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Newsletter | SEPTEMBER 2012

From the CEO

There’s something invigorating about reading the hundreds of applications we receive for our programs. It reinforces the ingenuity of those living in rural Australia and the passion they have for making better local communities. The latest round of Seeds and RRR applications are no exception and as you can read below, we had record applications for the latter in victoria.

There are more grant applications to come, with one soon to open and five programs currently open. One of those is the Lachlan Region program and I was very pleased to recently sign the MOU (right), explore further opportunities and share some of our experiences in assessment.

We are also delighted to have agreement for a new education program, thanks to generous contributions from Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and Ian Potter Foundation, plus others. The latter has committed $600,000 (over three years) to support 'REAPing Rewards' Rural Education Australia program. It is a regional education grants program that will provide funds for schools, pre-schools and community organisations focused on children and young people in rural areas. If this is an area of interest to your Foundation, we welcome further partners.

As you will see throughout this newsletter, education is an area where many communities seek support, so we are very pleased to be able to meet this need. As part of the refreshed education focus, we are reviewing the Back to School program, and would welcome any ideas or contributions.

We have again spent a lot of time out of the office, including attending the Philanthropy Australia and Landcare conferences, as well as joining Red Cross for a national disaster preparedness forum. Yesterday we presented at the International Rural Network conference in Whyalla about our experience in natural disaster recovery.

The Board also convened in Canberra earlier this month and we met with 13 Ministers, Senators, Local Members and Advisors to highlight the needs in rural communities, share the success stories and the role FRRR is playing, and could play. We were very pleased with the level of interest and support and look forward to further interactions in coming months.

So there's plenty happening, as you can see from this bumper edition! We hope you enjoy these updates and welcome your feedback.

Until next time...


Alexandra Gartmann

Broad range of Grant Programs open

FRRR currently has five grant programs open, with a sixth due to open mid next month.

  • Small Grants for Small Rural Communities - grants of up to $5,000 for projects in communities of fewer than 10,000 people. Closes 30 September.
  • CARA - grants of up to $10,000 are available for projects that directly benefit the ageing population in their community and help redress disadvantage caused by remoteness. A great example is the Loddon Community Bus. Closes 5 October.
  • McEwen Foundation, which is managed by ANZ Trustees, offers grants up to $15,000 for charitable organisations operating in Goulburn Valley. A great example of a project is the Aboriginal Literacy Support service. Note, applicants must be charitable organisations and be DGR. Closes 26 October.
  • The Lachlan Region Community Grants Program - $100,000 will be distributed across a range of projects that contribute to social and community welfare, economic, environmental, health, education or cultural areas in the Lachlan region. Closes 2 November.
  • STEPS - supports projects in Victorian bushfire-affected areas that build community resilience, create community networks and partnerships, and encourage the development of community leadership, like Through Women's Eyes. Applications are welcome at any time.
  • Later this month, we will open a new program also for the bushfire affected areas - Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W). Monitor our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to ensure you're notified when it opens.

If you need more information about any of these programs, email info@frrr.org.au or call 1800 170 020.

Improving literacy to break the cycle

A great example of what can be achieved through the McEwen grants is a project conducted by the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation (ALF). Through the McEwen Foundation, which is managed by ANZ Trustees, FRRR provided $7,500 to help ALF deliver a targeted literacy support service to Indigenous children attending schools in the Goulburn Valley region in Northern Victoria.

Under the funded program, 13 children received one-on-one literacy learning support every week, using a range of culturally relevant literacy resources. A further 28 children from across the Goulburn Valley region attended a Literacy and Heritage Camp. Literacy Evaluation is conducted through regular testing to provide a base to measure progress and assess ongoing literacy needs within the community.

The ALF believes that through literacy education, Indigenous youth can break the cycle of poverty and unemployment, remain engaged in education, participate in the community, secure employment and enjoy increased  health and wellbeing so that they can  influence the next generation and build an understanding of the importance of education to long term life outcomes. Read more about this wonderful project on our website.

Persistence pays off for Loddon CARA project

In 2008 a Transport Connections investigation identified a gap in transport services in the Loddon Shire, North West of Bendigo. A solution was needed to improve access to health care and social opportunities for the Shire's ageing population and the broader community.

In response, fifteen community organisations formed the East Loddon Community Bus Group. In late 2009, they worked with the Loddon Shire Council to secure an FRRR Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) grant of $10,000. These funds were used to leverage further funding from other granting programs. 

The bus was purchased late last year but only officially (and proudly) launched at the recent East Loddon P-12 College Fete. Loddon Shire Transport Connections Coordinator Sue Devereaux, FRRR Program Manager Jeanice Henderson and Chair East Loddon Community Bus Committee Sue Thomas were in attendance (pictured).

This project is an excellent example of community groups working together, with the assistance of their Local Government, to come up with a solution to a significant challenge in their community.  Read more on our website.

