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Newsletter | OCTOBER 2012

From the CEO

It’s hard to believe it’s practically November already – the year is just flying by and we are certainly busy finalising things before the Christmas period is upon us.

I’ve been on the road meeting many wonderful people and organisations, hearing about some great initiatives responding to key challenges, and discussing past and future partnerships and programs.

This included attending a Rural Women’s celebration in regional Victoria, the Crawford Fund Conference, RIRDC Rural Women’s Awards finalists lunch and Awards Dinner and the NFF Blueprint for Agriculture round table, as well as the Australian business and arts Foundation (AbaF) annual awards night.

Tomorrow FRRR will co-host a Rural & Regional Affinity Group forum in Canberra for philanthropic grant makers. It promises to be a great event, with some interesting speakers and I expect valuable discussion about a range of ways philanthropy can better support rural and regional communities. You may like to follow the discussion on Twitter - #ruralforum.

In addition to all these events, we’ve been assessing grant applications for several programs that closed during the month.  We had 619 applications for Small Grants for Small Rural Communities and 55 for CARA. On top of that, the RRR assessment committee had to meet twice to get through the large number of applications in the last round. We will be announcing the outcome of all of these applications soon, so keep an eye on our website, Twitter or Facebook.

We are currently inviting applications for Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W), the new program to assist Victorian bushfire communities, as well as the Lachlan Region Community Grants Program (closes 2 November), the Qld & NSW RRR programs for flood and cyclone recovery and STEPS. So we will no doubt continue to be busy.

Finally, we are calling for new partners for the Back to School program. As we highlight below, there are inevitably more projects than we are able to fund, so if you are able to support us – at any level – please do not hesitate to get in touch!

Until next time...


Alexandra Gartmann

Back to School program


The Back to School program is currently seeking partners for the next round of the program.

This national program provides gift vouchers redeemable for items such as school uniforms, bags and stationery items to rural students in need, ensuring they get off to a great start, and helping local communities at the same time. The financial backbone of the program is the Sidney Myer Fund, which has committed $250,000 per year until 2014 as a challenge grant – FRRR must raise 50% matching dollars for the 2013 program.

Given we have 44 community partners for next year, we fully expect to be over-subscribed for the funds we have available. Every little bit of support will make a difference and we welcome donations from individuals as well as groups. Anything you can do to help another child get their school years, and their education, off to a good start would be appreciated!

If you would like to be involved, review this brochure about how you can support the Back to School Program and you can even donate online.

Resources for Communities

FRRR wants to help rural and regional communities learn about resources that may assist your organisation's administration, help you carry out special events or fundraise, for example. Each month we will introduce you to a group, service or website that we believe you will find interesting.

The Our Community Community Funding Centre provides free help sheets, services, newsletters, books and training to help community groups improve their fundraising abilities and become healthier and more viable. We recommend you spend some time reviewing these resources - but be sure to make a cup of tea before you sit down – there is a plethora of information!

Repair-Restore-Renew grants making a difference in Queensland's recovery

It can be very difficult for communities to recover from a natural disaster. With the support of 17 generous partners, the 2011 Repair Restore Renew (RRR) Queensland Flood and Cyclone Recovery Program was initiated after Cyclone Yasi and floods devastated large parts of Queensland, with the view to supporting community groups in the medium to long term recovery process.

To date, 21 Queensland projects have received funding. Here are just a few updates on the progress of some of the projects.

A pneumatic telescopic communications and lighting tower has been installed in Murgon to assist emergency services during operations and natural disasters. Murgon SES Support Group Inc. volunteer Grant Geddes says they are excited that “our new awesome advanced equipment has arrived and is in operation”. The equipment can save lives by providing a well-lit area and consistent communications channels for emergency services personnel working around dangerous situations.

The Laidley Agricultural & Industry Society received funding to repair the damage caused to the show grounds during the 2011 floods. This showground is widely used by the community for a range of activities including: a stop-over for tourists, community groups, families and also the annual show. The group was innovative in the fencing solution they chose as part of the repair: the new steel fencing can be adapted to the needs of different community activities, such as showjumping or, by removing some round fence pieces and replacing them with square corners, it converts to the square field required by polocrosse.

The El Arish Community Sport and Recreation Association Inc. are dancing on the tables with happiness, after the RRR program, with the support of the Visy Employees Community Foundation assisted with the purchase of 15 new tables, as well as extra chairs and a trolley for the community hall. As a result five new weddings have been booked for 2013. This is great news for the local business community; previously most local brides held their weddings in towns between 30 minutes and two hours drive away.

