The Bega Valley continues to rise to the challenges of natural disaster.
The Tathra and District Bushfire of March 2018 was a turning point with 69 homes lost. Just five months later four homes were lost in the Yankees Gap Bushfire west of Bega. During December, January and February of 2020, a period now known as the Black Summer, 466 homes were lost across the full breadth of the region.
Real people and families are behind each of the properties destroyed. With these events also comes deep and lasting scars on local agriculture, business, industry, infrastructure and the environment – which in their own way hurt and jeopardise the future of local people.
In response to the Tathra and District Bushfire event, the Mayoral Bushfire Relief Fund was launched. The generosity of Australian’s saw donations top $1.6 million.
The impact those monies had on the people of Reedy Swamp, Vimy Ridge and Tahtra in their recovery was real and evident.
Having a ready reserve of funds available for future events was seen by the community and Bega Valley Shire Council as a key learning out of the Tathra experience.
Working with the trusted and tuned minds and ability of the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund (BVCDRF) was born.
The management and governance structure of the BVCDRF was taking shape in late 2019 when the impact of bushfire started to build once again. Those events delayed and slowed progress but also inspired and energised the need to push on.
In June 2020, with a balance of around $600,000 in the fund, the management committee set about trialling an application and distribution process with the Cobargo community; front of mind was the knowledge of the many forms, agencies and services the community was already being asked to navigate to access support and assistance.
Simplicity, a drive to meet unmet need and a unique ability to hear and work with the local community are central to the Fund’s work.
Grants from the Fund will seek to address every day health and wellbeing issues in an effort to meet critical and acute needs like (but not limited to) fuel, firewood, household appliances, clothing and more.
Making a donation to the BVCDRF is as easy as making a bank deposit either online or via your local bank branch.
Account Name: SJA Disaster Relief Fund
BSB: 633 000
Account Number: 171 166 317