Bootstraps founder Sam Kavanagh, with Gonzo Leary and John Weisz, at the Gatton facility. (file image) PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL
Bootstraps founder Sam Kavanagh, with Gonzo Leary and John Weisz, at the Gatton facility. (file image) PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

Veterans group soldiering on thanks to Inland Rail grant

A GRANT from Inland Rail has been a welcome boon to a veterans support group in the Lockyer Valley.

Like many groups and businesses, Bootstraps in Gatton was forced to close its door due to lockdown restriction requirements.

As a non-profit organisation that relies heavily on donations and fundraisers, the closure has had a profound impact, particularly with the passing of ANZAC Day, a time that would normally be very busy for organisations of this kind.

Bootstraps founder Sam Kavanagh said funding received from Inland Rail will allow the organisation to stay open.

"Bootstraps does not have a budget for marketing and rely on sausage sizzles, raffles and other fundraising methods to bring in funds," he said.

"The doors will close very soon if we don't get sufficient funding. Any money that comes in is going to help Bootstraps survive."

Bootstraps supports past service men and women in the area by offering a safe space to come together to relax and unwind through leatherwork classes.

Though the workshop has been closed since mid-March, Mr Kavanagh has still been in regular contact with members, some of whom are continuing their leatherwork from home.

Photos of the completed works are often shared to the organisation's Facebook page as well.


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Bootstraps isn't the only organisation to have benefited from the Inland Rail grants, with more than $180,000 having already been allocated to a myriad of events, projects and activities.

Inland Rail Director of Engagement, Environment and Property Rebecca Pickering said the program's success along the whole rail corridor has provided a well-deserved funding boost to worthy initiatives which build community prosperity.

"A key commitment of Inland Rail is to leave a positive legacy along the rail corridor and the Community Sponsorships and Donations program is just one example of how we seek to ensure regional communities benefit from this unique project."

She invited community groups and organisations to apply for round six of the Sponsorships and Donations program, which is now open until July 31.

"In the wake of COVID-19 and changes to the way events, schooling and public gatherings unfold, we want to ensure regional communities benefit from this program while respecting social distancing," she said.

"Regional communities across Australia are heavily impacted by COVID-19 social distancing requirements. We hope our programs can help support local schools, community groups and associations, which are more important than ever.

Grants between $1000 and $4000 are available to schools, community groups and associations in regional communities across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

To find out more about the program, visit the Inland Rail website:, or email inquiries to

For more information on how to support Bootstraps, visit their website: