Gardiner Foundation grants a boost for Gippsland dairy

Past grantees, 2022 grantees and leadership fellows of the Gardiner Scholarship programs. Photo: Contributed

TWENTY-ONE projects in Victoria’s main dairy regions – Gippsland, northern Victoria, and south-west Victoria – have been awarded $91,833 in grants to help build the capacity of local community organisations and improve digital connectivity.

The grants are through the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Community Grants Program, which is delivered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). This marks the 20th year of the program, which has seen more than 500 grants awarded, valued at more than $2 million during that time.

The latest round of grants of up to $5000 will go to grassroots organisations and not-for-profits that are critical to the sustainability of dairy farming in Victoria.

Gardiner Dairy Foundation chief executive, Allan Cameron said he was delighted to continue supporting dairying communities.

“After 20 years, the Community Grants Program continues to support Victorian regions that are reliant on the dairy industry,” he said.

“Local groups play an important role in enhancing the vitality of these communities.

“These grants will help local organisations in many small towns to thrive, with initiatives that range from COVID recovery and disaster preparedness, to improved digital capabilities and facility upgrades.

“The grants help to ensure the viability of these organisations.”

FRRR chief executive Natalie Egleton said there was strong demand for this kind of support.

“Half of the projects receiving funding are geared towards building organisational capacity or improving access to the internet or digital technologies,” she said.

“This is a reflection of how the last couple of years have impacted remote, rural and regional community groups, and a great reminder of why it’s important to engage in conversations with the locals on the ground and find out how we can adapt our approach to better serve the needs of their communities.

“We are delighted to have maintained such a strong partnership with Gardiner Dairy Foundation for the last two decades.”

Community groups were presented with their funds at a series of ceremonies held in the regions during June and July. A complete list of the projects supported is available on FRRR’s website.

Here are a few of the projects from the Gippsland Dairy Region:

Port Albert Maritime Museum: Received $5000 for the Letting History Speak project to enhance tourism experience at the museum with audio installations to increase inclusivity and access.

Newry Hall Upper Maffra Mechanics Institute Incorporated: Received $3000 for the Hall Internet Connection, to reduce the digital divide for the Newry community, with the provision of enhanced internet infrastructure at the Newry Hall.

The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation Inc Bairnsdale: Received $5000 to enhance literacy outcomes for Indigenous primary school children with a dedicated tutoring program.