Gippsland communities had an incredibly rough year in 2020, first with the bushfires and then the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our experience with the Black Saturday bushfire recovery efforts showed us just how long it takes for families and communities to recover from bushfires, but with COVID-19, bushfire-affected Gippsland communities were left in the lurch – unable to access the support they needed to begin the healing and recovery process to move on with their lives.
Through discussion and collaboration with Gippsland communities, we found that their rural communities have had limited access to bushfire recovery supports and bushfire hubs located in bigger towns – some of which can be three hours away from small rural townships.
In response to this discovery, our Bushfire Community Recovery Service have developed an outreach service that will travel to remote communities, offering on-the-go counselling, enjoyable community workshops, and opportunities for these rural communities to come together and open up around the trauma and fear they have continued to experience after the Black Summer bushfires.
We are excited to launch our new Community Connection Van that our Bushfire Community Recovery Service team will be using as they travel to rural Gippsland communities, which offers WiFi capability and a coffee machine (for bringing along to community events!)
Learn more about our new bushfire recovery outreach service and the Community Connection Van in the video below.
We would like to thank everyone who has generously contributed towards the Bushfire Community Recovery Service and our new Community Connection Van, including Catholic Emergency Relief Australia (CERA); Archdiocese of Melbourne and Diocese of Sale parishioners; Melbourne Catholic Archbishop's Charitable Fund; Frank and Helen Swan; Coast to Country 4x4; and Dwyer's Toyota.
If you would like to donate to support our Bushfire Community Recovery Service, visit our donation page below:
Liz Gellel | Communications Coordinator