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BLUE MOUNTAINS PLURIVERSITY RECEIVES FUNDING BOOST

Blue Mountains Pluriversity has been awarded a grant of $10,000 to support its Youth Permaculture and Social Enterprise Design Program, which commenced Monday 25 November and will continue for the next six months. 

Based in Blackheath and having only recently launched its full program back in July 2019, the Pluriversity is a non-formal post-school pathway that expands opportunities for people under the age of thirty. Unlike a university, which is generally attended for one main area of study, a pluriversity provides its students with a broad range of learning opportunities that are often unrelated in subject. 

The Pluriversity is an initiative of the not-for-profit arts, media and community development organisation, The Big Fix. A registered charity, it was successful in securing funding through the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) latest Small Grants for Rural Communities program, which helps to connect communities with targeted grants for grass roots projects. 

The funding for this FRRR grant comes from Scenic World’s philanthropic program, Scenic World Shared. Its aim being to support partners including FRRR, who share a commitment to the sustainable growth of the Blue Mountains community. 

On speaking about the Pluriversity, Director of The Big Fix, Lis Bastian, said that it was something the youth of the Blue Mountains needed. "So many young people have a very limited experience about what’s possible for a career." 

"We want to give them a smorgasbord of all different ideas and experiences before they lock themselves into one career path. By being equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to really move forward in life, they can make better decisions for the future of the world and themselves," she said. 

With a full enrolment of twenty young people aged between 16–25, the Youth Permaculture and Social Enterprise Design Program will see students working collaboratively in teams and with the wider community, eventually creating start-up businesses that address the needs identified within local communities. 

These start-ups will benefit from shared costs for insurance premiums and website hosting, meaning regular business costs are minimised, allowing students to experiment without incurring debt. 

Lis Bastian said that it was a huge relief to have secured the grant, "It's unbelievably beneficial because it means I don’t have to spend time chasing funding and can therefore focus on helping the students." 

"Young people often feel pressured to leave the Blue Mountains after finishing school in order to be successful. We want to change that story and instead attract young people to the Mountains. The Pluriversity is doing this by offering a diverse learning program in enjoyable social environments with other young people," she said. 

Scenic World Managing Director Anthea Hammon praised The Big Fix's continued efforts to strengthen the Blue Mountains community. 

“It is an honour to work alongside FRRR to support grassroots organisations such as The Big Fix who are champions for change in our community. I wish all the new students the very best in undertaking this course and look forward to seeing what innovative enterprises come to life in the months ahead,” she said. 

Scenic World Shared provides $24,000 of funding annually to FRRR’s small grants program to help build the capacity of the Blue Mountains community. Since 2000, FRRR has distributed more than $75 million in grants to thousands of community groups across rural, regional and remote Australia. 

Funding will soon be available for the next round of grants.

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Permaculture students at Blue Mountains PluraversityPermaculture students at Blue Mountains Pluraversity