Building the resilience of Yarra Ranges Community Support Agencies

Community resilience building in the Yarra Ranges just received an extra boost with funding being awarded to Outer Eastern Foodshare (OEF) to help coordinate more than 80 organisations who help people when they’re in need.

The funding is part of the $10 million Preparing Australian Communities (PAC) Grant from the Federal Government. The PAC program aims to enable communities to better mitigate, avoid, withstand, and recover from the increasing effects of natural hazards as a result of climate change, through activities that build resilience.

OEF will be working in partnership with Yarra Ranges Council and Yarra Ranges Emergency Relief Network (YRERN) which is a collection of not-for-profit local community service providers that support people with a range of assistance including food, household items, health care, counselling, social connection and financial counselling.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Cr Jim Child said these funds would enable OEF to employ a Project Coordinator to help coordinate and strengthen links between OEF, the YRERN and its member organisations to help build better resilience for communities in the Yarra Ranges.

OEF is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based organisation that collects food (up to 100 tonnes of perishable and non-perishable food) from food distribution agencies such as Foodbank Victoria, Second Bite, Fareshare and Oz Harvest as well as donations from local food producers. It distributes this to local food relief agencies to share with local people who are doing it tough.

“We all know how important it is for communities to work together when faced with adversity and this grant is a great step to continue building resilience in the Yarra Ranges,” Cr Child said.

“OEF does an excellent job of collecting and distributing food to agencies across the Yarra Ranges – in fact they do such a good job that this can be as much as 100 tonnes of food each year.

“As an incorporated organisation and part of the YRERN, OEF offers vast experience and provide a wide range of services including food relief, financial support, accommodation assistance, counselling. We’re pleased they are able to continue their great work in building resilience in the Yarra Ranges,” said Cr Child.

The PAC grant is also funding:

  • Place based resilience planning – Will bring communities, local businesses, support organisations and agencies together from Monbulk, Healesville, Yarra Junction and their surrounds to benchmark and strengthen resilience.
  • Resilient energy precinct – A joint venture with Monash University and Council to assess the feasibility for a resilient microgrid across essential buildings in Monbulk.
  • Resilient buildings – Multiple Council community buildings that serve as emergency relief centres will be upgraded with a generator plug-in point and/or solar power capabilities.
  • Tree management and clean-up – Funding requested to complete clean-up in Council open spaces and bushlands from the 2021 storm, as well as delivering a proactive tree management program in high-risk areas.
  • Changing places facility – Provides suitable facilities for people who are unable to use standard accessible toilets at Kilsyth Sports Centre, which is also a designated emergency relief centre. This fills a need in the provision of emergency amenities for people who are unable to use standard accessible amenities.
  • Bushfire risk assessment – A bushfire risk assessment will be commissioned for the areas of the Dandenong Ranges impacted by the 2021 storm which will assist in the rebuilding process.
  • Emergency relief network – Will strengthen the role and involvement of the Yarra Ranges Emergency Relief Network to provide better coordinated support and material aid resources across Yarra Ranges.

/Public Release. View in full here.