FRRR launches Cyclone Debbie recovery fund
30 March 2017: The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced that it has established a Repair-Restore-Renew Fund to support the medium to long-term recovery of rural and regional areas affected by Cyclone Debbie and the resultant flooding.
FRRR has supported communities affected by natural disasters since 2006. Working through a collaborative model, the Foundation raises funds at the time of disasters, which are then distributed through community grants beginning 12-18 months after the event.
Chief Executive Officer, Natalie Egleton, says that this ensures that resources are available to support communities when the needs have become more apparent.
“This approach means that communities can take the time they need to conduct adequate research and planning to ensure that social and physical infrastructure is appropriate, sustainable and meets the future needs of the community. It means funds are available when the gaps are identified,” Ms Egleton explained.
“Emergency services, governments and relief agencies do an amazing job during and immediately after a disaster, bringing people to safety and ensuring their immediate needs are met. But we know that disasters have a long-lasting impact and communities need support long after the focus has moved on to the next event: organisations still need rebuilding; people need support and community spirit needs restoring,” she added.
“The collaborative aspect of FRRR’s program is also important,” says Ms Egleton. “A key thing we learnt in responding to the 2009 Victorian bushfires is that if donors pool resources and work together, we can better manage duplication. We can use each other’s strengths and skills more effectively. It also means stressed communities have an easier time navigating their way towards philanthropic support.”
The kinds of things that can be funded through FRRR’s program are diverse and reflect the needs the community identifies, but it could include minor infrastructure, arts programs, mental health, volunteer fatigue, training, leadership, resilience, communication and disaster prevention and mitigation. Some specific projects funded after previous disasters include:
- rebuilding key community assets, such as local halls and meeting places, playgrounds and gardens, so there are physical places to meet and connect;
- activities that encourage people to connect – e.g. singing; art; craft
- training for volunteers in disaster recovery skills - e.g. using chainsaws;
- engagement programs (e.g. mental health, community gardens, health and fitness) that support people through practical activities;
- environmental rehabilitation; and
- economic recovery activities for the community or for an industry sector
Ms Egleton says that these are often projects that cannot be funded anywhere else – yet they are in high demand from communities in recovery.
FRRR’s unique status ensures that funds can also be directed to community groups that often aren’t eligible for philanthropic funding.
“In small communities, many of the local community groups don’t have DGR status, so they don’t receive funding from other sources. So, contributing to FRRR’s programs ensures that the funds really get to the groups that need support.”
The Fund is tax deductible and accepts donations from individuals and from trusts, foundations, corporations and individuals. Donations may be made via FRRR’s website: www.frrr.org.au/donate or by contacting FRRR on 03 5430 2399.
Notes for media
FRRR has worked with communities in natural disaster recovery since 2006, when we first supported recovery following Cyclone Larry and more recently, Cyclone Yasi. Read about some examples of the grants provided to support recovery from Cyclone Yasi, and their impact five years on.
FRRR’s CEO, Natalie Egleton, is available for interview by calling 03 5430 2399 or calling Julie Weldon on 0423 110 802.