Red Cross branch contributes to Let's talk drought program

Sue Strahorn a farmer and Red Cross 'Lets Talk' volunteer from Peak Hill, NSW. Photo: Australian Red Cross / Aysha Leo
Sue Strahorn a farmer and Red Cross 'Lets Talk' volunteer from Peak Hill, NSW. Photo: Australian Red Cross / Aysha Leo

Those experiencing one of the toughest droughts in living memory are being supported with their mental and physical wellbeing thanks to the Narromine Red Cross.

The Narromine branch is one of almost 50 clubs and branches to have donated over $1000 to the Let's Talk drought program, which funds events to help farming communities in NSW stay connected and cope with stress.

Red Cross Zone representative and member of the Let's Talk drought committee, Sue Strahorn said the program was formed five years ago, to help communities organise events that can bring people together and act as an outlet for peoples physical and mental health.

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"The goal was to look at ways that we could assist communities to come together ... socially for their own mental and physical health and wellbeing," she said.

The program began as a partnership with the Department of Primary Industries, rural health councillors, rural financial councillors and other government and non-government agencies who understand the conditions of NSW.

The funds raised for the events are solely through donations made by Red Cross clubs and branches in NSW.

"It's been a long time happening," Mrs Strahorn said.

"There's a group of us and our goal is to allocate funds to drought-stricken communities that would like to hold a function in their community.

It's for the community at large, because when farmers are doing it tough, businesses are doing it tough ... everyone is at the end of the food chain.

Sue Strahorn

"It's for the community at large, because when farmers are doing it tough, businesses are doing it tough ... everyone is at the end of the food chain."

Since July 2018 the program has contributed to 55 separate events, providing almost $77,000 in funding. One event was Black Dog Ride and family fun day at Mungery in March this year.

Mrs Strahorn said however the Red Cross are continually looking for new members to join the ranks, as current members begin to get older.

"Zone 23 consists of Trangie, Narromine, Peak Hill, Parkes, Trundle, Forbes and Eugowra and each club and each branch is struggling to maintain membership numbers because, as most of you would know the origins of Red Cross began in the country at the outbreak of World War One," she said

"Some of our clubs and branches are over 100 years old, such as Trangie and Trundle, it would be a shame to see some of these disappear."

She said the Red Cross are looking to host an evening branch meeting to suit younger people.

"It can be done. It could be more suitable for younger people, as you can see most of us are getting older or not getting any younger," Mrs Strahorn said.

To become a Red Cross volunteer people can visit the local branch in Narromine or head to www.redcross.org.au to sign up.