How you can help communities affected by the recent devastating bushfires

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How you can help communities affected by the recent devastating bushfires

Published 21 January 2020

There are lots of ways you can help communities who have been left devastated by the recent fires in New South Wales and Victoria. At this stage the request is for financial donations rather than goods. This will allow assistance to be directed quickly to where it is needed most. Here are a few services and support agencies you can donate to:

Recovery and support for communities

Supporting the NSW Rural Fire Service

Helping our wildlife


A successful Book Fair held at Woollahra Library in Double Bay raised $3576 for WIRES to assist them with their bushfire recovery and support work.

Spend with Them and Buy from the Bush

Many of the businesses in the towns affected by the bushfires are suffering. They rely on support from tourists for their livelihood. Initiatives like Buy from the Bush and Spend with Them feature businesses in the fire-affected towns. By supporting these local businesses we can all help with long term recovery.

In the long term, visiting these towns and investing in the local economy will be another meaningful way of demonstrating care and support.

GIVIT - coordination of donated goods and services

The NSW Government, on behalf of all local councils, has commissioned not-for-profit organisation GIVIT to coordinate the donation of goods and services in bushfire-affected communities.

While affected communities are grateful for the donations of food and supplies, they request these are no longer provided directly. There simply aren't enough resources to manage and distribute donated goods as efforts are focused on rebuilding local communities.

GIVIT captures public and corporate pledges of assistance online and helps to coordinate and manage donations to those in need.

The organisation works with local councils, charities and community groups to match a donation to a recipient in need.

This ensures those in need get exactly what they need when they need it most. It also eliminates the need for storage and sorting of donations and potential disposal of unwanted goods.

Money received by GIVIT is used to buy essential items from local businesses to help local economic recovery.

Council supports local host families

Thank you to the local families and households in our local government area who are providing temporary accommodation for families displaced during the bushfires.

We are offering free temporary library membership for a three month period to any visiting families. Just drop into a library location at Paddington, Double Bay or Watsons Bay and speak with one of our friendly staff members.

We are also open to any requests for temporary parking permits for use in designated residential parking areas. Just visit our customer service centre for more information. Our customer service centre staff are happy to assist with any other enquiries or support we can offer during this difficult time.

Thank you

With all our help the communities left devastated by these fires will receive the assistance they need to rebuild their lives over the weeks, months and years ahead. Thank you to the residents and businesses who have already donated so generously. Let’s continue to demonstrate our support.

“Our gratitude goes to the Rural Fire Services in New South Wales and Victoria and to all the emergency services personnel and many volunteers who been working so hard to fight the fires and assist with evacuation and ongoing support and recovery. They are in our thoughts and prayers,” Mayor of Woollahra, Susan Wynne said.

Woollahra Council has made a $10,000 donation on behalf of the community to Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief and WIRES.

Ongoing support

In addition to the financial donation we have made to Red Cross and WIRES, we have also contacted Mayors and councils in fire-affected areas to see if they require practical assistance.

Woollahra Council has joined the Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group which has been established to assist council disaster recovery and support operations in local communities. The service, established by the Office of Local Government in partnership with the City of Sydney, Sydney Resilience Office and Local Government NSW, is designed to match offers of assistance from non-bushfire affected councils to communities in need.

Woollahra Council will be offering staff and resources where required.

Mental health and wellbeing

It's normal to experience a range of emotions after a fire or seeing news stories and images on the fires. You may be experiencing anxiety, forgetfulness, a disturbed sleep and more.

Having someone to listen to and support you through this is very important. Please reach out for support.

The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

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