Grant to help build rural resilience

Community groups and NFPs can apply for up to $10,000 under Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program. PICTURE: CONTRIBUTED

A new grant helping communities become resilient, sustainable and livable is now open for applications.

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal recently announced the first round of Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program.

The aim of the program is to boost remote, rural and regional communities’ resilience, environmental sustainability and liveability.

Telstra has committed to funding this grant program until 2025.

The annual commitment of $200,000 will make grants up to $10,000 available for not-for-profit community organisations that provide access to information, technology, education and facilities for the purpose of building both social capital and digital capability.

The new program has three goals. To foster:

1. Resilient communities that are well prepared and socially connected when disaster strikes with the ability to renew and recover together;

2. Sustainable communities that are diverse and inclusive, planning for the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of their people and the planet; and

3. Liveable communities that have digital capability and help to equip individuals with the skills to live, learn and work in a digital society.

Regional Australia Executive and Regional Customer Advocate at Telstra, Loretta Willaton said the program was all about keeping people connected in a range of ways, both online and offline.

“At Telstra, we know how important it is to keep people connected. The last few years in particular have shown everyone the importance of connectedness within our communities. Rural and regional Australia has been doing it particularly tough in recent years and so we wanted to do our part in helping the country to rebuild,” she said.

The program is designed to create opportunities for communities to undertake a wide range of projects to address barriers that rural and regional communities often face.

Projects might include local events, educational workshops, not for profit organisations embracing new technology or managing cyber security.

“Obviously one of the best ways to keep people connected is through technology and digital equipment but we know access, understanding and management of these tools can be a barrier,” Ms Willaton said.

“We are open to support any kind of initiative that gives people better access to information that will enable a stronger social network, safer online interactions, or access to information for disaster preparedness or environmental sustainability.”

FRRR’s Acting CEO, Sarah Matthee, said that programs like these help people to maintain their connection to their community and play a key role in many different aspects of life in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“Our Heartbeat study highlighted a significant digital divide for remote, rural and regional not-for-profit organisations, particularly when it comes to accessing digital resources and the opportunity to improve knowledge and skills to harness technology to maintain and create connections,” she said.

“We know that these connections are so important in strengthening each community’s ability to withstand future disruptions and maximise sustainability and liveability.”

Applications for Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program close Thursday, 30 March 2023 at 5pm. More information can be found on the FRRR website: