Grants available to build local drought resilience

THE Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) is offering Small Networks Grants of up to $20,000 to community organisations in Port Stephens and MidCoast Council LGAs for projects designed to enhance local drought preparedness.

Supported by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund through the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative, the Small Networks Grants program can fund simple, one-off or seed-type initiatives to strengthen community networks and capabilities in 35 agriculture-dependent regions.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said that there are a wide range of one-off projects that promote community networks, which the program can fund.

“Through this program, we are enabling agriculture-dependent communities to identify and act on their drought preparedness and resilience priorities at a grassroots level in the ways that best suit their communities.

“From previous programs, we know that social networks are critical to drought resilience because they promote a sense of belonging by providing opportunities for a diverse range of community members to connect and participate.

“Events, such as field days or practical workshops, are effective tools for improving mental health and wellbeing, because they give participants the opportunity to connect with their neighbours and learn skills to address the local risk factors associated with a changing climate. So we look forward to seeing the projects that come forward,” Ms O’Brien said.

FRRR wants to hear from groups with projects that fit into one of these five categories:

Networks: Initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability, and coordination of professional, social or community networks

Community Events: Field days, conferences, forums, summits, and seminars that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.

Training: Initiatives to improve skills and capacity in community risk management, planning and project delivery in relation to drought.

Community Infrastructure: Small scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing, and facilities.

Development and Learning: Initiatives to facilitate professional, personal and leadership related development and learning to support drought preparation.

Applications are open now and close 14 November 2023, with successful applicants announced in March 2024.

There will be a second round of the program, which is expected to open in February 2024, with funds announced in June 2024.

Potential applicants are invited to join a webinar to learn more about the program and the eligibility requirements on Monday, 9 October from 12pm AEDT.

Registrations can be made via the FRRR website.

For more information, including the list of priority LGAs, and to apply, visit

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