6 July, 2017: The Gardiner Dairy Foundation and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) today announced that 24 recipients will share $100,000 from the 2017Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program.

The Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for projects that aim to strengthen Victorian dairy communities, build their capacity to deal with local issues, and enhance existing community infrastructure.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mary Harney, has outlined that the dairy industry is a fundamental component of Australia’s economy and hence support of the communities in which it operates is integral.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation has been a proud supporter of the Working in Dairy Communities Small Grants Program for the past 15 years and looks forward to seeing the numerous grass-roots community driven projects being implemented across Victorian dairying regions,” said Ms Harney.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said small grants play an important role in rural and regional Australia and FRRR is pleased to be supporting Victorian dairy communities, particularly in light of the current industry challenges. Rural and regional communities experience many gaps in local support services and infrastructure. A small grant helps to address local issues and enable community groups to implement local solutions to local problems.

“The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s support of communities through this program ensures the locals have control over what their community needs, and at the moment, this level of control in dairy regions is particularly important.

“The most common types of projects that funding was requested for were infrastructure, equipment and furnishings, and we saw an increase in the number of projects focusing on mental health and wellbeing, which is quite telling of the levels of stress still being experienced by farming communities,” said Ms Egleton.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s investment of $100,000 is widely and evenly distributed across Victoria’s three principle dairying regions. Since the launch of the annual program in 2002, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation has invested more than $1.6 million in this program, having supported a total of 418 community projects.

Details of the supported projects are available on FRRR’s website: www.frrr.org.au.