National Volunteer Week 2020
"We'll stay here until we're finished."
This firm declaration from BlazeAid vice president Chris Male is reassuring for bushfire victims across the Mid Coast.
It's been more than six months since the organisation arrived on the Mid Coast in the wake of devastating bushfires. With more to be done to help communities still reeling from the disaster, Chris said volunteers would not leave their base at Wingham Showground until the work was complete.
"That's the commitment we made when we came in - we won't leave until the last farmer is happy," she said.
Chris said the team, made up of about 25 volunteers, had passed the halfway point of repair jobs in the area.
"We've got 510 properties registered and asking for help and we've helped about 280. We're in the process of helping the last 230," Chris said.
The team is in desperate need of vehicles to transport materials and volunteers throughout the area.
"We desperately need vehicles, preferably if they can tow trailers out to sites and take volunteers out to the farms," Chris said.
"We have a lot of young people here who are backpackers and don't necessarily have a car so we could be doing at least twice the farms at any given time that we're doing at the moment with the resources we currently have.
"BlazeAid is happy to pay the registration and the insurance and we'll look after the vehicle. Even if it hasn't got a tow bar, it will still help us transport people and that's our bottom line."
More volunteers are always welcome but the request for vehicles is the top priority.
"It'd be the icing on the cake," Chris said.
Although happy with the work of the fit and healthy volunteers, they lack the skills to mend fences.
"We need people who know what they're doing to help guide them," Chris said.
"I need to be able to get them out to properties and that's the biggest hurdle but yes, we would like more volunteers especially if they have some fencing experience and skills."
Chris added that a supply of caravans would be "a great help" to the team.
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