We will soon be announcing the next round of RRR grant recipients, so follow us on Twitter or Facebook to learn about the projects we are supporting.

A different approach to AGMs

Our involvement with so many different organisations means we are privileged to be invited to attend many AGMs. This month, we've been very impressed with the way a couple of organisations in particular have chosen to highlight what they do.

We were among 120 guests invited to attend the Shepparton Villages AGM held at Tarcoola Village Activities Centre. Over the last five years, FRRR has supported various services for the Shepparton Villages including Diversional Therapy, the Men’s Shed and a bus lifting device upgrade.

The usual business of an AGM was delivered with eloquent humour, making the evening very enjoyable. It also included a taster of the history of the Villages, which is being researched by local volunteers (including residents) under the guidance of author and historian Stella Barber, who addressed the group. The meeting finished with a presentation that celebrated the diversity of residents, their interests and talents, the dedication of staff, and excellence in governance.

We also attended the Tomorrow:Today Foundation's AGM in Benalla. It began with guests being treated to refreshments while the Little Giggles PlayGroup performed. We then heard from some high-school girls participating in the Connect9 program, which helps them build their self-confidence and their knowledge about future career options, thanks to local mentors. Finally, we learnt about the Hands on Learning program, which helps students develop practical work-ready skills with the suport with local businesses. After a short interlude for the formalities, we were able to resume networking. This approach certainly made for an innovative, engaging and well-attended AGM, which was attended by more than 60 people.

Kumuwuki Big Wave Regional Arts Australia National Conference

FRRR recently attended the Regional Arts Australia conference in Goolwa South Australia. The program – part conference, part festival - was jammed packed with speakers, presenters, performers, practitioners and panels, covering a wide range of topics.

It wasn't all play - the four day festival explored, celebrated and discussed the areas of resilience in the face of rapid change, the environment and our impact, cultural and community leadership and the role that art can play across all of these themes. Amongst the many highlights was the inclusion of the Ngarrindjeri people across all aspects of the event.

More than 550 delegates from around Australia came together to share new developments, trends, ideas and practices in arts and culture. Examples of best practice in community arts, and their connection to the broader community through collaboration and participation were inspiring, thought provoking and reaffirming of the resilient nature of individuals and communities in rural, regional and remote Australia.

FRRR is currently seeking partners to run a national Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) program in 2013.

In the media

Healthy art program continues in Mission Beach

The Mission Arts Come Together Program is to run for a further nine months following positive outcomes from the 15 week pilot program, as reported by the Innisfail Advocate.

The program aims to build healthy connections between community members and enhance resilience and wellbeing as part of the Cyclone Yasi recovery efforts. The major grant they received from FRRR, together with funding from Queensland Alliance for Mental Health,  enabled the extension of these community sessions, which are facilitated by skilled community members of Mission Beach, Queensland.

Project coordinater Sarah Johnston said that without the major grant from FRRR and the Visy Employees Community Foundation, the program could not have continued. Phase 2 of the program will include youth art classes, Realist Drawing, and Tai Chi, allowing more social interaction for all ages and cultural activities that meet a broad range of local interests and needs. To help people deal with emotional recovery a Life Mastery series also begins at Mission Arts in October. You can read more online.

Bridging the wetlands in Pinnaroo

The Pinnaroo wetlands in South Australia is an area of ongoing progress. As reported in the Border Times, the next big project is a boardwalk and viewing platform over the western channel.

The structure will be financed using the FRRR grant received earlier this year by the Friends of Pinnaroo Wetlands. While the design is still being finalised, the new footbridge will provide a safe and sturdy platform for spotting turtles and ducks among the calming stillness of the Pinnaroo wetlands environment.

A boardwalk already in place over the eastern channel was built by volunteer labour and has made the crossing from north to south a much safer experience for visitors to the wetlands. A weekend working bee was held recently which saw trees and plants moved to their final homes, an extension of the southern path, removal of the shed graffiti, some painting and the spring weeds around the pond being taken care of with a layer of mulch.

Grant amps up Mission Evolve Music Fest 2012

Thanks to FRRR, the fourth annual Mission Evolve Music Fest had a bigger line-up than ever for 2012, as reported in the Innisfail Advocate. The festival entertained crowds with 28 bands and six DJs.

