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Local farmers offered drought support under new nib foundation and Upper Hunter Community Services partnership

Farmers having tea

Hunter farming communities will be offered a helping hand to assist them through one of the worst droughts in recent history thanks to a new partnership between nib foundation and Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS).

The $50,000 support package from nib foundation will provide drought-impacted families with financial aid to enable them to continue to shop locally for their everyday needs. In addition, a series of community capacity events will be held to ensure social connections are maintained throughout the Upper Hunter.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe, said its drought assistance would help to ensure farmers can access the support services they require during this testing period.

"We know that our farmers and rural communities are doing it tough and believe we all have a role to play in helping maintain health and wellbeing," Ms Tribe said.

"Our philosophy is to leverage existing capacity within local communities. The experienced team at Upper Hunter Community Services is well placed to identify and offer help to people in need through the core services they provide every day across the region.

"This grant will enable them to offer a combination of immediate, practical assistance through EFTPOS cards and longer term holistic support through a range of community events to support and unite the community in their time of need," she added.

UHCS Manager, Sue Milton, said they had already seen an increase in demand for emergency relief services such as advocacy, everyday household needs and mental health and wellbeing support across the region.

"The drought-affected community members we've spoken to are all very aware that the current circumstances will have a long term impact not only for themselves but for the community as a whole," Mrs Milton said.

"That's why providing them with material resources and assistance as well as equipping them with the knowledge and skills to look after themselves and their mates are imperative," she added.

UHCS will work alongside local frontline organisations to deliver outreach and community events to bring together people from the rural and remote communities in the area across the next six months.

"We'll be engaging both immediately and at key times coming up for these families, including Christmas and back to school, to bring together a show of unity within the communities and with that a sense of hope and optimism for the long road ahead," Mrs Milton said.

The new partnership comes just weeks after nib announced a special health insurance premium waiver for drought-impacted members that provides eligible members with a six month waiver for 100% of their current health insurance premiums.

For more information about the drought support package and to find out how UHCS can help you or someone you know contact 02 6542 3555.

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