Outback Links prepares to Return to the Ridge

Outback Links prepares to Return to the Ridge

Outback Links prepares to Return to the Ridge

Outback Links volunteers return to the “Ridge” – April 2016

returntoridgeOutback Links is in preparation for a return to Lightning Ridge in April 2016 leading a group of 30 skilled volunteers to help farmers in the drought affected area.

“Things are still tough for farmers in Lightning Ridge. They are in their fourth year of drought, with only light rain in January, not nearly enough to break the drought” says Kate Parsons, National Volunteer Manager, Outback Links.

The skilled volunteers will include 8 NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association) mechanics (2 apprentices), a number of SALT members (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen) including carpenters and painter decorators, NECA (National Electrical and Communications Association) will supply 2 apprentices and 1 supervisor electricians.

“The NRMA team will be working on farm equipment ranging from single cylinder water pumps to windmills and farm utes to tractors and bulldozers on 12-15 properties” says George Whisker, team leader for the NRMA mechanics “and we are taking up approximately $1400 worth of donated spare parts and oil”.

In past trips tractors, motorbikes, quad bikes, farm vehicles and even a windmill have been returned to working order, making a huge difference to farmers’ lives.

The support crew will help host the volunteers, cooking meals and taking the pressure off stressed farmers. They also provide a smile and a listening ear for farmers, which is equally impactful. Support crew for this trip will also include a Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Showgirl.

This trip will also incorporate a community project – working with a local nursery replacing dead trees that line the entrance to Lightning Ridge, uplifting community spirits.

Team leaders have made reconnaissance trips to ensure the correct parts are ordered and will be ready for the tradespeople to get straight to work when they arrive.

Outback Links liaises with local stakeholders including rural financial counsellors and drought coordinators.

“The need is very real in Lightning Ridge now and an extended drought has an equally long recovery period” says Kate Parsons.

A thank you party is always held at the end of the long hard working week. It’s a thanks to the volunteers, but also to the farmers who hosted them, giving them an experience they’ll never forget.

The party is also an opportunity for farmers to meet and mingle, something that happens less during drought time as they focus all their efforts on feeding and watering stock.

The trip takes place on the week of 16-23rd of April.

Our special thanks to:

Trip partners: the National Roads and Motoring Association (NRMA, www.mynrma.com.au), the National Electrical and Communications Association Group Training (NECA) www.neca.asn.au, Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT, www.facebook.com/groups/309350226334/ ), Lightning Ridge Rotary and North West Plains Sustainably Group (Landcare Walgett).

– Chris Porter, from Newhaven Park House for generously providing accommodation for the group on the way to Lightning Ridge. www.newhavenparkhouse.com.au

– Thanks to Mudgee Bunnings, for providing a sausage sizzle lunch for the volunteers on their way to the Ridge!

– Valvoline for donating oil. www.valvoline.com.au

– AutoPro Campbelltown for providing mechanical parts at discounted prices www.autopro.com.au/stores/autopro-campbelltown

– VV Marshmann Charitable Trust

– Uniting Church Adult fellowship Living Water Project

– Kamal Naidu from Club Assist has provided vehicle batteries

– Frank Moschella from Ferndale Gardens who has kindly donated wine for the thank you party.