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$325,000 in Flood Recovery Grants to Promote Wellbeing for Hunter New England and Central Coast Residents.

Flood Recovery, Community Wellbeing and Resilience Grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 have been provided to NGOs and community groups to deliver projects and initiatives that promote mental wellbeing and resilience for the residents of the Hunter New England Central Coast regions, following the recent devastating flood events.

The grants, funded by the NSW Government and facilitated by the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (the PHN), offered to the community in May, received over 30 applications with 12 projects being selected for funding. Projects receiving funding will provide activities, initiatives, and programs for people in Narrabri, Central Coast, Marlee, Wollombi Valley, Gunnedah, Moree, Yarramalong, Cessnock, Singleton and Muswellbrook. The target groups range from youth, financially disadvantaged, culturally, and linguistically diverse, First Nations and general population.

The PHN Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nankervis said the grants could not have come at a better time. “The past few years have been challenging for our communities across the Hunter New England and Central Coast as a result of the numerous natural disasters such as bush fires and major flood events.”

“The PHN is pleased to provide an opportunity for communities and organisations to access Flood Recovery – Community Wellbeing and Resilience Grants which will fund programs that support social and emotional wellbeing and support resilience building for communities and individuals.”

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the Community Wellbeing and Flood Recovery Grants will help ensure vital care and support is available to communities impacted by flooding as they rebuild.

“Natural disasters can cause significant distress to affected communities and we recognise the emotional impacts can linger well beyond the initial clean-up. These grants are a small part of a wider initiative to help ease the burden,” Mrs Taylor said.

The initiatives receiving funding are wide-spread and varied. Parents Beyond Breakup have been funded to provide a peersWALK program to provide support to flood affected communities in the PHN region, to recover from the medium to longer term negative mental health effects of recent natural disasters. The program will provide early-stage preventative training accessible to all members of the community suffering from situational distress, common in natural disasters.

Gillian Hunt, Chief Executive Officer of Parents Beyond Breakup said they are delighted to offer their training free to members of the community across the PHN region. “peersWALK is interactive, online and available to anyone in the community. As the name suggests, it is about community-based peer support, building a foundation of resilience through supporting each other across the road of crisis.”

“The 4-hour online training provides real-world interactive training and practice that enables community confidence through a step-by-step approach to engaging in empathic conversation with peers in crisis or distress, to walk them across the road of suicide or distress before they get too far down that road.”

“It is about prevention before the need for intervention. It is about community-based peer support, building a foundation of resilience through supporting each other, so the skills and tools are practical, real life, and transferrable.”

Yarramalong School of Arts is undertaking flood action planning, by consulting with resilience planners including SES, Local Land Services and Council to help people prepare and ensure that they and their livestock are safe in the event of future flooding. A series of community gatherings will be held to facilitate the consultation.

The grant funding has been allocated to each of the 12 NGOs and community groups for immediate roll-out of the planned initiatives. An additional round of Flood Recovery grants is planned for the near future.

For more information:
Rebecca Brennan, Communications and Public Relations Manager rbrennan@thephn.com.au 0437 478 138

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