Roots of Change is a storytelling platform dedicated to the Alumni community of The Funding Network Australia. Here we share their stories of ingenuity, courage, determination, spirit, growth and the impact these grassroots organisations have had, as a direct result of funds and support received from The Funding Network community.



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Empowering and encouraging young people to talk about mental health, through positive behaviour change programs and educational workshops.

Despite 1 in 4 young people suffering a mental health issue by the end of adolescence, mental health issues are not openly discussed and remain the ‘elephant in the room’. Mental ill health holds a stigma that prevents open and frank exchanges and is a barrier to young people getting the help they need. batyr speakers share their life experiences of mental ill health such as depression, anxiety, stress, bullying and personal health. They discuss the first hand benefits of reaching out, what avenues of support helped them and show students they are not alone and help is always available. 

2017 Pitch
Funds raised: $138,960

To continue to reach more young people with messages of hope, resilience and recovery batyr pitched in March 2017 for their ‘Being Herd’ speaker training workshops. These workshops are key in training more young people to share their lived-experience with or through mental ill-health and help to empower a generation of young Australians to not feel they need to suffer in silence.

The impact...

For every 30 students in Australia, seven will be dealing with a mental health issue. Yet of those seven, only two will reach out for help. This means the other five are suffering in silence, with the national help seeking rate currently at 23%. batyr exists to challenge the stigma and shame associated with mental illness and give a voice to the silent elephant in the room. Thanks to the generosity of the donors at TFN Sydney in March 2017, the elephant in the room has never been louder and they’re working harder than ever before to crush the stigma.


I wouldn't be the person I am today without my involvement with batyr. I wouldn't have the confidence to do my job, or the emotional maturity to be patient with people whose behaviour does not make sense to me. I wouldn't have the comfort with being uncomfortable to put my hand up for opportunities that might not work out, nor the comfort with failure to accept the good with the bad and remain positive when things do not work out the way I hope” – batyr Speaker

Founder, Sebastian Robertson pitched for funding to run Being Herd (speaker training) workshops across Australia; programs designed to empower young people to tell their stories and combat the stigma around mental health. He was hoping to train enough speakers to reach 10,000 young people through the batyr@school programs. Instead they reached over 30,000! Just as important, 75% of Being Herd participants reported that they would be more likely to seek support. The impact of the Being Herd speaker training workshops are regularly assessed and below is a snapshot of the program outcomes.


Percentage of participants who indicated stigma prevented them from sharing their story with others in the past - 82%

Percentage of people who rated their story being valid as poor to average - 61%

People who rated a poor to average level of confidence in sharing - 64%

Post workshop

Percentage of people who rated their story being valid as above average to excellent after the workshop - 95%

Percentage of people who rated an above average to excellent level of confidence in sharing after the workshop - 95%

batyr believes that you create the culture you live in, and thanks to the generosity of TFN donors, they are creating a culture of empowerment and support in young Australians.

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Read their Impact Report

2013 Pitch
Funds raised: $25,300

batyr participated in our pilot series with their 'Being Herd' grassroots campaign to start sharing positive stories about mental ill health and teaching young people how to share their success stories of living with mental ill health. $23,500 was raised.

Read their Impact Report

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