As you will be well aware the recent bushfires significantly impacted the Adelaide Hills community and in particular the Cudlee Creek, Birdwood, Lobethal, Woodside, Charleston, and Spring Head communities. The LCA SA-NT District have been proactive in providing tangible support to the Lobethal, Birdwood, Woodside and Spring Head communities in recent weeks. The extent to which learning communities have staff, students and their families impacted by the fires is yet to be fully realised until school resumes, however sadly for some connected to our LESNW learning communities, there has been the loss of homes, shedding and property damage.
Cassie Kopias principal of Lobethal Lutheran school shared the following information about Lobethal Lutheran school and their engagement in the recovery process as a result of the recent bushfires.
Over the holidays our school has been working in partnership with our local kindergarten and Department of Human Services to setup a Community Care space for those families affected by the Cudlee Creek Fires. This service is located at Lobethal Lutheran School and is available to anyone in the Adelaide Hills needing care or respite for their children while they work through the their personal circumstances due to the fires. This is being offered as a free service. We have been truly blessed with the staffing to run this facility. They are all local educators who really understand what everyone is going through. Late this afternoon I received a phone call from the Senior Community Development Coordinator who said this facility is ready to start tomorrow and it has already had a reasonable amount of bookings. This service will run indefinitely and will remain on our site until such a time that the Department of Human Services deem it not necessary anymore. As part of this facility running on Lobethal’s Lutheran’s site I have been asked to be part of a review and action team that will meet once a week.
I have also had extensive contact with AISSA. Both Carolyn and Mary have been wonderful in offering support to our school. Carolyn will be in contact with us very shortly when she has more information around how the Bushfire Recovery Funds will be used and allocated to support schools. I have requested that any form of psychological assistance for staff, students and parents is of the utmost importance. I am also concerned about the affects the media coverage has had on some of our students too. This is something I have flagged with Mary Pickett. Mary and I have been working on collating various resources that can adequately support teachers and families under these circumstances. Mary will be visiting staff on Wednesday of Week 0 prior to students returning to school.
Next week, I will be sending correspondence home inviting families to share their personal stories with us. The intention of this is to get a very clear understanding of what our families need and how we, as a school, can best support them once school returns.
Similarly, Craig Fielke principal of Cornerstone College is working with members of the Cornerstone community to determine the support that they can provide to those impacted by the fires.
The LESNW secretariat will continue to work closely with the LCA District Office team and AISSA to determine what other support is sought and what role we as an office team might play in this.
We continue to uphold those impacted by all bushfires across our country in our prayers, as we also do the firefighters and other emergency service and defence personnel who are involved in assisting the recovery programs.