Our Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities project has provided us with the opportunity to engage with some of the isolated communities within our region.
We have heard many stories from those impacted by the drought, particularly in the outer-lying areas of Lithgow and Hawkesbury. One person who has openly shared her personal journey is St Albans Farmer, Sherri McMahon.
Sherri has told us heart-wrenching stories of having to put down animals in poor condition, or because they have become ill from eating poisonous plants as a result of limited feed supply. Many in her community have watched their pastures turn to dust and are now seeking work off the land to support their farms due to grain price increases and fodder shortages.
Hearing Sherri's story gives us a deeper understanding of how the drought is impacting her mental health, and the mental health of the community she lives in and loves. Sadly, these are the harsh realities that many in our farming communities are facing.
Seeing how the drought was affecting her community and understanding the importance of looking after each other during tough times, Sherri and the Trustees of the St Albans Common applied for and were successful in receiving one of our Well-being Grants.
Over the next year, this Grant will deliver a number of supports such as mental health services, rural financial counsellors, solicitors and vets, who will attend local events to ensure the community is receiving the care they need. Mental health training will also be available to those with central roles within the community to ensure they have the skills needed to provide additional support.
Along with the St Albans Common, four other recipients were successful with their Grant applications in Round 2 including: Lithgow Life Skills Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Art as Therapy, Hawkesbury Community Outreach Services Inc., Lithgow Public School and Tarana Community Farmers Market.
We look forward to sharing more about these projects in the coming weeks.