TEAM EFFORT: Neighbourhood Centre workers (from left) Rebecca Woods, Kerri Brown,  Nikki Twohill  and Joshua Hogan.
TEAM EFFORT: Neighbourhood Centre workers (from left) Rebecca Woods, Kerri Brown, Nikki Twohill and Joshua Hogan. Jacob Wilson

Centre keeps on working for community

IN THE aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre went to great lengths to make life easier for those doing it tough.

Even before the cyclone had struck the centre was already distributing vouchers to over 40 applicants needing cyclone kits. 

And two days after Debbie had torn through the Whitsundays the centre was providing food relief across the region. 

In fact there were more than 250 applications for assistance throughout Proserpine, Cannonvale and Airlie Beach. 

Three weeks after Debbie struck, more than 14 truckloads of donated goods had been distributed throughout the region, including to isolated areas such as Dingo Beach, Hydeaway Bay, Conway, Wilsons Beach and Midge Point.

Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre CEO Rebecca Woods said much of the initial help the centre had provided was outside of its scope but before grants could be introduced or recovery hubs opened there was little choice but to help. 

"And the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre (staff) did all of this without power or water to their own properties and centre facilities," she said. 

Ms Woods said the opening of the Give Centre at Reef Plaza in Cannonvale some three weeks after the cyclone had passed had eased some pressure at last.

"Up until this weekend we were working every day, whether we had power or not," she said.

"All over the weekend we were collecting donations and getting them out. My family and I were collecting these donations at 7.30pm and unloading pallets of water by hand because we don't have facilities for a forklift."

Ms Woods said there was now a focus on the need for counselling support.

"Everyone is coming down off the adrenalin rush from the last couple of weeks to gain that normalcy back and it's just not happening," she said.

"That normalcy we are all craving is going to be months away."


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