MUSIC MATTERS: The South Burnett Community Orchestra will host music workshops to give musicians a stress reliever from the drought.
MUSIC MATTERS: The South Burnett Community Orchestra will host music workshops to give musicians a stress reliever from the drought. Jessica McGrath

Project to assist community through the drought

THE South Burnett Community Orchestra will be hosting the first of many projects around Australia to assist communities through the drought.

The orchestra will be hosting six free weekend music workshops for musicians of all standards, culminating in a free community concert and a dinner concert.

All proceeds from the concert will go to a non-profit organisation supporting farmers.

This project is made possible by the Tackling Tough Times Together funds program.

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal CEO Natalie Egleton said the effects of the drought were still felt across Australia.

"Drought is still a very real issue - and increasingly so, with communities right across Australia experiencing rainfall deficiencies,” she said.

Many townships are facing acute water shortages.

"The ripple effect this creates within communities is considerable, there's no money for the little extras that make life comfortable and that many of us take for granted,” Ms Egleton said.

The Tackling Tough Times Together grants program helps communities access the resources they need to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought.

The program supports community-based activities which help relieve current stressors and build capacity and resilience for the future in the community.

Community groups in drought-affected areas can apply for grants up to $20,000 or up to $50,000 to support locally-led responses to the drought.

A number of grants of up to $150,000 are also available for larger-scale, multi-year projects.

"There are different priorities in communities, and Tackling Tough Times Together is deliberately flexible so that local leaders can take the reins on solutions that will have the biggest impact on their communities,” Mr Egleton said.

"In some cases, that's supporting young people, just last week UNICEF Australia released their report on the effect that the drought is having on children and young people - forcing them to grow up before their time.”

Groups can apply at any time, but the cut-off date for the next batch of applications to be considered is April 30.

Expressions of interest for grants in the $150,000 tier must be received by April 11.

For more information about the grants visit the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal website.

Musicians can still join in the free South Burnett music workshops.

For more information email sborchestra@hotmail.com.