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Two major Hunter Charitable Foundations partner to deliver support to drought-hit communities

Newcastle chairmans teaming up to support drought communities

Image: nib foundation Chairman, Judi Geggie, Upper Hunter Community Services Manager, Sue Milton and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chairman, Phil Neat.

nib foundation and Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation have teamed up to provide $100,000 in funding to support farmers and local communities impacted by the ongoing drought in the Hunter region.

The funding will be provided over a two-year period to Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS), a community-based organisation focused on providing a range of practical services and support to people in the Upper Hunter.

nib foundation Chairman, Judi Geggie said drought affected people, both on farms and in the wider local community, will be able to access support services, financial support and engage in local community building activities during what can only be described as an extremely tough period.

"The drought continues to challenge our local farmers and regional communities putting incredible stress on not only their finances but also their health and wellbeing," Judi said.

"That's why it's important that support is offered at both a holistic and practical level, such as helping them meet their everyday needs like paying bills or putting food on the table, while also ensuring they maintain important social connections," she said.

The funding will be used to directly alleviate the financial burden on drought affected families and also deliver a series of community events to foster connection, build resilience and provide pathways for referral to available support services.

UHCS Manager, Mel Atkinson said the need for support services for drought affected families in the Upper Hunter continues to grow as the drought maintains its grip on the region.

"Farmers and agricultural sector workers and their families are stoic but the physical, mental and financial repercussions that come with protracted drought can really take a toll on the community."

"The funding will help to lift a bit of weight off their shoulders by allowing them to meet some of their immediate needs while also giving us an opportunity to start a conversation with them about managing their health and wellbeing," Mel said.

Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Phil Neat said the funding is designed for both immediate impact as well as long-term support.

"The current drought has no expiry date and, even when it does break, the damage to farms, local employment and regional economies will take years to repair. Our support will not only help tackle the current financial pressures these communities are facing but also unite the community for the long road ahead," Phil said.

It's the first time the two leading Hunter charitable foundations have come together to support a common cause, recognising that co-operative initiatives are required to deliver the level of scale necessary to address the significant social issues caused by this drought.

"Our two foundations share a strong Hunter bond and commitment to support people doing it tough in our own backyard, so joining forces to leverage our resources for collective impact was an easy decision by our respective Boards," Judi said.

"We want the Hunter community to know that we recognise the extraordinary hardship this drought continues to cause and right now is more important than ever to rally together to support farmers and drought affected families," Phil said.

To find out how UHCS can help you or someone you know contact 02 6542 3555.