Common Ground Project receives $20,000 to boost drought resilience and mental health

April 20, 2024 BY

Member for Corangamite Libby Coker and Common Ground Project CEO Felicity Wade. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Common Ground Project in Freshwater Creek has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Future Drought Fund.

This funding is intended to enhance drought resilience and mental health within the community.

Federal member for Corangamite, Libby Coker, underlined the significance of this support as part of the Government’s efforts to bolster communities against dry conditions.

“The Small Network Grants have an emphasis on managing the mental health of the whole community as they deal with the economic downturns and the subsequent mental strain of managing droughts,” Ms Coker said.

Common Ground Project CEO Felicity Wade detailed the initiatives the grant will support.

“We are a regenerative farm and a social enterprise, deeply embedded in our community, focusing on creating a fairer, more resilient food and farming system in our region,” Ms. Wade said

The grant will fund a series of workshops known as a community of practice, aiming to bring together farmers, landowners, and other stakeholders from the greater Geelong Surf Coast region.Ms Wade said the workshops will serve as a platform to share knowledge and experiences, “particularly in drought response and mental health resilience, linking the community with experts and those with significant local experience,” she said.

The program not only aims to foster community connections but also to develop practical resources.

“We plan to compile a toolkit summarising the workshops’ outcomes, which will be available for free on our website, supporting ongoing community education and engagement on drought response,” Ms. Wade said.

The Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative, which supports these grants, is in partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).

This initiative facilitates projects that aid communities in preparing for and managing drought conditions more effectively.

Round 2 of the Small Network Grants is currently open, continuing to support projects that manage mental health in regional communities amidst climatic challenges.