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.

Heaps Decent

Heaps Decent


Create social change through the delivery of contemporary music programs.

Heaps Decent work with children and young people across NSW who are facing substantial barriers to cultural and community participation, and are at high risk of social isolation.

2014 Pitch
Funds raised: $24,550

The organisation pitched at TFN in Sydney on 26 June 2014 to run its ‘Big Up’ program and secured $24,550 (including $10,000 in matched funding from Creative Partnerships Australia). Another $700 was raised at a subsequent musical fundraiser.

The impact...

“It was fun making sick beats.  It gives us our music to listen to in our rooms…the lyrics we wrote were goal setting….they included everyone.”  (Participant, Heaps Decent ‘Big Up’ Program, Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre, 2014)

Heaps Decent brings those 'sick beats' - together with professional sound equipment and some of Australia’s brightest music producing talent - to engage with young people in juvenile detention and give them a taste of being the ‘creator’: immersed in the process of making music that is uniquely their own.  

HD recognises young people – whoever they are and regardless of their background or life experience to date – as highly intuitive and quick to assess whether the adults in their life are working with (and for) them or safeguarding a hierarchy and a predetermined outcome.   HD programs are founded on the premise of working alongside young people in juvenile programs as collaborators and mentors – while maintaining a mature and responsible partnership with the youth justice system.  

Funds raised were applied toward a total annual program cost of $33,634 and over in one year, Big Up has engaged with 86 young people across three juvenile justice centres in NSW, including the only centre for girls.  As its demonstrable benefits became more widely recognised, HD’s sphere of activity has extended to include working in specialised schools catering for students with severe behavioural issues.

Wild and free out in the west
so many feelings to get off my chest
hear the birds rise before the dawn…..

…Out and free’s where I want to be
Out and free’s where I want to be...more
(Participant, age 17 years, Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre for girls)

In terms of arts-based youth intervention, current research favours the deployment of complementary community programs that provide continuity. This continuity can be particularly critical where disruptions in social support networks and maladjusted routines have established a pattern of misdemeanour.  The funding support secured through TFN has enabled HD to establish continuity and dependability in its program delivery (a step change from the positive, but frustratingly sporadic, projects undertaken previously).

Music is built on the interplay of melody, harmony and rhythm - and the tone and timing of a lyrical message can profoundly affect how its content is received. HD’s unique delivery of music, prose and friendship is helping sustain individual choice, self worth and personal responsibility as constant implicit beats in the soundtrack to young lives. 

It’s for the better brothers
you know what I’m about
the streets ain’t for me
And they ain’t for you
so can you show me what to do
and I’ll take it from you...more
(Participant, age 16, Riverina Juvenile Justice Centre)


Read their Impact Report

Learn more about Heaps Decent.

Sydney Story Factory

Sydney Story Factory

The Social Studio

The Social Studio