event of live music and activities. The drug and alcohol-free event will involve young and upcoming artists, and include art and cultural activities. I know it will help the young people in our community to build connections and give them practical experience in event management.”
“I’m excited for it to get underway!” said Blake.
According to FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead Deb Samuels, this program helps to put youth-led ideas at the forefront of rural communities and helps young people to feel heard.
“Young people are the future and often we find that grassroots organisations know how important it is to involve the youth and make them part of the community, but they simply lack the capacity to do so.”
ABC Director, News, Justin Stevens, thanked FRRR for its support.
“Heywire amplifies young rural and regional voices across our ABC platforms and the Regional Youth Summit encourages their inspiring ideas for change and helps bring them to life,” he said.
“These young innovators are Australia’s future leaders and their ideas demonstrate their understanding of what their communities need.”
The full list of projects that have been funded is on FRRR’s website. They include:
These grants are possible thanks to the generous support of The Sally Foundation, David Mactaggart Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, AMP Foundation, as well as several private donors.
“Thanks to our donor partners, this program gives community groups the support and resources they need to overcome these barriers and focus their time and energy on initiatives that will make young people feel seen and empowered,” said Samuels.
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.