Building resilient communities

Last year, when rural areas were ravaged by fire, drought, flood and then the restrictions of COVID-19, we contacted Bermagui Pre School, a former grant recipient, to find out how we could assist them in responding to these crises.

A proactive grant helped Bermagui Preschool run a series programs for children, their families and preschool staff to cope with the traumaJc events of 2020. Workshops enabled families to find information and connect with professionals and each other. Free child minding and take-home meals provided by Bermagui Preschool were greatly appreciated by the parents.

During lockdown, preschool staff checked in on families via weekly video chats. When restrictions eased, a psychologist visited preschool to work with small groups of children and provide one-to-one support to children experiencing ongoing trauma and anxiety. She also met with parents who were experiencing hardship and emoJonal stress.

The grant helped re-establish the Moodji Garden, essential to therapy sessions, where children connected with nature and focused on regrowth and regeneration by growing and harvesting food from the garden. The children used the produce to cook a variety of food and compiled the recipes in a cookbook, which was presented to families at the end of the year.

This project enabled 53 preschool families and 16 staff to access support programs.

“The most valuable lesson we learnt was that our community is strong and resilient and that together we are best able to support each other in recovery and reconnection. This could not have been done without the financial support of the Mercy Foundation.” Narelle Myers, Director, Bermagui Preschool