To help Australians through this critical time, the Facebook Australia Groups Fund is a $500,000 investment in supporting grassroots response and recovery efforts, and initiatives building strong and resilient communities. We’re proud to announce the first round of grant recipients, a series of stories of the unsung local heroes, making a meaningful difference in their communities through Facebook Groups.
From bushfires to pandemics, we’ve seen Australians using Facebook Groups to come together and find connection and belonging and get through when times are tough. Whether it’s for emotional support and to offer help, or to connect around unique interests or hobbies, Groups have provided a gateway for people to connect with their communities, at a time when they need it most.
Friends of Paynesville and Raymond Island, Eagle Point VIC
The small community of Paynesville and Raymond Island has been economically devastated by the loss of tourism from the bushfires and now COVID-19. The Friends of Paynesville and Raymond Island Facebook Group has provided a space for the community to come together in the aftermath and work on positive initiatives to recover. The Group was formed to provide a forum for sharing ideas and with no established community forum representing the interests of Paynesville, Raymond Island and surrounds, the Facebook Group is now the central meeting point for local discussion and decision making on initiatives to build community connection, support business, tourism and growth for the local community.
“In the wake of drought, bushfires and COVID-19, the grant will help to keep us together, make us stronger and build our community pride. It will enable us to celebrate who we are and share our wonderful home with the world.” – Martin Richardson, Group Admin.
Love the Bay BB, Batemans Bay NSW
The Love the Bay BB Facebook Group was initially created as a community pride campaign, supporting the local business community and therefore the local community. However, in the midst of the bushfire crisis on the NSW South Coast, it soon became clear the role of the Group was more important than ever. The Group prioritises showcasing the local business community and giving them a platform on which they can promote their unique businesses and, importantly, encouraging locals and visitors to shop local.
“This grant means Love the Bay BB can continue to help build community resilience post-bushfires and through this pandemic, instilling community pride, and encouraging a new kind of connectedness.” – Marieke Janssen, Group Admin.
Let’s Talk Mental Health, Moruya Heads NSW
The Let’s Talk Mental Health Facebook Group was set up by a group of mental health professionals to open up the conversation about mental health as a means of reducing stigma for those in fire or drought affected communities. The Group benefits anyone who has been impacted by the bushfires – including those that have lost their homes, lost their businesses or are just struggling to get back to their normal routine.
“We have been inundated with referrals for individual psychological support post-bushfires and COVID19 – having access to this grant means that we will be able to offer a free online group so that we can support more of our community, particularly those that have been financially disadvantaged who would otherwise have difficulty affording individual therapeutic supports.” – Stacy Shepard, Group Admin.
Spend With Us Sellers, Fountaindale NSW
The Spend With Us Sellers Facebook Group is a place for small businesses in bushfire and drought affected areas who list their products through the Spend With Us website. Spend With Us wanted to provide a platform that can change the way people can directly support Australian communities, families and their children who are suffering adversity and in turn positively impact their well-being and livelihoods. The trauma suffered by families and their children following fires can be devastating for communities and they want to indirectly improve mental health by financially supporting as many fire affected businesses as possible.
“Receiving this grant means that we can support more of rural and regional Australia. The impact it will create will be both immediate – sales and putting food on the table, and long term, building sustainable rural and regional businesses who have the skills and platform to make sales, grow their business and attract a continual stream of customers wanting their goods.” – Sarah Britz, Group Admin.
Facebook Australia Groups Fund
The Facebook Groups Fund is a AUD$500,000 commitment to Australian communities who have been affected by crisis to help them respond and recover. We are looking to fund activities that:
- Build community resilience and recovery by fostering community connectedness.
- Nurture cultural vibrancy and the arts by celebrating, preserving and promoting the local culture and identity.
- Stimulate new spending within a community or region to improve economic prosperity for local businesses.
- Enhance health and wellbeing.
- Improve the natural environment, wildlife and ecosystems.
- Support diverse and/or marginalised communities.
Do you know a Facebook Group that would benefit from a grant? Share this post with your community and invite others to apply. Groups Fund applications are open until 27 August at fb.me/groupsfundaustralia