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Newsletter | November 2015

A word from the CEO

Hi everyone,

As Acting CEO, I am very pleased to share our 2014/15 Annual Review. You can read more below, but it was our biggest grant-making and partnerships year to date: we awarded a record $8.4m in grants, and received $9.5m in donations and grants to support a diverse range of projects across rural, regional and remote Australia.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of our donor partners and it was wonderful to be able to thank many of the donors at a small gathering in Sydney at historic Boomerang House, thanks to the generosity of Lindsay Fox. It was great to meet some more of our donors and I look forward to continuing the discussions we started. Considerable credit must also go to our former CEO Alexandra Gartmann, who has moved on into her new role as MD and CEO of Rural Bank. Alex was an inspiring leader - we thank her deeply for the four and a half years she gave to FRRR, and wish her all the very best for her future.

I’m delighted to welcome the Menzies Foundation as donor partners to the Back to School program - an incredibly high impact program where just $50 can change a disadvantaged child’s experience of school. We would welcome additional contributions to this program – large or small. We are also very grateful to ThirdLink Investments who have recommitted to the REAPing Rewards program, which supports children and young people in rural and remote communities to have more equitable access to quality education.

As usual, it’s been a busy time for the team. We have undertaken evaluations of several programs, including STEPS, Tackling Tough Times Together, and the Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage program (CATCH) to inform our activities for the coming year. We hope to be able to share an indicative schedule of grants for 2016 in the next newsletter.

A major priority is to continue the Tackling Tough Times Together program, in light of the ongoing and worsening drought. Some areas of Qld (which is now 80% drought declared) and northern NSW are into their fourth consecutive year of drought. We will be refreshing the program a little to provide more support in the areas of community leadership and capacity development and welcome additional donor partners to this program. In the meantime, another round of this program will open before the end of the year.

We have also been planning for the inevitable natural disaster season, as communities across the country are sure to be affected by floods, storms, fires and cyclones; and already have in some areas. We are ready to partner with donors to support the recovery of affected communities and can do this with flexibility via our diverse programs. Our focus will remain on supporting communities through the medium to long-term recovery phase and we will direct support via our suite of programs, supporting arts, mental health and wellbeing, education, local community infrastructure and strengthening local community leadership and capacity.

I will be travelling in November, starting with a visit to South Australia to help our partners ABC Rural celebrate 70 years of broadcasting. I will go on to Sydney and then Wagga Wagga in NSW to kick off a new program in partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (to be known as the Social Innovation Fund), and later to the Alpine Valley region in Victoria to launch another new program – Social Change 101. More about both of these next month. I look forward to the opportunity to meet more donors and community leaders in the coming weeks.

Until next month ...

Natalie Egleton

FRRR releases its Annual Review

This year marks a special milestone for rural and regional Australia - the 15th anniversary of FRRR. The 2014/15 Annual Review reflects on our formation and subsequent activities, as well as the past financial year.

To date, we have distributed in excess of $60 million to more than 7,400 community groups. Last financial year was a record year. You can learn more about how we awarded $8.4 million (up from $6.4m in 2013/14) to 757 community groups in rural, regional and remote areas in the 2014/15 Annual Review which is now online. It also illustrates how some of the projects we supported contribute towards vibrant and adaptive communities and highlights some of our current funding needs. Our achievements over the past 15 years would not have been possible without the generous support of more than 90 donor partners.

A sweet 15th celebration

Our October board meeting was held in Sydney at Boomerang House. The stunning location was also the venue for a small celebration to mark FRRR's 15th year of granting. In partnership with our donors, we have now distributed more than $60 million to in excess of 7,400 community groups. The event was a chance to thank our donor partners and to introduce the organisation to a few new groups. We will hold a similar event in December in Melbourne.

Program update

Last month, the Hon Christian Porter MP announced the 24 recipients of the inaugural Community and Philanthropy Partnerships Week (CPPW) grants. Sharing $160,000, grant recipients from across Australia will use the funding to celebrate what they have achieved when community organisations have partnered with philanthropy to provide benefits for the local area.

CPPW will run from 7-13 December 2015. Learn more about the projects funded and please like CPPW's page on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s happening leading into celebration week. If your group is planning a celebration, please also register it on the website.

We also recently announced the 35 recipients of the 2015 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grants. These community groups share $275,000 in funding to implement educational and employment projects in their communities. In the 13 years of the program, ANZ has donated $4 million to support 750 projects in rural, regional and remote Australia. You can view the full announcement and read more about all the projects on our website.

Assessment continues for the Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC), REAPing Rewards, Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities, Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) and our new Victorian Bushfire recovery programs, with recipients to be announced shortly.


