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FRRR reports $22.5M granted in FY23 to address remote, rural, regional priorities: FRRR

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Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), Media Release, 20 February 2024.

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) distributed a record $22.5 million last financial year, shared across more than 550 remote, rural and regional communities across Australia, according to the Foundation’s just-released 2022/23 Annual Review.

Remote and rural communities experience inequity, disadvantage and vulnerability across many basic aspects of day-to-day life. Yet they continue to rise to the challenge, innovate and deliver solutions that not only address issues but prove that better outcomes are possible with just a bit of support.

Last financial year, FRRR’s 1,158 grants enabled 972 grassroots organisations and groups to pursue local projects that responded to the now all-too familiar effects of natural disasters; accelerated the net-zero transition; and addressed long-standing structural issues such as housing, energy and food security, service provision and digital inclusion.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the Foundation saw the largest number of applications in its 23-year history.

“In the face of these challenges, communities continue to pull together, harnessing the strengths of local people and their connection and commitment to their places to forge ahead. I’m proud of the role that FRRR has played in supporting these remote, rural and regional communities to strengthen, adapt and innovate to navigate and find solutions to these challenges.

“Last financial year, FRRR received 2,639 eligible grant applications requesting a total of $64 million, up more than 25 per cent on the prior year. What this signals is that life is getting back to ‘normal’ following Covid, but it also highlights the ongoing challenges remote, rural and regional communities are facing when it comes to securing funding for local projects.

“Unsurprisingly, more than a third of our grants went to communities vulnerable to, or impacted by, climate-related disasters. Nearly 430 grants totalling $11.1 million were awarded for initiatives supporting the medium to long-term recovery of places affected by disasters, and projects helping to prepare communities for future climate-related impacts.

“In 2023 we received more than 1,310 donations, ranging from $1 to $7.9 million, totalling $25.4 million (excluding fees and deferred income). We are grateful for the continued commitment of our supporters and the trust they place in us to get funding to where it’s needed most and to strengthen capacity to adjust and rise to the challenges in these communities.

“Despite an increase in donations, FRRR could still only fund just over half of the eligible applications received. So, we continue to seek new partnerships with government, philanthropy, business and individuals to allow us to fund more of these projects.

“No matter how big or small, we know our grants make a difference to these communities. This year, for every dollar granted, a further $1.76 was leveraged, opening the door to further funding opportunities, and building confidence.

“We also continued to advocate for more well-informed investment in rural people and organisations. Looking ahead, we’ll keep having these conversations, sharing our insights to ensure these people and places get improved access to sustainable social and physical infrastructure and opportunities that build community connections.

“The tenacity of remote, rural and regional people to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable motivates us to continue to strive for our shared vision for a more vibrant, resilient and sustainable remote, rural and regional Australia,” Ms Egleton concluded.

FRRR’s FY2023 Annual Review is available at www.frrr.org.au/AR23.

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