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Newsletter | July 2014

A word from the CEO

Hello again, 

I begin this update by thanking all of our generous donors -  large and small - for your support. As is now the norm, June was a bit of a whirlwind - in the nicest way - as we received generous donations from many quarters, with several existing donors extending or expanding their support, and a number of new partners coming on board.

Two men talking.

I particularly want to thank the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Yulgilbar Foundation who have made it possible for us to launch a program to help those in communities impacted by drought in QLD and northern NSW. There are more details below.

We also received a number of donations from individuals, ranging from $5 to $5,000 - some directed to FRRR's programs, and others to donation accounts, supporting causes that are important to them. Again, I thank each of you for these important contributions.

It is so rewarding to see donors using FRRR in the way in which our founders intended - helping philanthropy to reach community groups in rural, regional and remote Australia.

In closing, I want to thank Andrew Long who recently stepped down as Company Secretary, having held the role virtually since FRRR was formed. I greatly appreciate his commitment to the Foundation and his support, particularly when I transitioned into this role. Lisa Norden has joined us as Company Secretary, bringing a wealth of experience which will be invaluable in helping us grow.

So, all in all it's been a great start to the new financial year - especially when, as you can read below, there are so many other good things happening.

Until next time...


Alexandra Gartmann

Photo Source: Italo Verdaro

Program updates

With high levels of interest in our programs, the team has been busily assessing applications, announcing the recipients of Small Grants for Rural Communities, and launching our new drought support program, Tackling Tough Times Together (see below).

Meanwhile for those still seeking funds, programs that are currently open or that  open soon include:

  • The 2013 RRR program is still open. Up to $15,000 is available to support communities impacted by the bushfires, cyclones and floods that affected Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland during 2013. Details of eligible communities, as well as the kinds of projects we can fund, are on our website. Applications for the first round close 01 August.
  • The ANZ Seeds of Renewal program will open 08 July. It will again support projects that focus on education or employment opportunities. To help you start planning, check out some of the projects previously funded via this program, like the Penguin Speedway project.
  • The Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) program opens on 10 July. The program is open to communities in rural, regional and remote NSW, QLD, WA and central VIC. Grants of up to $10,000 are available.
  • The next round of REAPing Rewards closes 25 August. This national program targets education and supports locally-driven projects and programs that directly benefit children and youth up to 18, and their educators, in rural and remote communities. Grants of up to $10,000 are available.
  • Finally, the Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) program is also open. GR&W supports communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.  Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Manager Natalie Egleton by email or telephone on 1800 170 020 to discuss their project.

Tackling Tough Times Together

In early June, thanks to the initiative and commitment of Tim and Gina Fairfax, and their family, FRRR launched the Tackling Tough Times Together program.

As Mr Fairfax AC explained to the media, the program is really important to him as he knows all too well the challenges of battling difficult conditions alone - and therefore the importance of talking about what you're going through, sharing the experience with others.

That's why the focus of the Tackling Tough Times Together program, which is also generously supported by the Yulgilbar Foundation, who are contributing funds to northern NSW, is on bringing community members together - those living on the land and those in the small towns that service them.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for these initiatives, which as Alexandra explained, can be as varied as movie nights to create a family outing, repairing an important community meeting place, or putting on a play. "The program is deliberately broad, so that communities can determine what is going to work in each area and be of most help. We can't make it rain, but we can help people help each other," she said. A few larger grants - up to $50,000 - will be available for projects that have a broader reach.

For more information about this program, and to learn how it will work, read the media release. Since it was issued, the eligible regions have been expanded to include Brewarrina and Walgett, and the FRRR board has commited a further $100,000 to the program.

Anyone else interested in contributing to the program can donate online - simply select 'Drought Relief' from the drop-down menu - or call FRRR to discuss your involvement.

Tackling Tough Times Together logoTackling Tough Times Together logoYulgilbar Foundation logo

Communities share $400k in Small Grants

One hundred and forty-nine small rural, regional or remote communities have shared in $400,000 in grants from the 25th round of FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program. 

More than 600 groups applied for grants during the Silver Jubilee round of this program, which is made possible by several generous donors contributing to this broad grant program.

Alexandra Gartmann says that by donors pooling their funds, more community groups can be supported.

“The donors are the lifeblood of this program, while the community groups are the local champions. FRRR acts as the conduit – working closely with, and supporting, rural, regional and remote communities to fulfil their ambitions, and providing donors with FRRR’s special tax status, allowing them to channel their funds to community organisations that might otherwise not be able to access philanthropic funding. This collaboration makes the community a better place for all who live and work there,” Ms Gartmann said.

Donors supporting this round of the Small Grants for Rural Communities program include: McCusker Charitable Foundation; The Pratt Foundation; Yulgilbar Foundation; Melliodora Fund, through the Australian Communities Foundation; The R.E. Ross Trust; The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation and The William Buckland Foundation; FRRR and a number of private donors.

Program Managers on the road

Our Program Managers enjoy visiting grant recipients and seeing first-hand the impact the projects we fund can have on a community. They also like to share their knowledge and pass on some tips, and recently two of the team have been on the road in Victoria.


