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Newsletter | March 2015

A word from the CEO

I am regularly reminded of the ingenuity and the passion that so many people have for the rural, regional and remote communities in which they live - just like the local potters (pictured right) in Condobolin, who I visited recently. Innovative projects confirm that it really does take only a small contribution from outside the community to help bring these ideas to fruition, as highlighted in the grants in action.

Speaking of small acts of generosity that have a huge impact, we have distributed all of the Back to School vouchers and have begun receiving wonderful feedback. This program makes a real difference to the lives of those who receive the vouchers, just as this quote from a Principal attests:

“Thank you very much for the 35 x $50 Target Vouchers that you sent recently to our school. …They certainly assist with the purchase of uniforms and other needed items for school and, at times, to help a homeless student setup a home, flat or caravan. Thank you.”

Over the last month, our thoughts have been with all those communities that were in the path of Cyclone’s Lam and Marcia. Many of those affected are no doubt still trying to come to terms with the impact and get back on their feet. In time however, attention will turn to the effect on the broader community, just as it will for those in WA, SA and Victoria who were affected by the recent bushfires, and those in the Kimberley dealing with floods. While they may all now be out of the media spotlight, we know they will need help to recover. We are once again inviting donors to join with us to contribute to a Repair-Restore-Renew program, which will help fund the needs that emerge in 12-18 months. If you can help, or would just like to understand more about how this program helps, please do get in touch.

And while parts of Queensland received rain following Cyclone Marcia, we also know that many areas continue to struggle with drought. As you can read below, the projects funded through the Tackling Tough Times Together program have been well received.

It's been a busy month of connecting, with some of our directors, donors and staff meeting the inspirational Heywire participants in Canberra, and as you can read below other members of the team visiting projects in Gippsland, Vic. I’m off to Western Australia later this week and will visit some of the projects FRRR has funded across the Wheatbelt, and others are off to Mildura.

Until next time…

Alexandra Gartmann

Program update

Since our last update, we have announced the 30 recipients of the inaugural Cotton Farmers Grow Communities grants. These community groups are now implementing their projects.

Assessment has commenced for the Goulburn Valley McEwen Foundation grants program, Tackling Tough Times Together and round 2 of Repair-Restore-Renew (RRR) 2013, all of which closed recently. There are currently four grant programs still open (but only for a very short time), including:

If you intend to apply, please ensure you read the guidelines carefully and check out our grant applicant tips.

Community leaders talk maintaining momentum in community groups

Alexandra Gartmann, FRRR's CEO, with fellow webinar presenters.

For the third webinar in the Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) program,  Alexandra Gartmann spoke with Birchip Cropping Group founder and chair, Ian McClelland and Kerry Anderson, Projects Manager at Community Leadership Loddon Murray, about Maintaining Momentum in Community Groups.

They shared insights and tactics to help community groups continue to build capacity by focusing on their spheres of influence. They discussed many practical examples and shared simple ideas that had a real impact in helping groups to continue to succeed and thrive. If you missed the webinar, you can read the recap and watch the presentation.

The key points that were highlighted to help groups keep going were all about persistence, patience and passion:

  • Understand who you need to influence - members, community, stakeholders
  • Ensure your purpose is clear - to you and to them
  • Look for different ways to share the load, and then celebrate and thank your members & volunteers
  • Engage widely and in different ways; Communicate – tell your story
  • Try new things and share mistakes
  • Create a broad base of supporters and collaborate, don’t duplicate
  • Have fun!

SAVE THE DATE: The next CIRCLE webinar will be held on Thursday, 16 April
at 1.30 pm. The topic is Leadership Development  - how to develop and continue to grow the capabilities of your community group’s leadership team. Registrations will open soon.

Donation Account helps honour three brave men

The 3 heroic men.

Euroa, in the north east of Victoria, is unique in the Commonwealth: it is home to three Victoria Cross recipients. All three local heroes fought in the First World War; Lieutenant Frederick Harold Tubb VC; Corporal Alexander Burton VC; and Lieutenant Leslie Maygar VC, who also fought in the Boer War.

