Uniting Vic.Tas bushfire recovery efforts

In early 2020, Australia faced an unprecedented national crisis, as bushfires tore through rural communities across the country. In Victoria, the protracted nature of this crisis created circumstances that had never previously been experienced by communities, government and relief agencies.

Uniting Vic.Tas 2020 Bushfire Appeal

The 2020 bushfire events have affected all of us deeply.

The overall community response has been wonderful, but we are aware that there are gaps or unmet needs emerging in material aid. At the same time, the impact of these bushfires and the devastation they have caused will be felt in these communities for years.

$437,099

has been raised to date for our Bushfire Appeal 

What we have done to help communities recover

Immediate supports

Uniting Vic.Tas provided immediate supports to communities impacted by the bushfires early in recovery including:

  • Food and petrol vouchers to individuals and families
  • Toiletries that were in short supply, particularly men’s toiletries
  • Back to school items
  • Materials for early learning centres to help young children cope in the immediate aftermath of the bushfires
  • P2 masks for people struggling with the poor air quality, along with food and petrol vouchers.

Long term recovery efforts

Uniting continues to work locally to understand how best we can support recovery in bushfire impacted communities. We entered into a partnership with Plan International Australia to gain community-led advice on the local needs of families, young people and children in recovery. Further details of this plan can be found here. 

Our plan has informed the following initiatives we have funded through the bushfire appeal:

  • Activity packs for babies, children and young people in East Gippsland for bushfire-impacted communities now also experiencing isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions, delivered in partnership with Save the Children.
  • Support to Uniting Vic.Tas Early Learning Centres in East Gippsland to help with their bushfire recovery efforts.
  • A second patrol ministry for East Gippsland, co-funded by Gippsland Presbytery and Frontier Services. This role will engage with the community, church and Uniting staff to provide pastoral care, and help understand and advocate for emerging community recovery needs. The position will be located at Sarsfield and go north through Omeo and as far east as Mallacoota.
  • A new camp/bike trailer for Corryong College so more young people in remote bushfire-affected areas can enjoy additional outdoor activities which help build self-confidence, resilience and life skills.
  • A Community Development Worker to continue the great work of The Sanctuary Mallacoota, in offering the young people of Mallacoota a safe space to study, play music, make art, play games, organise programs/events and run workshops.

We know there is so much more we could do with your support.

Updates

New report released on the bushfire recovery needs of children and young people in East Gippsland

A shared interest in the rights, participation and wellbeing of children and young people in bushfire recovery efforts brought Uniting Vic.Tas and Plan International Australia together to partner on a collaborative project.

Announcing support for The Sanctuary Mallacoota

We welcome The Sanctuary Mallacoota into the Uniting family in Gippsland.

Uniting is excited to announce that we are supporting The Sanctuary Mallacoota through new funding for a Community Development Worker.

The Sanctuary emerged as an immediate and necessary response to the summer 2020 bushfires which impacted Mallacoota. The Sanctuary is now an incorporated body led by a committee of young people.

It provides a safe haven for young people to be together, support each other and develop leadership skills during recovery from the recent bushfires. Currently young people use the space to study, play music, make art, play games, organise programs/events and run workshops.

Related stories 

Rebuilding after bushfires

It’s been a challenging year. Back in January, we asked you – our generous supporters – to get behind communities impacted by bushfires. Since then, through your overwhelming kindness, we have raised $430,000 Thank you for your support.

Supporting communities affected by bushfires

The bushfire events over the New Year have affected all of us deeply.

These are our communities. Many of us live and work there, have family in these areas, or have other personal connections.