Gary Christensen, Director of CatholicCare, says the offer was driven by the fact that Upper Hunter farmers are a “community in real need” of such services.
Speaking to The Herald, Gary Christensen went on to say: “We were conscious the farmers are doing it very tough and we want to become part of a local solution.
“Farmers doing it tough face a lot of mental health issues, socialisation, grief, loss - and our counselling team can assist with some of that.”
Upper Hunter Drought
Residents of the Upper Hunter have been praying in vain for substantial rain as they face what many locals describe as the harshest drought conditions in decades.
Ppeaking to NBN News, one Hunter resident said: “I don’t think I’ve seen it like this since 1964 or ‘65.” She described a climate in which wells and water holes have run dry, culminating in a situation that is worse than the already drought-prone region has experienced in recent memory.
Faced with such extreme conditions, many Upper Hunter residents have already resorted to liquidating all non-essential items, including selling livestock and calves earlier than expected.
For farmers who are struggling and already face a difficult time “roughing it” amidst one of Australia’s toughest climates, a reprieve seems far off. Once the drought breaks, it will be at least six weeks before grass regrows and crops take root again.
Offering a helping hand
With a new CatholicCare office having opened in Muswellbrook this month, and with existing offices in Singleton, Mayfield, Maitland, Cardiff, Gloucester, Forster and Taree, CatholicCare is ideally placed to support drought-affected Upper Hunter farmers by offering them free family and relationship support services as well as a free counselling service.
To find out more about these free services, or to seek support, visit CatholicCare on the web, or contact our Muswellbrook office at 6542 4400, or our Singleton office at 4015 2820.