Over a year has passed since record flooding events devasted the Northern Rivers region and an overwhelming number of residents are still unable to move back into their homes or live without access to essential plumbing due to the lack of trade support or personal hardship.
In partnership with local community organisation Resilient Lismore, the Reece Foundation set out to do something about it. With the support of the Reece branch network, the Foundation assembled a team of 13 volunteer tradies to help restore essential plumbing for flood survivors in Lismore.
The team of volunteers was made up of plumbers, builders, carpenters, and apprentices from all over Australia who donated their time and life-changing skills during a three-week period to help over 70 households access essential plumbing once again.
The project is part of a broader Resilient Lismore initiative, Two Rooms & a Bathroom, which leverages donations and works with volunteers to repair the homes of flood-affected residents, so they have safe and secure housing.
Elly Bird, Resilient Lismore Executive Director said, “If it wasn’t for the willingness of our volunteers and our charitable partners, we wouldn’t have made a dent in getting these people back into their homes. We’ve helped a lot of people but there is still so much more that needs to be done to support our community.
“With a shortage of financial support, skilled tradespeople and materials, many households are facing huge barriers to restoring healthy and habitable homes.”
Volunteer plumber Carl Bushby was among the group of tradies who went to Lismore in November of last year to scope the essential plumbing works required. Moved by the resilience of the community, he decided to once again step back from his personal business responsibilities to return to Lismore for the restoration phase of the project.
Carl said, “Stepping away from the day-to-day of my business and coming back to finish what we started in Lismore was a no-brainer for me. This group of people is incredible. They’ve welcomed us back with open arms - it’s been an honour to get on the tools to ensure they can feel safe, secure and warm in their homes again.”
To support the work of the Foundation, Reece donated plumbing products used in the homes and team members from across Australia supported onsite in Lismore and in the lead-up to the project. Additionally, XL Express donated transportation costs to get all the products from our distribution centres to Lismore and Ardex Australia and Ultimate Tiles Mornington donated the waterproofing supplies needed for the homes.
Ms Bird concluded, “While more still needs to be done for this community, this locally-led project in partnership with the Reece Foundation is a significant part of our community recovery journey.”
On the back of this successful phase of the Two Rooms & a Bathroom, the NSW Government has committed $5m to further support this important program that will see more flood survivors move back into their homes and live with the decency they deserve.
Executive Director of the Reece Foundation, Ipsita Wright said, “We’re encouraged to see the work of Resilient Lismore being recognised and proud to continue working with them to deliver more support to the Northern Rivers region. With Resilient Lismore’s community-led approach and the power of the trade community, we look forward to working collaboratively to get the job done.”
The Reece Foundation will be returning to Lismore in the coming months and is actively recruiting more volunteer tradies, supply partners and charitable partners to amplify its impact in the Northern Rivers region. To find out how you or your business can get involved, visit https://www.reecefoundation.charity/get-involved.