The aftermath of this summer’s bushfire will be ongoing for serval months if not years and the St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers are offering sound advice for those affected.
Vinnies volunteers with in-depth knowledge of the support packages available to bushfire survivors will offer a free service to locals at Woodburn Evans Head RSL Club and at the Casino RSM.
The service is designed to provide advice on financial and other support available from non-government organisations such as Vinnies as well as the various emergency relief packages offered by the NSW and Federal governments. Assistance with completing necessary paperwork will also be provided.
Everyone from fire-affected communities such as New Italy, Bora Ridge, Coraki, Ellangowan, Wardell and surrounds is invited to attend, regardless of their circumstances or whether they may have already received help.
The bushfire recovery phase
Vinnies Regional Director/North East Clare Van Doorn said in this northern part of the state we have now moved into the bushfire recovery phase. ‘This be a long and challenging process as residents negotiate their way through complex issues such as insurance, clearing debris and working out how best to rebuild.
Ms Van Doorn says that in addition there is the emotional distress caused by the loss of homes, belongings, livestock, pets, fencing and more. ‘Along the east coast and further inland our Vinnies members have been working closely with fire-affected communities.
Many have reported people saying they feel embarrassed to be asking for help, or who say others are more deserving, despite having lost their own homes
‘Many have reported people saying they feel embarrassed to be asking for help, or who say others are more deserving, despite having lost their own homes.
‘Through this outreach, we hope to make contact with residents who may not have received the help they need or have questions that our experienced volunteers can help answer.’
Ms Van Doorn said Vinnies has several tiers of financial grants, and on behalf of the Federal Government is also distributing Emergency Relief Funds to people in affected communities.
‘We have distributed $3.8 million so far from the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal, mostly as direct cash payments for bushfire-impacted households. In addition, since the fires began last year large volumes of food, water, clothing, toiletries, bedding and other essentials have been provided by Vinnies volunteers in their local communities.’
Ms Van Doorn said that as well as financial and material support Vinnies volunteers provide emotional and psychological support. ‘We also provide referrals to professional services when needed.’
The Vinnies event is on tomorrow (Tuesday, February 11) at the Woodburn Evans Head RSL Club is at 11-13 McDonald Place, Evans Head and the Casino RSM next week, with sessions from 10am to 2pm on Tuesday 18 and Thursday 20
For more details of this free Vinnies service ring 0429 334 154.