Record Repair-Restore-Renew applications

Building on our experience of supporting communities following the 2006 cyclones in Queensland and then the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires, FRRR implemented a program to support the medium-to-long term recovery of those communities impacted by the 2010/11 floods, cyclones and severe storms across Queensland, northern New South Wales and regional Victoria. Some $1,462,670 was raised between a number of philanthropic trusts and foundations and businesses.

The focus is on medium-term recovery initiatives which help small communities get back on their feet, gather and strengthen community resources and increase resilience for the future. To date, we’ve distributed over half a million dollars through 51grants. The majority have been for building and equipment repairs and replacement, with the next most common being community events and gatherings aimed at renewing and refocussing the community’s energy and spirit.

This reflects the importance of support for projects which enable community life to resume and a new ‘normal’ to be found, and which provide relief from volunteer fatigue and ongoing recovery activities. It’s also important for community services to be provided locally by local groups, building community connectedness and economic recovery of small towns.

The latest round has seen the most applications of any RRR program, with 60 coming from Victoria and 25 from Queensland. Successful projects will be announced in November.

Through Women's Eyes

In the last month, we have presented to a number of forums about the lessons FRRR has learnt from our involvement in providing support to those recovering from the Black Saturday bushfires. We have heard many empowering stories and wanted to share this one with you, which FRRR funded under the STEPS program.

The Black Saturday bushfires of February 2009 in Victoria will forever be etched in the memories of those who experienced it first hand. Lives changed and the aftermath continues to be felt in families and communities devastated by fire.

Recognising this, the Women’s Health Goulburn North East (WHGNE) in conjunction with the Alpine Shire ran a series of workshops entitled “Through Women’s Eyes:  Increasing Disaster and Community Resilience” to gather women’s unique perspectives on disasters and resilience, and to contribute to local community resilience planning.

The outcomes of the program were more powerful than anyone had dared to imagine. The women’s insights, stories and suggestions for change were captured on six posters which have been displayed locally within their communities and published on websites.

Learn more and watch a clip of this amazing project, which has increased disaster resilience and community resilience skills, on our website.

Investing for impact

The recent Philanthropy Australia conference was a great opportunity for a number of our team –  Natalie, Jeanice, Andrew and Alexandra (right) - to speak with fellow professionals and get some great ideas about how to better support the communities with whom we are engaged.

It was also a great opportunity to share ideas. We presented on our disaster recovery program, and chaired a session on effective grant making.

Two strong themes at this year’s Philanthropy Australia Conference were “impact investing” and “social investment”. While not new, they are exciting and potentially transformative concepts for philanthropy.

Impact investment is often framed as investing in large social change but FRRR's grass-roots engagement means that we see first-hand the very real impact that a small grant can have on a community. An application, for example, to support establishing a Community Foundation contributes to a region being able to take control of its future; to plan for, resource and deliver the things it needs for the future resilience and sustainability of its people and places. That is impact investing!

None of it is possible without innovative and passionate rural community leaders. The team at FRRR feels privileged to work closely with local communities, building relationships, trust, understanding and networks, and leveraging opportunities wherever possible. If we can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

In the media

Broken River Potters move into a new home

Last year, after a long wait to find new premises, Broken River Potters group was given permission to use BARC Hut 66 at Benalla Airport. They recently moved in and with assistance from Council, Tomorrow:Today Foundation and FRRR, the kiln was relocated, cupboards built, secure storage installed and three-phase power provided.

According to the Benalla Ensign, members spent many months cleaning and renovating the hut for their recent open night to showcase their facilities.

The new premises were required after their previous premises (under the Benalla Art Gallery) and equipment were damaged in floods. Since then, they have been working with borrowed equipment in a borrowed shed.

Long-time supporter Dulcie Sanderson was invited to open the facilities, and spoke of her experiences during the establishment of the first potters group, which was located under the Art Gallery.

The Potters Group is now open to all, providing another community resource for Benalla and returning to the weekly community classes and school holiday programs they have offered for more than 40 years.

Filming teaches another lesson

As reported in the Huon News in Franklin, Tasmania, the Geeveston Community Centre has welcomed a new youth worker, Conrad Gilbey. Part of his role is to implement a program recently funded by FRRR.

This innovative project will see a group of six young people (aged 14-20) from the Huon Valley working on a documentary, in conjunction with the film group Wide Angle Tasmania. Participants will learn how to take footage, create a storyboard, edit and produce a soundtrack.

The documentary will tease out some of the challenges faced by students who have to commute to the nearest regional centre to continue their schooling. Recent experience has been that many students drop out by April, as they find the travel (which can be up to five hours per day) and transition to a new school unexpectedly challenging. The aim of the documentary is to share the experiences of some students who have done it successfully.

We are very excited to be supporting the Geeveston Community Centre in this innovative solution to a local issue.

