First round of grants announced for communities affected by fires

It was an unprecedented summer of devastation that hit us with a rush and a roar.

Our recent bushfire crisis devastated communities, destroyed wildlife populations and left many feeling overwhelmed.

In continuing to serve Australians, News Corp has today announced the first round of funding from the dedicated $1 million fund to aid the recovery of communities affected by the fires.

The first round from the News Corp Bushfire Fund, set up in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, will fund 21 grants across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland, totalling $368,386.

NSW will receive eight first-round grants, Victoria will be awarded eleven and South Australia and Queensland will receive one grant each.

The fund was established in March to help local not-for-profit organisations and

community groups in bushfire-ravaged areas to deliver locally led projects to assist people in their recovery.

From a budget of $1 million, the fund will provide grants of up to $25,000 to support

communities in rural areas of Australia

Announcing the grants, News Corp Australia’s Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said the funding would help those hardest hit by the bushfire disaster and breathe new life into devastated communities.

“Communities in regional and rural Australia have been hit by so much devastation this year,” she said.

“We are delighted to provide some hope and bring the spirit back into communities with these bushfire grants.

“These projects will go a long way towards helping locals rebuild, recover, and move on as a

stronger community.”

In Victoria, Mallacoota and Lakes Entrance are among the towns that will receive first round grants of $25,000 for projects aimed at strengthening social connections and boosting tourism.

The town of Mallacoota, which made headlines across the world when it became the epicentre of Victoria’s bushfire crisis, will receive a grant to fund five music workshops aimed at bringing residents together to help them get through trauma of rebuilding.

Other projects awarded grants include a film festival workshop in Queensland’s Gladstone and sailing events aimed at frontline workers for those affected by the Kangaroo Island bushfires in South Australia.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, said for many communities, social and economic recovery was really only just starting to get under way, especially given the limitations imposed by COVID-19.

“From our experience supporting disaster-affected communities, we know that for those

affected by this summer’s bushfires, their recovery will be a long and ongoing process,” she said.

Ms Egleton said the partnership with News Corp offered a great opportunity “to get funds on the ground”.

“Their support means these grants will enable local community groups to lead local recovery efforts in a way that best meets the priorities of that community, because it’s different for each impacted community,” she said.

“For some communities, the priority is rebuilding facilities lost in the fire, such as the Eurobodalla Wood Makers Guild building in Batemans Bay. For others it’s reviving the community’s arts and culture, like celebrating the local music scene in Mallacoota, and for others it’s about supporting mental health and wellbeing, through gardening projects that will also restore the local bee population in the Bega Valley.”

In NSW, Buxton Public School has been awarded $25,000 for a new playground to replace the previous equipment, which was destroyed in the bushfires. Vandals trashed the fire-damaged school days later in the aftermath of the catastrophic bushfires.

The News Corp Bushfire Fund is one initiative forming part of News Corp Australia’s

ongoing bushfire recovery relief, which has so far donated $1.9 million to bushfire-affected

regions across the nation.

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