The Fremantle community is coming together to raise money and offer support for the victims of the bushfires raging across the country.
The Fremantle Foundation has established the ‘Freo Fire Fund’ to raise funds to help fire-affected communities and advocate for strategies that reduce the severity and frequency of bushfires.
The money raised will be distributed to groups including volunteer fire brigades in affected areas, organisations providing emergency assistance to people who have been displaced or impacted by the bushfires and organisations caring for wildlife affected by the fires.
Donations can be made through the Fremantle Foundation’s Freo Fire Fund web page. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
The fund was just one of the ideas to come from a hastily convened community meeting held at the Fremantle Town Hall on Sunday.
One of the organisers, Fibonacci Centre owner Robby Lang, said he was blown away by the response.
“There’s just this whole disaster unfolding in front of us and we’ve just got to try and do something about this if we can,” Mr Lang said.
“We had the idea of putting together a fundraiser so we thought we’d get a few heads together to get the fundraising thing going.
“We presented it to the council and they offered us the Town Hall space, and then suddenly we had 250 people show with up ideas, so the whole thing’s been like an absolute avalanche of people wanting to help and support.”
Carrie Clarke from the Fremantle Foundation said the organisation was happy to be part of the fundraising effort.
“We’ve been around for ten years and, like all other community foundations around the world, we’re set up to help communities give, so when we were approached we had some really easy ways to help the community to do that,” Ms Clark said.
“I was at the meeting on Sunday and I was just overwhelmed. Fremantle is so rich with beautiful, amazing artists who are coming together for an art auction, there’s all the musos coming together, and there’s a lot of local businesses that are getting on board.
“It absolutely speaks to the generosity of the Fremantle community and also the horrific nature of the bushfires and the acknowledgement that this is going to be going on for quite a while.”
The City of Fremantle is looking to pledge $10,000 to the fund after this recommendation is ratified at this month’s Council meeting.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he was impressed to see the community rally behind the bushfire victims.
“Sunday’s meeting was arranged by Robby and others at very short notice so it was amazing to see so many people come together to share their ideas about how we can help the people impacted by these terrible fires,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“There were dozens of great community ideas from music concerts to art events, food events, events for kids and everything in between.
“In addition to all the great ideas and collaborations, over $1000 was raised for the Freo Fire Fund at Sunday’s meeting, so thanks Freo for once again showing what an awesome community we are.”
On 31 January Fremantle Arts Centre will be hosting a fundraiser featuring John Butler, The Waifs, San Cisco and Stella Donnelly. Tickets will be on sale from 9am tomorrow from fac.oztix.com.au and via the bands’ websites.
People attending the City of Fremantle’s One Day event on 25 January will be able to make donations to the fire fund.
Fremantle Library is collecting much-needed sewing material donations comprising natural fibre wool, threads and soft fabrics on behalf of the WA Animal Rescue Volunteers group and Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild.
The Library’s Wanjoo Lounge Knitting Circle (Tuesdays 9am-12pm) and Sewing Circle (Thursdays 12-3pm) are also lending their needlework talents to the cause and making items for injured wildlife in fire zones including joey pouches, bat wraps and blankets.
A Facebook group has been set up where people can keep track of the range of events and other fundraising efforts.