The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 in Australia was not a time for celebrating the New Year as we normally would. The country was being torn apart by the bushfires sweeping the nation. The loss of life, wildlife, property and nature is still difficult to comprehend.
Many of our staff, volunteers, centres and sites were impacted by the fires and those who may not have been nearby will always remember the thick smoke that lingered over cities and towns, making the air unbreathable and the reality of those closer to the fires even more unthinkable.
The Y is not an emergency relief organisation, but we did what we could. And, like the role we played after Black Saturday, we are committed to supporting families and communities.
During January and February, we offered free access to all Y-managed recreation facilities to CFA firefighters for some well-deserved respite and leisure.
YMCA Phillip Island Coastal Discovery Camp offered emergency accommodation for those affected, we continued to pay staff who were volunteer firefighters when they took time off work to fight the fires, and we altered outdoor programming and closed outdoor pools due to poor air quality to ensure community safety.
While COVID-19 may have delayed plans to help bushfire-affected communities recover from the atrocities experienced over the summer of 2019-20, we are committed to helping these communities in any way we can as we work together towards recovery.
Our thoughts are with all those who were affected by the bushfires in 2019-20.
Other events from 2019-2020
The Y stands for empowering young people and believes in their right to be heard, that’s why we backed young people at the School Strike for Climate.
What a curveball 2020 has been. The pandemic has had enormous repercussions across the world, from the devastating public health effects, economic downturns and mental health struggles. Here at the Y, each of our sectors has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, but in different ways.