Youth inspired ideas come to life in rural, regional and remote communities

2014 FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants announced

Bendigo, 13 August, 2014: Twelve communities across rural, regional and remote Australia - from Ravenshoe and Jilkminggan in the north, to Smithton in the south, Coffs Harbour in the east and Carnarvon in the west - will share $100,000 to help bring one of seven youth-inspired ideas to life, after receiving FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants.

The ideas that the 12 communities are adopting were generated at the annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit in February 2014. The subjects they address range from gender equality and positive mental health, to youth in agriculture, anti-racism and refugee challenges. The solutions include staging plays, running social media campaigns, creating and distributing broadcast advertisements, films, workshops, a multi-school roadshow, a community event and a cultural exchange program.

FRRR CEO, Alexandra Gartmann, says there was intense competition for the grants, with applications nearly double the previous year. She says that there seems to be more youth involved in creating these solutions with the support of mentors.

“Community groups across the country really got behind the ideas developed at the Regional Youth Summit, and there were some great approaches to adopting and adapting the ideas to suit their local situation. It’s also great to see that young people themselves are so heavily involved in the projects put forward,” she explained. “This confirms once again that the issues raised by the Heywirers really resonated with their peers living in rural, regional and remote Australia.”

The grants, which are funded by FRRR and the Pratt Foundation, will enable the following projects to be delivered over the next year.





All Women


Word and Mouth Limited

Shepparton, VIC


Fifteen female high school students from three schools will work with a young female project coordinator to implement a place-based campaign highlighting local female role models. They will manage the production of a video; a photography competition; and a community event celebrating International Women’s Day 2015. This will encourage and empower young women to realise their potential and celebrate the contribution of women in the broader community. 


Beating the Blues in the Bush


Ravenshoe Community Centre Inc.

Ravenshoe, QLD


In response to a number of recent suicides, a youth group will develop a TV advertisement and undertake a media and community outreach campaign. The advertisement will be launched on Closing the Gap Day, 20 March 2015, and be shown on commercial channels. The project may conclude with the formation of a local youth mental health support group. This will help address entrenched negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental illness in the local community.


Beating the Blues in the Bush


Genhealth Inc.

Coffs Harbour, NSW


The headspace Coffs Harbour youth reference group will produce two TV advertisements featuring local people and places. The 15 & 30 sec advertisements will use both live footage and a montage of photos of local people holding signs with statements about mental health (eg, “It happened to me”) which direct viewers to seek help from headspace and local GPs. It will be shown on all three commercial channels, various websites and social media forums and launched at the indoor shopping complex on the mega screen. This will help to reduce stigma associated with mental illness and create a culture of acceptance and support.




Riverland Youth Theatre

Renmark, SA


Three free storytelling events, each targeting a specific audience (young people, indigenous people, and the wider community) will showcase local Afghan youths’ stories of migration. The events will include a Q&A session and a song and dance performance. There will be an interval so the audience can mingle with the performers, with lunch catered by the local Afghan community in the foyer decorated in traditional Afghan style. There will also be an art exhibition of young refugees' work reflecting on issues of migration. This will all be documented by the young people in a film, in partnership with ABC Open.  This will encourage harmonious relationships and reduce prejudice towards the migrant community.




Centacare Toowoomba

Toowoomba, QLD


A group of five young migrants will undertake a week long storytelling roadshow, visiting high schools in Toowoomba, and regional rural and remote communities in South West Queensland, such as St George, Roma, Surat, Tara, and Charleville. Many of these areas are likely to be unfamiliar with other cultures and the refugee/migrant experience. The face to face interaction of this project will provide young people with the opportunity to compare their lives with those they are hearing from. It is hoped this will erase negative perceptions and the stereotypes that result from a lack of contact with immigrants, and build more tolerant, understanding and supportive communities.


Mirror Mirror on the Screen

Circular Head Council

Smithton, TAS


Young people will be supported to make a feature film about the impacts of the drug ‘ice’, examining the issue from the perspectives of doctors, police, paramedics, counsellors, parents and friends of an addict and the addicts themselves. It will include information on how to identify if people may be using, what to do and where to get help. The film will be premiered at a free event at an outdoor cinema set up in a park as part of a youth arts festival. It aims to raise awareness of the issue, remove the stigma and shame attached to users and their families, by creating a positive dialogue in the community, explaining where to get help and the importance of early intervention.


Mirror Mirror on the Screen

Urana Shire Council

Urana, NSW


The young people of Urana will create a film about the town, its history and people. The film will be showcased at a drug and alcohol free community screening alongside a popular feature film. This project will show that the young people of the town are positive contributors with valuable skills and demonstrate how young people and their families can have fun without drugs and alcohol when boredom is replaced by action. This project will help to address isolation, relieve boredom and strengthen community spirit, especially among the older youth who have been heavily impacted and fragmented by the cessation of high school classes in the community.


Mirror Mirror on the Screen

Roper Gulf Regional Council

Jilkminggan, NT


Young people will write and perform a play on the effects of petrol sniffing, drugs, alcohol, gambling, depression and suicide, and the need for family support for children. The play will be performed in multiple communities and will be a facilitated by Jilkiminggan Youth, Sport & Recreation youth worker as a school holiday activity over the summer break, thereby keeping young people engaged and on track. The play will also reflect on what adults do and how this affects local youth. The play would be advertised by flyers which will also promote “a healthy lifestyle and living by everyone to make the community strong”. The play will premiere at a whole community drug and alcohol free celebratory event, and promote positive behaviour change in the community.


One Mob


Gloucester High School

Gloucester, NSW


Gloucester High School will host a multicultural festival in partnership with the Miller Intensive English Centre, a Sydney school for newly-arrived migrant and refugees from non-English speaking backgrounds. The community will welcome the students and teachers for a four day cultural exchange that will include a soccer match, food festival, school “social” and tour of local landmarks. The keystone event will be a performance of the acclaimed “Tree of Life” theatre piece by Miller Students which will be open to the whole community. This will help overcome racism and build a culture of understanding and exchange in the community.


Tools of Survival


Mid West Health & Aged Care Inc.

Wudinna, SA


Up to 30 young people will attend six workshops covering topics such as life-coaching; career skills; financial literacy; mental health; bullying and resilience; and first aid. This will increase their independence, coping skills, and give them the confidence to adapt during transition into adulthood. It will also increase employability and ability to be street smart in the city. Workshops will be delivered through recognised organisations. A graduation event will celebrate the program’s conclusion.


Tools of Survival


Shire of Carnarvon

Carnarvon, WA


A three-day youth mental health first aid program, facilitated by an accredited Mental Health practitioner, will be delivered to all year 11 and 12 students at Carnarvon Senior College. This will teach them skills and build their confidence to cope with difficult events, such as street fights, drink driving, abuse, bullying, accidents, depression, self-harm, suicide and underage drinking. After the workshops, participants will make a short film or radio announcement about youth mental health that will be delivered to the community via radio or the local movie theatre. 


TRACTA: Try Rural Australian Careers Try Agriculture


Timboon P-12

Timboon, VIC


A team of year 8 students from Timboon P-12 will produce short films showcasing the broad range of occupations and career opportunities in agriculture. The aim is to change perceptions around agricultural career opportunities and grow student aspirations towards agricultural education and employment. Other senior students will use the films when they visit key regional Victorian towns promoting the TRACTA concept and the benefits of introducing agricultural studies programs, such as their own, in high schools. Films will be shared via social media and other means.



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