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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Helping communities cope through multiple crises

Latest News

Forty per cent of Byron Shire residents yet to get first COVID 19 dose but mayor refuses to join vaccine campaign

Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon is refusing to join other health, political and community leaders in calls for people to receive a COVID 19 vaccine.

Other News

Council hopeful of sand returning to eroded Byron beaches

The Byron Shire Council reported ‘indications’ late last week that sand was returning to the popular beaches.

NSW Farmers want ‘meat’ to be removed from use on plant foods

NSW Farmers are calling for clarification of the vocabulary for alternative proteins and they have submitted a motion to the Senate Standing Committee to review the use of meat vocabulary on plant-based products.

Vale Aunty Dulcie Nicholls 21.10.29 – 19.09.21

There is deep sadness in the community at the passing of Arakwal elder and matriarch, Dulcie Joan Nicholls, nee Kay, who was a proud Bundjalung woman born on Country at Tallow Creek, Byron Bay, October 21, 1929.

NSW ‘Crisis Cabinet’ failed in crisis

As the Northern Rivers goes back into lockdown once again as a result of people coming to the area from Sydney it has been revealed that the ‘Crisis Cabinet’ failed to meet during key crisis points.

Why are there so many vaccinated people in hospital?

It may be confronting to hear there are more vaccinated people than unvaccinated people in hospital – but it’s actually a good thing.

Large Wilsons Creek Community Title given green light

Plans for a 15-lot housing development in Wilsons Creek will proceed to the next stage of the planning process, without further amendment, despite the community expressing concerns around flooding and traffic safety.

Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) executive officer, Emily Berry, and advisor, Maggie Brown are looking at how they can support communities who are building resilience. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Aslan Shand

There has been drought, fire, flood, and disease, and many communities are struggling to keep up with the crises that keep coming their way. Looking at how communities are responding and what help they need to build resilience and capacity to cope now and into the future is a key aim of the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) and its recently launched Resilience and Regeneration Fund.

The project has been spearheaded by NRCF executive officer Emily Berry.  She has spent more than six weeks contacting and engaging with community groups large and small, local councils and other key organisations that have been tasked with responding to the challenges of a quickly changing world.

‘We’ve been ringing around the region to see how people are doing,’ Ms Berry told The Echo.

‘Communities in our region have dealt with drought, bushfires and floods, loss of homes and lives as well as livelihoods. Many communities haven’t got funding from the government yet to support them. There are new vulnerable groups emerging within the community, those in financial stress who were not previously on government support, those that are now in need of support for food, material aid, and paying bills.’

Recognising that donations, both national and international, have often failed to reach those most in need, the Resilience and Regeneration Fund aims to funnel the money straight to those communities in need.

‘The NRCF is taking a different approach this year to fund local and regional communities,’ said Maggie Brown who advises the NRCF.

‘We have very clear and transparent lines of accountability to assure donors that their money is going directly to those who need it.’

Who to support?

‘We are looking for the gaps, so that we can encourage groups to work out what they need, and get the money to the right places. It is about getting the communities the funds they need to recover,’ explained Ms Berry.

One of the big issues with COVID-19 has been the age and vulnerability of volunteer groups. The result was that many services were reduced to a skeleton staff because much of the volunteer workforce were vulnerable owing to their age and health issues.

‘This has really shown how important it is that young people get involved in volunteering and building resilience in their communities. Especially if long term support and resilience is to be maintained,’ said Ms Brown.

Another compounding factor is that, with disaster after disaster, volunteer groups are getting burnt out.

‘It is important to think about how to create resilience by thinking through how to be prepared. That’s what these community groups are now trying to do,’ said Ms Berry.

‘People are coming together to form action groups and progress associations to help formulate the plans they have for the recovery of their communities. At NRCF we are providing small grants of up to $10,000. Whilst NRCF cannot solve all these issues, we have the ability to leverage funds through our partnerships with other foundations and individuals.

‘The funding we aim to provide through the Resilience and Regeneration Fund is not about just adding onto what is already there. It is about finding new projects that are coming up with ways to future-proof the community and the organisations that support the local communities who are trying to adapt.

‘It is about looking at what we need over the next three years. Where are our vulnerabilities? The key is [not just] for these organisations to survive – but to thrive through creating and adapting to change.’


If you are interested in donating to and supporting the Resilience and Regeneration Fund, visit the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.

Get support

Applications for the Recovery and Resilience Grants Program open on 7July. Register your community organisation by subscribing to the Grantseeker News alerts.

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