SUPPORT is continuing to flow in from all directions for farming families doing it tough.
Now, one not-for-profit organisation has teamed up with local businesses to offer free holidays for drought-affected farmers in the Upper Hunter.
The Action Club of Nelson Bay, in conjunction with Port Stephens business houses are offering five days accommodation in a holiday house or unit with tours, breakfast, lunch and dinners provided plus fuel vouchers and more.
The club’s president Craig Benjamin says he hopes it can give farmers and their families respite from the daily physical and psychological grind of being on the land.
“We understand how tough it is on the land at present,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do will be ongoing, not just through the drought. This is all about the farmers.”
The Action Club of Nelson Bay’s aim is to raise money to support people and groups in the Tomaree Peninsula, however the club are now extending their support to any farmer and their families across the state.
Mr Benjamin says they have already had a couple from Cassilis take up the opportunity, who will be arriving later in the month.
As a former farmer himself, he says he understands the biggest issue is getting someone to look after the farm.
“BlazeAid also offers people in their organisation to come and look after your farm and a lot of people have friends and neighbours who might look after their property,” he said.
“So there are lots of ways around it.”
The club hopes other coastal resorts will follow suit.
“The purpose of it is to challenge all of the holiday destinations on the east coast of NSW to do the same,” Mr Benjamin said.
“So the people from the North Coast can go to Byron Bay, the people from Canberra can go to Nowra or Ulladulla.
“Accommodation is free, we have food vouchers to all the bowling clubs, the golf clubs, we’ve got so many attractions, dolphin watching, sand-boarding on Stockton Beach, fishing – and it’s all free.”
Mr Benjamin said the response from Port Stephens business houses has been amazing and it’s just a testament to the generosity of people and the love Australians have for farmers.
“They’re our soul,” he said.
“It’s amazing, the treasurer Gary Troon and I drove around for three or four days, we didn't get one knock back, everyone thought it was a great idea.
“The main purpose of this is to get them away from the farm, the whole family. They can sit on the beach and they can talk about it and get away from the problem for a while and come back with a clearer mind.”
Interested farmers, or those wishing to nominate a worthy farming family, are asked to contact:
Rural Financial Counsellor Angela Hayes based in Scone on 02 65 453 544 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Action Club of Nelson Bay President Craig Benjamin on 0417 439 776 or email@example.com
Included in the offer is:
Accommodation for 5 days, 4 nights in a holiday unit/house kindly supplied by PRD Realty Shoal Bay
A dolphin watch cruise supplied by Moonshadow Cruises
A 4WD tour of Stockton Beach supplied by Port Stephens Coaches
Vouchers supplied for meals for 4 people includes:
2 breakfast vouchers at Essence Café and The Village Grind
2 lunch vouchers at Rubi Blue and Crest Restaurant
2 dinner vouchers at Bluewater Grill and Nelson Bay Bowling Club
Unfortunately this offer is not valid during school holidays, Easter break or December-January