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Back to School (BTS) - Bushfire Response

FRRR’s Back to School (BTS) is a national program that helps rural and remote children and young people access quality educational experiences.

The BTS initiative helps rural, regional and remote students to engage in learning and strengthen their educational outcomes. Since it started in 2005, we have distributed more than 165,000 vouchers valued at over $8.2M to children and their families.

From our previous experience in supporting disaster-affected communities, we know that young people will be significantly affected by the fires, now and into the future.

In response to the 2019 / 2020 bushfires, FRRR is conducting an additional Bushfire Response round of the program to assist students in bushfire-affected rural communities replace / renew items required for school such as winter uniform, shoes and school supplies. In partnership with local community groups, $50 gift vouchers from Target or local retailers will be provided to students in fire-affected areas.

The vouchers are redeemable for items such as school uniforms, clothing, shoes, school bags and stationery items necessary to engage and participate at school.

The Bushfire Response round has been made possible through the generous support of philanthropic and corporate donors, as well as public fundraising initiatives such as the Fire Fight Australia concert in February.

Program objectives

The objectives of the Back to School Bushfire Response program are:

  • To support students and their families affected by the 2019 / 2020 bushfires;
  • To improve access to education through enabling the purchase of items required to attend and engage in school; and
  • To build local connections and community resilience through local distribution networks and Community Foundations.

Back to School Bushfire Response vouchers:

  • Are to be used by students and their families who have been affected by the 2019 / 2020 summer bushfires to purchase essential school items such as uniforms, clothing, shoes, school bags and school stationery items and other items required to fully participate in school;
  • Must not be used for the purchase of alcohol or tobacco, as rewards, raffle prizes, or to purchase goods for resale; and
  • Must be treated as cash and cannot be replaced if lost.

"The vouchers represent more than just a financial one (outcome); they represent and show our young people that their community cares about them and their disadvantage.

These vouchers are a token of warmth, love and understanding and are worth so much more than their $50 value."

VHHS FLO Team Leader

What a $50 BTS voucher can buy

Priority focus areas

The Bushfire Response Back to School program is available nationally, prioritising applications from Community Foundations and community organisations in bushfire-affected areas.

The Bushfire Response program will focus on and prioritise bushfire-affected rural communities within local government areas with a bushfire disaster declaration, from September 2019 to January / February 2020.

It is preferable for one organisation to apply for vouchers on behalf of the community and demonstrate coordination with other community organisations in the distribution of the vouchers.

  • Priority will be given to Community Foundations working in rural, regional and remote areas.
  • Where there is no Community Foundation, FRRR is happy to accept applications from eligible community-based organisations.
  • Applications from a community organisation in an area where an eligible Community Foundation already exists and who has also applied to this program, may be a lower priority and may be referred to their local Community Foundation.


  • Community Foundations operating in rural areas of Australia in an LGA with a bushfire disaster declaration, from September 2019 to January / February 2020;
  • Not-for-profit community-based organisations operating in rural communities in an LGA with a bushfire disaster declaration, from September 2019 to January / February 2020;
  • Organisations with an ABN or Incorporation Certificate;
  • Organisations with and without DGR endorsement;
  • An organisation is eligible to submit one application.

Final allocations will be announced by 30 April 2020. If successful, vouchers will be forwarded to your organisation for distribution in May 2020. Vouchers are to be distributed in a timely manner to those families in need. Participating organisations will enter into a Grant Agreement with FRRR, with specific distribution and reporting requirements, and administer the program at their own cost.

Due to high demand and limited funding, we may not be able to meet every request.

You can contact FRRR on 1800 170 020 or via email with any questions or areas of clarification.


The Back to School Bushfire Response program is now open and closes 5pm AEDT, Tuesday 31 March 2020.

Applications can be made by Community Foundations and not-for-profit community-based organisations operating in rural communities in an LGA with a bushfire disaster declaration, from September 2019 to January / February 2020.

NOTE: All documentation requested is to be received at the time of application. Due to the volume of applications received FRRR is unlikely to follow up missing documentation after applications have been submitted.

If you are unable to provide the required documentation due to bushfire damage, please call FRRR on
1800 170 020 or email

Please read the Guidelines and supporting documents before applying.
FRRR uses an online grants administration system called Grants Gateway. All applications for the BTS Bushfire Response program will be submitted via FRRR's Grants Gateway online portal.

Please download and save the Grants Gateway How-To Guide and the Grants Gateway FAQs to your desktop, and read through them thoroughly to help get you started. You may need to refer to them during the application process.

PLEASE NOTE: Ensure there are only numbers in your budget, or the auto-calculate function won't work - i.e. do not include commas, full stops or dollar signs - only numbers.

We want to make sure that applying to our programs is as easy as possible. Let us know if you have any problems by calling 1800 170 020, or emailing

To begin your application for the BTS Bushfire Response program, click on the Apply Now button below.

For more information on this process, please read the following documents:

Apply now
Grants Gateway Return to applications

Further information

More information about the program is available by contacting the Senior Programs Officer on 1800 170 020 or email.

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