Helping Hands volunteers at The Railway Station after the 2017 Lismore Floods.
Helping Hands volunteers at The Railway Station after the 2017 Lismore Floods. Sophie Moeller

Still providing Helping Hands

THE Helping Hands Facebook page was as active as ever with 7000 people still members of the group.

And Helping Hand Coordinator Elly Bird said the job wasn't over, as their volunteers begin to reflect and recover after what has been a hectic six months.

Lismore Helping Hands volunteers were recognised at the North Coast Primary Health Network's 2017 Primary Health Care Excellence Awards.
Lismore Helping Hands volunteers were recognised at the North Coast Primary Health Network's 2017 Primary Health Care Excellence Awards.

"A core group of people who worked on helping hands have been looking at capturing what we did and what we went through in the aftermath of the floods,” Ms Bird said.

"Our main reason for doing that is we want to be able to share our experiences and our lessons with other communities and also so we have got them documented so we can be better prepared in Lismore if we get hit with another flood.”

Helping Hands is also one of the many organisations involved in the council's initiative the Lismore Flood Ready process - looking at how council can improve preparedness and community resilience.

As far as some of the immediate work the community group was involved in, Ms Bird said most of the specialised local non-government organisations (NGO) have taken back the reigns.

"We know there are still a number of people who aren't in permanent and secure housing,” Ms Bird said.

"Most of that work has gone back to our regular NGO's, I know Social Futures and Connecting Homes are looking after helping people to find accommodation.

"What we did was just in that immediate aftermath, particularly because a lot of those organisations were impacted themselves they weren't able to deliver their services that they usually do.”

At the six month anniversary of the flood, Ms Bird said the most important thing now was for the community to continue to support each other.

"As much as on the surface some things are looking back to normal I think we as a community need to remember that recovery will take a couple of years,” she said.

"I feel really deeply for our community, I know there are some people out there who are still doing it very tough but we will get through this, time heals everything and I look forward to when our community is full back on its feet.”



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