Bushfire Recovery - the Children's Voices

New funding to extend support to bushfire impacted children in additional LGAs

On 18 February 2022, Royal Far West welcomed the news of two significant, new grants that will enable the continuation and expansion of its Award-winning Bushfire Recovery Program in the NSW local government areas of Eurobodalla, Snowy Monaro, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Mid Coast.

Royal Far West CEO Jacqueline Emery said: “Dealing with the trauma of a natural disaster like a bushfire can set children back for a number of years, with some children only now just starting to show signs of distress. But there is a way to help.

 “This is why we are so thrilled to receive these grants which will allow our Bushfire Recovery Program to continue to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and families.”.

The Bushfire Recovery Program is a community-based program focused on building resilience and supporting mental health as children recover from the 2019/20 bushfires. To date it has supported more than 3,000 children in groups and intensive therapy for those children that need the most support. The Program is currently operating across over 30 bushfire impacted communities, and this funding will extend that number.

It is delivered through primary schools and preschools and provides support to children aged up to 12 years, and the adults around the child including parents/carers, educators, local services and community leaders.

The funding was awarded as part of the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program which is backing projects that bushfire affected communities have identified will best support their ongoing recovery.

The two grants include:

  • $2.1 million: to expand the program into Snowy Monaro, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Mid Coast

  • Almost $1.5 million: To continue and deepen our work in Eurobodalla

Royal Far West’s team of psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists and occupational therapists deliver the Bushfire Recovery Program through regular community visits with ongoing support and therapy also offered via technology.

A range of supports are offered, focused on building children’s resilience, to sessions with educators and parents exploring strategies to support the children they care for –   allowing the community, schools & parents/carers to choose the service mix that will be what is most helpful to them and their children, at their particular stage of recovery.

The Program was initially established in partnership with UNICEF Australia and expanded further through funding and support from The Paul Ramsay Foundation, HP and Little Wings.  It was benevolently funded for the first two years.

The two new grants announced this week will enable the program to continue to March 2024.