Community Grants

The NSW Government is committed to supporting community-led adaptation projects through the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change (IRCC) grants. This is the first round of grants for projects led by NSW community groups to increase their resilience and reduce the impacts from climate change.

These grants deliver positive social, environmental and economic outcomes, through community participation, preparation and resilience to climate change impacts.

The grants have been established to support projects that help communities to take action, foster partnerships and manage climate change impacts by being able to better plan, prepare for, and respond to heatwaves, storms, floods, drought and bushfires.

Round 1 Grant recipients

A diverse range of 23 projects were successful in receiving IRCC grant funding from 148 applications which closed in February 2020. This grant funding to support communities to increase resilience to climate change is worth a total value of $615,659.00. All projects will be completed by March 2022.

The recipients include community groups from across NSW including regional areas such as Armidale, Walgett, the Far North Coast, Shoalhaven, Southern Tablelands and Albury.

Projects like these will be critical to our state’s efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change which has already seen a steady increase in temperatures since the 1960s, with 2019 being NSW’s hottest year on record.

Read more about these inspiring projects (download PDF):

Central West and Orana


Land Studio pilot project
Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation
This project engages city dwellers to increase their climate change awareness and participate in climate resilience initiatives on rural land restoration. The pilot is a new model of land stewardship which encourages urban and rural citizens to collaborate to regenerate degraded agricultural land, build soil carbon and create a more sustainable food system. Students and volunteers will camp with landowners in the Capertee Valley for a community-led project to improve landscape hydrology and soil health. A blueprint for land-based cultural engagement that turns manual work into a fun and inspirational experience, adaptable for schools and universities, volunteering, citizen-science and ecotourism.

Far West


Water Resilient Community Garden
Dharriwaa Elders Group Incorporated
The Dharriwaa Elders Group’s Water Resilient Community Garden project is taking adaptation action by reinvigorating a water resilient community garden at the Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service. Previously, the garden provided food to chronically ill Walgett residents but was destroyed by drought. In partnership with UNSW Global Water Institute and Impact Engineer volunteers, the renewed garden will increase its yield and reduce water usage, making it more resilient to drought. The garden will produce up to 144 kilograms of fresh vegetables every 12 weeks for community food programs, improving accessibility to good nutrition and reducing carbon emissions by transporting food into the community.



Adapting households for climate change
Beyond Zero Emissions Inc.
By producing a Cooling Our Homes booklet and workshop series, this project will build adaptive capacity and climate resilience. It will detail best practice, affordable strategies to help Hunter region households minimise their heating and cooling energy needs. A roadshow of seven workshops will outline climate projections for the region and efficient temperature control methods for households, including appliances and cost-effective retrofits to suit varying home types. The aim is to support Hunter communities to become safer, healthier, and more comfortable while using less energy. This project can be adapted for other NSW regions to share knowledge and enable partnerships.


Sub Catchment Recovery Planning
Mid Coast 2 Tops Landcare Connection Inc
Recent natural disasters across the Mid North Coast have created an opportunity to capture community attention and rebuild with resilience in mind. Following the devastating impacts of these events, the most common concern from this community is "where to start". This project seeks to answer that question with a series of workshops in 2020under the program "Rebuilding Community and Landscape Resilience". The workshops will focus on restoring productivity to the land, minimising the impact of future events and restoring ecosystem function on affected properties. Through best practice land management, we can mitigate the risks of natural disasters. This will increase our personal safety and strengthen our ecosystems and social communities.

Illawarra and Shoalhaven


Greening Jerry Bailey Oval for the future
Lions Club of Shoalhaven Heads Inc
Jerry Bailey Oval is a key meeting place in Shoalhaven Heads for a diverse range of activities and groups within the local community. There are few shaded outdoor areas in our village and the recent drought has further reduced tree cover. This project will involve planting of established native trees, and installation of irrigation points and groundwater pumps to provide a cool, comfortable outdoor area for the community. The project will include information on the cooling effect of green foliage and its role in creating a healthy environment. The information will be placed on notice boards in suitable locations near seating.


Building Emerging Community Resilience to Natural Disaster Emergencies in a Climate of Change
SCARF Refugee Support
This project will provide practical information and education to promote resilience to climate change impacts among refugee and new migrant communities in the Illawarra by engaging emerging communities from key language groups to help them understand their role and responsibility in mitigating the impact of floods, storms, bushfires and heatwaves. Culturally appropriate and multilingual workshops will clearly explain actions they can take to help themselves and their families stay safe. These workshops will also invite participation from NSW Police, Fire and Rescue NSW, Rural Fire Service, and, Wollongong City Council members to share key messages and build networks.

