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Newsletter | March 2017

A word from the CEO

As I write this, communities in Queensland are beginning to understand the impacts of Cyclone Debbie. There is already widespread flooding and the early predictions are for an estimated $1 billion in damages to farms and impacts on food supply. It's already clear that communities affected will need significant support to recover and we have started to talk to our donor partners about how we can be involved in the medium to long term, leveraging our experiences from Cyclones Yasi and Larry. If you want to help, you can donate to our Repair-Restore-Renew fund.

The silver lining may be that the cyclone will bring much-needed rain to some of the 87% of Queensland that is now drought declared. While any rain will be welcome, it won’t break the drought. So the latest round of Tackling Tough Times Together, which we launched on Monday, will continue to be important. If you know groups in the drought-affected areas of Qld or northern NSW, please encourage them to apply.

It was wonderful to have the FRRR board meet at our offices in Bendigo on 14 March. We took the opportunity to have dinner with some local Bendigo leaders. The team and I have also been out and about connecting with donors and with community groups that have received grants. As you can read below, we’ve variously been in Alice Springs, Adelaide and the Barossa, as well as attending events in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane. And it won’t stop any time soon, as we are off to Tasmania later this week. Thanks to all the groups that host us – we appreciate your time and energy in coordinating these visits, which give us such important insights into what’s happening on the ground.

Before I sign off, I want to welcome Carolyn McMillan who has joined FRRR as Executive Assistant, taking over from Bernie Loughnan who has moved on to a new role that was too good for her to pass up. I want to take this opportunity to thank Bernie for all her support over the last 18 months – we will miss her good humour but look forward to getting to know Carolyn.

Until next time …

Natalie Egleton
Chief Executive Officer

Road trips and revelations

It's been another busy month for several of our Program Managers who have been on the road visiting communities, attending conferences, and learning more about the issues that matter to rural communities. 

Sophie presented a workshop for donors at the Community Energy Congress in Melbourne. Neriman headed to Alice Springs, and managed to squeeze in more than 15 meetings and site visits with community groups and leaders, before heading to the first of the Harwood Public Innovators Labs in Perth (read more below). We'll have a wrap up for you of Neriman's NT visit in next month's eNews.

Meanwhile, Mandy and Natalie visited South Australia and caught up with philanthropists and community groups to share information and to learn first-hand about some of the key challenges facing communities in SA. Many thanks to The Wyatt Trust for hosting us, to Philanthropy Australia for promoting our visit through its network, and to all the people who attended the sessions, generously sharing their knowledge and expertise. These meetings provided a terrific opportunity to talk about FRRR, our work and to promote opportunities we are able to offer rural and regional communities.

They then visited areas affected by the Pinery Fires last year, as well as a number of community projects funded by FRRR and Foundation Barossa. The trip culminated in the Foundation Barossa scholarship dinner, where Natalie spoke about the importance of community foundations and philanthropy. 

FRRR recognises the importance of getting out on the road and hearing first-hand about the challenges communities face. It is always inspiring to learn about the unique and fascinating ways they choose to respond to both adversity and opportunities. And, of course, these experiences enable us to do our work that much more effectively.

"Turning Outward" at the Harwood Public Innovators Lab

While Neriman went to Perth, Jacki attended the Harwood Public Innovators Lab, which was organised by Ten20 Foundation, in Melbourne. FRRR was delighted to be able to help five community leaders attend these Labs, which Jacki describes as an incredible experience! 

"Harwood is not so much a model or a tightly-knitted framework for delivering community outcomes; rather a philosophy that can be adopted and adapted, depending on where and for what purpose it is being used.

The main focus of the philosophy is that by turning outward to your community (which might be a geographic region, issue-based or population group), every decision you make, operationally or strategically, can be strengthened.

I encourage people to check out the Harwood Institute’s YouTube channel for a taste."

Programs update

Since the last eNews, we have announced the recipients of the Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) and Community Group Futures (CGF) grants. Twenty-four community groups impacted by the 2009 Victorian bushfires received funding to support the community needs that continue to emerge post the devastating disaster, thanks to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund. The next rounds of GR&W and CGF are now open.

Thank to everyone who applied for the Gardiner Dairy Foundation's Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program, which we have just started assessing. Meanwhile, there are quite a few programs open or opening soon:

Check out FRRR’s grant calendar, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook so you know when grant programs open.

Heads up – dates set for CPPW 2017

Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week (CPPW) 2017 will be 20 – 26 November.

It's a couple of weeks earlier than past years, to help avoid the Christmas party season. This year's theme is building stronger communities together.

Once again, there will be $160,000 in grants to enable communities to come together with their philanthropic partners and celebrate what they have achieved towards building stronger communities for current and future generations. Grants are due to open 5 April. Keep an eye on the CPPW website or via the CPPW Facebook page and be the first community group to apply for a 2017 CPPW grant.

CPPW is supported through the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership and managed by Philanthropy Australia in partnership with FRRR.

In the Media

Cohuna youth prepare for life after school

The Gannawarra Times reported how the Cohuna Neighbourhood House used an ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant to support local youth in gaining important life skills before pursuing tertiary and TAFE studies away from home.

Cohuna Community House

The Cohuna Neighbourhood House used the $8,400 grant to subsidise registration fees for their Uni/Work/Life course.

Targeting recent year 12 graduates, the course aims to prepare young people with relevant certificates, training and workshops before moving away from home.