In 2009, locals from around Euroa sought to establish a memorial for the men and women from the district who served Australia in war. A business plan was developed with three key actions, including erecting bronze statues to honour the three Victoria Cross recipients.

It was an ambitious plan, with some $300,000 required. FRRR received a request from the Honouring Our Heroes Euroa & District Incorporated committee to set up a Donation Account to help them raise the necessary funds by leveraging FRRR’s unique tax status to attract tax deductible donations.

Unveiling the statues

The Committee’s aim was to have the bronze statues completed for the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings on 25 April 2015. The project was completed within budget and well ahead of schedule with 2,000 people attending the unveiling ceremony in November 2014, which was conducted by the Governor of Victoria, his Excellency Mr Alec Chernov AC QC.

John Sullivan, Treasurer wrote to FRRR in the final report, “The overwhelming consensus within the community is of great enthusiasm for the project, and that is shown by the number of visitors to the Park.”

We are delighted to have been able to play a small part in honouring these heroes.

Grants in Gippsland - workshops & visiting projects

Nearly 100 people recently gathered in the Wonthaggi Town Hall to learn about various funding opportunities open to communities in the Bass Coast area of Victoria.

FRRR Program Manager Jeanice Henderson joined the Gardiner Foundation, Myer Foundation & Sidney Myer Fund, R.E. Ross Trust and panel of local funders to highlight opportunities and resources available to community groups seeking funds for a wide range of community projects. 

The Bass Coast Community Foundation, Bass Coast Council, Bass Coast Landcare Network and Community Banks of Inverloch and San Remo / Cowes / Granville coordinated the highly successful presentation which was followed by a very busy networking session which enabled community groups to speak directly to potential funders. Congratulations to the Bass Coast funders for such a positive and interactive event.


While in the area, Jeanice took the opportunity to visit some local projects funded through FRRR, including the San Remo Preschool, Bass Coast Special School (pictured with Principal Edith Gray), Mirboo North Secondary College and the Trafalgar Community Centre at the Trafalgar Anglican Church. She also caught up with Kate Dwyer at the Bass Coast Community Foundation, and Derrick Ehmke and Kate Buxton at the Mirboo North Community Foundation to chat about the wonderful work they do with the Back to School program in their local area.

In the media

BTS making a difference on the Eyre Peninsula

Once again, FRRR’s Back to School (BTS) program has rolled out across the country. South Australia’s West Coast Sentinel reported that $20,000 worth of Back to School vouchers to assist families in need to buy school items were distributed across Eyre Peninsula schools last month.

On top of support from FRRR and the Sidney Myer Fund, additional support from the Wyatt Foundation and Morialta Trust meant the Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation was able to double the number of vouchers distributed in the region.

Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation deputy chairperson Steve Errock said the vouchers were appreciated by families receiving them and the school principals who assisted the foundation with distribution.

Communities come together in tough times

Community members enjoying the entertainment at a TTTT event.

In northern New South Wales and south east Queensland, Waggamba Landcare and Tie Up the Black Dog worked together to help a number of drought affected communities to forget their worries for a short while and enjoy a series of events designed to provide a circuit breaker during these tough times, to support one and another and provide some comic relief.

Waggamba Landcare secured funding from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT) program to organise and run the events in the centres of Warwick, BillaBilla, Texas, Nindigully and Toobeah. Organiser Bec Morrisey said the major point was for families to get together and just have time to have a bit of fun.

Moree’s Border News reported that the entire initiative was a resounding success in each of the small communities, with adults and children alike thrilled by the high quality entertainment program that was provided. Ms Morrissey said Waggamba Landcare was working on delivering more events in the coming months.

In the lead up to the event, Alexandra Gartmann was interviewed by Goondiwindi Plus More. In the Q&A she explained why these kinds of programs are so important.

Handy tips for community groups:

Give via GIVIT

GIVIT logo

In 2009, GIVIT was established as an online platform to connect those who have with those who need. GIVIT provides a targeted donation matching and sourcing solution to ensure those who need assistance get exactly what they need, where and when they need it most.

In 2011 when Queensland was hit by devastating floods, GIVIT became the state government’s official website for matching donations – with 1.8 million hits resulting in 33,500 goods matched over a three week period. During times of disaster, GIVIT works alongside local Government agencies and not-for-profit organisations to identify and source needed donations by location, enabling the rapid delivery of quality goods in a timely manner.

