Social Innovation Fund

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FRRR is once again bringing together the collective resources of the NSW government, the philanthropic sector and local community groups to address pressing and persistent social issues in three regional NSW communities.

Developed in collaboration with the NSW Department for Families & Community Services (FACS), the Social Innovation Fund will focus on the communities in and around the townships of Wagga Wagga, Eden and Kempsey on the South Coast of NSW.

The NSW State Government has provided $900,000 for this initiative, which will seek to address access to education, and youth employment, particularly for vulnerable children and young people, and strengthening community engagement, identity and pride.

The project will follow four phases:

  1. Community engagement and consultation – to ensure that the funding addresses priority issues in each community.
  2. Co-designing the local responses and use of funding allocations.
  3. Developing an evaluation framework.
  4. Designing and administering a grants program or allocating financial investment to charitable projects.

The following is a snapshot of the issues being discussed in each of the three locations during the community consultation period. Even though they address similar issues, the areas of emphasis are slightly different. The way in which each program will roll out is still being determined. Keep checking back for more information.

1.  Enabling Young People in South and West Kempsey
Kempsey town sign

Many young people (12-18 years) living in the South and West Kempsey communities are vulnerable. Amongst other risks, they are at significant risk of poor school attendance or leaving school early which can lead to low self-esteem, depression, disengagement, anti-social behaviour/s and long-term unemployment.

The Kempsey Shire Council’s draft Kempsey Safer Communities and the Breaking the Cycle (BTC) plans both highlight the need for young people to remain at school for improved educational outcomes as well as safer communities. FRRR is working with FACS and the relevant BTC sub-group to identify key long term deliverables and scope a project plan with the overall outcome of increasing community capacity and cohesion in and around the estates. 

2.  Strengthening Community Engagement
Wagga Wagga visitors' sign

Community safety has been highlighted as a significant issue in the Wagga Wagga community, particularly in Tolland & Kooringal, and especially for people of school age to early 20’s. This has led to reduced school attendance rates with the flow on effect of low rates of year 12 completion and further training, education or employment. There are also significant health implications such as high rate of teenage pregnancy, depression, low self-esteem and mental health concerns. The safety concerns have also led to a reduction in community social engagement by residents.

The overall outcome of this project is to increase community capacity and cohesion in and around the Wagga Wagga community, expanding the service system generated from the Neighbourhood Hubs and introducing sustainable projects.

3.  Improving the lives of children and young people in Eden – The Eden Futures Project
Eden, New South Wales

The project is aimed at communities in and around the township of Eden, with a special emphasis on young people (0-17 years). Twelve percent of students in this area don’t complete year 12 (double the state average) and youth unemployment is 14.5%, making up 25% of all unemployed in the area. It is an intergenerational issue, which manifests in low engagement and attainment, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, low literacy and numeracy, and low self-esteem.

This project aims to encourage and support students’ transition from school into education and employment through the development of activities that focus on education re-engagement, skill development and links to employment. Applications to this program are now open and close 31 October 2016.

For more information

For more information, review the links below or contact FRRR on 1800 170 020, or email us.

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