Jeanice Henderson at the Minyip Probus Club.

Jeanice Henderson visited the Wimmera district of Victoria to present to the Minyip Probus Club. While in the area, she visited the William Farrar Memorial in Minyip, which was restored by the Minyip Progress Association with help from a Small Grants for Rural Communities grant. Jeanice then travelled to Rupanyup Nursing Home, which has redeveloped an outdoor area for the safe use by residents suffering from dementia with help from a CARA grant, and they also have an engaging music program, thanks to a Small Grant.

The final stop on Jeanice’s mini tour was to the Kara Kara Management Network Group who are using motion sensor cameras to monitor wildlife in the local National and State parks surrounding St Arnaud, thanks to a Small Grant for Rural Communities. The cameras are currently tracking Sugar Glider activity and they hope to incorporate their use into a project with local primary school students.


Into Our Hands grant writing workshop participants

Meanwhile, Sophie Bourke delivered a grant writing workshop to the Into Our Hands Community Foundation members in Myrtleford. The session was in advance of the Into Our Hands Foundation’s second round of community grants, so participants were eager to hear what makes a good application, and what not to do!

Loretta Carrol, Chair of the Foundation, said, “Writing grant applications is a bit of an art form - it's not always easy to understand what the donor wants to know and why. We hope this workshop will help demystify grant writing and provide grantseekers with practical tips on how to write a strong grant application."

YAC members moving mountains

Recipients of a 2013 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grant are getting set to move mountains as they come into the final stages of planning for their project which aims to shape the view of mental health in local schools in the Northern Grampians in the Wimmera region of western Victoria.

The Moving Mountains project, which is being led by a sub-committee of the Northern Grampians Shire Youth Action Council (YAC - pictured below), targets primary school students in grades 5 and 6, and secondary school students in years 8, 10 and 12 through a series of workshops developed and presented by YAC members.

YAC committee members

Chair of the Moving Mountains committee, Harriet Madams, said that when YAC saw the mental health project (originally named The Green Room) on the list of Heywire initiatives seeking community support for implementation, they knew instantly that they wanted to take it on.

“We received $10,000 to kick-start the project. We’ve also been really fortunate to be given the opportunity to meet up with the Heywire participants who originally came up with the project idea and we’re getting ongoing support from Council, FRRR and the ABC,” she said.

Workshops will be rolled out in schools from August 2014 and will be supported by subsidised mental health first aid training opportunities for the general public. 

Eaglehawk’s Star still shining bright

Eaglehawk's Star Cinema

In April this year, there was cause for celebration at the Star Community Cinema in Eaglehawk, Victoria as they proudly announced that they had reached their fundraising target to enable them to become a ‘digital cinema’.

Over the past eight months, the Star Cinema has held a large fundraising and awareness campaign to help them purchase the required digital cinema equipment to avoid the fate of many similar small, independent cinemas which have had to close.

An FRRR hosted Donation Account facilitated the receipt of tax deductible donations from the community and interested members by leveraging FRRR’s DGR status. Since the Go Digital or Go Dark Project Donation Account was opened in October 2013, it has received donations of around $10,500, which has made a generous contribution the Cinema’s fundraising efforts.

In their announcement to supporters, the Star Cinema extended an enormous thanks to the businesses, organisations and individuals who gave generously so that the Star can keep shining. 

In the Media

Men of metal

There’s something inspiring about intergenerational initiatives, and with the help of an FRRR Small Grant, a proposed partnership between the Cooktown District Community Centre’s (CDCC) Men’s Shed and Cooktown State High School, the far north Queensland community will very soon benefit from a project connecting young and old.

Metal workshop at high school

In May, the Cooktown Local News reported on the eagerly anticipated rejuvenation of the Cooktown State High School’s metal workshop, which hasn’t operated for the past two years due to lack of suitably skilled teachers. With funding approved in the latest round of FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, members of the CDCC Men’s Shed can use the skills they’ve acquired over a lifetime (and the $3,000 grant!) to give the metal workshop some tender loving care, cleaning and adjusting the equipment before mentoring students and helping them with their metal work projects. 

Deputy Principal of the Cooktown State High School, Cindy Seden and CDCC’s Healthy Ageing Program Manager David Cass said that they are very excited by what the proposal offers. “It’s a win-win situation for both the school and the community. It’s quite exciting that this proposed partnership is getting closer to fruition,” they said.

Grant kickstarts apprenticeship

Dave Johnson on site


Come the end of this school year, there will be one year 12 student in the small town of Baradine in north-western New South Wales who is a step ahead in his chosen career, thanks to an FRRR Small Grant for Rural Communities of $2,600 to the Baradine Rusty Club.

The Coona Times reported that the grant was used by the group to purchase a tool box and equipment so that school students could get some hands-on experience dismantling a diesel engine and learning how it worked.

Baradine Central School student Dave Jackson (pictured above, centre) was one of a group of year 9 and 10 students to complete the diesel mechanic’s program with the Baradine Rusty Club, and subsequently landed a school-based work traineeship with local garage owner John Farrell.