Finally, as part of the Creating Inspiring Rural Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) program, FRRR commissioned a review of rural, regional and remote leadership programs being delivered across Australia. Thank you to the more than 450 people from across our network who participated in a survey undertaken by Andrew Huffer and Associates (AH&A). This helped us understand the current programs available, as well as the needs and barriers to participation. The report contains seven key findings and recommendations, which will be of particular interest to organisations that manage leadership programs or who have an interest in building capacity in rural communities.

Congratulations Tim!

FRRR is very proud of Director and donor partner Tim Fairfax’s recent award of 2016 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year. This award recognises those Australians aged 65 and over who continue to achieve and contribute within their communities.

Tim has been a Director with FRRR since October 2002, lending his extensive experience as a businessman, pastoralist and philanthropist to our governance operations, as well as chairing the CARA Assessment Committee, and acting as a member of the Finance & Audit Committee. In addition to being a director with FRRR, Tim and his wife Gina founded the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, gifting more than $16 million since 2008 to community-based arts, music and sporting projects in regional Australia. We thank Tim for his contribution to FRRR and congratulate him on this achievement.

In the media

Gather in the Glen

The 2015 Rural Women’s Gathering in mid-October was hosted by Glen Innes on the Northern Tablelands, in the New England region of New South Wales.

The Glen Innes Examiner reported that ‘Gather in the Glen’ saw 350 women (and some men!) converge on Glen Innes for a long-weekend of activities that provided the opportunity to learn, network, and socialise with women from all over New South Wales, plus some interstate travellers.


A $3,000 grant from FRRR’s Tackling Tough Times Together program enabled the organisers Glenrac Incorporated to subsidise registrations for 12 women to attend the event. By providing free places at the event, FRRR and the Yulgilbar Foundation are supporting rural women to better cope with tough times.

FRRR Director Annabel Dulhunty, who presented at the event, said she had great feedback from several of the people who received sponsored places at the event. "It was very obvious that many of the participants drew real strength from coming together with like-minded people, and listening to inspiring speakers."

Podcast 2: Helping kids helps parents too

In our second podcast we turned our attention to programs designed for kids that also ease the burden for parents dealing with hard times. You'll hear how adults are enjoying the benefits of their kids' music classes and why getting involved with school camps offers lasting respite from the pressures at home.

Journalist Cameron Wilson spoke to parents in Charters Towers, Northern Queensland and Prairie, Central North West Queensland who found themselves getting some unexpected relief from their kids’ involvement in camps and music lessons. This episode also includes an interview with Bruce Scott, a community leader in Windorah, who explains the benefit of having kids bring parents together. Please listen and share across your networks.

Local markets are kicking goals for farmers

Boots for Change event in Launceston

The Australian Farmers Market Association received a $10,000 FRRR Heywire Youth Innovation grant to bring the Boots for Change idea to life. The program calls on farmers market visitors to throw on their boots to support and spread the message of farming families and local food production.

The project kicked off this month with two pilot markets - Harvest Launceston in Tasmania and SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya, NSW. Both markets saw great support for the Boots for Change initiative ahead of its rollout to 160 regular markets across Australia in 2016.

Jane Adams from the Australian Farmers Market Association told ABC Rural online that Harvest Launceston farmers market, with its broad community of supporters, was the natural choice to pilot the idea and it showed on the day with many people donning their ‘Boots for Change’.

You can follow the project on Twitter with the @bootsforchange handle or the #bootsforchange hashtag. There’s also a Boots for Change Facebook page. Why don't you add you own photo to show your support!

Home video 'Hope and Hair' takes the prize

Ruby, Kate and Lily - winners of the QRRRWN 'Whose gonna do it for you?' competition

Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network’s Women Inspiring Women Conference in Biloela saw the culmination of a Tackling Tough Times Together project funded by FRRR and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation. The project showcased the resilience of families and communities living in regional Queensland through home videos they created to be published on dedicated YouTube and Facebook pages.

Kate Bradshaw and her daughters Lily, 12 and Ruby, 10, were awarded first place in the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) ‘Who’s gonna do it for you?’ project. Their video was a serious yet light-hearted take on the problems of drought - bringing attention to the problem of not being able to wash your hair when there is little water and what water you have is dirty. In a farm shed 80 km outside Winton, Queensland, the Bradshaw women shared their three-year story of drought, resilience and short hair using an iPad balanced on an old truck.

The Queensland Country Life reported that their winning video ‘Hope and Hair’ showed grace and courage in the face of extreme conditions (and brought a tear to our eyes!). For more information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program, visit our website.

Handy tips for community groups

Financial literacy tips from Probono Australia

Probono Australia recently shared the results of the NFP Financial Literacy survey they conducted with Grant Thornton Australia earlier this year. The report looks at the ability of NFP senior managers and boards to deal with emerging financial issues, opportunities and challenges. A free copy of the report can be downloaded online here.

2015 Volunteer Grants

Australian Government funding is now available for organisations to apply for grants between $1,000 and $5,000 to help with the costs of volunteering.

