By: Charlie Barnett, Project Manager
On 3 January I received a photograph of a property completely destroyed by fire, just one of far too many homes, equipment sheds and crops lost in the recent summer ‘fire season’. Rotary Clubs and districts around Australia provided cash assistance to Clubs in affected areas immediate for immediate assistance.
Mid-year two members of the Rotary Club of Mosman suggested that we do another round of support to bushfire affected families. A proposal to the Mosman Board was well received and the two areas were, Upper Macleay Valley and Running Stream in the Western District near Kandos.
Local support organisations, Macleay Recovery Hub and Step by Step were approached to identify the need in preparing a proposal the concept being to ask local Rotary Clubs to donate to the project, for Mosman to match them and to then apply for a Rotary Australia grant to double the funds raised.
Visits to all associated organisations including a joint meeting of Macleay Valley Clubs at Kempsey Shire Council with comprehensive briefing on work done by the Recovery Hub culminated in agreement in principle to proceed with donations totalling $7,000. On 14 September with their additional $7,000 Mosman President applied for a matching amount from Rotary Australia of $14,000. The Grant of $14,000 was approved and on 4 November Mosman registered RAWCS Project 34-2020-21 with the name ’Rehabilitation of bushfire affected families in NSW’ with dates 1 Dec 20 to 30 Nov 21.
———-Update : 21st March 2021.
Here is Blair’s update on the Midwest, Lithgow and Blue Mountains part of the project.
In addition to funds previously made available, the Blackheath Club has contributed a further $3,500! With support from both the Rotary Club of Blackheath and District 9685 we will target the first distribution in Clarence on Saturday on 27 March at the Bay Tree Nursery in Clarence between 10am and 1pm. Step by Step will invite locals in most need of assistance so we are certain the vouchers are going to those in real need. On the day 25 x $100 vouchers will be distributed and the Nursery will provide a talk on restoring or starting gardens. PDG Kalma is arranging for a coffee van to provide refreshments and also for the Blue Mountains double decker bus with Rotary 100 years logo on it to be there.
Please note: Step by Step councilors will identify people in need of assistance with planting and this could lead to a couple of working bees for members of our both our Club and Blackheath Club and based on a show of hands at last week’s meeting there would be many members who would be interested in a day trip to help! Subject to the success of this event we have tentatively scheduled 2 more. The next for 17 April in Dargan and then on Sunday 2 May in Kandos.
———-Update : 3rd April 2021.
As Blair has reported the first event at Clarence was very successful with our Club represented by Blair and Martin Fallows. In addition to the distribution of $2,500 of vouchers to homeowners there was a very interesting talk on plants as well as how to manage in areas where the soil has been impacted by bushfire.
The next events are scheduled for 17 April in Dargan and then on Sunday 2 May in Kandos and our Club members will be most welcome to attend. A great opportunity to hear first-hand the effects of the fires and also to meet fellow Rotarians from other Clubs.
———-Update 4th May 2021 .
Last Saturday (1st May) the plant giveaway day was held at Peppermint Grove Nursery in Kandos. The target group were the 100 families affected by the bushfires in the Mid Western Council area and around 30 families attended with the remainder of the vouchers will be distributed by Step By Step over the next few weeks. PP Barry Starr and PP Blair Leslie represented the Rotary Club of Mosman; PDG
Kalma McLellan and DGN Mina Howard represented the District; President David Fuller and the PE represented the Rotary Club of Kandos and Lucian Keegel represented the Rotary E Club,
In addition to handing out the vouchers several people availed themselves of the gardening books and Kalma arranged for three families to receive plants propagated by the Rotary Club of Ryde. As a result of the interaction with the community at least two new projects are being planned by the Club. Watch this space!