Like many of LCSA’s member organisations, Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre has had to deal with the challenges of COVID-19, as well as the impact of multiple flood events in the local area, leaving many in the community wondering if they can pick themselves up (again) and continue with their lives.
Thanks to the combined efforts and generosity from local residents, Council, businesses, support services and recovery agencies all working to provide assistance and solutions, hope is being restored to families experiencing the distress that comes with facing natural disasters.
Located in the Blacktown Local Government Area (LGA) in the Western Sydney District, Riverstone is situated the Hawkesbury Nepean Flood Plain. When heavy rainfall and flooding occurred in early July 2022 for the third time in 18 months, the local community-led response from Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre and the North West Business Chamber was quick and effective, providing tailored support that was both person-centred and trauma-informed.
Establishing the set-up of the Riverstone Flood Recovery Assistance Point inside the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre, provided a one-stop-shop for a range of specialist agencies supporting people with grants, government rebates. legal advice, food vouchers, housing & wellbeing support and many other essential services to help households and business affected by the floods . A Pop-up Shop in town was also set up to receive and distribute the generous donations from the community such as clothing, blankets, toiletries and cleaning products, to name a few.
One local resident shared her appreciation on the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre facebook page for the support she received saying,
“I would like to personally thank all those who have donated and helped. Especially to the Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre team. People have no idea of the stress and other mixed emotions you have especially when you have no idea of what you are going home to. What damage is done, what will be left. You have all given hope and strength to everyone. I know that you have helped and are still helping myself included. What a wonderful community we live in with the true Australian spirit. Thanks to all of you, all are angels to me.”
Almost two months on after the start of this recent flood event and Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre continues to provide essential ongoing support to those people who need it. Having instilled important relationships through communication and trust within the community, the staff and volunteers will continue to play an important role in the long-term recovery and rebuilding process of people’s lives in the months and years to come.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre, Angela Van Dyke, reflected on the response to the floods from the local community by saying “We were thrilled to collaborate with Resilience NSW, Blacktown City Council, NSW SES and a range of other agencies to host the Riverstone Flood Recovery Assistance Point. A big “thank you” to all those wonderful staff that joined us on this recovery journey, as well as the local Council who worked with us to establish the recovery assistance point, which has been a popular destination for our community. The community have rallied again, with so much giving and diversity of donations and support. This is an example of how community connection can make a world of difference.”
Contact Riverstone Neighbourhood Centre if you’d like to support their ongoing efforts to help support and rebuild their local community. Visit their website or Facebook page for details.