Community Wellbeing and Resilience


Healthy North Coast’s Community Wellbeing and Resilience (CWR) Program funds local place-based initiatives that support communities to recover from the health and wellbeing impacts of natural disasters and build their capacity to face future compounding challenges.

Since 2022, we have funded 23 CWR grants to a total value of $5.3 million through the Australian Government Department of Health and NSW Government Ministry of Health funding.  

2024 Community Wellbeing & Resilience Program

Three years of delivering the CWR grant program has provided valuable insights into what matters most for building community resilience, and where barriers exist. Healthy North Coast has used these learning combined with local needs assessment data1,2,3 and grant making literature to inform the next stage of the CWR program. In March 2024, Healthy North Coast invited eligible non-government not-for-profit organisations to express their interest in applying for funding under the 2024 CWR program. This stage of the program focused on shortlisting eligible initiatives that address health and wellbeing needs and demonstrate one or more of the following:
  • Local knowledge and leadership to enhance community capacity and decision making.
  • Building social capital, including strong social connections, cohesion, partnerships, trust and belonging.
  • Practical place-based solutions that address community health and wellbeing needs.
Participatory Grant Making As part of the grant application process, Healthy North Coast is trialing an innovative participatory funding approach. Participatory grantmaking (PGM) is an emerging approach that involves non-grantmakers in funding decisions and has been found to enable; stronger relationships with communities and grantees, greater flexibility, innovation, and improved transparency.4 An evidence review conducted by the Centre for Evidence and Implementation for the Paul Ramsay foundation found PGM enablessupports: 
  • stronger relationships with communities and grantees, 
  • greater networking and collaboration opportunities,
  • improved knowledge about grant making for non-grant makers,
  • greater flexibility, 
  • innovation in grant making, improved transparency.
Healthy North Coasts approach to participatory grant making for the 2024 CWR program will invite shortlisted applicants to participate in 2 facetoface collaborative workshops.  The facilitated workshops will consist of: 
  • Opportunities to give and receive feedback on proposals/concepts 
  • Opportunities to change proposals/concepts and/or collaborate with other organisations 
  • Peer evaluation of proposals evaluated and the provision of recommendations to inform Healthy North Coast’s funding decision. 

CWR Timeline

February 2024

Information and feedback sessions delivered online

March 2024

Eligible organisations invited to express their interest in applying for funding (via EOI)

April 2024

EOIs shortlisted and eligible participants are invited to the collaborative PGM workshops

May - June 2024

Shortlisted EOIs participate in two collaborative workshops and grant awards through a participatory grant making approach.

July - August 2024

Funding agreements executed.

Information and Feedback Webinars — February

In February 2024, Healthy North Coast held two online interactive information and feedback sessions with the region’s community service providers. These sessions were an opportunity for Healthy North Coast to: 

  • Share learnings, insights and outcomes from Healthy North Coast’s Community Wellbeing and Resilience (CWR) grant program to date, including the areas of focus for the 2024 funding round. 
  • Share the proposed Participatory Grant Making (PGM) approach for the 2024 CWR grant funding round 
  • Receive feedback from providers on the proposed PGM approach. 

To hear what we heard from the consultation process, please read the outcomes report.


Consultation Outcomes Report

Program aim, objectives and principles

The 2024 Community Wellbeing and Resilience (CWR) program aims to support communities to recover from the health and wellbeing impacts of natural disasters and build their capacity to adapt to future compounding challenges. 

If you are interested in submitting an EOI in March, it is strongly recommended you attend our webinar. To register for a webinar, complete the registration form.

Program objectives and principles


Improve community health and wellbeing through social connection and building social capital.

Strengthen the capacity of volunteer and community organisations to collaboratively respond to a changing climate by building partnerships and linkages between institutions, organisations or groups.

Support resilience by ensuring communities are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to adapt to the health impacts of a changing climate.

Why this is important

The North Coast of NSW is an identified disaster ‘hotspot’ in Australia.5,6,7,8

The World Health Organisation has identified climate change as the single greatest threat to human health. In the last few years alone, the North Coast has experienced unprecedented bushfires and catastrophic floods, alongside the global pandemic. These events have had a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities

We know our region will experience more frequent and severe disasters in the future. Without action, these events will continue to impact our populations health and wellbeing. To reduce future impacts, we need creative, coordinated, and sustainable action.

Building community resilience is key to improving health and wellbeing outcomes after natural disasters and in a changing climate.



