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Victorian Regional Readiness Funding (VRRF) announcement by Minister Donnellan

Photo of Minister Luke Donnellan smiling with NDS staff members Dianne Hardy and Clare Malcolm


It was with great excitement that NDS was joined by Minister Luke Donnellan in Shepparton for the Victorian Regional Readiness Funding (VRRF) announcement on 22 August 2019. NDS staff members Dianne Hardy, Disability Workforce Innovation Project Lead, and Clare Malcolm, North East Workforce Connector, attended the announcement that took place among the greenery at the Billabong ConnectGV garden.

The funding announcement was the result of a consortia bid by ConnectGV in conjunction with their partners FamilyCare, The Bridge Youth Service and Primary Care Connect. It came after an extremely competitive funding round that saw 92 applications received by the VRRF for a total of $1.3 million available to support development of the disability workforce in regional Victoria.

The project title, 'Workforce Connect', encapsulates the intention of the applicants to develop a model of practice that promotes disability workforce sustainability and builds the professional capacity of existing employees for the Shepparton region and beyond.

An event highlight was Bradley, a ConnectGV client, overcoming his nerves to walk straight out and give the Minister a warm Shepparton welcome.

After a tour of the facility Carolynne Young, ConnectGV CEO, spoke of her delight at being one of the successful grant recipients in conjunction with her partner organisations and the benefits the project will bring to the local community.

The Minister spoke of his passion for the disability sector and his pleasure to find himself in a garden centre to make an announcement given one of his other great passions is his own garden.

The event was also a great success in showcasing the Billabong Garden Centre as a successful social enterprise and great facility for locals who were present in droves, enjoying the tantalising treats of the newly-developed café, which will itself soon host a workforce with includes people with disability.
Contact information
Dianne Hardy, Project Lead, Disability Workforce Innovation, 0383414309,