Our Town announces three towns to receive funding

Our Town, a long-term mental health initiative funded by the Fay Fuller Foundation and in partnership with TACSI and Clear Horizon, has announced the three towns who will receive 10 years of funding and support to reclaim the mental health and wellbeing of their region.

The three towns set to receive 10 years of Our Town funding are Ceduna Far West, Cummins and Kimba, who were chosen from an original shortlist of nine towns and regions. They join Kangaroo Island, who were early recipients of the funding after the island’s 2019-2020 catastrophic bushfires.

What is Our Town?

Our Town is an initiative that aims to build the capabilities of regional towns in South Australia to develop community-based responses to mental health. Designed by regional communities for regional communities, Our Town strives to bring everyone’s voice to the table, particularly those who are not always heard.

Research shows that there are not enough services in mental health regionally, and that we need to find better responses beyond just a service response. Services also work in crisis and not prevention, and so part of the work to be done is to build each region’s capability around what they can do in prevention.

“One of the unique qualities of Our Town is that we’re using the lens of experimentation to understand what is needed to shift the dial on regional mental health outcomes,” says Carolyn Curtis, CEO, TACSI. 

As a key partner, TACSI’s focus is building the capacity of communities to find new and better ways to tackle the root causes driving a decline in mental health across regional towns in South Australia and beyond.

Carolyn Curtis, CEO, TACSI

How does the funding work?

Each of the nine towns and regions originally shortlisted for funding were required to develop a proposal for how they’d use long term funding from the Fay Fuller Foundation. 

“The final proposals submitted were of high quality and have potential for huge impact in the communities,” says Nial Fay, CEO, Fuller Foundation. “The strength of the collective plans led to the Fay Fuller Foundation Board committing additional resources to the initiative. These additional resources include full funding for an additional town – Kangaroo Island – for the duration of the ten-year partnership, which brings the total number of fully funded towns up to four, in addition to seed funding for two other towns – Berri and Mid Murray – to begin implementing parts of their plan as we seek commitments from other potential partners.”

This brings the Fay Fuller Foundation’s total commitment up to $15 million to fund community-determined responses to mental health and wellbeing challenges in regional South Australia.

Meet the towns

Kimba

Located on the Eyre Highway at the top of the Eyre Peninsula, Kimba is home to 1073 people. 


A thriving farming community, Kimba is also known for its gorgeous painted silos and for being the eastern gateway to the spectacular Gawler Ranges. 


The town faces several challenges, including low annual rainfall, a prolonged drought and no full-time GP service, and there’s currently plenty of community debate about the location of a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in the district.

Kimba’s goal is to be proactive and focus on the prevention of mental health issues within the community. 

“This funding means more possibilities,” says Erin Lister from Our Town Kimba. 

When you have more possibilities you can do more impactful things. Especially in a community our size … this is huge.

Erin Lister from Our Town Kimba
Our town Kimba team

Cummins

Just 45 minutes from Port Lincoln, Cummins is located in the heart of the Lower Eyre Peninsula.


Home to around 5761 people, Cummins is a major service hub for outlying communities. Steeped in rich history, the town is surrounded by rich farmland and has some of the most productive farming land on the Eyre Peninsula.

Cummins’s focus is on the prevention of mental health issues, and their aim is to help people to strive for mental fitness.

“This funding means that everyone’s voices can be heard,” says Mick Traeger, Community Leader, Our Town Cummins.

It means that next year, we’ll be able to start working on the fear and stigma around mental health. We'd like to help those struggling to reach out and have more people in Cummins able to reach in.

Mick Traeger, Community Leader, Our Town Cummins
Our Town workshop

Ceduna Far West

A coastal town situated on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula, Ceduna Far West is known for its abundant seafood, sandy beaches and easy access to wilderness and wildlife.


Home to 2603 people, Ceduna Far West is a diverse community with the largest population of First Nation’s people in a South Australian government region (approximately 20%). The region is rooted in historic complexity with sites of deep cultural significance to Aboriginal groups and a history of colonial Australia interventions.

Ceduna Far West wants to create better community-based, preventative mental health literature, programs and services that are locally grown.

“This funding is really important for our community because it gives us the opportunity to make change at our own pace,” says Sandra Taylor, Lead, Our Town Ceduna Far West.

There is nothing else like Our Town – it allows our community the time and space to heal, find their voice and move forward.

Sandra Taylor, Lead, Our Town Ceduna Far West

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is Australia’s third-largest island, and a sanctuary for wildlife and natural, rugged landscapes.

Home to 4933 people, the island community often feels isolated and disconnected from services available to many Australians on the mainland. The size of the island and lack of public transport causes further isolation for some residents. Tragically, the island has also been recently ravaged by bushfires.


Kangaroo Island is hoping that Our Town can support the mental health of an already vulnerable island community and provide much-needed support as its people work to rebuild in the aftermath of the bushfire crisis.

Kangaroo Island

Interested in knowing more about Our Town, or our work in mental health? Get in touch with our team – we’d love to hear from you.