Inspiring Rural Communities—new grants announced

24 June 2015

Successful applicants from the 2015 Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) grants programme were announced today.

The programme, developed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), and made possible with a $500,000 grant from the Australian Government, fosters community leadership development in regional and remote areas.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the leadership investment under the CIRCLE programme is vital for realising the prospects of regional communities.

“Investing in rural leadership is critical if we are to realise the vision of vibrant rural communities and industries in Australia,” Mr Truss said.

“Capable local leaders will ensure that local communities have the skills to tackle relevant issues effectively, with good planning and execution.

“I congratulate all the successful applicants on their high quality proposals that will make a positive difference to their communities.

“I am delighted to be supporting this programme because it directly improves the reach and accessibility of leadership development programs across the country, including through more online and virtual training.

“Travel costs are often a barrier to participation and this online approach helps to overcome the tyranny of distance that many rural communities face.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Alexandra Gartmann, said this practical support would make a lasting impact in these communities.

“With strong leadership and well-functioning local community organisations, including philanthropic Community Foundations, communities have greater capacity to turn challenges into opportunities,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Additional training opportunities and alumni programs, as well as investment in IT equipment, governance training and strategic planning support for community organisations will help create capacity and build stronger, more vibrant communities.

The 20 successful grant recipients include funding for:

  • The South West Women's Health and Information Centre in Bunbury, WA which will use the funds to give women in bushfire prone areas new skills in leadership, decision making, technology and natural disaster preparedness and recovery. Development training sessions will be held with local community groups in Nannup, Bridgetown, Northcliffe, Donnybrook, Manjimup and Pemberton. Follow-up individual coaching will consolidate group learning.
  • The National Rural Women's Coalition Limited which will trial existing technology to overcome the barrier of distance to leadership training and development. This project will work with the Office of Women's Policy (Darwin), to target and train potential leaders in the Northern Territory.
  • The Tasmanian Leaders Inc which will support participants of previous leadership programs with a series of webinars and residential programmes. These will enable the graduates to have direct input into Government policy and planning and to support a 10th anniversary celebration of alumni from previous programs.
  • The Ag Excellence Alliance Inc in South Australia seeks to reduce barriers to participation in leadership training for emerging community leaders, particularly regional South Australian women in agriculture. This project will involve building a sustainable network of peer-to-peer support for female rural leaders through an online mentoring / leadership model and interactive learning activities.

A full list of the successful grant applicants can be found in Attachment A in the PDF attached or online at:  

For more information about the CIRCLE programme, visit: