New Community Wellbeing and Resilience funding opens to support natural disaster recovery on the North Coast

Healthy North Coast is proud to announce the third round of the Community Wellbeing and Resilience (CWR) Program, supporting communities on the North Coast in their recovery from the health and wellbeing impacts of natural disasters and to build their capacity to respond to future events.  

Not-for-profit community organisations can apply for $100,000 – $200,000 (excluding GST) per year, for up to two years, to deliver programs for the community that focus on: 

  • Improving community health and wellbeing through practical place-based projects that build social connection and social capital 
  • Strengthening the capacity of volunteer and community organisations to collaboratively respond to a changing climate by building partnerships and linkages between institutions, organisations or groups 
  • Supporting resilience by ensuring communities are equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to adapt to the health and wellbeing impacts of a changing climate.  

 Building community resilience is fundamental to improving health and wellbeing outcomes in the context of natural disasters and a changing climate. Resilient communities predict and anticipate disasters, respond and recover from the shock and improvise and innovate in response to disasters.¹

Following the Royal Commission into the Victorian bushfires in 2009, it was identified that “Communities that have a large number of informed individuals who work together will be safer and stronger”² – a goal that the CWR Program is similarly aiming for. 

Organisations across the North Coast region (Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads) are encouraged to respond to an open Expression of Interest (EOI) to deliver an activity under the 2024 CWR Program. 

Monika Wheeler, CEO of Healthy North Coast, acknowledged the impact that the CWR Program has had since its inception in 2021: 

“The North Coast of NSW is an identified natural disaster hotspot in Australia. We have experienced the impacts of multiple disasters in recent years, from the bushfires in 2021 to the Northern Rivers floods in 2022. 

“Thanks to the CWR Program, we’ve been able to see the transformative impact of community-led initiatives that support recovery from natural disasters and to build resilience for the ones to come.  

“I’m thrilled that, off the back of some successful past CWR projects, we can continue this program into 2024. I’d encourage all not-for-profits and NGOs in our region to have a think about how they might be able to make use of this funding to deliver impactful resilience and recovery initiatives for their community.” 

Partnerships and trust-building has been embedded into the grant process, otherwise known as participatory grant making (PGM). This innovative approach prioritises community organisations working together to put forward proposals, rather than competing for funds. 

Successful applicants of the EOI round will be invited to participate in collaborative face-to-face facilitated workshops, where there will be opportunity to give and receive feedback on proposals/concepts and for peer evaluation.  


The tender is currently open, and will close 5pm Thursday 18 April 2024.  

There will also be an EOI Briefing Session on Wednesday 3 April at 10-11am via Microsoft Teams. If you would like to register, please email [email protected]. 

For more information and to submit an EOI, please visit Healthy North Coast’s website. 


Additional info: 

  • The Community Wellbeing and Resilience Program has been able to commission 23 grants since its inception in 2021, with a total value of $5.3 million through Australian Government Department of Health and NSW Government Ministry of Health funding. For a list of some previous grant recipients, and the projects that were delivered, view Healthy North Coast’s website. 
  • A total of $1 million in funding is available for the 2024 CWR Program, through the Primary Health Network Program – an initiative of the Australian Government. 


¹Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, Australian Disaster Resilience Community Recover Handbook, 2018, 36.

²2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Australia, 2009, 354.

Contact for media enquiries

Sam Brunnning

Phone: 0439 968 437

Get our newsletter and events straight to your inbox. Subscribe Today

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.

icon with person and hands

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.

icon with person and hands

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.
icon with person and hands

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