Below, for the information  of members and friends of the Club, is a copy of an update report provided by Ted Waghorne to District 9800 officers on the Club's drought relief project activities.


Can I provide a short update on Drought Relief Activities being carried out by the Rotary Club of Canterbury and Mitchell River in East Gippsland, to you and your committee. 

Our two clubs are working together really well.  We are working with the Bairnsdale Neighborhood House who have really close connections to the farming community and who provide cheap meals for the needy by collecting food donations from Woolies and Aldi etc. 

We are running 2 projects.

The first project involves a respite opportunity in Melbourne particularly with families who would benefit from a few days away from their farm and give their children the opportunity to visit the zoo, aquarium or perhaps go to a footy match.

This activity is subject of the first grant from District 9800, is low cost and has been well received.  There have been limited applications for this project so far, due we believe to the lack of train services to Bairnsdale, and families find the drive pretty daunting.

However we have hosted 3 families for respite and have a further 3 families seeking time away from their farms whist the effects of the drought in East Gippsland drags on (small rainfalls recently have given everyone some hope). The families who have come have really appreciated the welcome we have been able to provide, and have indicated that they have really appreciated the break.

The second project (subject of the second District 9800 grant), involves providing money to farmers to carry out urgent works and whose farms are really in stress due to the lack of rainfall.  Applications are vetted before approval. At this stage funds have been provided to 3 farms primarily for urgent hay, fodder and fencing. A 4th farm is currently being funded.  Applications from a  further 5 farms are being considered. 

Monies approved exceed $15,000, and a further $15,000 to $20,000 of farm projects are awaiting quotes.

What is really sad is that a number of the farmers that we are reaching out to have suffered the loss of their partners in recent times from suicide, illness and accident. This is obviously greatly exacerbating their drought situation. 

Ted Waghorne