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Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

Now is the time to get a helping hand

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Aislinn Smyth, Leweena Williams, CEO of the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council (TBLC), Larissa Smyth board member TBLC and Belle Arnold from the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre sorting donations. Photo Aslan ShandResource

It is called reciprocity and it means that there is a time to give and a time to receive – while there are always those who will be worse off than you, there is also help and assistance for everyone in the community who has been affected by the recent flooding Belle Arnold from the Mullumbimby and District Neighbourhood Centre (MDNC) explained.

‘The quicker people are able to accept help and get back on their feet the better it is for the whole community,’ she explained. 

‘People from outside our community are giving to us at the moment so the community can get back up on its feet and everyone in the community deserves support. The longer it takes individuals and family groups to recover the longer the trauma is extended.’

‘The whole community is in a state of shock,’ said Leweena Williams, CEO of the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council. 

‘We are encouraging people to come forward to the MDNC and the Mullumbimby Recovery Centre to collect items they or their friends or family might need or get help with the aftermath of the flooding.’

Donations have poured into the MDNC for the Shire including food, nappies, medicines, bedding, hygiene items, clothes and other essentials. In fact, they have also been able to send items on to other flood affected communities. 

‘There is help for everyone from essential items to counselling to assistance following the floods at the Mullumbimby Recovery Centre,’ said Belle.  

If you need direct emergency relief you can call Kim Shelly on 0491 227 306. 

Mullumbimby Recovery Centre

Anyone who has been affected by the flooding can access face-to-face support from a range of different agencies at the Mullumbimby Recovery Centre and the centre is open seven days, with hours this weekend from 9am until 4pm.

Assistance with accommodation advice, replacing lost documents, clean-up services, financial help, insurance and legal support, business support, mental health and well-being support are all available, as well as access to government services including Resilience NSW, Services Australia (Centrelink), Red Cross, North Coast Community Housing, Legal Aid, Service NSW, Communities and Justice (DCJ), Housing, Social Futures NDIS, Salvation Army, Social workers and counsellor, Auto & General Insurance, Suncorp Insurance, and Chaplain.

Catch the bus

Byron Shire Council is putting on a bus service to help affected residents to access the Recovery Centre.

‘This is a free service available daily for flood effected community members in the Byron Shire as needed. Please call Community Transport on 1300 875 895 between 8.30am and 4.30pm to book transport to and from the Recovery Centre,’ said a BSC spokesperson.

There are also Recovery Centres at Evans Head, Ballina, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Lismore. You can find out more at: www.service.nsw.gov.au/floods/recovery-centres.

ADF

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is on the ground in the region assisting with a range of recovery activities from rubbish and road clearing, bridge building and assessing landslip sites. If you would like to seek assistance from the ADF you can access application forms or go to ‘Flood Recovery’ on the  Byron Shire Council website and scroll down to the ‘request for ADF support’ or head into the flood recovery centre for assistance. 

#heartofthematter

Heart of the matter is a campaign that has been started by a Kate Constantine, a local Aboriginal community member who has worked with an ad agency to create a campaign ‘encourage our community to come in and ask for help’. 

‘There is a lot of shame in coming forwards for “charity” and it’s this silence that ends up truly hurting our community. The idea is simple. Have people recognised within the community and create their own selfie or video with the hashtags #heartofmatter and #lovenorthernrivers. It is as though this is our love letter to our community.’

Find out more online here.

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