Metropolitan Sydney


Building Responsiveness to Climate Change in Migrant and Refugee Settlement Communities Metro Assist
Metro Assist Limited
Higher temperatures, variable rainfall and increasing fire danger are some climate change impacts being felt across NSW. This project will deliver in-language resources to help vulnerable refugees/newly arrived communities navigate these challenges. They will provide practical examples of adaptive behaviours, such as water conservation, to integrate into community lifestyles. Activities include producing translated video and audio resources to help multicultural settlement services engage communities in their own language; increasing understanding within communities about the need for adaptive behaviours; supporting communities to change behaviour to prepare for climate hazards; and empowering community members to share adaptive behaviours with new arrivals and the broader community.


An educational initiative that teaches Western Sydney’s diverse communities practical and creative responses to climate change. The program will run over four seasons with a focus on heatwaves and how to cool down urban environments like Parramatta. For many migrant communities in Western Sydney there are language and cultural barriers to understanding climate change, related stress, and solutions. By using the help of translators for workshops and learning resources they will reach these communities to strengthen the whole region’s ability to keep cool. The project will give community members the tools and knowledge to reduce climate stress and lower heatwave temperatures in their area.


Western Sydney Heat and Social Housing
Wentworth Community Housing
Rising heat and increasing heatwave incidence are of grave concern to social housing tenants. This project will focus on improving tenant resilience to heat and heatwave events by developing adaptable resources in plain English and various other languages. It will provide inexpensive, personal strategies for heat mitigation in varied housing types and develop training for staff to help them effectively deliver messages of resilience. Tenants will be included in the design of resources and consulted on the delivery. The project will also distribute resources to thousands of vulnerable social housing tenants in the Nepean and Hawkesbury regions and other parts of Western Sydney.


Learn, Prepare, Prevent: Action for a Resilient Hawkesbury
Western Sydney University
This community education, engagement and empowerment initiative is designed to respond to climate change impacts on three levels: 1. Households via kitchen table conversations and social media platforms 2. Village via neighbourhood workshops and project generation 3. Regional via community-wide educational forums. The aim is to inspire Hawkesbury residents to create the social, institutional and physical infrastructure needed to survive and potentially thrive in this changing climate. The program will empower Hawkesbury residents to respond effectively to climate change impacts in a manner appropriate for each circumstance and to build an effective regional network for collective action.

New England and North West


Adapting revegetation and bushland management to a hotter and drier climate
Armidale Tree Group Inc
The project will engage experienced tree planters and bushland managers in the New England area to assess drought-induced damage to planted trees and bushland; evaluate the factors influencing these losses; and identify strategies to mitigate future losses. The aim is to change revegetation and bushland management practices to adapt to the changing climate. Project examples include revegetation design with wider spacing between trees; better ground preparation and more investment in weed control; and bushland management guided by controlling of weeds or recommended conservative grazing regimes. Project findings will result in new guidelines for revegetation and bushland management for stakeholders in the region.


The Armidale Climate and Health Project
Community Weathering Station
Mitigating the impact of environmental change at the individual level. Alongside practical skill sharing, there is an identified need to support mental and physical health stressors in the wake of extreme drought. This project is pioneering an initiative to help the Armidale community successfully “weather” the climate change storm. It aims to address the health risks presented by climate change and to provide the community with adaptation skills, services and resources. The project will run a series of six workshops on climate and health; host a two-day Climate and Health festival; and form a new organisation to deliver climate and health training services.


Climate Adaptation, Inverell and New England North West, through adoption of Regenerative Agriculture
Gwymac Landcare
Climate change has prompted many people in the New England region to rethink land-use practices and seek ways to build more resilient rural production landscapes, economies and communities. Educational workshops for landholders will showcase the benefits of regenerative agriculture using practical techniques. The workshop topics include: 1) Principles, Practices and Benefits of Regenerative Agriculture to Increase Regional Resilience 2) Regenerative Agriculture Techniques in Action 3) Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture 4) Farm Planning for Regenerative Agriculture. These regional workshops will provide participants with valuable knowledge, skills and opportunities to prepare for and minimise the impacts of more frequent and severe droughts.


Farming for Change
Tamworth Regional Landcare Association
This project will support producers and farmers transition to practices that have a positive impact on soil health, groundcover, water infiltration and productivity. It will enable participants from across North West NSW to shift from ‘season to season’ thinking to a long-term vision that considers the influence of climate variability on their business. Supporting communities with knowledge, skills and experience to alleviate the impacts of the drought, will strengthen their financial and social resilience. Expected outcomes are: increased knowledge and capacity to adapt to a changing climate, accelerated changes to farm practice; and formation of farmer and land care support and networking groups.


Water recycling - mapping community values
Z-NET Uralla Inc
This project will undertake an informed community consultation to gauge the acceptance level of recycled water, and to identify barriers arising from lack of information and fear. This will produce a Water Blueprint for Uralla Shire Council to explore support for necessary changes to water supply, in the face of hotter temperatures and more variable rainfall as the climate changes. A community consensus will be built around the need to transition to more secure water supplies given the changing climate, future population and business growth. The final project Blueprint and knowledge will be shared with regional councils and communities in the Murray-Darling Basin.

