New South Wales

Northern Rivers grant applicants reflect growing needs in region

grants folder stock image

The region’s energetic Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF), a major provider for funding relief for the region, held its annual grants ceremony on 27 November 2018 distributing some $114,000.

This is NRCF’s 14th year of support in the region – it has distributed over $1.5 million since 2004, is totally independent and funds community organisations across the 7 shires of the Northern Rivers.

“We call this region paradise, but for many caught in underprivileged situations it is the opposite” said NRCF’s Chair John Callanan. “We have spread our funding across 20 community groups.”

The diversity of need is shown in 2018’s successful recipients – from Casino, Richmond Valley, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Byron Bay and Tweed – whose projects expose the needy underbelly of the entire region.

“A wonderful example of how NRCF directs donors toward emerging needs is shown by Women Up North’s initiative called LOVE BITES. It is a violence prevention program for young people in Years 9-11 designed to educate them about domestic violence & sexual assault, delivered in seven schools across the Northern Rivers: Nimbin, Woodenbong, Kyogle, Casino, Lismore, Kadina and Richmond River”, said Callanan.

Other successful applicants include a youth program for first offenders with NSW Police participation; refuge assistance in extreme weather; emergency relief for young children caught up in parental mental health issues; and new flooring for a transition house for Aboriginal women fleeing domestic violence.

Arts funding for the disadvantaged is a focus too. In Casino the Oaks Centre art studio & workshop will be refurbished–a milestone project designed to create a resource for one of the most disadvantaged communities in the region. The renovation project will also provide training and work experience for the participants.

The Byron Youth Theatre will create a new youth production and workshop exploring issues of abuse; in Mullumbimby a new information hub -the Mullumbimby Gateway Rotunda will highlight the cultural legends of our First Nation people – with new posts of the rotunda decorated by Delta Kay and a team of indigenous artists. And Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre will provide professional development to its tutors and support workers with a unique methodology for teaching clowning to folk with intellectual disabilities.

The Clown Doctors will continue their work at Lismore Base Hospital spreading ‘doses’ of fun and laughter to uplift sick kids.

In Richmond Valley, the Neighbourhood Centre receives funding to train their volunteers in food safety which will support the rescue and redistribution of food donations throughout the greater Northern Rivers region. Funding will also be used to purchase basic food pantry stables.

A new animal care category has given funding to Bangalow Koalas for a wildlife corridor that will connect koala habitat and rainforest remnants. For Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, a replacement flying fox aviary for the release of hand raised orphaned flying fox pups and rehabilitated flying foxes. Riding for the Disabled in Ballina receives funding for two new replacement saddles providing pain free experiences for the horses.

In the medical sphere, Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice – the only provider of free medical equipment to palliative care patients in the Tweed region, will receive funding to purchase a king single hospital bed with a special mattress for clilents who need pressure care.

NRCF Chair John Callanan said that awareness of the reach of NRCF had increased with the help of local media. “We are constantly looking to extend knowledge of our capacity to help, and would be delighted if local individuals and businesses would partner with us further – to aid the burgeoning inequality and disadvantage in the Northern Rivers region.”

“We are at one with grass root initiatives and can easily lead donors to worthwhile projects.”

The grant ceremony was held at Murwillumbah Community Centre which in 2017 received a significant NRCF grant to help re-establish its community food pantry wiped out in the Cyclone Debbie floods of 2017.

Source: Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF)