Minderoo Foundation Fire Fund has teamed up with Lions Clubs Australia to deliver further on-the-ground assistance to fire-affected communities in New South Wales.
Fire Fund’s commitment to Lions Clubs, totalling almost $150,000, will deliver access to tools, storage facilities and a series of small project grants to provide immediate relief to Australians feeling the lasting effects of the 2019/20 bushfire season.
Minderoo Foundation Fire Fund lead Adrian Turner said as the COVID-19 pandemic continued and winter approaches, bushfire-affected communities needed to be prioritised.
“Our team has heard from affected communities that they require access to tools, equipment, storage and supplies to get back on track as soon as possible,” Mr Turner said.
“With fire impacted communities feeling increasingly isolated due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s more important than ever for Fire Fund to partner with local organisations that are making a difference on the ground.
“Working with Lions Clubs allows us to quickly target funding directly where it is needed. The message to these communities is: we’re still here, we still want to help, you are not alone, and you are certainly not forgotten.”
Fire Fund has provided $25,000 towards a mobile tool library project which has seen the fit-out and delivery of two 20-foot shipping containers, equipment and shelving to provide tools to communities across New South Wales.
More than 5,000 outbuildings – mainly sheds and workshops, containing crucial tools and equipment – were destroyed by the bush fires in rural NSW. The Minderoo Foundation and Lions Club tool libraries will allow rebuilding to continue, without individuals needing to outlay for new tools.
Tool distribution will be managed on the ground by local Lions and Men’s Shed volunteers, with affected individuals and families able to borrow what they need through a library-style loan scheme.
One library was co-funded by local sponsor David Kenley and shelving for both was donated by Mitre 10 Pambula.
The assistance package from Fire Fund also includes the provision of 30 shipping containers to replace lost sheds and workshops. Recipients of the containers were nominated by Lions Clubs, councils, and other community groups. Minderoo Foundation’s supplier has agreed to provide any additional containers at a special reduced price.
Fire Fund has also donated $30,000 directly to Lions Clubs for small grants of up to $1,500 to assist local families rebuild. The allocation of grants was administered by Lions Clubs Australia’s disaster recovery coordination committee, with all funds already distributed to those in need.
Lions district governor Gordon Matthews said the latest contribution from Fire Fund would have a lasting impact.
“Communities are hurting from the one-two punch of the devastating bushfires and an unprecedented global pandemic,” Mr Matthews said.
“The Fire Fund heard our call for help and have responded with practical relief efforts that will help communities rebuild their lives.
“The shipping containers are a cheaper and quicker storage solution than sheds, and Fire Fund’s support has created a ripple effect, which has helped attract further contributions from private donors and companies.
“While the world is focused on the fallout from the pandemic, it is good to know those impacted by last season’s devastating fires have not been forgotten.”
Over the past few months, as part of its bushfire response, Minderoo Foundation has also worked with the NSW Government to roll out dozens of Fire Fund recovery pods, providing temporary accommodation to individuals and families who have lost their homes, while the rebuilding process continues.