Thursday, 11 June 2020
Following recent meetings with the Cobargo community, the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund (BVCDRF) committee is moving forward with a responsive pilot scheme to test the processes around the Fund.
“It’s heartening to now be seeking applications for the fund and we are determined to turn this money around quickly and put it to work in people’s lives,” said Mick Brosnan, Co-chair of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund and Chair of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast (SJA).
The management committee behind the fund is made up of representatives of the SJA, Bega Valley Shire Council (BVSC) and independent community members.
“The fund currently has around $605,000 in donations, which includes a large donation from the Villers-Bretonneux community in France. That community has asked that their funds be spent in the Cobargo area,” said Cr Sharon Tapscott, Co-Chair of the BVCDRF and Mayor of BVSC.
“The committee is using that opportunity to trial an efficient application, approval and delivery process for further grants from the fund across bushfire impacted communities in the Bega Valley.”
Meeting unmet need is key to the ambitions of the fund. Complementing the work and support already at play in our community through various charities and government agencies.
“Our recent discussions with members of the Cobargo community have pointed to everyday needs like Ugg boots, wheelbarrows, windbreaks, firewood, water storage, generators, and port-a-loos.” Mr Brosnan said.
“These are the missing pieces that have such an impact on how people respond to the challenges of each day.”
Cr Tapscott said the short pilot scheme underway will soon bear fruit for the whole shire, “this fund is new, and we want to make sure our systems work and don’t put extra burden on people already coming to terms with a range of agencies and paperwork,” she said.
“Grant application forms are being distributed now within the Cobargo community. The fund’s management committee will turn them around in the first week of July before taking on board any learnings and feedback and opening the process up to the rest of the shire in mid-July.”
The management and governance structure of the BVCDRF was taking shape in late 2019 when the impact of bushfire started to build in the Bega Valley. Those events delayed and slowed progress but also inspired and energised the need to push on.
“The need for a ready reserve of funds to respond to natural disaster comes from our experience with the Tathra and Yankees Gap bushfire,” Cr Tapscott said.
“This perpetual fund will serve the community well now and whenever disaster next strikes.”
Mr Brosnan added, “The relief fund is unique to the Bega Valley and is something we can be proud of.”
“We are seeing calls for a similar fund to be established at a national level; our community is a step ahead.”
Grant applications for the Cobargo pilot scheme are being distributed now through established relief and recovery channels. For further information or to receive an application form contact Mick Brosnan on 0410 697 229 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The BVCDRF will soon have a dedicated webpage available to the community to assist with future applications and enquiries.