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Over $340,000 funding awarded to rural, remote communities

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), in collaboration with a number of donor partners, is supporting 46 inspirational projects from around Australia with a share of $342,620 in the first distribution of its Strengthening Rural Communities – Small & Vital grants program.

This inaugural round of the quarterly program saw significant demand for support, with 178 applications requesting close to $1.3 million. Successful applicants are spread from remote Thursday Island in Queensland, to the village of Burren Junction in NSW, Mataranka in the NT, Leonora in the WA Goldfields, and down to Tasmania’s King Island and the wheatbelt town of Murtoa in Victoria.

“It’s testimony to the breadth of projects that Strengthening Rural Communities is able to fund that we received so many applications,” explained Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR.

“Australians in rural, regional and remote locations are facing significant challenges at the moment, especially off the back of drought, natural disasters and the range of issues that stem from these conditions, so it’s not surprising that most of the organisations are applying for grants to bolster their capacity in order to better support the local community.

“We often say that the Strengthening Rural Communities program can fund just about anything, including the kitchen sink – and I’m very happy to say that five projects will indeed be using their funds for kitchen upgrades,” said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.

“All jokes aside, the impact of something like a kitchen upgrade can be significant in a rural community. It can help attract more people to events, create new income sources for the community – or mean a little bit of comfort in the event that a community facility is used as a place of refuge in a natural disaster.

“The next most in-demand area was for building community resilience, with a number of applications specifically seeking to address loneliness and mental wellbeing among isolated populations – again, not something surprising given the ongoing pressures in rural communities.”

Some of the funded projects is a group that support skill development and confidence of volunteer first responders, and an organisation that builds community resilience by investing in community infrastructure. Full details of the projects funded can be found on FRRR’s website.

FRRR welcomes additional contributions to this ongoing grant program, the next round of applications for which close on 25 June.

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