Daring to dream of a healthy, safe future

With the assistance of a grant from The John Villiers Trust, JUTE Theatre Company has secured additional funding to launch their Dare to Dream Safer Communities program aimed at preventing childhood trauma.

April 2023

JUTE Theatre Company has a dream: to deliver a life-changing project to protect and safeguard First Nations children, vulnerable young people, and their families. 

Through theatre, JUTE wants to help youth speak up about challenging issues. They believe storytelling can be used to encourage children to communicate better and connect to other services. Arts and cultural activities are a non-stigmatising, fun way to build rapport with communities and young people who may otherwise be challenging to engage with.

But to make this dream a reality, JUTE needed time and resources to gather evidence of the need of such a program, and to connect to and understand the people and communities they wanted to support, and the service providers available in those communities.

Organisations supporting country Queensland face unique challenges. The geography is vast, access is dependent on weather and seasons, communities are disbursed, and travel expensive. 

So, though face-to-face contact and engagement is critical to building relationships and understanding the needs and issues of individual communities, the time, money and logistics involved in reaching rural, regional and remote locations can be prohibitive. 

That’s where The John Villiers Trust (JVT) stepped in, providing $25,000 in funding for JUTE to engage on country with Indigenous communities for their input into Dare to Dream (D2D) Safer Communities program. 

Building and understanding of community needs

The JVT grant enabled JUTE to take core people out of their everyday roles to meet with a range of First Nations peoples, key stakeholders and decision-makers across communities in Far North Queensland. The experience enabled the team to foster close and meaningful relationships, build community engagement and trust, and build a better understanding of the needs, challenges and assets within individual communities. 

As a result, JUTE was able to develop a program proposal, confident that it was informed and supported by the communities they intend to visit. The knowledge and relationships built on the fact-finding mission helped JUTE develop and submit a successful application to Westpac, that resulted in $200,000 of funding over two years.

Partnering to benefit country communities

Work like JUTE is doing through Dare to Dream is vitally important for children and young people in rural, regional and remote Queensland communities, who so often do not get the same opportunities as those living in metropolitan areas do.

But they can’t do it alone. Partners and funders are always needed to enable charitable organisations to make a difference, and this grant demonstrates that smaller grants can be strategically used to build capacity and leverage larger funding opportunities. 

JVT CEO Lea-Anne Bradley said the success of the JUTE grant is a great example of the benefits of working with like-minded organisations, and co-funding. 

“We’re pleased that our grant has allowed JUTE to further their program and secure additional funding,” Lea-Anne said.

“We understand how challenging it can be to work in country Queensland, and the need for support to overcome the significant financial and logistical barriers. Funding to enable face-to-face engagement is critical to success, and organisations like JUTE rely on the contribution of donors and funders.

“At JVT, we are passionate about supporting organisations whose projects build capacity, are community informed, have multiple impacts and focus on prevention and early intervention. The fact that our grant supported JUTE to secure the right co-funders is fantastic.

Our focus is on providing value beyond funding – by connecting organisations, ideas and people. We firmly believe that we can do better together. Partnering and co-funding allow us to leverage collective resources and increase our impact for rural, regional and remote Queensland”.

Daring to dream big 

Monica Stevens, Creative Producer at JUTE, says JVT’s grant has been instrumental in the development of the Dare to Dream project. 

“We are so grateful to JVT for their support,” Monica said. 

“We would never have been able to fully appreciate the issues and engage with these communities without in-community conversations and consultations. 

“We now have a good grasp of the issues at hand and strategy to follow in delivering our new program in the coming years”. 

With funding in place, JUTE’s plan is to expand the D2D program with supporting services in mental health. The intent is to visit communities, with performances reaching approximately 40% of the population of each community, and intense workshops involving up to 200 children annually.

For more information visit  jute.com.au/dare-to-dream.