North Coast


Adapting to climate variability - a planting guide for the Northern Rivers region, NSW
Brunswick Valley Landcare Inc
A Planting Guide for the Northern Rivers Region will produce a “climate resilient landscapes” guide and promote adaptive planting to strengthen the community’s connection to local vegetation, gardens and landscape. The project will help the community to better understand the effects of temperature, fire, flood and drought in the Byron Shire and broader Northern Rivers region. Additionally, a “climate resilient landscape” demonstration site will be set up in Mullumbimby's Heritage Park featuring revegetation projects and plants for local gardens that are resilient to the effects of climate change.


How on Earth: Youth Led Theatre & Resilience Training Workshops
Friends of Foresthaven Inc
The Friends of Foresthaven have partnered with Byron Youth Theatre to deliver the "How on Earth" project. The project aims to equip 24 youth leaders with resilience-building tools and strategies, will develop community-based workshops in collaboration with emergency services, sustainability organisations, local psychologists and community leaders; and deliver six climate change knowledge workshops to schools across the NSW North Coast. Climate change adaptation requires a specific skill set. This project will support communities to develop practical disaster preparedness and recovery strategies with a focus on addressing the mental health impacts of climate change.


Head, Heart and Hands
Port Macquarie Hastings Sustainability Network
This project is focused on building climate change resilience and adaptive capacity, through a series of 12 workshops, a regional health and climate change summit, a mentorship program and online resources. Local experts will share their knowledge on emergency preparedness, food and land resilience, health and wellbeing, and the built environment. Doctors for the Environment Australia will deliver the mental and physical health/wellbeing stream at a climate change and health summit in Port Macquarie, NSW. Both the workshops and health summit will be linked to a mentorship program and online resources to support community members in developing and implementing shared knowledge.

Riverina Murray


Demonstrating ways to enhance habitat resilience to climate change at Wirraminna
Petaurus Education Group Incorporated
A trial site at Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre, Burrumbuttock will prepare a Seed Production Area and restore native woodland to withstand near-future climate change impacts. Drought-tolerant species will be selected and grown for seed production to promote understanding of how to respond, and adapt, to climate change in the Murray Murrumbidgee region. The project will build capacity in the community by strengthening climate knowledge and leadership among community groups and build a network to share climate change adaptation knowledge and lessons. Further adaptation action includes planting more climate-resilient species and propagating them in a Seed Production Area for future landscape improvement projects.

South East and Tablelands


Moodji Farm: Urban & Indigenous Agriculture Project & Bushfire Recovery Project
Bermagui Preschool Cooperative Society
Bermagui Preschool and adjoining Moodji farm (Moodji meaning "mate" in local Djiringanj language) draws on indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu, to honour, repair and reinstate the intellectual and cultural heritage of the Yuin Nation. Through the cultivation of a bushfoods garden and Djiringanj language program, eco-cultural practices are being used to support the Bermagui community. The project’s urban farm, agri-landcare education program and waste-to-taste facility will promote sustainable farm landscape design. Workshops will be created for the local agriculture community; as well as tailored for Moodji volunteers, children, local business and the wider Bermagui community.


Building Community and Landscape Resilience in the Yass Valley
Bowning-Bookham Districts Landcare Incorporated
A community-led project that aims to develop social infrastructure and high-impact actions to respond to climate change in the Yass Valley. It will initially involve community gatherings across the local government area to discuss projected climate changes for the region, their impacts on local lives and landscape, and how to respond. A Local Training and Practice program will follow focused on three Adaptation Actions: more trees, better plant cover, and happier soil. By providing local support and mentoring, a demonstration site, and cultivating leaders to support local action this project will benefit the health, wellbeing and productivity of the community and landscape.


Increasing small farm resilience to extreme heat, drought and bushfires
Small Farms Network Capital Region Incorporated
A forum for NSW Capital Region landholders for information on projected local climate change effects. Participants will decide four subsequent workshop themes to run over the following year to determine climate change issues impacting small farmers and inform a tailored education program. Workshops will be with subject matter experts and properties currently applying best practice land management and animal husbandry strategies. Summaries and fact sheets will allow a wider audience to access best practice agricultural adaptation strategies for their local area. Long-term outcomes are expected to include improved land management and climate change adaptation strategies used on small farms across the region.

Healing Country & Community with Good Fire Practices
Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council
This project will build community resilience and mitigate climate change impacts by promoting skills and practical knowledge sharing. A series of workshops led by indigenous elders and educators from the Upper Shoalhaven region will explore indigenous fire management and species awareness. These workshops will enable 30 local Rural Fire Service volunteers to engage in training in integrated/indigenous fire practices and learn about fire as a land management tool. The aim is to build a local community of practice around fire preparedness, management and post-fire recovery. Reducing risks of fires and empowering local leaders will have positive social, health and economic outcomes.

Related links and information

Guidelines for applicants

Frequently Asked Questions for applicants