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Nearly $500K in grants to support community resilience, wellness in Victoria

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Support continues for communities impacted by 2009 Black Saturday bushfires with FRRR awarding $499,959 in grants through its Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) programs, for 31 projects to help Victorian communities continue to build back community resilience following the February 2009 Black Saturday fires. 

These grants are funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund (VBAF) thanks to generous contributions by the general public following the 2009 bushfires. More than 12 years on from the disastrous fires, FRRR has awarded more than $6.1 million in grants to local groups in impacted communities. 

Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) 

Since 2011, the GR&W program has funded projects that strengthen and build the resilience of communities in regions affected by the 2009 fires including Gippsland, Greater Bendigo, Alpine and Whittlesea. To date, $3,560,842 has been granted to 257 community-led projects through the GR&W program. 

This round of GR&W sees 22 community groups from impacted regions sharing in $268,821 in grants for projects designed to support locally-led recovery. The initiatives include projects that will improve and enhance community meeting places and events that promote and support local arts and culture activities. 

Nina O’Brien, Disaster and Recovery Lead at FRRR, said that over the past 10 years the Foundation has seen the needs and priorities of the recovering regions develop and evolve and the projects funded through the GR&W program have reflected this evolution. 

“This round saw community groups wanting to continue to build back better and support their region’s resilience and wellness through projects that bring locals together, provide relevant support and opportunities, and help community members develop practical skills,” O’Brien said.  

O’Brien highlighted the importance of supporting community meeting places such as the Alexandra Indoor Pool and the community garden in Long Gully, as well as equipment to boost the capacity of several local Community and Men’s Sheds.  

“The importance of arts and culture in disaster recovery continues in this round. Funding will support a comedy night at Clonbinane, and a variety of festivals and music sessions at Redesdale, Marysville, and St Andrews,” O’Briend said. 

“A number of men’s sheds received funding, highlighting the important ongoing role of these facilities in providing opportunities and resources where people connect, develop skills, and create useful items for the benefit of the wider community,” she said. 

Some of the other projects funded in this round of the GR&W program include the Traralgon South Billy Cart Construction and Derby, which encourages generations to come together and gain new skills through a billy cart building project. The project received $5,360 in grants.  

Meanwhile, Redesdale Recreation Committee’s Pavilion Completion project received $13,992 to improve the accessibility and amenity of a community gathering space through the installation of shade sails and safety upgrades.  

The full list of grant recipients can be found on FRRR’s website. 

Grants for Resilience & Wellness Kinglake Ranges (GR&W Kinglake Ranges) 

Similarly, The GR&W Kinglake Ranges program awards grants to community groups and local not-for-profit organisations in the Kinglake Ranges for projects that build resilience and increase the wellbeing of communities across the 2009 bushfire-affected region including Kinglake, Kinglake Central, Kinglake West, Pheasant Creek, Toolangi, and Flowerdale. 

To date, 32 projects have shared in $882,913 in grants through the GR&W Kinglake program, which is now in its third year. This round there are nine projects sharing in a total of $231,138 in grants. 

The program provides community groups and local not-for-profit organisations the opportunity to work together to get initiatives off the ground. 

“Dindi Arts Trail is one such collaborative approach, with a series of murals to be painted across Flowerdale, Kinglake, Kinglake West and Toolangi. The arts-based recovery project will see each community work with a lead artist and local artists to paint the artworks. The initiative will enhance community pride and sense of place, as well as boost the local economy by encouraging people to visit the region and follow the Dindi Arts Trail across the Ranges,” O’Brien said. 

Among the GR&W Kinglake Ranges awarded grants are Kinglake West Primary School, which received $3,500 for its NAIDOC Week Celebrations. Kinglake will use the grants to “foster knowledge and strengthen connection to local First Nations culture by celebrating NAIDOC week and building a bush tucker garden.”  

Meanwhile, Toolangi District Community House Inc received $33,007 to redevelop the Toolangi Tennis Courts & Surrounds. This will help expand the use of a community meeting place and increase safety through restoring pathways linking shared community facilities, repairs and landscaping.  

 The full list of grant recipients can be found on FRRR’s website. 

 Next round 

The next round of GR&W Kinglake Ranges will open later this year. Applications for the GR&W Kinglake Ranges program are encouraged from all community groups in the wider Kinglake Ranges, not just those that participated in the initial consultation process in 2017. 

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