Local News

For farmers in the Upper Hunter it's “Our Shout This Christmas” through the We LIVE Here initiative

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For farmers in the Upper Hunter it's “Our Shout This Christmas”.

Upper Hunter and Muswellbrook Shire Council have partnered with Upper Hunter Community Services (UHCS) and are looking to raise $500,000 from donations to allow 500 drought impacted households to each receive a $1000 ‘We LIVE Here’ card to spend over Christmas.

It’s called Our Shout This Christmas, and Upper Hunter Shire Mayor Wayne Bedggood said many Australians want to help regional areas suffering from the drought and that this campaign will help support 500 families through one of the most financially and emotionally challenging times of the year.

“Individuals, groups and businesses, big and small, from all over the country can come on board with donations and ‘shout’ a family this Christmas, and all donations are tax deductible,” he said.

“This is building on the We LIVE Here cards that have been hugely successful, we now have 200 businesses on the books and so far over $200,000 invested locally.”

“It is a much larger sum of money, so $1000, 500 of them if we can get enough funding and that is obviously dependent on funding.”

Muswellbrook Mayor Martin Rush said the money will help farmers and in turn the local economy.

“All of that money is cycling back through the local economy not just for farmers but all of us who rely on the farming industry,”

He added that businesses buying them over the Christmas period for their employees, “not only helps your employee, but those employees will then be able to spend that money locally in the economy further helping your business by keeping that money in your local economies”.

“It’s the most intense drought that we have experienced in the Upper Hunter and there is no sign of it coming to an end any time soon,” said Martin Rush.

UHCS will be liaising with CWA, Lions Club, Salvation Army and the likes to identify the people that are in need and co-ordinating the fundraising and distribution.

UHCS Manager Mel Atkinson said they are proud to be a partner in ‘Our Shout this Christmas’.

“We are looking forward to working alongside community organisations to distribute the funds through the ‘We LIVE Here’ investment card. The campaign will not only lend a helping hand this Christmas to those who need it, but it will also support local business, which is fantastic.”

“And the value of a personal message cannot be underestimated, we encourage everyone who is donating to share a message of support when they make a donation,” said Mel Atkinson.

To make a donation visit www.ourshoutthischristmas.org.au

We LIVE Here gift cards are available from participating businesses and online at www.whyleavetown.com/upperhunter and are supported by both councils and major businesses, including mining companies, as their preferred Christmas gifts for staff, ensuring widespread use throughout the community.

The ‘We LIVE Here’ cards recently won a 2019 Local Government NSW (LGNSW) award for its positive impact on the local community.

The gift cards are accepted at over 200 businesses in Aberdeen, Denman, Gundy, Jerry’s Plains, Merriwa, Murrurundi, Muswellbrook, Sandy Hollow, Scone and Wingen. (Upper Hunter businesses can still join for free at https://www.whyleavetown.com/register)

Image credit: Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse