Investing in Rural Community Futures
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Investing in Rural Community Futures is a place-based program focused on strengthening the capacity and capability of grassroots not-for-profit organisations in rural, regional and remote New South Wales.
The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation (VFFF) and FRRR have partnered with three communities to provide capacity and capability development support over a three year period, which will include access to grant funding, planning and facilitation assistance, skill development, and experience sharing.
Investing in Rural Community Futures recognises the fundamental role that local NFP organisations play in building and sustaining the social and economic fabric of their communities.
The IRCF journey
Our journey is outlined in the diagram below. During 2018/19, we focused on identifying and selecting three partner communities in NSW. At the start of 2020 we move into the co-design phase, working alongside the communities to develop their capacity development plan and identifying associated resourcing and delivery needs, focused on the IRCF strategic priorities.
Our IRCF partners
Following a comprehensive Expression of Interest process, the communities of Leeton, Nambucca Valley and Junee in New South Wales will partner with FRRR in the IRCF program from 2019-2023.
Leeton has a strong and diverse NFP sector, with a population of more than 8,000 people in the heart of the Riverina. By participating in the IRCF program, Leeton's NFPs hope to create more connection between their groups and networks, build the capacity of their leaders through training and development, and revitalise their community sector. The NFP sector in Leeton has come together as ‘Leeton Connect’, an umbrella group that will connect the Leeton NFPs through networking, participation, collaboration and inclusion.
The communities of Nambucca Heads, Bowraville, Macksville, Valla Beach, and Scotts Head make up the Nambucca Valley. The combined population of these communities, which are in the mid-north coast of NSW, is more than 20,000. The Nambucca Valley NFPs want to build relationships, connect across the Valley, and work together on developing a community map, a shared vision for the Valley.
A satellite town close to Wagga Wagga, Junee has a population of just over 6,500 people and is growing. It has a diverse NFP sector, which has embraced the IRCF program and are ready to see a change for their community. They want to strengthen the NFP organisations by providing a co-ordinated focus on improving the long-term sustainability of their groups and networks.
Start-Up grant recipients
As part of the process of determining the long-term partners for this program, Tumut, Leeton, Junee, Nambucca Valley, and Moree received $60,000 in start-up grants to support a range of organisational capacity building projects. The funds had the purpose of enabling the community NFPs to work collaboratively and be in a position to submit an Expression of Interest to part of the long-term support element of the program.
During 2020, FRRR will continue to work with the communities of Tumut and Moree to make the most of their start up grants.
The strategic priorities detailed in the graphic below have been developed to address the local challenges and opportunities in each of the IRCF communities.
Recognising the value
FRRR’s believes local leaders are best placed to know what is going to make the biggest difference in their community, and by supporting local solutions through the IRCF program and using a multi-faceted approach, our overall aim is to build resilient and vibrant communities.
An overall IRCF Evaluation Framework has been developed to allow for reflection and promote adaptive responses, so as we move through the program, we will adjust to community need and allow for new solutions to local problems.
We are planning to share the many lessons and insights with philanthropic, rural, and not-for-profit audiences to support leading practice and thought leadership. The evaluation focus will be on measuring the impact of the program, the change and effect on the capacity and sustainability of the individual NFP organisations, and on the communities overall.
For more information on the Investing in Rural Communities Program, please contact IRCF Program Manager Allison Mudford on 0448 992 820, or via email, or IRCF Program Officer Tony Norman on 1800 170 020 or via email.