Skills, Training, Engagement & Practical Support (STEPS)

Skills, Training, Engagement & Practical Support (STEPS) logo

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The STEPS Program is currently inviting applications for the final round.

STEPS offers a flexible, independent source of funds to support not-for-profit community groups affected by or impacted by the Victorian 2009 Bushfires. The STEPS program is a joint initiative between the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Since the 2009 fires many individuals and community groups across fire-affected areas have taken on key leadership roles to help drive their community’s rebuilding and recovery. (Note, the final edition of the Fire Recovery Unit's newsletter included some useful tips and resources for those still recovering. We encourage you to take time to review it.)

The STEPS program is designed to enhance leadership in rural communities, improve the ability of not-for-profit groups to develop and implement community projects and ensure community groups avoid experiencing the effects of volunteer fatigue.

Funded Projects

Community Leadership

Training & Skill Development

Community Networks and Communication

Practical Support

A final round of STEPS funding will close 30 May, 2014. Funds will be granted within 10-11weeks of the closing date.

To ensure your application is considered at this final assessment meeting, please contact the project officer Hannah Jakab.

The STEPS program aims to support projects that build community resilience, create community networks and partnerships, and encourage the development of community leadership.  Click here for a printable brochure.

The STEPS program will provide grants under five separate categories:

  1. Community Leadership: Projects that assist members of community groups to learn effective communication, motivation and planning skills through attending established leadership training courses. (Application form)
  2. Training and Skill Development: Projects that enhance the skill base of community groups through enabling members to attend formal training courses or workshops. (Application form)
  3. Strengthen Community Networks and Communication: Projects that encourage communities to work together, network, share information and learn from each other. (Application form)
  4. Mentoring: Projects that provide community groups and individuals within community groups, access to support and guidance through a suitable mentor. (Application form)
  5. Practical Human Resource Support: Projects that provide evidence that human resource support is needed to allow successful completion of recovery related initiatives. (Application form)


  • Grants will be made in amounts from $100 to $30,000 depending on the category of the project.
  • Projects must directly relate to communities affected by or impacted by the Victorian 2009 Bushfires.
  • Projects must be for a charitable purpose (benefit the wider community).
  • Projects which contribute to community renewal and/or rebuilding in the areas of social and community wellbeing, economic, environment, health, education and culture will be considered.
  • Projects requiring assistance which can demonstrate a benefit to the community in the medium to long-term recovery process.
  • Applicant organisations must have an ABN or Incorporation Certificate

Applicants are encouraged to contact the STEPS coordinator on 1800 170 020 to discuss project ideas for this highly competitive program.

New Community Leadership Program:

Ten Community Leadership Programs operate across Victoria. These not-for-profit organisations are led by the community for the community. The results have been real and tangible for individuals, community & industry groups, and the wider region. 

Following the 2009 bushfires, a gap was identified in the bushfire affected Shires of Yarra Ranges, Nillumbik, Mitchell, Murrindindi, and Whittlesea. Without a local Leadership Program in these regions, there have been limited opportunities exist for those who would like to resource and strengthen their community or industry group, extend their regional networks, and reinvigorate and encourage existing and emerging leaders.

With funding assistance from the STEPS program, a feasibility study was undertaken in 2011 by Community Leadership Loddon Murray (CLLM), which concluded that a new CLP would offer substantial benefits and could achieve sustainability in the long term.  Following a facilitated workshop of key community leaders in 2012, a Steering Committee was nominated to progress and further develop the Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program (RRCLP).  The Committee has developed a business plan, and with the support of STEPS funding, conducted a road show across the program Shires in 2013 to scope potential stakeholders, champions and supporters to enable RRCLP to begin its first program in 2014.

Stay tuned for announcements about the launch of this new regional Community Leadership Program in Victoria.