Heywire Youth Innovation Grants


In 2012, we began a partnership with ABC Heywire to offer Youth Innovation Grants, a catalytic program that aims to turn youth voices into reality.

It builds on a program developed by ABC Radio, in partnership with the Australian Government, that involves young people living in rural and regional Australia in a national conversation about the issues that matter to them.

FRRR attended the 2013 Heywire Regional Youth Summit to hear first-hand the broad range of great ideas aimed at improving life for young people living in rural, regional and remote parts of Australia. We mentored the youth summit participants as they refined ideas around key issues such as mental health, body image, racism, drink driving, economic opportunity, farm sustainability, careers in agriculture, and support for diversity and equality.

In 2013, the FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants shared $70,000 across nine groups, enabling them to adopt, adapt and implement the ideas to achieve positive, youth-led change. The 2013 projects have all reported positive changes and attitude shifts in the areas where they were implemented. As a result of this impact, FRRR’s Board, with support from the Pratt Foundation, increased the funds for the 2014 program to $100,000, which funded eight fresh ideas to achieve real change in regional Australia.

Click on the images to learn more about the 2013 projects.

Project: The Green Room - Moving Mountains

Grant: $10,000

Organisation: Youth Action Council, Northern Grampians Shire Council 

Members of the Youth Action Council received training and support to deliver Mental Health workshops in 13 different primary and secondary schools. These peer-to-peer workshops raised awareness of common mental illnesses and introduced local health professionals. In addition, the team delivered 10 mental health first aid workshops open to the broader communityThe Council is looking at ways to sustain the successful program into the future. 

Project: Keys Please Kiosk

Grant: $10,000

Organisation: The STEER Project, Byron Youth Service Inc 

Keys Please Kiosks have been rolled out at major festivals in Northern NSW in 2013 and 2014. Revellers are encouraged to hand over their keys on arrival and at the end of the night they’re encouraged to take a breath test and given safe transport information. STEER estimate that in one weekend they changed the travel behaviours of 500 people - making roads safer for everyone in their community. STEER has received further funding from Transport for NSW, and will continue to operate this program into the future.

Project: Getting the Balance Right

Grant: $10,000

Organisation: Barkly Regional Arts Inc 

The young members of the Media Mob used their grant to produce positive video stories, called ‘postcards’, about Tennant Creek youth. The postcards were screened at a National Youth Day Event and have been used by the ABC, SBS and NITV. The Media Mob hope their postcards will help change the - often negative - perception of young people in their area. 

Project: Fresh Face Friday

Grant: $10,000

Organisation: The Australian Lions Drug Awareness Foundation (TALDAF)

Fresh Face Friday was a national multi-media campaign, coinciding with National Body Image Awareness Week 2014, to educate and help young people with body image issues. Invited to ‘Tear Up’ their negative thoughts - more than 19,000 people participated! This project was driven by a team of youth advisors and has been adopted by TALDAF to continue in 2015 and beyond.

Project: Farmers’ Future

Grant: $6,000

Organisation: AgConnect WA 

This young farmers’ organisation adopted the idea of a mobile friendly website that connects consumers and farmers, through scannable QR codes on produce for a local community in the wheat belt of WA. This project raises awareness of how food is produced and the importance of supporting local farmers. 

Project: Breaking Down the Door

Grant: $3,725

Organisation: QLD Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association

A lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth support network has been re-established and an event held to encourage acceptance of sexual diversity and increase awareness, education and tolerance in the community. Feedback has been positive, with young people in the region having a safe space to explore their feelings and be themselves as they move forward. 

Project: Cutting the Red Tape

Grant: $10,000

Organisation: Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism Inc (HCCITI) 

A Youth Ideas Incubator was set up to support young business entrepreneurs, which included small grants and mentoring. Four new businesses have launched: Sammi Lou’s Pet Food, Kerri’s Kustom Cakes, Beattsy’s Mobile Auto Electrical and Mandy’s Beauty in the Bush. The HCCITI aims to sustain the model to mentor more young entrepreneurs and keep younger talent in the town.

Project: Breaking Down the Door

Grant: $7,500

Organisation: Youth Advisory Committee, District Council of Cleve 

A youth-led family fun day was held in Arno Bay to celebrate diversity and build acceptance of youth voices, sexual and cultural diversity in small towns. Organisers are also working on materials to allow the success of Breaking Down the Door Day to be replicated around the country. 

Project: The Green Room

Grant: $2,775

Organisation: Spirit of the Land Lockhart Inc. 

The Spirit of the Land Lockhart Festival is an annual weekend of family activities. The festival in October 2013 utilised elements from the 2013 Heywire ‘The Green Room’ idea to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health through the inclusion of a twilight candle flotilla and an information and activity tent throughout the festival.