The program supports initiatives that demonstrate local leadership and anticipate and respond to local needs. Communities take an active role in enhancing capacity to recover from the health and wellbeing impacts of natural disasters and adapt to future challenges.


The program supports initiatives that; target the specific circumstances of a place, value local knowledge, are informed by local evidence and data, and engage community members as active participants in development, implementation, and evaluation.


The program builds on the strengths within communities to support and mobilise the skills, knowledge, passion and experiences of individuals, groups, families, and organisations.


The program focuses on building partnerships, strengthening community cohesion, fostering collaboration, linkages, and developing innovative ways of working together to solve shared local problems. 


The program focuses on long-term sustainability so that communities are equipped to meet challenges into the future.


The program focuses on meeting local health and wellbeing needs, preventing ill-health, building resilience, and protecting human health and wellbeing from the impacts of a changing climate.

Previous grant rounds

2022 – 2024 | Flood Recovery Grants

In 2022, the program received additional funding from the NSW Government through its Northern NSW Mental Wellbeing Flood Recovery package. Thirteen initiatives were funded, across seven Local Government Areas that were heavily impacted by the catastrophic 2022 floods. A total of $3.3 million was commissioned, and initiatives focused on one or more of the following:

  • Social and community connection 
  • Cultural connection 
  • Trauma-based education 
  • Social and emotional wellbeing 

2021 – 2023 | Bushfire Recovery Grants

The first stage of the Community Wellbeing and Resilience Program was supported by $2 million funding from the Australian Government Department of Health through its Supporting Communities in Bushfire Recovery package 2021 – 2023. Ten local initiatives were funded and focused on more or of the following:  

  • Social and community connection 
  • Preparedness and response capability 
  • Partnerships and coordination 
  • Environmental connection 
  • Cultural connection 

Grant recipients



Our regional partners

  • Local Health District partners in our footprint: Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD) & Northern New South Wales Local Health District (NNSWLHD)
  • Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS)
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • Rural Doctors Network (RDN)
  • Rural Clinical Schools & Regional Training Hubs
  • General Practitioners
  • Registrars and International Medical Graduates
  • North Coast Allied Health Association (NCAHA)
  • Local Councils
    Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)
  • Universities including: Charles Sturt University (CSU), University of New South Wales (UNSW), Southern Cross University (SCU)

Aged Care Disaster Management Planning

Strategic Priority Area: One team

North Coast is identified as the region most likely to be impacted by climate change in Australia and also forecasted greatest growth in those 65+.

Healthy North Coast takes a lead role in ensuring the older population and the sector that supports them are prepared for, can respond to and recover from disasters and other emergencies.

We have led eight regional disaster management capacity building workshops, bringing together SES, community organisations and the aged care sector.

We have also developed disaster preparedness tip sheets for both residential and community aged care providers.

Voluntary Assisted Dying

Strategic Priority Area: One team

In May 2022, the NSW Parliament passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022. Effective from Tuesday, 28 November 2023, eligible people have the choice to access voluntary assisted dying. 

Healthy North Coast has developed a webpage for both health professionals and consumers, with links to available information and resources.

Living with Dementia resources

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

Healthy North Coast has worked with people living with dementia, their families and local service providers to develop an information booklet that will help them connect with local and national supports along their journey.

The booklet includes commonly asked questions for people to ask their GP and/or specialist.

The resource is available in digital and printed copies, with more than 5,000 distributed across the region. An e-version is available to clinicians via the Dementia and Cognitive Impairment HealthPathway.

Deteriorating Resident Triage Tool Pilot

Strategic Priority Area: One team

The Deteriorating Resident Response Tool (DRRT) has been developed to guide RN’s in Residential Aged Care homes (RACHs) to better understand, anticipate and make clinical decisions responding to the deteriorating health of residents.

The objective of the DRRT is to give RACH staff clear information to triage and provide appropriate care for a range of residents’ health conditions, and, in turn, prevent unnecessary presentations to ED.

The tool has been designed together with a specialist geriatrician, consulting with stakeholders such as Residential Aged Care Managers, NSW Ambulance, GPs, and experts from Mid and North Coast LHDs.

The pilot commences in March with four participating RACHs. Evaluation measures will include effectiveness in building RN confidence and reported reduction in unnecessary hospitalisations. Findings will inform a future planned, region-wide implementation.

