Prior to the 2020 season start, following the rampant bushfire period that had crippled many local communities, the Canberra Raiders ‘discreetly’ donated $10,000 to MFSS to assist with the delivery of their family mental health programs. This commitment was pledged when Raiders NRL players and coaches embarked on a ‘bushfire relief tour’ across a number of surrounding Local Government Areas.
The Monaro Family Support Service has been operating for over 40 years across the Snowy Monaro, with offices in Cooma, Jindabyne and Bombala, and they have built trust with the community through their flexible approach.
Long-term employee Elizabeth Maxwell, who herself is a community champion, today provided an update on the recovery efforts.
“The Canberra Raiders donation has allowed the Monaro Family Support Service to actually get out into our rural households and into homes to assist, we have been able to get out and go further. This donation has assisted with major overhead costs including fuel and car expenses as we service such a vast area including down to the Victorian border, Thredbo, Adaminaby, Jerangle, Jindabyne and Bombala.”
Aside from the financial donation, Ms Maxwell commented that the biggest boost was actually receiving Canberra Raiders training kit which could be provided to community members, “it was like a friend giving you a gift and it opened up people to talk, it was the greatest conversation starter and community members felt that you were someone they could talk to. They didn’t feel like it was a handout, instead an opportunity to talk about their community and make connections with local Rugby League players.”
The Monaro Family Support Service currently employs two part-time staff and one full-time staff to manage their regional outreach program and local visits in the Snowy Monaro Region. The community organisation also employs three full-time staff to run parenting program, social and wellbeing group work, playgroups and adult and children mental health programs.
Ms Maxwell explained “two to three years ago, mental health due to the effects of drought was a high priority and now with the recent bushfires and COVID-19 the wheels have been falling off, with domestic violence and alcohol abuse on the rise.”
The Monaro Family Support Service pride themselves on being there for the community when they need it most and the Canberra Raiders are proud to be able to provide this assistance towards mental health programs in our region.