Community relief fund launched to support fire affected communities
Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) has partnered with Bendigo Bank to establish a Community Relief Fund in support of community members affected by the Southwest Victoria fires.
The Fund aims to support communities across Colay-Otway, Corangamite, Warrnambool, Moyne, and Southern Grampians areas where the fires have destroyed homes and impacted primary producers.
The Fund provides a formal channel for the public to donate money directly to affected communities and is designed to achieve positive outcomes for the community, by working directly with local recovery committees and structures to inform and drive the distribution of funds.
Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said emergency management agencies and local communities faced tough conditions last weekend with high temperatures and strong winds, on the back of an extremely dry period.
Firefighting and rescue crews attended more than 160 grass and bushfires and responded to more than 1,000 requests for assistance. “There has been an impact on houses, businesses and farms, with many farmers experiencing serious impacts, including the substantial loss of livestock, farm sheds and machinery,” Mr Lapsley said. The Community Relief Fund is a vital part of encouraging affected communities to play an integral role in managing their own recovery, by being part of the Fund distribution process, along with councils and the emergency management sector. Community members who want to help can donate to the Fund, which will be distributed collectively across impacted communities, rather than individuals or specific groups.
The Community Relief Fund is facilitated through a Memorandum of Understanding between EMV and Bendigo Bank. It is delivered through the Bendigo Bank branch network, and has already been used for the collection and distribution of donated funds following emergencies. The Fund was utilised in Victoria’s Scotsburn community following the 2015 December fires, with $82,000 of donated funds being directly provided to the affected community.
Funds raised will be used for a range of locally identified charitable initiatives such as clean-up activities, business support or counselling, temporary fencing, and water quality control measures.
Chairman of Cobden and Districts Community Bank®, James Green, said the local branch and wider Bendigo Bank network were keen to do all they could to help local people following the fires.
“Cobden and Camperdown Community Banks have put an initial $5,000 each into the Community Relief Fund.”
"Further funds raised now will be ready to be distributed to those in need, when and where they need it."
Bendigo Bank’s Community Enterprise Foundation CEO David Impey said the Foundation was able to help build stronger local communities by helping them respond to their current and future needs.
“We urge people across Australia to donate to the Fund and support communities who have been impacted.
“Our past experience tells us that Australians are generous when it comes to helping those in need. Monetary donations are effective and provide more flexibility than the donation of material items or pre-loved goods.”
Donations to the Community Relief Fund can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online via www.bendigobank.com.au/southwestvicbushfire. Anyone wishing to support their local community is encouraged to donate directly to this Fund, as monetary donations are effective and provide more flexibility than the donation of material items or pre-loved goods.