Community outreach event on handling the tough times to visit Katanning

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Shannon SmithGreat Southern Herald

A drought community outreach event in Katanning next week aims to give the community support for tough times now and in the future.

With droughts and other crises bringing financial and emotional stress, the program is designed to build resilience in regional communities.

Run by the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, the event is touring WA and brings together government, charities, not-for-profit, and agriculture organisations to connect with regional towns.

“Drought, COVID-19 and other challenges can put a huge strain on rural communities, especially when it means much-anticipated community events have been cancelled,” regional recovery officer for South WA June Bell said.

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“We know that community events support mental health and wellbeing, as they are a way for people to relax, unwind and connect.

“We work closely with government and non-government agencies, including charities, to provide emergency relief to farming households through the Drought Community Support Initiative and Drought Community Outreach Program.”

Ms Bell said she wanted to make people more aware of what support was available to them and how to access it. “Our outreach program brings services specific to farmers and their communities to their region for a drop-in style one-stop shop,” she said.

“Information and support is not just for farmers — small business people and other community members will find info useful too.

“In deciding where to hold our one-stop shops, our outreach team works closely with regional recovery officers like me. We’re able to provide on-the-ground reports and updates to ensure we’re holding events where they’re needed.”

Agencies attending the WA events include Services Australia, Rural West, the Regional Men’s Health Initiative, and Vinnies.

The outreach event will run from 10am-2pm at Katanning Leisure Centre on Thursday, February 4.

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