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Donation fund established following Cessnock Road fire

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A donation fund has been quickly established to assist residents directly impacted by last week’s Cessnock Road fire.

The significant event saw three separate blazes converge to form one large, fast-moving bushfire that threatened several communities throughout Abermain, Kurri Kurri, South Weston and Pelaw Main.

Multiple homes and businesses were lost, with more than 840 hectares blackened by the inferno, which raged on Thursday 14 December.

Now, Cessnock City Council is partnering with Rotary Australia and the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri to provide benevolent relief to locals who were affected by the disaster.

Members of the public looking to support the victims through tax deductible donations are encouraged to visit the page at www.rawcs.org.au  

Mayor Jay Suvaal kick-started the fundraising efforts with a $5,000 handout on behalf of council.

“This latest bushfire has rocked our community,” he said.

“While the full extent of the damage is not yet known, and the threat continues, we know properties have been affected – both residential and business. 

“It’s vital we come together as a community to support our neighbours, families and friends.”

Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri president Paul Hughes said the scale of the devastation on locals was felt even more acutely in the lead up to the Christmas period.  

“The impacts of this devastating fire are beginning to strain existing resources of community groups as we rapidly mobilise to provide care and support to the victims,” he explained.

“We’re asking those with capacity to give, to donate to help those affected to get back on their feet and provide some relief this festive season.” 

A drop-off point for physical donations has also been established at the centre at Kurri Kurri Community Services (KKCS).

CEO David Aston said the facility would open from 8am on Monday 18 December to accept items such as toiletries (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hairbrushes, makeup), clothing (new or near new), food of any kind, and gifts for children. 

“We are saddened to hear about the impact of the fires in our region,” he stated.

“But, it reminds us of the need to support each other as best we can.

“At KKCS, we are in the process of reaching out to those people we know who are directly affected by the fires to offer them whatever we can.”

Further advice on donations of furniture and large items will be made in due course.

The fund is using the same framework as the Hunter Valley Bus Tragedy Fund, through the Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), to provide confidence that donations are being managed appropriately and going where they’re most needed. 

It’ll be distributed by the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri, in cooperation with council and RAWCS, to individuals and families in the Cessnock LGA.

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