By the end of this year when he finishes year 12, Dave will have completed two years of a mechanics’ traineeship that adds up to a first year apprenticeship.

"Dave is a by-product of the FRRR-funded program and now works two days a week at the garage," stated Mr Farrell.

"He attended TAFE one day a week for a year and has completed two years of theory and one year of practical. This really gives him a kick-start to complete an apprenticeship."

Photo Source: Liz Cutts

Community Resources

What is "Social Capital"?

“Social Capital” is a term bandied around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Put simply, social capital is the value of the network of social connections that exist between people that enable and encourage cooperation.

A report by the University of Canberra into regional community wellbeing entitled People and Place in Australia, the 2013 Regional Wellbeing Survey highlights that “communities with plentiful social connectedness have the greatest wellbeing.” So it's worth investing in!

How do you build social capital and connectedness in your community?

Here are some great ideas, thanks to the Bank of Ideas website, that can help strengthen your community’s social capital. But we'd love you to share what you do on our Facebook page, or via Twitter.




  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Program update  
  3. New drought program launches  
  4.  Silver Jubilee for Small Grants  
  5.  PMs out and about  
  6. Heywire update  
  7. Star Cinema's donation account  
  9.  Community resources  
  10.  - Penguin, TAS

Grants in Action

Merredin's hot property

Merredin noticeboard

Merredin, 270 km east of Perth, is the service point in the Central Wheatbelt of WA for the 10,000 people in the region. The Merredin Community Resource Centre (CRC) delivers a range of services and programs that meet the current and future demands of the community.

As a central information hub, the CRC needed a simple way to maximise the dissemination of information to the community. Through FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program, The McCusker Charitable Foundation provided $1,094 to purchase two lockable noticeboards. This means information is to hand whenever residents need to know what’s going on.

Space on the notice-boards has become hot property, with the CRC regularly asked to post information on behalf of community groups. This is a great sign that the CRC's Informing the Community project is hitting the mark.

Read more ...

Solar savings in Tailem Bend

New solar panels for Tailem Bend community group

With a $3,000 grant from FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities, some community funds and a couple of other grants, the Tailem Bend Community Centre (TBCC) has been able to install 80 solar panels on the roof to eliminate their electricity bills and ensure a sustainable future.

Tailem Bend is an hour’s drive from Adelaide and the local community is ranked in the top 10% of Australian communities for socio-economic disadvantage.

That makes the TBCC, an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports the diverse needs of Tailem Bend and the surrounding communities, absolutely vital. Services offered are both affordable and easily accessible, while encouraging social interaction and lifelong learning.

Thanks to the conversion to solar, TBCC aims to create $6,000 to $8,000 in annual savings which will be redirected to increased services for the community.

What a great way to sustainably build the capacity of your community organisation, provide more support for your local area, and help save the planet!

Read more ...

Ripping it up at Speedway

Old speedway site

It’s action central at the dilapidated speedway site in Penguin, Tasmania now that it’s being rehabilitated in anticipation of what the locals hope will become a world-class mountain biking park.

The Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club has leased the old speedway site from the local Council, and last year they began the massive clean up. The Club is using their $10,000 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant to eradicate weeds and regenerate the site with native species to provide a natural setting for the park.

With the support of Tasmanian Community Resources Incorporated (TCR) and local employment agencies, the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club created a skills and employment program. It enabled unemployed people to gain skills and education in land management, including weed eradication and bush regeneration. Hopefully, there will be more employment opportunities in future phases of the park’s development, including construction and maintenance activities.

Photo: tassietrails.com.au 

Read more ...

Big bang from Bucketts Way upgrade

Bucketts Way Logo

In the small community of Gloucester on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, a kitchen upgrade will do a lot more for the ageing population than just improve the facility where Meals on Wheels are prepared.

The increasing aged population in the area has resulted in greater demand for aged care services . One organisation that has responded is the Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group (BWNG), which provides around 100 home-delivered frozen meals to frail, aged and/or disabled residents, and those at risk of social exclusion.

Since receiving the $10,000 CARA grant for the new kitchen upgrade from FRRR and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, BWNG now has the facilities to bring clients together on site for meals and social gatherings, providing opportunities for socialisation of marginalised members within the community.

Georgina Wise, CEO of BWNG, believes the full impact of the changes is still to be realised.

Read more ...

Girls' Night Out in Kyabram

Kyabram Girls' Night Out

Kyabram is a community of approximately 9,000, about 210 km north of Melbourne. Over the past 15 years it has been severely affected by drought, which has impacted farming families, and in turn the industrial and business communities.

A $3,000 McEwen Foundation grant via FRRR allowed the Kyabram & District Health Service to deliver the Ky Girls’ Night Out project. It brings together women from Kyabram and surrounding communities to provide opportunities for social networking and access to health and wellbeing information for women.  

What started as a small event targeting minority groups has expanded to be fully inclusive, with women from all backgrounds invited to participate in the networking evenings.

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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Thanks for reading, If you would like to donate to the renewal of rural & regional Australia please contact us or donate online, via EFT or cheque.

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