Diocesan Bushfire Appeal raises $300,000

16/12/2013

Diocesan Bushfire Appeal News Story
The Bishop of Parramatta, Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP, visiting St Thomas Aquinas Primary Springwood on the students' first day back following the bushfires. Photos: CCER

Originally published by CatholicCare Social Services - Diocese of Parramatta

The Diocesan Bushfire Appeal, coordinated by CatholicCare Social Services - Diocese of Parramatta (CCSS), has now raised $300,000 - with proceeds still coming in.

This result is much greater than anticipated and speaks highly of the generosity of the community - and especially the Catholic community - of the Diocese. Money has also been received from the Church outside the Diocese.

CCSS has been liaising with St Vincent de Paul and St Thomas Aquinas Springwood Parish over the past months to understand where and how these funds can best be allocated, in support of the local community.

The outstanding response from the community now allows CCSS to maintain an on-going presence in the Blue Mountains with longer-term, on-going support for those affected by the bushfires. To that end, CCSS is:

  • Recruiting a community worker to commence ASAP for a period of 18 months;
  • Continuing to make counselling support staff available;
  • Continuing to make grief support staff available;
  • Listening to the community to ascertain the needs of the community and endeavour to meet those needs CCSS is able to;
  • Supporting the Springwood Parish to continue its work to rebuild community; and
  • Seeking approval to provide a drop-in centre in the Springwood CBD for residents to access CCSS's full range of services and ‘to have a chat’. The current crisis centres provided by the State Government and the St Vincent de Paul Society are both due to close before Christmas and advice to CCSS to date is that there is a need for several months ot come for people to have a place they can ‘drop-in’ to when they are in the CBD.

In particular, the parish raised concern about community morale and children and families coping without the support and structure of their school community – peers and counselors, during the school holidays.

It was decided to organise free events and activities throughout January, to keep children engaged and to provide free entertainment.

More information about the weekly outdoor movies in January and the two sports clinics can be found via our facebook page www.facebook.com.au/CCSSParramatta

Further enquiries can be directed by email to claire.gordon@ccss.org.au

Donations to the appeal can be made through CCSS’s website: www.ccss.org.au

People directly affected by the fires should contact CCSS for support by phoning 02 9933 0233.


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