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Wollombi on the road to recovery

Posted December 15 2020

From left - Scott Wood (PHN Bushfire Coordinator), Mel Boucher (Community Recovery Officer, Cessnock Council), Simone Smith & Daniela Riccio (Wollombi Valley Progress Association)

Recovery is a complex social process that cannot be predicted, controlled or rigidly planned. However, the chance of a successful recovery is greatly improved when an affected community can take ownership of the process.

This is the principle behind the PHN’s Bushfire recovery grants and why the PHN recently provided funding to three organisations in the Wollombi Valley.

Last year the community lost over 100 structures and many thousands of hectares of fences and property were destroyed. Many hundreds of families were evacuated during the fires and they lived with the uncertainty of whether their homes would have survived upon their return.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been another blow and prevented the community getting together with many people isolated on their properties with no opportunity to connect with other people.

As anxiety around the upcoming fire season increases the Wollombi School Community Education Trust, Wollombi Valley Progress Association and the Lower Hunter Children's Activity Van have all received grants to provide opportunities for the community to come together and reconnect.

The Wollombi Primary School was decommissioned by the NSW Department of Education in 2015 but the facility remains in community ownership and is the ideal venue to take part in activities that allow conversations and reconnection to occur in a safe & non-confronting manner.

The Wollombi Slow Food Community Connection Fair will allow the community to re-connect while supporting local producers & businesses. It will also allow an opportunities for local mental health service providers to hold stalls to provide much needed information & support.

Lower Hunter Children's Activity Van Christmas party will provide the first opportunity since February to allow families to connect and build support networks with each other.

Scott Wood

Bushfire Recovery Coordinator - Central Coast/Hunter/Manning
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Phone Number

0438 723 385 Call now

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