Bushfire Recovery Program Update: July 2020

Following the horrific summer bushfires, we asked you, our wonderful Royal Far West supporters, to dig deep and help us reach our ambitious goal of raising $50,000 to provide extra support to our client families who were directly impacted by the fires.

And boy, did you dig deep! We were absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible response from our donors. Not only did you help us reach the target, but by 30 June, we had raised a whopping $75,000!

This is a truly incredible result given the tough times that so many people are currently facing. Thank you so very much.

Back in February, when the team began calling our client families to assess the extent to which they had been impacted, it was clear we had our work cut out. By the end of the second week, after hundreds of calls, it was established that 320 Royal Far West families had been directly impacted by the fires. It is these families who will now benefit from your incredible generosity through additional social work, psychology, speech pathology and occupational therapy services.

We are extremely grateful for your support.

But the work doesn’t stop there. In addition to assessing the extra care requirements of our existing families, Royal Far West joined forces
with UNICEF Australia to develop a custom-made, community-based trauma response program, with the aim of supporting some of the tens of thousands more children and families affected by the bushfires. The first task for the team was to build a picture of the unmet needs within
each community. These requirements were identified by the communities themselves through hours of consultation, along with consideration of the impact of the fires on each area and each community’s vulnerability.

This information was then paired with extensive research into the long-term effects of trauma from natural disasters to develop tailor-made trauma recovery plans for each area. As a result, over the next 18 months, mental health and psychosocial support will be rolled out across eight bushfire affected regions in the Local Government Areas of Bega Valley Shire, Eurobodalla Shire, Glen Innes Severn Shire and Clarence Valley. More than 2,000 people, including 500 children, from 25 bushfire affected communities will be assisted by a multidisciplinary team of Social Workers, Psychologists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists.

UNICEF Partnership
(L-R) Royal Far West Social Worker, Chris Anderson, with UNICEF Australia Bushfire Response Coordinator, Victoria Clancy
The team will provide expertise across areas of trauma, family support and community engagement, as well as excellent skills in delivering services via telehealth.

We will also provide group sessions and individualised child therapy to help equip children with coping skills, problem solving and decision making, as well as knowledge to understand and manage the changes they experience as a result of a natural disaster.

Whilst this support was originally planned through in-community visits as well as at schools and preschools, we have moved this completely to telehealth support via video-link while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

“Our family is forever thankful for the wonderful support we have been able to receive to help our kiddies after the frightening times they experienced.”

Katie – Royal Far West client mum


Find out more about our Bushfire Recovery Program

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