Providing a Safe Haven

Hundreds of people have been finding support and comfort at Castle Hill RSL following flood evacuations along the Hawkesbury River.

Castle Hill RSL was named a Flood Evacuation Centre and started accepting people, some with their pets, from Sunday.

The management team and staff rallied together to convert the club’s auditorium, luxe lounge and other areas into a processing centre to assist authorities, and act as a respite centre for those in need.

SES members, police, ambulance, NSW Health, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Anglicare and Chaplains were at the centre to help evacuees register and get help with crisis assistance.

The Club supplied sleeping and showering facilities, hot food and drinks and a safe dry area for evacuees and their pets until assistance could be arranged.

Some waited for family and friends and others were given temporary hotel accommodation.

NSW State Emergency Services (SES) Commissioner, Carlene York (pictured) visited the centre on Wednesday.

CHRG CEO David O’Neil said: “CHRG prides itself on being a community hub for people to come together for friendship, support and social interaction.

“The Group is proud to be able to support our community at this challenging time of need and work with the incredible women and men from SES, Police, community support agencies and volunteering partners to provide shelter, food and comfort at this time.”

“The effort of all of these people, and the work of the CHRG team, has been fantastic and our facility is ideally suited to provide much of the infrastructure required to manage such a complex operation – from control centres to infectious disease isolation areas and shelter for people and their pets.”

“It is confronting to see families sleeping with their belongings and pets in our function rooms, not knowing if they will have a home to return to. However, despite their adversity, everyone has been incredibly appreciative of the club and the various support teams, which is extremely humbling considering what they are going through. Times like these bring out the very best in our communities.”

“This will be a long journey back, and whilst the club has been directly impacted by the loss of our Golf Course at Pitt Town, this doesn’t even compare with the loss of people’s homes and lives. We will be there to help where we can, well into the future.”


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