Blue Haven Public School is one of many Central Coast schools to receive a helping hand for their students following the effects of the 2019/20 fire season, thanks to a grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
Social Futures, the Central Coast’s Partner in the Community for the NDIS, received a grant through FRRR and has worked with schools to distribute 1,000 $50 vouchers to affected families.
Senior Customer Experience Officer at Social Futures, Kim Riches, said that she had a lot of calls from grateful families and teachers.
“Many families said they were not only affected by bushfires but, more recently, by floods.
“It’s been a tough year so a bit of a boost to help with school costs was really appreciated,” Riches said.
The vouchers were sent electronically for students or their schools to print and exchange for school-related items such as books, clothing, shoes and stationery.
“It was a really big task finding the most affected schools and students and we relied on the schools to fill in the picture for us,” Riches said.
Blue Haven Public School was significantly affected by the bushfire season.
The fire burned through hundreds of hectares of bushland before destroying homes and buildings in Blue Haven on New Year’s Eve in 2020.
Assistant Principal Wellbeing at Blue Haven Public School, Jarrod Miles, said the fires came within 100m of the school.
“Our school was forced to close for a period of time due to the fires and then, more recently, due to flooding,” he said.
“Many of the families of our students were directly impacted.
“Some families lost homes, some lost their livelihoods.
“The fires came so close, it was a really frightening time for our community.
“Though $50 isn’t a fortune, when it comes to replacing the little things for school, it really does help and I know families are really thankful for it,” Miles said.
Social Futures CEO, Tony Davies, said he was glad that they had been able to lend a hand.
“Social Futures has been delivering Local Area Co-ordination Services for the NDIS in the Central Coast region for 18 months now, and in that time, we have been making strong connections with schools and communities,” he said.
“We were really happy to make use of our networks and I thank the staff that put so many hours into co-ordinating this, to see the vouchers get into the hands of the families that need them most.”
Miles said 385 families who were most affected by the fires at Blue Haven received vouchers.
“It was the scariest thing, you just can’t imagine,” said one parent, Mrs Taylor, about her family’s experience.
“It was raining fire and pitch black.
“The fire went from a kilometre away to being right on our doorstep.
“It just jumped, trees exploded, we had eight minutes to get out,” Taylor said.
Miles said Blue Haven School had worked through the year to support the resilience and coping skills of students and now these vouchers brought welcome relief to families of students.
Media release, May 6