To help support Australian communities at this critical time, we created the Facebook Australia Groups Fund, a $500,000 fund designed to support Groups who are leading grassroots community relief or recovery efforts and building resilience in communities who have been affected by crisis. We’re proud to announce the second round of grant recipients, a series of stories of the unsung local heroes, making a meaningful difference in their communities through Facebook Groups.
Schooling From Home Australia, Seaforth NSW
Alissa Volpe is a proud parent of three kids with a passion for teaching. When the pandemic hit, Alissa started to receive lots of messages from friends asking how they could support their kids to continue their education while at home. She quickly realised that the skills she had learned in her years of primary school teaching were needed, not just in her hometown of Sydney, but across Australia. This is where the idea for the Schooling from Home Australia Facebook Group was born.
The Group provides free education and curriculum resources, an easily accessible space, and lots of encouragement for parents who are learning to take a more active role in their children’s education while at home.
“As a primary school teacher and mum of three young ones (6,4 and 2 yrs old), I knew just how anxious the unknown would be for so many families and if I could ease just some of that and provide a small element of support I knew I could make a difference. I hope I can continue to provide a safe and supportive community for parents and carers going forward and resources for the growth and development of little minds.” – Alissa Volpe, Group Admin.
Back on Track Fitness, Melbourne VIC
The Back on Track Fitness Group provides a free space for people to connect and support each other, not only in fitness but as a wider community support platform. The Group is one of the ways that Back on Track Fitness raised $49,000 for Community Bushfire Relief earlier this year in their ‘50,000 burpees for bushfires’ challenge. They also recently raised $5,000 in the Relay for Life by inviting all of their community members to get involved.
The Facebook Group provides a space for coaches to put up free resources and for people to ask questions and receive advice. The Group also encourages members to shout out if they’re heading out for a run or an activity and invite others to join to provide that extra bit of motivation. The community aspect has been particularly valuable to help people look after their health during the multiple lockdowns in Melbourne.
“Back on Track Fitness has been an active member in the Wyndham City Community since 2014, taking part in many community projects, fundraisers, fun runs, and charity events. Our passion is to support those doing it tough, while also educating people on health, fitness, and mental well-being. The grant money will be used to continue our community support and provide education and inspiration to members of Wyndham City.” – Brydon Coles, Group Admin.
Plug a Business Tasmania, Hobart TAS
When COVID-19 hit, Janelle Larkin decided to use her natural ability to bring others together and her passion for supporting small businesses to start the Plug a Business Tasmania Facebook Group. The Group quickly grew to thousands of members which Janelle attributes to locals simply wanting to give each other a hand up during this challenging time. When a business owner asks a question, there are usually plenty of replies within minutes helping to find a solution. The Group has even stepped in to start providing support for businesses to get their products online and has big plans moving forward to continue strengthening the local economy.
“Receiving this grant means amazing things are in store for our ‘Plug a Business Tasmania’ community. We will grow the Buy from Tasmania website to incorporate a comprehensive services register, develop business mentoring programs to further boost the growth of our small businesses, and continue to film promotional videos for some of our hidden gems. We extend our heartfelt thanks from our community to the Facebook Australia Groups Fund for assisting us to grow through our Coronacoaster journey.” – Janelle Larkin, Group Admin.
Supporting East Gippsland Businesses in 2020, East Gippsland VIC
Small regional towns have always known how to pull together during tough times, and this spirit shone through in the Facebook Group. People were soon taking pictures of the menu of their favourite takeaway and sharing it in the Group if the shop didn’t have a digital presence and making sure everyone knew about the businesses who needed a little extra help. Hayley and her team also started to pull together digital experts to offer services to businesses that did not have a digital presence and didn’t know where to start. Providing small businesses with support to get online was a lifeline for many.
“2020 has been exceptionally difficult on businesses in East Gippsland, and it is for this reason that we set up the Supporting East Gippsland Facebook group. Thank you to Facebook for enabling us to take the idea of community and small business supporting each other and letting us grow it into a larger opportunity for the region, so visitors can learn and see all the wonderful things East Gippslanders do and are.” – Hayley Hardy, Group Admin.
Moo – unmeet far south coast, Merimbula NSW
The Moo – Unmeet Far South Coast Facebook Group comprises a diverse range of people including tech managers, angel investors, tourism operators, retail store owners, and hospitality businesses. The Group is passionate about how they extend their reach beyond their postcode using digital tools and regularly host informative events for local businesses. When the bushfires and COVID hit, the Group knew that the space to support each other and share knowledge about how to grow their businesses was more important than ever.
“This grant will allow us to hold amazing online events for our local business community, we are already organising our first event, an online speaker sesh with Clare Bowditch talking all things Big Hearted Business” – Simone Eyles, Group Admin.