Bushfire grants help create sanctuaries for fire-affected youth

09 Jul 2020

9 July 2020 - Sony Foundation Australia has confirmed grants for two projects in the bushfire devastated communities of Mallacoota, Victoria, and Ulladulla, New South Wales, as Sony Music Entertainment Australia announces that sales from the Artists Unite for Fire Fight: Concert for National Bushfire Relief’ charity album has now raised $450,000.

At the historic Fire Fight Australia concert in February, Sony Music artist and Sony Foundation ambassador, Guy Sebastian, presented a $200,000 cheque on behalf of Sony Foundation Australia whilst on stage. The funds were directed to the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), who were one of the major beneficiaries of the concert.

The grants will support youth in Mallacoota and Ulladulla by helping them to establish a safe space where they can come together to share their experiences, support one another, and generally enhance their wellbeing and recovery from the bushfires.

  1. ‘The Sanctuary’, Mallacoota Youth Group, VIC – Sony Foundation's support will contribute to building the capacity, resilience and wellbeing of the young people in Mallacoota, through the activities and operations of an emerging youth centre called ‘The Sanctuary.’

    Led by the young people themselves, The Sanctuary will provide a space to study, play music, make art, play games, organise programs and events and run workshops. ‘The Sanctuary’ provides pathways for young people to access mentoring, social networks and resources in the community.

2. ‘Sanctuary of Wellbeing and Renewal’, Ulladulla High School, NSW – 15 Ulladulla High School students lost their homes in the fires. Additionally, many students have been dislocated due to damage to their properties and family businesses.

Sony Foundation’s funding will assist with establishing a ‘Sanctuary of Wellbeing and Renewal’ for the entire student population, benefitting over 1,200 students and their families. The Sanctuary will provide a safe environment for positive initiatives that enhance student and organisational contributions to enable positive recovery and resilience.

Sophie Ryan, CEO of Sony Foundation Australia, said there are going to be many long-term effects caused by the bushfires that young Australians will be coping with for some time to come.

“About 1 in 4 young people can suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder following a major crisis like the recent bushfires and sadly, in the midst of recovery, the specific needs of young people can be overlooked. At Sony Foundation, we are helping to fill this gap by funding programs which will improve the wellbeing of young people, helping them recover and heal.

“We are honoured to be able to partner with FRRR to support these two projects, both of which will create safe places where young people can engage in activities and encourage social networks to help heal and forge a positive path forward," Ms Ryan said.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that there were many fabulous project ideas put forward, and reflects the devasting impact of the recent bushfires on young people, which has been exacerbated by the onset of COVID-19.

"It’s clear that young people are feeling the cumulative effects of disasters particularly deeply, as we had many really strong proposals to consider. These two grants will help put local youth in Mallacoota and Ulladulla more in control of their recovery and have access to the additional services they need. We are pleased to have been able to help Sony Foundation Australia get this funding to two communities where it will make a real difference," Ms Egleton said.

Sony Music Entertainment has now raised $450,000 from the sale of the Fire Fight charity album. This amount is in addition to Sony Foundation’s $200,000 donation to FRRR, with all proceeds from the sale of the album being donated to Sony Foundation to support additional projects benefiting young Australians in bushfire affected communities. The funds raised from the album are a reflection of the continued generosity of the Australian public who purchased the album, but also major retailers, JB Hi-Fi and Sanity, who have donated their margin to the worthwhile and much needed cause.

The special charity album of 23 tracks features unique live recordings from every artist who performed at the Fire Fight concert. It is available as a two-disc CD album from music retailers and as a digital download on iTunes.

Sophie Ryan, CEO of Sony Foundation Australia, and Denis Handlin AO, Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand, and Founding Board Director of Sony Foundation Australia, said in a joint statement:

“We are continually reminded that the path to recovery in communities affected by the unprecedented bushfires is a long and challenging journey. We hope these communities see the success of this funding and special album as Australia’s way of saying we are standing by your side. We are overwhelmed and humbled with the generosity from everyone involved, which now includes the retail partners who have passed on profits so that more funds can go to these communities. Thank you also to the FRRR and its Board for the incredible work to enable us to contribute to the lives of so many young Australians.”

Support Sony Foundation's Bushfire Appeal 

The 'Artists Unite for Firegiht' Concert for National Bushfire Relief special charity album of 23 tracks features unique live recordings from every artist who performed at the historic Fire Fight Concert.

Sony Music Entertainment Australia will donate all its proceeds from the sale of this album to Sony Foundation Australia and funds raised will go towards directly supporting young Australians in bushfire affected communities.  

It is available as a two disc CD album from music retailers and a digital download on iTunes. 

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