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North Coast

NRCF Chair John Callanan announcing the 2021 Recovery & Resilience Grant Recipients at their annual Grant Giving Event at Brunswick Picture House. Credit: Kurt Petersen.

NRCF grants $236,000 to help 35 community organisations across the Northern Rivers to recover from recent crises and build resilience in our communities

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) has announced $236,000 in funding to help local community organisations to recover from recent crises and build resilience in the face of future disasters.

As the full impacts of Covid-19 emerged this year, and in the wake of drought, floods and bushfires already wreaking havoc in our region – the NRCF was quick to respond. The Foundation launched a research program to determine regional need and raised funds for a Recovery and Resilience Grant Program.

Funding from this Program will now help community groups on the ground, from Coaldale to Kyogle, Murwillumbah to Byron Bay, who are responding directly to community need. For the 35 successful applicants, grants range in value from $816 to $10,000, with an average amount of $6,763.

“Local community groups are in a unique position to respond directly to community need – and this Grants Program acknowledges the challenges these groups are currently facing,” said NRCF Chair John Callanan.

“They clearly need support – nearly 60 groups applied,” said John. “These small grants bridge gaps in Government funding and support their operations by funding essential and innovative projects and critical pieces of infrastructure, that will help communities across all seven local government areas of the Northern Rivers.”

The areas of need are diverse. Projects span across Health & Wellbeing, Aged Services, Employment & Training, Arts & Culture, as well as Disaster Recovery, Preparedness & the Environment, with each project addressing a specific issue within each local community.

In a recent survey by North Coast Primary Health Network, Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol and Ageing issues were highlighted as key concerns in our region. Thanks to a NRCF grant, the Northern Rivers Community Gateway in Lismore will provide Trauma Counselling for all cross sections of the community to address the multifaceted impacts of COVID-19.

The NRCF continue to expand their reach into the Clarence Valley, with six local organisations sharing in $36,500 of funding in support of projects within our region.

This includes a major kitchen upgrade for the Coaldale Barretts Creek Memorial Hall, so these remote island communities have a central place to gather as they recover from the impacts of natural disasters. This community hub will be well equipped for locals to assemble in the future, to coordinate and support emergency response efforts.

Funding will also help Little Wings fly seriously ill children and their families from our region to reach specialist medical care at the Royal Far West, to help decrease the likelihood of long-term adverse impacts on their health.

When the going gets tough, the community gets going

To fund this Grants Program, the NRCF called on the collective generosity of our community. And when the going gets tough, our community has demonstrated the ability time and time again, to get going.

“The local response has been remarkable,” said NRCF CEO Emily Berry. “Nearly a third of all grants given through this program has come from the support of our local community of donors.”

The NRCF also received funding from large interstate partners, including The James Frizelle Charitable Foundation, Portland House Foundation and the Yulgilbar Foundation.

“We were also thrilled to attract funding from international fundraising body, Global Giving, who were looking to invest in the Recovery & Resilience Program through their Wildfire Relief Fund. We’re truly humbled by the collaboration and generosity demonstrated by all of these organisations and individuals,” said Emily.

That strong sense of connection was clear last night, when the NRCF gathered grant recipients, donors, funding bodies and community members to announce the full list of inspiring projects at the Brunswick Picture House.

The Foundation’s reach continues to grow. This year, $418,000 has been distributed across NRCF’s various grant programs. That brings NRCF’s impact in the region to over $2.2 million in grants since 2005.

To view the full list of projects funded through NRCF’s Recovery and Resilience Grant program, visit