Like what we do? Please tell us, and tell others!

FRRR is always trying to extend our reach, letting more people know about the funding we have available and also sharing details of what communities are doing to solve their local issues and challenges. But we can’t do that alone.

So, if you like what we do, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. That helps us get the word out about all the great things happening across rural and regional Australia and will help to ensure even more support for our vibrant communities.


  1. A word from the CEO  
  2. Grant Programs now open  
  3. Literacy breaks the cycle  
  4. Loddon Community Bus  
  5. Record RRR applications  
  6. Through Women's Eyes  
  7. Investing for impact  
  8. Potters have a new home  
  9. Filming teaches another lesson  
  10. Grants in Action  

Grants in Action

Thanks for the tanks

Burrapine is a community of about 250 people, in the Nambucca Shire on the mid North Coast, between Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. The Burrapine Hall stands in the middle of a paddock overlooking farms and mountains, and has been a focal point of the community for nearly a century.

Earlier this year, FRRR granted the Burrapine Hall Committee funds to replace the old leaking metal water tanks with a plastic one to make more water available for use. The grant also included funding to replace the toilet cisterns.

Thanks to the FRRR grant and the thirty hours voluntary work done by the Burrapine Men's Support Group, the Hall now has a secure water supply and the new toilet cisterns have improved the hygiene conditions.

The Men's Group were justifiably proud of their achievement and it gave them all a great deal of satisfaction seeing the finished job. The Committee was very pleased with the final outcome and the generous support of the community.

Read more

Toys for tots

In the small town of Miles on the Western Downs 340 kilometres west of Brisbane, the Murilla Kindergarten Association has recently purchased new resources to enable its kids to playand learn in a structured environment, building the confidence and skills required to enter school.

As the only Kindy in the Miles region, it services an increasing population due to the expansion of the coal seam gas industry. It currently supports 29 families and 43 children and employs two part-time teachers and two teacher aides. 

Nicole Cahill, a Director at Murilla Kindergarten, said that with the funding received through FRRR’s Small Grants for Small Rural Communities program they are now able to provide a variety of resources to give their children a range of learning experiences. These stimulating and specialised play resources cater for all children, including those with special needs.

The Kindergarten purchased 18 items of equipment totalling $4,848. Some of the specialised equipment purchased includes foam building blocks for outdoor use, tactile discs, a water trough, sensory path boxes and boats for outdoor play.  The Kindy was able to contribute $1,500 towards the cost of the equipment, with the remainder being funded from the FRRR grant.

Read more

Students pledge to earn or learn

St Augustine’s College in Kyabram, 200 kilometres north of Melbourne in the Goulburn Valley, teamed up with the Beacon Foundation to host the Beacon Charter Signing Day - the culmination of a year-long program. Beacon is a national non-profit organisation which has worked in more than 180 secondary schools across Australia.

At the recent ceremony, all Year 10 students at St Augustine’s, and their families, invited guests and community members, signed a Pledge Board committing to remain in education, further training and/or gain employment by the following year.

St Augustine’s Principal, Mr Oronzo Farina, said that the Beacon Foundation program believes every young Australian can develop an independent will to achieve personal success for themselves and their community.

“With FRRR’s support and the funding from the Gardiner Foundation, we had a tremendous opportunity to make a real difference to many young people’s lives. The Charter Signing ceremony supports our students to develop a positive pathway focus and sustainable relationships with the local business community, who were also invited and engaged in this ceremony.”

Read more

Life Long Learning program builds skills

Tasmanian Life Long Learning Inc (TL3) is committed to supporting disengaged and disadvantaged members of the Tasmanian community to develop and enhance their skills, enabling them to engage in activities that lead to life-long learning.

In the remote community of Yolla in north western Tasmania, TL3, with the assistance of a grant for $2,800 from FRRR, has helped to facilitate the Clean & Green Program partnership between Yolla District School and the Waratah-Wynyard Council.

The FRRR grant supported 'White Card' training for 13 participants, along with the purchase of some much needed personal protective equipment, a new brush cutter and whipper snipper, allowing them to work more safely and efficiently with the new equipment and tools, while also providing them with essential skills to enter the construction industry.


Jockeying into a better position

A small grant of $4,990 to the Riding for Disabled Association Yorke Peninsula (RDAYP) has resulted in horse riders and volunteers beaming from ear to ear!

Located 150 kilometres north-west of Adelaide, the group's main objective is to providie peopole with disabilities with new challenges, enjoyment and a sense of achievement.

The funds have assisted in fulfilling stage one of a purpose built riding centre for people with disabilities, which included the completion of a new horse and rider shelter, as well as connect water to the paddocks.

RDAYP Secretary, Elizabeth Bartholomeusz, said, “The project has now provided weekly horse riding activities for a number of children and adults with disabilities.”

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 support our work in 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