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Org offers $175K to bring youth-led initiatives to life

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youth-led initiatives lab Heywire

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is inviting remote, rural and regional community groups apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help fund youth-led initiatives that provide innovative solutions to five priority issues identified by participants at the inaugural Heywire Youth Ideas Lab, held recently in Broken Hill.  

This program was made possible by the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, Erdi Foundation, Findex Community Fund, David Mactaggart Foundation, and private donors. This year, thanks to their generosity, $175,000 in grants is available. 

Since 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural and regional youth to address issues that matter most to them. To date, more than $1 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 130 projects in over 160 communities. 

This year, due to COVID-19, the ABC needed to pivot their approach to how the ideas were generated.  

Typically, they come from the annual Heywire Youth Summit in Canberra, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, over three days 27 young local leaders from Broken Hill and surrounding regions gathered to exchange ideas about their own local youth-led initiatives.

Broken Hill was chosen as the host town because it had the most entries in the annual Heywire story-telling competition. The young leaders learned new skills, shared their stories, and workshopped ideas to help make rural and regional Australia an even better place for young people to live and work. 

The ideas formed during the in Broken Hill now form the basis of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants. These ideas include: 

Discover Your Future: Giving young people a chance to explore and learn more about their future career options. 

Open Field Fest: Bringing music, art and people together to help create a community-run music and arts festival. 

Support Squad: Training young leaders to provide support, knowledge and companionship to peers who may be struggling with a variety of challenges. 

The Story Link Project: Tackling discrimination through sharing diverse stories that help people within regional communities understand the impact of discriminatory language. 

Contribute to the Change: Helping young people improve their mental health knowledge and understanding, so they are confident to seek the help they need. 

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said each year she is impressed by the youth-led initiatives that Heywirers bring to the table, and this year is no exception. 

“The five ideas developed by Broken Hill’s young people are insightful and meaningful and provide a snapshot of the issues currently faced by young rural people across Australia. The beauty of the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants is that they fund projects driven by these young Australians’ ideas. 

“We encourage community groups to engage with local youth when considering which idea to adopt and adapt. These capable young leaders understand local context and can help adapt an idea to best suit the priorities of local youth and assist in leading a meaningful project that will make their community more inviting and inspiring for other young people to live and work,” Egleton said. 

Youth Ideas Lab and Heywire participant Ashlyn speaks of how proud she is of herself and her Broken Hill community for coming up with the five ideas which were designed to combat challenges they themselves have faced.  

“The Youth Ideas Lab was such an incredible and inspiring experience. I’m so glad our Broken Hill community was given the opportunity to come up with these ideas that will soon be turned into realities. These ideas were formed by our unique experiences; now it’s your chance to take them on in your own community. I can’t wait to see where they go and how they grow!” 

Applications close Thursday, 19 August 2021 and recipients will be announced in early November. More information is available on FRRR’s website. 

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