Youth projects in 20 communities across six states and the Northern Territory are the recipients of $154,000 in grants awarded by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) in conjunction with ABC Heywire.
The youth innovation grants will help develop projects that came out of the ABC Heywire Regional Youth Summit held in Canberra in February 2018.
For the first time, a youth-led panel assessed the grants, with a group of young people mentored to decide where the funds would be allocated.
With young people already developing and implementing the ideas, FRRR wanted to also see young people involved at the grant-giving stage of the process.
This year a youth-led panel assessed the grant applications.
Panellist Nickolas Stacey, 23, said that it is important to have young people involved in decision making about youth issues.
“I think there can often be a difference between what the young people proposing the project envisaged and what the people higher up think,” he said.
“It was a great opportunity to have young voices involved in the process.”
The Australian Migrant Resource Centre from Bordertown, South Australia will use their grant to encourage career opportunities in the agricultural sector by providing work experience and training for six youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds.
The 2018 grant projects tackle issues ranging from mental health and drug prevention, to youth disengagement and learning about healthy relationships, celebrating Indigenous culture and connecting new Australians to agricultural careers.
The communities benefiting from the grants are spread right across Australia, including Alice Springs, Northern Territory; Riverside, Tasmania; Theodore, Queensland; Victor Harbour, South Australia; Orange, New South Wales, Albany Western Australia and Foster, Victoria.
Grant recipient, Yirara College in Alice Springs
FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, said that the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants enable young people to work with community groups to tackle real, and at times confronting, issues that are impacting their local area.
“This is the sixth year that we have seed-funded projects with FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants and I am thrilled to say that there are a number of projects still going strong, and continuing to have an impact,” Ms Egleton said.
The Hon John McVeigh, the Minister for Regional Development, said that this grant program strengthens regional communities.
“It’s great seeing young people taking the lead in regional development,” he said.
“I’ve witnessed the enduring impact of these grants in my own electorate and across the country.
“I congratulate all recipients of this grant round and look forward to seeing their projects develop.”