To be eligible to apply, organisations must be Australian not-for-profit organisations whose volunteers support families and communities across Australia.

These funds can help to pay the costs of fuel, training, background security checks and transport for volunteers with a disability who cannot drive. The funds can also be used to help with the expense of small items of equipment like iPads and printers, helping organisations to keep pace with technology and ensure their volunteers have access to digital and electronic equipment.

Applications close at 2:00pm AEDT on 9 December 2015, with grants to be paid by 30 June 2016. For further information about eligibility and how to apply, visit the Department website.


  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. 2014/15 Annual Review  
  3. Celebrating 15 years  
  4. Program update  
  5. Qld Senior of the Year  
  6. In the media:
- Glen Innes, NSW
- Podcast 2, Qld
- Launceston, Tas & Moruya, NSW
- Bileola, Qld
  7. Handy tips for community groups  
  8. Grants in action:
- Mitta Valley, Vic
- Darkan, WA
- Clunes, Vic
- Bridgewater, Tas
- Laurieton, NSW

Grants in action

Keeping things current in Mitta Valley

Some things get better with age, but pre-school furniture probably doesn’t fit into that category. With the outside of the local pre-school getting an upgrade, it was opportune to overhaul the furniture, too.

A Gardiner Dairy Foundation Working in Dairy Communities grant of $2,500 enabled the Mitta Valley Multi Purpose Children’s Centre to make some dramatic changes.

This included new chairs, tables, storage units, shelving, a food trolley for lunch boxes, some soft seats for the reading area and a craft trolley.

Naomi Dower from the Community Centre said there has been an increase in the use of the building by Community Early Years Childcare and an increase in the number of attendees at playgroup.

Read more ...

All the Shire's a stage in Darkan

West Arthur Community Resource Centre

Community leaders in Darkan, Western Australia, were keen to find a new activity to engage young people – the theatre. Their aim was to get at least 10 young people involved in a production – either on stage or behind the scenes. But the Town Hall was out of action, so finding a stage was a challenge.

With support from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, thanks to the McCusker Charitable Foundation, they were able to purchase a portable stage. The $2,500 grant purchased four modular stages, steps and curtains, so they can now take their performances anywhere.

The reconvened Darkan Music and Drama Club is now giving young people a creative outlet, as well as a way to learn new skills.

Wayne Stockley from the West Arthur Community Resource Centre reported that the grant had a very positive effect on the community and engaged a wide age group. “It has also inspired other community groups to consider how they too can improve their activities with the use of the facility.”

Read more ...

Food for Clunes community dinners
Stephen Arrowsmith in the Clunes Community Garden

The Victorian Clunes Neighbourhood House runs the Community Food for Community Dinners program, with support from volunteers who cook meals for $5. This nearly covered the cost of ingredients but they were still short. They identified a run-down community garden as an opportunity to start producing their own ingredients. 

With $4,250 from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, generously donated by the R.E. Ross Trust, they were able to purchase and install a 22,500 litre water tank for irrigation, partially install micro irrigators, renovate the chook shed and run, and construct six raised vegetable beds.

“We are now producing our own ingredients and providing a purposeful placement activity with six volunteers assigned to gardening activities.”

Read more ...

Cool chicks and crazy kids in Bridgewater

Jordan River Learning Federation Poultry Day

Making chickens seem cool to kids is no easy feat, but that’s exactly what Jordan River Learning Federation (JRLF) did with their Cool Chooks & Crazy Kids – Eggs-traordinary Education project!

Based in Bridgewater, 19km from Hobart in Tasmania’s south-east, the project gave 10-15 disengaged teenagers the opportunity to work with an expert poultry breeder on a range of poultry farming activities. It culminated in a ‘Poultry Day’ where students could demonstrate what they had learned through the program.

A $9,895 REAPing Rewards grant funded by the Ian Potter Foundation allowed students from Grade 6 through to Year 12 to be involved. There has been improvement to students’ learning engagement and they are taking pride in their work with poultry.

Read more ...

Sharing a caring memory in Laurieton
Sharing the Memory Caring - Hastings District Respite

Laurieton and the surrounding district has the highest aged population in NSW - 27 years above the Australian average.

Hastings District Respite Care takes a person-centred approach to caring for dementia patients. However, the Laurieton centre lacked dementia specific facilities. This made it difficult for staff and volunteers to provide person-centred care.

Hastings District Respite Care received a $3,946 Small Grant funded by The Pratt Foundation to improve facilities at the Laurieton care centre. The centre purchased a range of IT equipment as part of a new program.

The equipment is helping staff to capture the clients' life stories, preserving memories and in the process helping staff to connect with their clients.

Although not traditionally associated with aged care this technology helps staff interact with clients on more meaningful levels providing intellectual stimulation.

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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Email: info@frrr.org.au