Older Victorians affected by the devastating 2009 bushfires will benefit from $750,000 in funding from the Victorian Bushfire Appeals Fund for activities to support their health and wellbeing.
The funding would be used to help older Victorians in bushfire-affected areas reconnect with each other and the community through physical activity, gardening and other skills-based and social activities.
Member for Northern Victoria Region, Candy Broad announced today that the Beechworth Health Service, Beechworth Neighbourhood House and the Stanley Social Group would receive grants for the following projects:
- Beechworth Health Service’s Listening to, Valuing and Acknowledging our Elder Stories project which would receive $9,600 to engage a local artist, a digital storytelling facilitator and a photographer to record stories and experiences of 12 - 15 elders. The stories would then be screened in rural communities of Indigo Shire, acting as a catalyst for community gatherings and acknowledging the contribution of older residents.
- Beechworth Neighbourhood House’s Community Stories Connect project which would receive $20,000 to explore the art of story telling, poetry and oral interpretation to enable seniors in the bushfire affected communities around and in Beechworth, to tell their stories, connect with the community, the past, the future and with each other.
- Stanley Social Group’s A Meeting Sign and Bus Trip project which would receive $2,000 to purchase a weather proof sign to further include the community in the Stanley Social Group meetings and activities and organise a subsidised minibus trip to Melbourne to see a show.
“During times of emergency and the rebuilding and recovery that follow, older people are often heavily relied on by family, friends to provide advice and support”, Ms Broad said.
“The Health and Wellbeing for Older People initiative will help ensure that seniors themselves receive sufficient support to aid their psychological recovery and help rebuild their lives.”
Under the initiative more than $600,000 in grants is being distributed across 29 projects. The funding will be used by community organisations such as U3As, Men’s Sheds, neighbourhood houses and community health centres to run a range of activities including walking groups, art projects, community gardening, computer classes and cooking demonstrations.
Ms Broad said that an additional $150,000 was being provided to the Council of the Ageing (COTA) for a dedicated community development worker to provide support and specialist advice for funded community organisations.
Appeal Fund Chair, Pat McNamara said these initiatives have been made possible by generous donations to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund and that $1.3 million from the Fund had been specifically earmarked to help older people in bushfire-affected areas.
"We believe the aims of these initiatives reflect the intent with which people from Victoria, Australia and around the world so generously donated”, Mr McNamara said.
“We are confident that the projects funded through these initiatives will go a long way towards providing the support that older people in the bushfire-affected areas and the people of Beechworth and Stanley so dearly need and help rebuild the communities they live in.”
Mr McNamara added that a second round of funding for older people was now available and invited community organisations to apply.
Grants are currently available for the following; up to $30,000 for physical activity projects, up to $20,000 for gardening projects and up to $21,000 for projects that help older people build social connections and address social isolation in bushfire affected communities.
The second round funding applications are due 7 June 2010. For more information contact the Office of Senior Victorians on (03) 9208 3855