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Program to distribute more than $1M in grants to rural communities

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FRRR has awarded $1,062,484 in grants for 85 projects that will help boost remote, rural and regional communities across Australia, through its Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program.

The grants awarded will go toward a broad array of inspiring initiatives that will strengthen and build the long-term viability and vitality of smaller remote, rural, and regional communities across Australia, including projects to support community healing and renewal following the 2019/2020 bushfires.

Grants range from $2,700 to help the South Australian Beachport community access lifesaving equipment, to a $25,000 grant to improve the security and amenities at the Corryong Community Hall in Victoria.

The SRC program is collaboratively-funded and offers two streams of funding. Small & Vital awards grants up to $10,000 for locally-led initiatives that build resilience and enhance the vibrancy of rural Australia by addressing the needs identified by the community. This round of SRC has seen 49 projects sharing in a total of $420,003 in Small & Vital grants.

The second stream provides grants up to $25,000 for projects designed to help seed and strengthen the recovery of regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires. Thirty-six bushfire recovery initiatives have been awarded a total of $642,481 in this round of SRC grants.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that over the past year rural people have demonstrated the true meaning of resilience and determination and continued to find ways of addressing the needs of their communities.

“The pandemic has highlighted that community groups need to be agile and able to adapt and respond to changing circumstances. To do this successfully, they need to be well resourced, with facilities, equipment and the right knowledge, skills and capabilities. The pandemic has also reinforced the importance of community-led initiatives that promote individual and community health and social wellbeing,” she said.

Several grassroots solutions designed to support these key initiatives and develop these vital skills have been awarded grants in this round of SRC, including the Oura Oura House – Interpretation Room project in Cygnet, Tasmania, which will strengthen connection to local Aboriginal culture, and in Biggenden, Queensland, the primary school is supporting student health and wellbeing through an amenities upgrade.

“Recovery in bushfire-affected regions has been hampered by COVID-19 restrictions, but local organisations are still seeking to do what they can to meet the local priorities in their community. This round we saw an increase in requests to fund projects that will provide access to services and activities as impacted communities begin to resume normal activities and reconnect one year on from the fires. This includes Tenterfield in NSW, where a series of creative workshops will support the social and mental health of locals,” she said.

“Improving and repairing infrastructure is also an important part of the recovery process for many of these communities. These meeting places, like Katanning’s central shopping precinct in Western Australia and the local Hall in Charleston, South Australia, played a vital role during the bushfires, providing the community with a safe place to gather during the fires, or as a space to gather in order to reconnect and seek support after the disaster,” Egleton explained.

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