For the last 13 years Into Our Hands Community Foundation has been working across North East Victoria to provide relief and recovery funds and support following the devastation of Black Saturday in 2009.
The Foundation was set up specifically to aid recovery from Bushfire and has local grant processes in place with partner organisations to support community recovery over the long term.
Since 2012 we have coordinated activities and funded projects to the value of over $910,000 that have supported local CFA brigades with equipment and firefighting needs, we have also supported community groups and facilities to rebuild and have funded projects that bring tourism and visitors back to the region in places such as Harrietville, Myrtleford and Beechworth.
Following the events over New Years Eve and early January 2020 in the Alpine, Corryong, King Valley and Wangaratta areas of our region in North East Victoria we are setting up a specific appeal fund for ongoing Bushfire Relief for our communities.
We believe it is vital that local communities have the means to support local bushfire response and recovery needs now and into the future. In only May of 2019 we wrote a letter to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund saying just that!In our experience from Black Saturday, the major appeal funds through the Red Cross, and the State Government are wonderful ways to capture donations from across Australia and pool those for the benefit of all communities across the state. However, the process to ensure those funds reach affected communities follows a lengthy government consultation effort.
Following Black Saturday, Into Our Hands and North East Victoria were lucky enough to secure some of these funds, however, this took two years for funds to be delivered ‘into our hands’ of our community and used for local recovery.
This time, we hope that this process can be quicker given the Foundation already exists and has such as great track record in our work. We also hope to attract donations from across our own region while we work with local authorities to understand how donations and funding can be used to best aid those affected.
We are part of the Wangaratta relief committee and are talking with both the Alpine and Wangaratta Shires about how we can be of support. Right now, so much of the relief effort is being rolled out through state and local government agencies, volunteers, charity donations, in kind offers and community generosity and spirit.
However as the recovery and relief effort continues and as our fire season in only in its early phases, we expect the need for funding and cash contributions to rise. When that moment comes , we will be there willing to work with communities to try and secure the funds they will undoubtedly need to get back on their feet.Please support the local bushfire foundations that already exist to do this work.
We exists for North East Victoria and a list of the other community foundations like us in other fire affected regions across Australia is below. Know that donations to these organisations is local and will contribute to local grants that can reach affected people, communities and organisation quickly and delay.