GIVIT allows you to donate material items and corporate donations to people and communities impacted by natural disasters. Visit the GIVIT website to find out how you can help those in need who have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Marcia and flooding.

Swinburne offers free course on autism

Commencing in April parents, families and carers who live and work with individuals on the autism spectrum will have the opportunity to participate in a free six week course. The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) will use scenario-based learning approach and draw on the stories and experiences of individuals, carers and experts in the field whilst highlighting that there is not one correct way to approach different situations with individuals on the autism spectrum. The course will provide participants with solutions for better social, emotional and educational outcomes.


  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Program update  
  3. CIRCLE webinar recap  
  4. Euroa Donation Account  
  5. Out & about in Gippsland  
  6. In the media
- Eyre Peninsula
- NSW & Qld
  7. Handy tips for community groups  
  8. Grants in Action
- Alexandra, VIC
Northcliffe, WA
- Port Neill, SA
- Dalwallinu, WA

Grants in Action

Strengthening groups in Alexandra

The communities in and around Alexandra were affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires. The immense generosity of local volunteers has supported the recovery effort however this also placed big responsibilities on the shoulders of those leaders.

Hence a focus on enhancing governance of community groups. The Continuing Education and Arts Centre Alexandra (CEACA) received a Grant for Resilience & Wellness, which is funded by the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, to deliver grass roots governance training.

In all, 16 three hour governance essentials course were run, plus four three-hour sessions for those in the role of Secretary or President.

In her acquittal report, Charlotte Bisset wrote: “It benefitted the groups involved, as they will now function more effectively, and are more likely to achieve their purposes.”


Bush bards close out 90th party

Northcliffe, which is on the very south-western tip of Western Australian, nearly 360 km south of Perth, celebrated its 90th anniversary with a weekend of festivities in September 2014. 

During the weekend, 1,000 people participated in activities including historic bus tours, a formal ball, a street parade tracing the nine decades of Northcliffe’s history since European settlement, and music and entertainment by local artists.

This all led to the Poet’s and Yarnspinners’ Breakfast on the final day, when more than 100 people filled the Hollow Butt café beyond capacity. The crowd was entertained by bush poets and larrikins alike, reciting their own poetry and other favourites on request. A 90 year old pioneer had even travelled a 120 km round trip to share his poetry at the festival.

This event was funded by a $1,025 FRRR Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) grant, thanks to the McCusker Charitable Foundation. The grant covered the costs of the breakfast and performance fee for Ron Evan, a Western Australian poet. Locals and visitors who attended the anniversary festivities are eagerly anticipating the town’s centennial celebrations in 2024.

Read more ...

Fitness and fun for seniors

Port Neill seniors keeping fit.

Port Neill is a small coastal town on the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The population's median age is 60, and unfortunately due to funding cuts, the weekly fitness sessions specifically designed for seniors stopped at the end of June 2013. 

The Port Neill Progress Association successfully applied for a grant via FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program. The $2,300 grant, funded by The Yulgilbar Foundation, enabled the program to run for the first half of 2014.

Dedicated volunteers from the Port Neill Progress Association then raised enough money to continue this important health and fitness program through the remainder of 2014.

Read more ...

Different strokes for different folks

Participants talk with the facilitator in the MBTI course.

Five years ago in the small town of Dalwallinu, two and a half hours north west of Perth in Western Australia, the Liebe Group held a workshop designed to increase individuals’ capacity to understand, build tolerance, grow respect and develop further opportunities for families and the community.

The tool they used to do this was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which provides a simple way of understanding differences in people and their personalities. Word of mouth had driven more people to enquire about the possibility of accessing this information and experience for themselves, so a second workshop was organised in October last year.

The McCusker Charitable Foundation, in partnership with FRRR, funded a Small Grant for $2,500, which went towards the costs of running the two-day Myers Briggs Type Indicator workshop, which thirteen people attended. 

The discussions around how the information can be implemented into people’s daily lives and the benefits gained from the workshop was still happening weeks after the course ended.

Read more ...

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."



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