CLUBSACT CEO Gwyn Rees has gone into bat for embattled south coast clubs affected by the loss of patronage during the bushfire emergency.
“Clubs stepped up during the peak of the emergency to provide thousands of people evacuated from their homes with food and shelter,” he says.
“They did this with no expectations, but like all businesses they have been economically impacted and need our support.
“As Canberra holiday makers return to the coast, we would love them to spend some time and money in a local club.
“Day in, day out, our community clubs live up to their name – they are always giving back to the local community. The support they provided during the bushfires spotlights the dedication clubs have to caring for the community. We all now have an opportunity to give back to local clubs and help them continue to be an integral part of the south coast community.”
His listed some examples of assistance provided by clubs:
- Club Narooma acted as an evacuation centre for about 800 people on New Year’s Eve. It fed hundreds of people for lunch and dinner at the height of the crisis and provided shelter for people’s family pets, including two horses. Secretary Manager Tony Catsu assisted evacuated aged care residents who were moved to the club. When aged care workers had to return to their own homes to defend them, Tony stayed with the aged care evacuees to assist with whatever they needed.
- Around 500 people sheltered at Tomakin Sports on December 30 and 31 until they were eventually evacuated down to the beach. The club reopened at 3pm and had about 200 people stay overnight, with the club using a generator to keep power on. It provided its bus to the nearby nursing home in case evacuations were required.
- Sussex Inlet RSL accommodated hundreds of people, including locals and tourists who were on holidays. The club provided free meals and drinks to everyone who were sheltering inside the club.
- Three times a day, Bermagui Country Club provided meals for between 60 and 130 people. It also made lunch packs for firefighters and acted as a base for the RFS Incident Management team. Club members travelled to affected areas and offered assistance, such as helping unloading trucks.