Grants help drought affected Qld & NSW communities to help tackle tough times

Fifteen community projects across Queensland and northern New South Wales will soon be helping locals battling the drought.

The projects will share $125,197 from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program, which is designed to help community members support one another through this difficult time.

FRRR CEO, Alexandra Gartmann, says that mental health and wellbeing issues differ, depending on the type of drought experienced. “In rural areas, research1 shows the worst mental health issues occur after long periods of persistent drought, followed by a year or two of especially dry weather – which is exactly what is happening now in Queensland and northern New South Wales. That’s why this program is so crucial.

“Local businesses are often the major supporters of community projects, however, we heard time and again that the usual support has not been forthcoming because those businesses are under so much stress. Add to that the fact that many of the drought-affected communities were suffering from floods only last year, and it makes this program all the more important,” Ms Gartmann explained.

The program will help bring to life a wide range of projects, all aiming to alleviate the impacts of drought on communities and build social capital, including:

  • Providing music lessons for isolated students;
  • workshops ranging from diversifying farming operations and reviewing farm practices, to managing farm finances, generating off-farm income via the arts and helping small businesses survive the drought;
  • events featuring high-profile guest speakers talking about mental health;
  • gatherings that combine social interaction with education and practical hands-on activities;
  • a camp for isolated children, providing an outlet for physical activities and friendships;
  • blogging workshops, to enable people to share their experiences;
  • case studies about how different businesses are managing through drought conditions; and
  • helping local Shows offer fun activities regardless of cost.

The Tackling Tough Times Together program, which is generously funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, the Yulgilbar Foundation, FRRR and Aussie Farmers Foundation, was launched in June and these are the first grants from the program. A small number of larger-value grants will be awarded in November. The program continues to accept applications for grants up to $10,000, with the next round assessed after 12th December.

Details of the projects funded are listed below:

Applicant

Project Title

Funding

NEW SOUTH WALES

Granite Borders Landcare Committee Incorporated

Building Landholder Resilience Through Education on Adaption and Diversification
Host a two day educational workshop for up to 60 people to build the capacity of local landholders to adapt and diversify their production systems. Topics will include soil health, farm diversification, grazing management and succession planning.

$10,000

Lions Club of Tenterfield Inc.

Catering for Community
Purchase catering equipment, including a BBQ, fryers and marquees, to be installed on a custom-built mobile catering trailer that can be used at local events and made available to other charitable groups and clubs.

$9,000

Granite Borders Landcare Committee Incorporated

Rural Women’s Workshops - Building Resilience
Host a series of workshops for farming women to develop participant’s skills in off-farm business management, health and wellbeing and social media. The workshops will also incorporate art and craft, meditation, yoga and cooking.

$10,000

QUEENSLAND

Tie up the Black Dog Committee (Border Rivers Catchment Management Association)

Roads to Resilience
Host free events in Roma and Goondiwindi featuring guest speakers Craig Hamilton (ABC grandstand reporter and mental health advocate) and Wayne Bennett (NRL coach) who will talk about resilience, recovering from adversity and how to develop skills to remain positive mentally in tough times.

$10,000

Burke Shire Council

Bring Burketown Together
A three day community event including a family movie night and picnic in the park, an activities / games day for children and adults, and workshops to discuss coping with the drought.

$6,000

Charleville & District Chamber of Commerce

Looking Beyond the Station Fence and into Country Towns
Host training workshops for small businesses in Charleville to further develop their business skills, build resilience and plan for the future by identifying possible areas of growth.

$9,000

Desert Uplands Build-Up & Development Strategy Committee Inc.

Bring Back the Groove
Host a two-day get together in Barcaldine for isolated landholders, enabling them to come into town to socialise, reconnect with neighbours, hear from mental health and wellbeing experts, participate in practical exercise and discuss production strategies.

$9,150

Isolated Children's Parents' Association - QLD Inc.

Charters Towers ICPA Camp 2014
Host a camp in Charters Towers to provide geographically isolated children and their families with an opportunity to have some respite away from their properties.

$9,890

Prairie Primary P & C Association

'Dusty Melodies' Music Making in the Bush
Offer music lessons free of charge for Prairie State School students and distant education students.

$8,000

Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women's Network Inc.

Blog RRR: 3R Women Speak Out About Drought
Run facilitated "BlogRRR" workshops in Goondiwindi, Charters Towers and Kingaroy . The project will connect three communities that are dealing with the effects of drought through a free and readily available medium.

$8,380

Queensland Farmers’ Federation Ltd

Surviving the Dry: Drought resilience strategies for intensive farming industries
Research and publish a series of case studies on drought preparedness and coping strategies. Delivery online via video and print will allow farmers to view the information at a time that suits them.

$7,200

St George Arts Council Inc.

Making Art Play and Pay
Host two workshops for up to 30 participants on how to commercialise and market art and craft products. The project will also improve self-esteem and confidence while encouraging artists to work together, rather than in isolation, to jointly market their products.

$5,436

Tara Pastoral Agricultural and Horticultural Show Society Inc.

Tackling the Tough Times in Tara - One Ride at a Time!
Subsidise rides and sideshows at the 2015 Tara Show, to encourage the community to attend the show without it greatly impacting financially on families.

$10,000

The Gums Primary P & C Association

Ladies Indulgence Day
Purchase four marquees, initially to be used for a Ladies Indulgence Day and then made available to other community groups and clubs throughout the year.

$8,641

Windorah Development Board

Ladies Day
Host the Coopers Creek Ladies Day to provide women within the Shire an opportunity to get together to listen to a motivating and inspiring guest speaker and reconnect with friends and neighbours.

$4,500

 

1 Source: http://pulitzercenter.org/reporting/oceania-australia-climate-change-mental-healt

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