RFW and Beyond Blue named as finalists in National Resilient Australia Awards
Specialist programs relating to helping children and families to recover from the aftermath of bushfires have received attention from the 2021 National Resilient Australia Awards, with Royal Far West (RFW) and Beyond Blue both being named as finalists in the Awards.
The Resilient Australia Awards recognise initiatives by schools, communities, local and state governments, and businesses that showcase innovation and exemplary practice across Australia that build and inspire community connections and foster resilience to disasters and emergencies.
RFW’s Bushfire Recovery Program provides direct support to children aged from birth to twelve years of age and the adults supporting these children.
The program aims to improve the resilience and wellbeing of children and decrease the likelihood of long-term adverse impacts. Recognising that local communities know their own needs best, the program has been designed as a menu of options, with the local community to choose the parts of the program that will best meet their needs.
Working in partnership with UNICEF Australia and the Paul Ramsay Foundation, the RFW program has supported over 3,000 children and their caregivers in over 30 of the most impacted communities across NSW, explained RFW CEO Jacqui Emery.
“The program is designed to support the long term recovery of children impacted by the trauma resulting from the natural disaster and has given them and their key caregivers the tools and strategies to cope not only with the bushfires but to prepare for future natural disasters,” she continued.
“As one child said about what the program taught them: “There are people to help me. I am not alone.” The success of this and other mental health and resilience building programs will ensure that fewer numbers of children have long term adverse outcomes.”
Beyond Blue’s Be You Bushfire Program acknowledges the mental health impacts of the Black Summer bushfires across Australia in 2019–2020, and the role of learning communities, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) spaces in supporting recovery from trauma.
Beyond Blue Chief Community Officer Patrice O’Brien said the program “recognises the crucial role of early learning services and schools in promoting positive mental health and their influence on strengthening disaster recovery and resilience in local communities.”
“At Beyond Blue, we are immensely proud of the work by all organisations involved in delivering the program and deeply moved by the resilience shown by each learning community we work with. We designed the program so that it would be flexible and responsive to meet each community at where they were at in the recovery process which we hope was able to provide the greatest benefit to the educators and learning communities we were working with.”
“Beyond Blue is humbled to be shortlisted for this award with nominees that have shown an incredible level of innovation and compassion across the country supporting those doing it tough.”
The Resilient Australia Awards recognise initiatives that build resilient communities. Winners will be announced at the National Awards Ceremony in Melbourne on Wednesday, 8 December.
For more details on the awards and a full list of finalists, please see here.
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