Have a simple idea like ‘connect over a cup of tea’? An Australia Post Community Grant could help

When applying for a Community Grant, it’s tempting to think your project should be huge. But sometimes the simple ideas are best. We look at how simply enjoying a cup of tea together can help a community connect.

The Budgeree Hall, built in 1910, is the one communal building in the small rural town located in Gippsland, in eastern Victoria.

At a glance, it’s simply a lovely old building. Look closer, however, and you’ll discover it’s the people within the venue who are providing the real magic. They are harnessing their community spirit to help those in their farming town feel less isolated, and more connected – all in the name of positive mental health and wellbeing.

The hall that inspired community connection

The hall plays host to all kinds of events including talks, meetings and weddings. Leanne Potter, the Secretary of the Budgeree Hall Volunteer Committee, is happy to see the hall bring couples together on their wedding days.

“We had one couple who just wanted a country picnic, and everyone sat around on the grass on rugs and it was beautiful,” Leanne says. 

“And we had one couple who wanted to arrive in a semi-trailer and no other wedding venue would allow a semi-trailer in. We were like, ‘Yeah, sure, if it fits under the trees, it can come through.’ We let brides and grooms have the wedding they want here.”

It’s also the one space for the community to come together.

“We don't get to see our neighbours very often,” Leanne says of the community members, most of whom live on large farms. “And when we do, it's sort of just a wave in the car as we go by. The hall is the only place we can get together and talk and chat and see each other.”

Tea, cake, conversation and more: a regional Community Grant supported the Budger-Tea initiative

As a rural community, Budgeree experiences issues of isolation and disconnection. 

That’s why they established Budger-Tea, a weekly catch-up at the hall funded by an Australia Post Community Grant. The idea is a simple one: tea, cake and conversation. But there’s much more happening at these get-togethers.

“We know that connection is a sign of wellbeing for communities and for individuals, and we know being lonely is a red flag that someone's mental health may be deteriorating,” Leanne explains. “One of the big outcomes of Budger-Tea is to connect the community to each other – friends with friends, neighbours with neighbours – so that a support network is there in times of need.

“Budger-Tea was a very simple concept that we knew would work for our community.”

A weekly gathering means they can check in with some of the more vulnerable community members and start the conversations that are so important for community connection and wellbeing. 

“Being physically isolated doesn't mean you have to be lonely,” says Leanne. “The biggest changes happen in the simplest conversations.”

The Budger-Tea project also provides Mental Health First Aid training for community members, to better to help those who are facing mental health challenges.

The Budgeree Hall Reserve Committee’s hope is that this initiative continues for years to come. “This is very much community-led, so we're hoping that once we get momentum going, the community will take it over. We'll have facilitators who come in and do it every week, and it will continue on past the length of the grant,” Leanne says.

Connecting local communities

Australia Post is delivering the goods for local communities with grants to support mental wellbeing. Because when we connect, we feel better.