Grampians fire: Firefoxes recovery program to visit

A POST-FIRE recovery program will visit Wimmera communities affected by the Grampians bushfire next week.

Firefoxes Australia founders and Black Saturday survivors Jemima Richards and Kate Riddell will host free forums at Halls Gap, the Black Range and Laharum.

The events aim to help people recover from a natural disaster.

Ms Richards and Ms Riddell will share their stories, including the techniques that helped them create a new normal.

Their visit begins on Monday, at Halls Gap Recreation Centre.

On Tuesday, Firefoxes Australia will speak with members from the Black Range community at the golf club at 8 Panrock Reservoir Road.

They will then travel to Cameron Oval, Laharum, on Wednesday.

In each instance, the evening will start with a complimentary barbecue dinner at 6pm. All three forums will run from 7pm until 9pm.

Wimmera Australian Red Cross outreach volunteer Di Bell encouraged people to attend.

"These events are always open to all members of the community, because trauma from natural disasters is not measured by loss of property," she said.

Northern Grampians Shire Council economic growth manager Debbie Bach said she also believed people would find the forums helpful.

"It's an opportunity for people in Northern Grampians Shire who were affected by fire to hear from others who have been on a similar sort of journey," she said.

"Everyone copes differently, and this will be just two people's experiences, but I am sure it will give people an insight into what they might be going through themselves."

Firefoxes Australia is visiting the Wimmera with support from the Australian Red Cross, Northern Grampians Shire Council, Grampians Community Health, Horsham Rural City Council, Wimmera Uniting Care, the Laharum community and the Wimmera Uniting Care Youth Action Bus.

Mrs Bell said people intending to attend the Halls Gap or Black Range forums could register their interest with Meg Newton at Northern Grampians Shire Council on 5358 8732, or by emailing meg.newton@ngshire.vic.gov.au.

She said those heading to Laharum's meeting could call Judy Berendsen on 5383 6265 or email berendse@activ8.net.au

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