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More than $1.5M in grants awarded to meet the needs of rural Australia

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More than 150 not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) in rural regions across Australia are sharing $1,579,380 in grants for projects that will strengthen their communities. 

Awarded through FRRR’s flagship Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program, the grants will fund projects that address a range of diverse needs, including fostering community connectedness and wellbeing, as well as supporting ongoing COVID and disaster recovery and preparedness. 

The 151 grants range from $750 for a lawn mower to help local volunteers prepare the community for future bushfires, to $25,000 for a “Get Started Emergency Preparedness” program to empower people with disabilities through tailored disaster readiness education and planning.  

Jill Karena, FRRR’s Place Portfolio Lead, highlighted that the Strengthening Rural Communities program has been a consistent support for local NFPs in rural places, helping to fill funding gaps needed to get projects off the ground or sometimes bring them to conclusions. 

“FRRR’s small grants have supported rural Australia for the past 23 years. Within our Strengthening Rural Communities program alone, we have awarded nearly $18 million in small grants since 2019 and the program’s flexibility is one of the key reasons why it continues to be so popular,” said Karena. 

“Flexible funding means that we can support projects that meet a wide range of needs, reflecting what the community sees as a priority.” 

According to Karena, virtually every part of Australia is recovering from one or more disasters, from the pandemic to floods, bushfires or drought. Many have experienced successive or even overlapping events.  

“The cumulative effect means that even within the same region, there are people working to respond and support recovery, while others are putting planning and training in place to build their resilience and prepare for the next, inevitable, event,” she added.  

For example, in Shepparton, local groups are working to address different community needs and, collectively, help their community to recover, grow and thrive. 

“The organisation will use a $25,000 grant to purchase a refrigerated delivery truck, which will boost organisational capacity so that they can provide food relief to those impacted by the flooding that the region experienced in September 2022.” 

Karena added that the Goulburn Valley Woodworkers will use their $10,000 grant to strengthen social connections that have been challenged by COVID lockdowns.  

“The NFP wants to build the capacity of its volunteers by providing a safe gathering space with concrete flooring that has been sealed and finished,” said Karena. 

“North Shepparton Community & Learning Centre is also helping to strengthen connections for diverse communities by using their $10,000 grant to deliver creative workshops and an exhibition.” 

Some of the projects funded in this round of SRC grants include: 

  • Victoria Daly Regional Council – Kalkarindji, NT – Build the flood-affected community’s ability to provide trauma-informed youth support through basketball activities for mental health and leadership growth. $9,500 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2022 Floods)) 
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Limited – Balranald, NSW – Survey 350 rural community radio stations to assess the needs, resilience and support required to increase their sustainability after the floods and for future disasters. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2022 Floods)) 
  • Mornington Shire Council – Gununa, Mornington Island, QLD – Support community education and development by providing books for the newly built library. $9,886 (Funding Stream – Small & Vital) 
  • Brukunga Community Association Incorporated – Brukunga, SA – Enhance opportunities for community connection and recovery in a bushfire-impacted region by upgrading a community hall and garden. $24,487 (Funding Stream – Prepare & Recover (2019/20 Bushfires)) 
  • Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Centre Inc – Clarendon Vale, TAS – Enhance young people’s mental health and well-being by providing equipment for indoor and outdoor activities at a new youth hub. $6,027 (Funding Stream – Small & Vital) 
  • Regional Victorians of Colour Inc – Kyabram, VIC – Foster opportunities for cross-cultural connection and capacity building post-pandemic through multicultural community meal events and workshops in three towns. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Rebuilding Regional Communities) 
  • Beacon Progress Association – Beacon, WA – Improve access to social and creative activities post-pandemic by removing asbestos from a repurposed community arts space. $10,000 (Funding Stream – Rebuilding Regional Communities) 

A full list of grant recipients is available on FRRR’s website. 

“Grassroots organisations, which are often led by volunteers, play an important role in the vitality of rural Australia because they drive the projects that maintain and sustain their communities,” added Karena.  

“But to do this, they need funds. We’re honoured to play a small part in helping rural Australia thrive and we encourage others to join with us to support local initiatives that really do make a difference.”

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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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