Three senior representatives of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW visited the refurbished playground at the Ulladulla facility of the regional Noah’s Inclusion Services, which assists several hundred local children with special needs. Through our bushfire community recovery program, supported by public donations, Vinnies provided a grant of $20,000 to help Noah’s upgrade its backyard play area.
The work was supported by other organisations, including volunteers from the region’s HMAS Albatross (816 Squadron). The upgrading includes a slide, timbered deck, climbing rope-frame and a yarning circle popular with the Aboriginal families who are an important part of Noah’s clientele.
Helping community groups recover from the impact of the late 2019-2020 bushfires is the focus of the Vinnies program, ranging from the south coast to the hard-hit Kempsey area and up to Ballina and Tenterfield. Some 320 houses were lost in the Shoalhaven, with half this number of claims submitted through Vinnies Ulladulla Conference. Shoalhaven and Kempsey were priority recipients of the Society’s assistance.
CEO, Jack de Groot, was impressed by the commitment from Noah’s to assisting families with kids in need, noting how triggers such as the smell of smoke, if only from a barbecue, or the sound of sirens, not necessarily from fire engines, can be particularly traumatic for children and adults experiencing disabilities.
A number of the families coming to Noah’s, whether for kids’ sessions or for parents and carers ‘My Time’ meetings, were badly affected by the bushfires, and the recovery process is both challenging and potentially lengthy. Some are reluctant to replace pets for fear they will again be lost.
‘We’re so pleased that Vinnies can make a practical contribution to Noah’s and several other local services, as well as household grants to families and individuals who need to rebuild their lives after this terrible event,’ Mr de Groot said.