North Coast Care Finders Program

Strategic Priority Area: No one is left behind

The Care Finders program is a free region-wide service to support vulnerable older people who have no-one else to help them, to learn about, apply for and set up support services.

Care finders can help people understand what aged care services are available, set up an assessment, and find and choose services. They also help people with access to other supports in the community, both accessing services for the first time and changing or finding new services and supports.

On the North Coast, Healthy North Coast has commissioned four organisations to provide this important service: EACH, Carexcell, Lifetime Connect and Footprints.

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Psychological services in residential aged care homes

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Healthy North Coast commissions two service providers to deliver psychological therapies and supports for older people with, or at risk of developing, a mental illness and who are living in residential aged care homes (RACHs).

The aim of the program is to both provide direct support to residents and their families and carers, as well as upskill the RACH workforce to respond to the needs of residents presenting with mental health concerns.

Social prescribing (Healthy Me Healthy Community)

Strategic Priority Area: Securing a Healthier Future

Delivered by Feros Care, the Healthy Me, Healthy Community program aims to build individual and community connections to reduce loneliness and improve wellbeing in Port Macquarie.

The program helps people to connect with community, activities, supports and services that address their broader social determinants of health, as an alternative or supplement to a clinical approach.

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Digital Health in Residential Aged Care

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Timely access to primary health care professionals, whether through face-to-face consultation or telehealth, is recognised as an issue for many Residential Aged Care Homes (RACHs), that in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations. RACHs require adequate telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

Project goals

  • Assist participating RACHs to have appropriate telehealth facilities and equipment to enable their residents to virtually consult when needed with their primary health care professionals, specialists and other clinicians. 
  • Provide training to participating RACH staff to support them to have the capabilities to assist their residents in accessing virtual consultation services.
  • Encourage increased use of My Health Record by RACHs, to improve the availability and secure transfer of resident’s health care information between RACHs, primary care and acute care settings.
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Greater Choice at Home Palliative Care Program

Strategic Priority Area: Improving Lives Now

Aims to provide people who have life limiting conditions the opportunity to exercise choice and receive high quality care at home, harnessing improved and better coordinated supports and services that meet their individual needs.

Program objectives:

  • Improve access to palliative care at home and support end-of-life care systems and services (in primary health care and community care)
  • To enable the right care at the right time and in the right place (to reduce unnecessary hospitalisation)
  • Generate and use data to support continuous improvement of services across sectors
  • Use available technologies to support flexible and responsive palliative care at home, including in the after-hours.

These objectives will contribute to achieving the following intended overarching outcomes of:

  • Improved capacity and responsiveness of services to meet local needs and priorities
  • Improved patient access to quality palliative care services in the home
  • Improved coordination of care for patients across health care providers and integration of palliative care services in their region.

Education & training funding elibility

Funding is open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.

Workforce Locum support and R&R funding criteria

  • Available to primary care services in disaster impacted communities within the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Available to support short-term workforce coverage, allowing clinicians to rest and recover.
  • Workforce-support funding in total is capped for each site, over a 12-month period:
    • $10k for GPs and/or
    • $5K for nursing and/or
    • $5k administration support and/or
    • $5K allied/pharmacy and other.
  • Funding is not to be used to fill gaps in staffing that have not been able to recruit to and not to replace existing staff.
  • Healthy North Coast will assess requirements and approve available funding directly with the service requesting support.
  • Priority will be given to sites that have immediate, short-term workforce support needs.
  • Requests will be reviewed and supported on a case-by-case basis.
  • Program funding administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) to be paid monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever comes first).
  • Practices will be required to complete a request for payment form monthly, or on completion of the placement (whichever occurs first).

Wellbeing Flexible Funding Criteria & Eligibility

  • Open to all primary care providers within disaster affected communities across the Healthy North Coast footprint.
  • Activity must be purposeful, with the aim of increasing the wellbeing of your team.
  • Requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, with funding allocated based on team size.*
  • Following approval by Healthy North Coast, funding will be administered via RCTI Agreement (Recipient Created Tax Invoice) upon providing proof of expenses.
  • Funding cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, or any other goods or services where the vendor cannot quote their Australian Business Number.
  • Planned activities must occur prior to 30th June 2024.
  • Funding will not be available for retrospective activities.
*Team Size
(Total staff and contractors)
Funding Available
Small (1-5)$500-$1500
Medium (6-20)$1500-$4000
Large (>20)$4000-$5000