The program offers grants of up to $5,000 toward projects that improve infrastructure and address local issues to strengthen the small rural communities that underpin Victoria’s dairy industry. A total of $100,000 is available.

The Program, which is funded by Gardiner and delivered by FRRR operates across all three Victorian Dairy Regions: Gippsland, North East and the South West. This is the fourteenth year of the program. Not-for-profit community groups with an ABN or Incorporation Certificate that operate in dairy regions are strongly encouraged to apply, and should consider using the Strengthening Small Dairy Communities Toolkit developed by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. This useful resource is full of practical tips, techniques, templates and further sources of
information and is available on the Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s website.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive, Mary Harney, said small grants have a catalytic and positive impact. “These grants can help community groups to achieve projects of impressive scope, often well beyond the original expectation. We know from past grantees that the assistance enables them to achieve more than they would otherwise and can often be a catalyst for further funding,” Ms Harney said.

A previous grant recipient from western Victoria, Simon Dewar, Principal of Colac Secondary College, said their ‘Going Poddy’ project received $2,500. Dairying provides more job opportunities than tourism in this region and has a high multiplier effect for the community for dollars invested.

“This grant went towards building additional agricultural educational infrastructure to enable the year round operation of our ‘Cows Create Careers’ program for year nine students, which teaches skills essential to working in the dairy industry,” said Mr Dewar.

Natalie Egleton, CEO FRRR, said that the program is very broad, reflecting the individuality of the communities that it supports: “Through this program, we are able to support a broad range of activities, from early years to advanced education, support for youth, mental and physical health, people with disabilities, cultural endeavours, heritage, local economic development, tourism and the environment. This supports local dairy communities that are actively seeking to implement local solutions to local issues to move forward.”

Applicants should visit or contact FRRR on 1800 170 020 for more information and to apply.

Applications close 5pm, Monday 14 March 2016.