The Mission Evolve ethos is about supporting local artists and creating opportunities for performers to showcase their talents. The festival included a jam stage, songwriter showcase, Kid’s Fest, circus play, fire dancers, free workshops and roving performers, as well as free camping all weekend, and plenty of bar food and market stalls. Sounds like a great event!


  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Back to School  
  3. Resouces for Communities  
  4. RRR Progress Updates from Queensland  
  5. A Different approach to AGM's  
  6. Kumuwuki Big Wave Arts Conference  
  7. Mission Arts  
  8. Pinnaroo Wetlands  
  9. Mission Evolve Music Fest  
  10. Grants in Action

Grants in Action

Every bloke needs a shed

The Men’s Shed in historic Beechworth in Victoria is a valuable resource for those who do not have access to their own shed. It provides a woodworking and hobbies workshop,  as well as a ‘drop-in’ centre for men of all ages.

The Men’s Shed offers a friendly, relaxed atmosphere created by blokes “working shoulder to shoulder with other like-minded blokes”, and is one of 820 Men’s Sheds across Australia.

The Men’s Shed recently received a $5,000 grant for the provision of much needed accessories for existing tools and machinery. This has expanded the range of projects that can be undertaken at one time, particularly for those with disabilities.

Read more

Grant provides impetus to get the kitchen sink

Adventure Bay is a tiny township on the eastern side of Bruny Island, Tasmania. The Adventure bay community hall is integral to life on Bruny Island. It is in use at least once a day for over 200 days of the year, with activities ranging from theatrical performances to markets, exercise classes, a men’s cooking group and a book club.

The Hall Committee received a grant of $4,500 to upgrade their kitchen facilities. Committee member Margaret Graham says the grant enabled them to do more than they initially planned.

“The kitchen upgrade has surpassed all of our expectations: the impetus that the grant gave to the project saw impressive fund-raising and donations from other groups that use the hall.”

A more attractive, functional and easy-to-maintain space has resulted in an increase in the hire of the hall for private functions and parties, which in turn has increased the committee’s ability to continue to plan further improvement projects for the hall.

Read more

Building a bridge to work through adult learning

Alstonville, a small New South Wales town with a population of around 5,000, is located between Ballina and Lismore.

"A Bridge to Work in Early Childhood Development" is a project initiated by the Alstonville Adult Learning Association, a not for profit community college, with a 30 year history of delivering accredited training to local Aboriginal communities. The program’s aim was to deliver a suite of seven accredited units and a Certificate II in Children’s Services and Certificate III in Hospitality. It was designed to make young Aboriginal women employable in their local area.

The $9,041 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant enabled the development of knowledge and skills in child care, parenting and nutrition, including First Aid and Safe Food handling certificates. The training also provided a greater awareness of NSW child protection legislation.

Alstonville Adult Learning Association Executive Officer Mrs Narelle Millar says, “The project has had an amazing impact on the lives of the participants and an ongoing impact on the community as a whole. As a result students have developed project ideas based on needs for providing improved care for children in the Kyogle community which are now being developed into a framework for a plan to establish a young women’s group called Our Women Now (OWN)."

Read more

Re-building the Boolarra bush

Boolarra is a small township in the Latrobe Valley, Central Gippsland. Lying at one end of the Grand-Ridge Rail Trail, it is a popular bush-walking destination.

The Old Mill site was devastated by fires in 2009. The site’s popular walking tracks became covered in regrowth and the area was not being used.

Boolarra South Landcare Group (BSLG) decided to re-establish the site, which boasts lovely fern gullies and a dam. FRRR's support enabled completion of the project, which includes five kilometres of walking tracks and a picturesque recreational site to benefit residents of Boolarra and visitors to the area.

The Boolarra Community Development Group funded construction of the first kilometre of wheelchair accessible track.

With the assistance of $30,000 from the RRR Program, the BSLG was able to lay the rest of the crushed rock paths, construct a gazebo complete with wheelchair ramp and railings, and install picnic tables and seats. The grant also covered costs of trees, plants and signage for the area.


The FRRR Mission is

"to champion the economic and social strength of Australia's regional, rural & remote communities through partnerships with the private sectors, philanthropy and governments."



Your donation
can make a real difference!


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Tel: 03 5430 2399
Grants: 1800 170 020
Fax: 03 5443 8900
Email: info@frrr.org.au