Russell Crowe with Natalie Egleton, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
Russell Crowe with Natalie Egleton, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

‘We won’t forget you’: $1m to fire victims

Fire ravaged communities now caught in the coronavirus crisis have had little reason for joy in recent months.

Whether it be a school fete to brighten the lives of traumatised children in financial jeopardy, or a newly built replacement school not feeling quite like home.

Now, a new $1 million fund launched by News Corp, publisher of this paper has given communities on the north and south coast reason to smile.

Grants from the fund, in part raised by a Daily Telegraph tribute edition in January, will provide up to $25,000 for immediate, medium and long-term recovery.

News Corp Australia's Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said we must remember there are so many people whose lives were devastated by the bushfires.

"We made a commitment and promised that News Corp would be there now and for the long haul," she said.

 

Russell Crowe with Natalie Egleton, CEO of Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. Picture: Supplied
Russell Crowe with Natalie Egleton, CEO of Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. Picture: Supplied

 

"We will continue to do all we can to make a positive contribution to bushfire affected communities."

The first recipients from the fund include Bobin Public School - which was razed in November - where students can now replace a beloved mural of the school's platypus mascot and then host a thank you day for the Mid North Coast community which has helped their recovery.

 

Work begins on the rebuilding of the Bobin Public School after it was destroyed by bushfire. Picture: Nathan Edwards
Work begins on the rebuilding of the Bobin Public School after it was destroyed by bushfire. Picture: Nathan Edwards

 

Wytaliba Public School in a community still mourning two people killed in the fires which razed 60 homes will get $10,000 to replace their beloved cubbies which burned.

Koalas in Care in Taree will use their $10,000 grant to plant thousands of trees to replace food supplies for koalas. The charity helped save more than 50 injured animals.

 

Koalas In Care - CL SPARKY – rescued and cared for in Taree. Picture: Supplied
Koalas In Care - CL SPARKY – rescued and cared for in Taree. Picture: Supplied

 

Broulee Public School fundraiser Kim Willis said the $10,000 grant the P & C will receive will sponsor the school's fete which attracts thousands of people.

"When we got the grant there were tears of gratitude, you can't imagine how important it is," she said.

"It's pretty bleak down here, it gives kids a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

South coast Bushfires at Broulee SLSC. Picture: SLSNSW
South coast Bushfires at Broulee SLSC. Picture: SLSNSW

 

"The kids have been making things for the fete, which is a great opportunity for kids to have some normality that's been taken away."

Cobargo Scouts Group Leader Stuart Myers was grateful $14,450 would be allocated for canoes, to be purchased from a local business.

It will get his 65-strong scout group back paddling their traditional route down the Murray River.

Their canoes were lost along with their meeting place in the fire which ravaged the Cobargo area on New Year's Eve.

"If it's not one thing it's another, we had drought, then bushfires and now this virus, but once it's gone we'll be able to use the canoes," he said.

 

Green fields around the bushfire effected town of Cobargo after recent rain. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Green fields around the bushfire effected town of Cobargo after recent rain. Picture: Jonathan Ng

 

 

The News Corp Bushfire Fund, set up with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, will help meet the needs of local infrastructure, emergency support, mental health and wellbeing and rebuilding communities.

Executive chairman Michael Miller said: "News Corp will be there through the tough times as well as the good."

"That was our pledge back in January and we stick to our promises."

Originally published as 'We won't forget you': $1m to fire victims



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