What’s happening now…

In December the advisory will select two towns to join Kangaroo Island in receiving ten years of funding to implement their plans. Towns are in the process of developing these plans by fleshing out options to address the mental health challenges identified in the discovery phase.

The Background

In 2018 the Fay Fuller Foundation commissioned the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in partnership with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) to undertake research into the health needs and priorities of South Australia. The Health Needs and Priorities in South Australia report  uncovered a significant gap between the perceived provision of services from the top, and the actual accessibility of services for individuals. This gap was even more apparent in rural and regional areas. Further insights found that people living in non-metropolitan areas experienced higher rates of mental health challenges and were less likely to seek help.

The Approach

Our Town was designed as a place based, long-term initiative to address the limits of clinical response services in rural areas by supporting community determined responses to mental health and wellbeing in rural and regional towns in South Australia.

Supporting one another is what small communities have always been about. Our Town is about adding a new tool on the tool belt, one that can respond to mental health with extreme compassion and without judgement.

In recognising that financial resourcing is more effective when accompanied by other means of support the Foundation partnered with TACSI and Clear Horizon to provide mentorship and technical assistance to communities during both the discovery phase and throughout the course of the ten year the partnership.


Joined the initiative to provide regular coaching and capability building sessions for the town teams and to foster learning across the communities. They developed an incredible set of tools to guide the process as towns delved deep and tested some assumptions about the underlying reasons for the mental health challenges facing their towns.

Clear Horizon

Joined the initiative to tailor a monitoring and evaluation framework to drive an equitable and deeply informed selection process. Throughout the discovery phase they directly supported towns to collect and assess data and over the course of the partnership they will help the towns to reflect on what success looks like for each place and how it can be measured.

The Process

Credit: TACSI

What’s Next?

  • The official ten years of funding will begin in January for Kangaroo Island and the final two towns selected by the committee.
  • We are hoping to secure additional funding from the private or government space to support the un-funded towns to implement at least some parts of their plans.
  • We will be launching an Our Town engagement platform early next year that will serve as an engaging content bank for learnings, reports, and evaluations as well as a timeline for the lifetime of the project. Check back in January or Subscribe to our mailing list for latest news and updates.

We are also pleased to announce that three of the towns that were not chosen to progress to the capability phase, Pinnaroo, Barossa, and Strathalbyn all received funding from the Department of Human Services to pursue some of the ideas.