Respite Care for Bushfire Affected Families

Respite for rural families affected by bushfires

Six families from Coonabarabran and Cooma who lost houses and property in recent bushfires were helped in their recovery by a respite break by the beach at Manly, thanks to Royal Far West and the Orange based Centre for Rural & Remote Mental Health (CRRMH).

The families’ beach side accommodation, meals and recreation were provided free of charge, and a health program officer from CRRMH’s Rural Adversity Mental Health program was on hand to provide support and information. Twenty one children aged from three to seventeen enjoyed swimming, bike riding, a variety of sports and games, harbour tours, and visits to Taronga Zoo and the City of Sydney.

“Royal Far West has an 89 year heritage of providing respite and health care to kids and their families from rural and remote New South Wales,” said Royal Far West CEO Lindsay Cane. “This respite camp for families who have lost property and livelihoods in the bushfires is a natural extension of what we have been doing in rural healthcare for all those years.

“Country people are independent and resilient, but sometimes nature throws up challenges that can be overwhelming. Hopefully this break by the sea will give these families some respite from the stresses of rebuilding their lives and homes, and help them reconnect with one another in a supportive environment.”

The Director of the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Professor Prasuna Reddy is pleased that the Centre has been able to be a partner with Royal Far West in this new initiative: “These families have been through a big ordeal and we trust that the holiday will be a boost to their resilience as they recover and move on from the loss of their family homes”.

Royal Far West is a non government organisation that has been providing health services to children living in rural and remote New South Wales for over 89 years. Its vision is healthy country children. Its mission is to make an outstanding contribution to the health and well being of children in regional New South Wales.

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) is an initiative of the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Health and the NSW Department of Health. It aims to improve the mental health of rural and remote communities through academic leadership, collaboration and achievements in research, education, service development and information services. Based in Orange the CRRMH strives to bring quality education and research programs to all rural areas of NSW through effective partnerships such as this joint project with Royal Far West.

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