At FRRR, we understand that recovery takes time and an important part of community recovery is having opportunities to connect, share experiences, enhance individual and community wellbeing and resilience, and to build strength and capacity for the future.

The Grants for Resilience & Wellness (GR&W) program has a specific focus on providing assistance towards community-strengthening and resilience-building projects for communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

This year, 39 projects to the value of $542,486 were supported via three rolling grant rounds. The bulk of funding supported three key themes: community wellbeing; community infrastructure; and youth engagement – all critical factors for communities rebuilding after natural disasters.

Some of the projects funded in 2013/14 included updating local men's shed facilities, running  mindfulness and stress reduction community workshops, installing fitness equipment in a local park to benefit community members of all ages, and this unique project from the Yarra Ranges - The VoiceMob Project.

VoiceMob … watch out, they could be anywhere

Playing on the notion of a ‘flash mob’, The VoiceMob Project brought together people of all ages and abilities to sing en-masse on the streets of the Yarra Ranges in Victoria. Using footpaths, offices, parks, shopping centres, festivals, and events as its stage, the VoiceMob emerged from the crowd creating a theatrical wonder, before melting back in to everyday life.

New voices bring group together

The VoiceMob Project was aimed at those who love to sing and those who think they can’t. Under the direction of professional community artists, the performers used songs and movement to engage and uplift the crowd – bringing a smile to the community still recovering from the devastating bushfires in 2009.

Utilising an $11,000 grant from FRRR’s Grants for Resilience and Wellness program (GR&W) The VoiceMob Project built on existing community capacity to engage the broader community.

The project encouraged people of all ages and abilities from across the Yarra Ranges to participate, with a strong focus on social inclusion and accessibility. Wherever people gathered, workshops could be offered… and the organisers ensured this happened!

It was a very busy year for the VoiceMob Project, they:

  • Launched a marketing campaign and website;
  • Held 37 public singing workshops across the Yarra Ranges;
  • Performed at 12 local festivals and events, where the VoiceMob ranged from 12-100 people and the largest audience was 10,000 people;
  • Hosted over 500 workshop participants across a broad range of community members;
  • Ran weekly school based workshops at three local primary schools; and
  • Held six creative development and mentoring workshops.

Ongoing model for project success

Feedback throughout the project was overwhelmingly positive. The online survey was completed by 30 participants and 95% said they felt included in the project, 97% felt the project celebrated diversity and difference and 94% felt the project helped bring the community together.

The VoiceMob Project was planned and executed with great consideration and it is a model that will be used for community cultural development projects in the Yarra Ranges in the future.