Almost 30 regional community groups have been awarded a combined $275,000 in grants through the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program to help execute programs and projects aiming to create education and employment opportunities within their communities.
The program, which is supported by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), provides groups with up to $15,000 in direct funding or a technology grant from Lenovo.
Among the programs receiving a grant was The Outback Spirit Foundation’s Kings Canyon Bush Tomato Project in the Northern Territory town of Kings Canyon.
The funding will help with the establishment of new infrastructure to expand a new farm producing indigenous bush tomato crops, creating local Aboriginal employment with a focus on unique connections to country and knowledge.
A Bonalbo, NSW group received funding for its Computer Literacy Basic Skills Base, a tech mentoring and tutoring program for the computer illiterate, giving participants the skills and confidence to access basic online services, while a Walgett group will use its grant for the delivery of a 12 month Lifetime Ewe Management Course for 18 local family grazing businesses.
The course will look to improve farmers’ understand of modern grazing techniques to enable them to prosper during and after drought conditions.
Looking to a younger audience, the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship will run an entrepreneurial skills development program for primary school students in Beechworth, looking to enhance future economic participation and employment opportunities for local people.
Focusing on women is the South West Women’s Health and Information Centre in Bunbury, WA, which is looking to train women in developing web-based sales on WomanMade.com.au, creating business opportunities for locally-produced products.
Christine Linden, general manager of regional business banking at ANZ, said the number of applications received this year, over 119, demonstrates the need for initiatives around education and employment in regional Australia.
“By focusing on education and employment projects, these grants will help empower community members with the knowledge and skills that are essential to help grow a strong rural community,” Linden said.
“Every year, we are impressed by the innovation and desire that these local groups have for their community. They are all so enthusiastic about their town’s future and how they can help it progress.”
First launched in 2003, Seeds of Renewal has provided over $4 million in grants to 772 community projects.
Natalie Egleton, CEO of the FRRR, said that with education and employment critical factors for maintaining a sustainable and economically prosperous community, the programs funded have an important role to play.
“The programs encourage locals to develop relevant skills and pursue career pathways that benefit the region. By empowering passionate local leaders to make a change, we see positive outcomes for the whole community.”
You can check out all the grant recipients here.
Image: Christine Linden. Source: ANZ.