The course includes Level II First Aid, Responsible Service of Alcohol and Food Handlers’ certificate, as well as basic lessons in car maintenance.

Image: Gannawarra Times

Growing support for Downs Syndrome families in Toowoomba

The Toowoomba and District Down Syndrome Support Group (TDDS) helps to shape the lives of people with Down Syndrome. The group received an Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grant in 2016 which they are using to help with the costs of their annual camp held this month.

The three-day program promotes education, resilience and self-esteem amongst people with Down Syndrome and their families. Read more on the Aussie Cotton Farmers website.

Keeping the noise down in Moyhu

Mocha District Preschool

The Wangaratta Chronicle recently reported that the Moyhu District Preschool in north-east Victoria received a significant makeover during the holidays in an ongoing effort to revitalise the facility.

To help Moyhu District Preschool improve their classrooms, they received a $3,679 grant as part of the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants program funded by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

Since receiving the funding, the school has installed LED lighting, ceiling fans and a new acoustic ceiling, which is better suited for a learning environment.

“The main room of the preschool is looking fantastic and the committee members are incredibly grateful to FRRR and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation, because without their generous contribution to this project, it would never have been completed,” said teacher, Karen Minichelli.

Handy tips for community groups

Evaluation frameworks - how do you measure up?

Evaluating the success of your project can be hard to do or at least it is difficult to know where to start. The trick is to set some measurable goals up front. Clearly identify what you want to achieve and record the:

  • Inputs - the things that will go into the project to make it happen such as money, people / skills, time, equipment etc;
  • Outputs – happen as a result of the inputs, such as a course run with 10 participants, 50 volunteers planted 500 trees, website created, etc;
  • Outcomes – what has improved as a result of the change - e.g. participants are more confident in the use of computers.

You need qualitative – i.e. anecdotal - as well as quantitative - i.e. measurable - data. You can get feedback via questionnaires and interviews, but remember to do this both at the start and at the end of the project so you can get a sense of the change. There is more explanation and measurement ideas on our community resources webpage.

Other helpful sites include ourcommunity.com.au and the Department of Human Services.

Contents

  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Out and about  
  3. Harwood Labs  
  4. SA visit  
  5. Programs update  
  6. CPPW opening  
  7. In the Media:
- Cohuna, Vic
- Toowoomba, Qld
Moyhu, Vic
 
  8. Community tips  
  9. Grants in action:
- Kellerberrin, WA
- Emerald, Qld
- Hunter / New England, NSW
- Renmark, SA
 

Grants in action

Playing, laughing & learning with toys

Kellerberring Toy Library

Quality toys are expensive and children often quickly become bored with the ones they do have, so a toy library helps parents and carers save money.

The Kellerberrin Community Resource Centre in the wheat belt region of Western Australia, listened to the needs of the community and created a resource for borrowing educational toys, puzzles and games.

To ensure the centre’s Play Laugh & Learn project came to fruition, they received a $1,020 grant from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the SBA Foundation, managed by Perpetual.

The toy library has been a huge success, benefiting not only individual community members but also the local school, CANWA, playgroup and Little Learners.

Read more ...

Country road science show hits the road

Central Highlands Science Festival

The Central Highlands Science Centre located in Emerald, Queensland, is a strong believer that every child has the right to an equal education. The community’s science museum is home to over 30 hands-on, interactive science displays for kids.

To reach those who often miss out on opportunities to visit the science centre, they began developing the Country Road science show, which involved creating mobile educational resources that could be exhibited in rural and remote areas.

In support of this project, the Central Highlands Science Centre was awarded a $10,000 grant through the Tackling Tough Times Together program, funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

Using the grant, the Centre travelled 2,000 km, visiting ten neighbouring rural communities, towing a hire trailer and setting up the interactive science exhibits at schools, community halls and shopping centres.

Read more ...

Moving Forward in the Hunter / New England

Many people affected by domestic and family violence encounter significant obstacles on their journey to financial and personal security. But with the right support and encouragement, they can soon be back on their feet.

That’s why the Hunter Region Working Women’s Group created Moving Forward, a mentoring program to enable women who were isolated, socially disadvantaged and had experienced domestic violence to take the next steps to support themselves and feel secure.

To implement the program, they received an Innovation for Community Impact grant of $82,000, which covered a project manager and mentor trainer, program establishment costs, a graduation event, promotion, travel and more.

This project supported 30 women and their families, allowing them to focus on their future and how to manage financially through paid work.

The impact of appointing a qualified volunteer mentor to support each person through the journey and the subsequent impact on the participants has been extraordinary and incredibly satisfying for everyone involved.

Read more ...

Riverland Youth Theatre eRaced racism

Heywire - Riverland Youth Theatre

The Riverland Youth Theatre saw an opportunity to break down barriers of racism and unite their local community by adopting one of the youth-developed ideas, ‘E-Raced’, from the 2014 Heywire Youth Summit.

Their plan was to stage three free storytelling events, showcasing local Afghan youths’ stories of migration, after developing the performance from a series of workshops.

In support of the Riverland Youth Theatre’s mission to develop the wider community’s understanding of the diverse cultures that reside in the area, they received a $6,085 grant from the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.

Participants were keen to share their stories about their lives and arrival in Australia and the showcase events were very well-received by the broader community, relishing in the opportunity to learn more about another culture.

Read more ...


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