Supporting ABC Heywire

Regional Australia – giving voice to youth innovation

Annual Youth Summit

Held in Canberra each February

Watch video reviews of the 2017 and the 2016 Heywire Summits

Find out more about the current Heywire Regional Youth Summit and the new Trailblazers programme.

Inspiring ideas

It’s a chance to share youth issues with government

The Heywire Regional Youth Summit talks bring together young people, politicians, youth organisations and the ABC.

Proudly supported by SALLY

Attending the awards dinner

Mike & Geraldine shown here attending the 2016 Youth Summit Awards Dinner in Canberra. Photo by Mark Graham.

This catalytic program helps community groups implement the ideas and solutions that emerge from the annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit.

Each February, about 40 young people from rural and regional Australia gather in Canberra to engage in youth-led national conversations about issues that matter to them. Together they develop brilliant ideas to improve the lives of young Australians.

Read more about ABC Heywire

Some of the Heywire participants have gone on to create real change in their regional communities. In 2017 ABC launched a follow-on program called Trailblazers to provide them the opportunity to share their stories on the ABC and in video to spread the word.

Read more about Trailblazers below

See stories of Heywire winners on ABC iView

The Importance of ABC Heywire


Because the impact of this program is far more than just the projects themselves. It encourages young people to speak up and take action, becoming the next generation of regional entrepreneurs and leaders.

This intersects perfectly with what the Sally Foundation thinks is important – fostering the development of young Australians and young people across regional and rural Australia in particular.

Sally partners with FRRR (Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal) who provide grants to help communities adopt the ideas that emerge from ABC Heywire.


“I have attended and participated as a mentor in 8 Heywire Summits where 40+ young people throughout rural and regional Australia come to Canberra for one week; each time I am amazed and excited by their vivacity, creativity and determination to find new solutions to the concerns of young people.

The topics/themes are timely issues ranging from sustainable careers in Agriculture, to Mental Health issues, to Diversity and many others… whatever is important to the local community.

I feel privileged to be invited to be part of this process and be in the presence of the future leaders of our country.

Having worked with troubled young people I am very aware that it takes great courage to tell their personal story to the public. The ABC team supports and encourages these young people to tell their stories and capture their audience.

As a funder/partner to the FRRR/ABC Heywire Grants I find it very exciting that many projects have an impact long after the 12 month funding period. It is rewarding and uplifting to see these original ideas taken forward and sometimes attracting larger funders.”

Geraldine Roche
Founder / Director Sally Foundation


and the Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund

Trailblazers was introduced by ABC Heywire in 2017 to help enable regional changemakers to further develop their ideas/programs through mentoring and skills enhancement. This also encompasses exposure of their ideas on ABC to create awareness.

Sally Foundation has supported Trailblazers since 2018

Each year, Geraldine works with the ABC and the amazing young Trailblazers to mentor them and help them get to the next level with their projects. We have sought to continue to expand the program.

In 2020 we launched the Sally Foundation Trailblazers Development Fund in partnership with ABC and FRRR to provide “helping hand grant funding” of up to $8,000 per grant to assist these young people in capacity building their organisations and developing their leadership skills.

In 2021 Sally Foundation established a formal “Year round mentoring program” for Trailblazers and Trailblazer Alumni. This program is run by our partner, Futures Isle, and on a weekly basis on-line hook-ups take place with these young people, Geraldine, the ABC and Futures Isle. This is very complementary to the Sally Foundation Trailblazer development grants.

And in late 2022 a flexible Trailblazer “spark” grant of $500 was added to facilitate Trailblazers achieve their goals.

Have a look at some early Trailblazers

Little Brick Pastoral

by Aimee Snowden

An education tool – using Lego – for students, teachers and adults to learn more about the agricultural industry and careers in Australia…

Dead Parents Society

by Louise Blessington & Tash Barlow

A grassroots group started in Canberra to provide vital support to young people grieving the loss of a parent…

KMAC Youth Council

by Daniel Farmer & Adrianna Irvine

An indigenous Youth Council formed in the Pilbara region to unite their community and reconnect with their culture…

by Sally Downie

by Sally Downie

A social media-based project to improve the networks and wellbeing of farmers, helping to save lives in regional & rural areas…

Two Trains documentary

by Jobi Starick

A ‘trailblazer’ who used his funding to create an important documentary about the ice epidemic affecting his small Tasmanian town…

Channel Country Ladies Day

by Kristy McGregor and Elizabeth Tate

These ‘trailblazers’ brought together women from isolated country areas for a social weekend each year…

Gen Aware education

by Jessica Carolyne, Savannah Whieldon & Jamie Treanor

Gen Aware has created educational resources focusing on safety, consent and respect…

by Sally Downie

by Sally Downie

A social media-based project to improve the networks and wellbeing of farmers, helping to save lives in regional & rural areas…