Funding is available through the inaugural round of the Strengthening Rural Communities - Small & Vital program, where grants of up to $10,000 are are up for grabs from a total pool of $440,000.
The funding body, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), says it is now offering more funding, more regularly so that communities across Australia can undertake the projects most important to them.
Strengthening Rural Communities is an evolution of FRRR's popular Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC) program. It will now be offered year-round with quarterly assessments, and there will be larger grants available.
"Local leaders know exactly what their community needs and where grant funding will make the most difference," said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.
"But we've recently had feedback that sometimes groups weren't quite ready to apply when our grant rounds were open and that they needed slightly larger grants because these days things cost more.
"So, we've responded by introducing Strengthening Rural Communities - Small & Vital grants, which will be available year-round, with assessments occurring four times a year, and offer grants of up to $10,000.
"This means that communities can seek support when it suits them. The program will still be just as flexible as Small Grants for Rural Communities was, so groups can apply for virtually anything - including the kitchen sink - so long as it's going to benefit the broader community," Ms Egleton explained.
Grants could go toward building community resilience, education and learning, culture or the arts, improving community health and wellbeing, strengthening the local economy, making local organisations stronger and more sustainable, or improving environmental sustainability. Some examples of the diverse projects that could be funded include:
- Cunnamulla P-12 State School P&C in Qld, engaged two artist facilitators to conduct dance and drama workshops for students to develop confidence and performance skills.
- Raleigh Hall and Recreation Reserve Management Committee improved the safety and comfort of the hall by rewiring it, installing energy efficient lighting and ceiling fans.
- The National Gallery of Australia took its Art and Dementia Outreach Program on the road to regional Western Australia as a self-sustaining, effective and community enhancing treatment for dementia.
- His House Care was able to expand their breakfast program for students in the regional NSW town of Picton, to include nearby Bargo with the purchase of a commercial grade conveyor toaster.
- Mystic Mountains Tourism Inc staged an Open Gardens scheme to boost tourism numbers following the devastating 2009 Victorian bushfires, facilitating access to the properties and promoting the event far and wide.
The opening round of Strengthening Rural Communities – Small and Vital is collaboratively supported by a number of generous donors including:
- Sidney Myer Fund,
- Kapikarnpi Community Fund,
- Australia Post,
- The William Buckland Foundation (managed by Equity Trustees),
- The R.E. Ross Trust,
- The Yulgilbar Foundation,
- John T Reid Charitable Trusts,
- The Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation,
- Portland House Foundation,
- Third Link Investment Managers,
- Bertalli Family Foundation,
- Perpetual Foundation: Julian Flett Endowment,
- David Mactaggart Foundation,
- and various Friends of FRRR.
Applications will be prioritised from not-for-profit organisations in communities of fewer than 15,000 people, and those whose size, remoteness and relative access to services, funding, and resources present particular ongoing challenges.
For more information, visit www.frrr.org.au/SRC_Small_Vital.php