More than 700 volunteers will descend on Lismore this Sunday, 23 April to clean Lismore’s public parks and open spaces, and deliver 2000 relief packages to those in flood-affected areas.
Lismore City Council has accepted an offer by the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) on the Gold Coast to bring their Aid to Humanity program to Lismore for one day and help in the wake of the recent flood.
The church has also indicated it will be giving a substantial sum to a local school and $10,000 to the Lismore Flood Appeal.
Volunteers will focus on community spaces being welcoming and tidy, and they are also available should businesses or home owners require help with backyard or street clean-up.
Anyone who could do with a team of people to help them get back on track should register online at lismore.recovers.org.
‘The large team of volunteers will meet at the Lismore PCYC and then move through the Lismore basin cleaning our parks and open spaces, before heading to flood-affected areas with relief packages,’ Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said.
‘There is still debris and rubbish in places and this will be another step in getting our CBD back on track. We cannot thank the generosity of the church enough – having that many people at one time will see a huge amount of work accomplished in just one day.
‘We are seeing some incredible acts of compassion and generosity come from this disaster. It has been an absolutely unbelievable community effort to rebuild Lismore to where it is.’
The Iglesia Ni Cristo Local Congregation will arrive at the Lismore PCYC at 9am, commence cleaning from 10am to 2pm and then deliver relief packages.
A ceremony will be held at the Lismore PCYC from 4pm to 5pm to thank the volunteers for their efforts.
NSW Labor leader visits Lismore
Meanwhile, the enormous scale of community support for Lismore Flood victims was viewed by NSW State Opposition Leader, Luke Foley when he visited Lismore yesterday.
Accompanied by Shadow Minister for Health, Walt Secord, MLC and the Mayor of Lismore, Isaac Smith, the venue was the Lifeline Flood Centre at the Pavillion at Lismore Showground.
Opened 10 days ago, the Pavillion is still assisting flood victims.
Sharon Sawyer, the Retail Manager for Lifeline in Lismore and the brains behind the Pavillion stated that over 120 people were coming to the Pavillion each day.
Lifeline was accepting donated goods from the public and other charities.
Ms Sawyer said the response from the public had been amazing.
‘Donations have come from all over Australia” she said, adding that Lifeline had taken up another storage area just to cope with the influx of donated goods.
Mr Foleys visit was organised by the Secretary of Lismore Labor, Mark Bailey. Mr Bailey is also a well known volunteer at the flood devastated Lifeline Shop in Magellan Street.
During the visit Mr Foley met personally with many Lifeline volunteers.
In introducing Mr Foley to the volunteers, Ms Sawyer made particular reference to them saying that without the hard work of the dozens of volunteers, the successful operation of the Pavillion would not have been possible.
During the tour of the Pavillion, Mr Foley and Mr Secord were briefed by Mayor Isaac Smith on many of the issues that had faced flood affected residents.
The Housing Crisis now facing low income and homeless residents was discussed as well as the need for the State Government to increase awareness of the Flood Recovery Package.
Mr Foley said that the fact many locals were simply not even aware of the State package was a serious issue that needed to be addressed.
Before departing for a tour of the CBD, both Mr Foley and Mr Secord thanked Ms Sawyer and volunteers.
Mr Foley also praised the great job that Isaac Smith was doing.
‘Lismore is lucky to have Isaac Smith as Mayor. His hard work and sleeves rolled up approach has inspired many people.’
Lismore flood concert cancelled
Lismore City Council has cancelled its Lismore Flood Appeal Concert planned for 29 April after being unable to secure a high-profile headline act.
‘It’s very disappointing and we want to thank all those who put their hands up to donate goods or their time to make the event a reality,’ Lismore City Council’s Manager Major Recreation and Cultural Facilities Tony Duffy said.
‘The Lismore Flood Appeal Steering Committee is very active and Council will continue to look at ways to raise funds and awareness over the coming months. If an opportunity arises in the coming weeks with a headline act able to attend, we will look at hosting the event again.’
Donations now tax deductible
On a brighter note, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has approved tax deductible status for the Lismore Flood Appeal, paving the way for more corporate donations and ensuring current donors can claim a tax deduction.
In the midst of the natural disaster Lismore City Council established a GoFundMe account and a council bank account to attract donations for those worst affected by flooding. Council did not have tax deductible status but decided to run the Lismore Flood Appeal anyway to help those in need.
The council’s subsequent application to the ATO for tax deductible status has now been approved and backdated to March 28, enabling all donors to be issued with a tax deductible gift receipt should they wish.
‘This is incredibly exciting news and we’re so grateful to the ATO,’ Lismore City Councillor and Lismore Flood Appeal co-chair Eddie Lloyd said.
‘Having an appeal that did not have tax deductible status was standing in the way of some corporate bodies being able to donate, and now that barrier no longer exists.
‘This means we can approach big corporations and seek more support for the Lismore Flood Appeal. Our goal is $500,000 and we have now raised just over $200,000. Gaining tax deductible status will undoubtedly help us get closer to our target.”
Eddie said the tax deductible status was a win for every donor who gave without a thought as to whether they could claim the donation at tax time.
‘Those generous and compassionate people and organisations who donated without even considering tax deductibility can now contact Council and we will issue a receipt,” Eddie said.
‘We are thrilled to have been able to achieve this thanks to the hard work of our finance team and the understanding and quick work of the ATO. This is great news for Lismore.’
To receive a tax deductible gift receipt for your donation to the Lismore Flood Appeal, phone Lismore City Council on 1300 87 83 87.
The Lismore Flood Appeal Steering Committee will meet early next week to decide on the distribution of funds and a public announcement will be forthcoming.
There are a number of ways people and organisations can contribute to the Lismore Flood Appeal.
WEBSITE – donate at www.gofundme.com/lismorefloodappeal
BANK DEPOSIT – deposit directly into the Lismore Flood Appeal account:
Lismore City Council Flood Appeal Account
Account Number: 10864633
IN PERSON – over the counter at the Lismore City Council Chambers, 43 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah.