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Rural and regional communities receive grants

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) announced that 19 communities will receive grants to pilot eight youth-developed ideas, thanks to the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program.

In partnership with The Pratt Foundation, The Sally Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, The Myer Family Grants Program, the SAGE Foundation and several private donors, FRRR awarded grants totalling $152,118 at an event held this afternoon in Melbourne, which was hosted by the ABC.

The communities receiving grants are located across Australia, including Yeppoon in central Queensland, Kalgoorlie in WA and various locations across Tasmania.

The ideas originated at the 2016 Heywire Regional Youth Summit, and all deal with big issues affecting young Australians, such as mental health and healthy lifestyles, revitalizing small towns, the impact of drugs, anti-racism, youth disengagement, gender equality, LGBTQI wellbeing, and accessibility challenges for people with a disability.

The diverse projects involve a mix of social enterprises, community events, exchange programs, mentoring, social media, education, and advocacy campaigns.

Fitina Maulidi was a 2016 Heywire winner from Shepparton, Victoria, and was part of the group that developed the Magnify Mentoring idea. It involves connecting teenagers in their final years of high school with a local mentor who can support them in making the transition from school to further study or into rural industries. She’s also one of the recipients of a grant to implement the idea, having teamed up with Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Inc to apply for a grant.

“I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and spent time in a refugee camp, before coming to Australia. In the camp, children didn’t have access to education and living in Australia, I have realised that a lot of kids take education for granted. So I’m excited that we’ll be able to implement this idea to help disengaged kids to see the opportunities that are all around them, by connecting them with mentors who’ve been through similar things,” Fitina said.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants are special because it allows community groups to come together with young people in their communities.

“Each of the projects we are funding involves young people in their community. These grants allow local leaders to implement ideas that have been developed by young people to address the issues that matter to them in a way that other young people believe will resonate well. Hopefully it will be the start of ongoing relationships, and a voice for young people,” Ms Egleton said.

“We congratulate all the groups that have received grants – they have a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference in their community. The 35 Heywire projects we’ve funded in the past have made a big difference in their communities, with some sparking a national movement. So we are really looking forward to seeing these projects implemented and the legacy that they leave.”

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