Hiya, SITC family & friends,
Well, after sitting on this news while we re-calibrated and got our ducks into rows, I can now share - with a sincerely full and grateful heart - that SITC has been extended the most extraordinary show of trust, honour, and frankly a lifeline in terms of support .... from not just one but two of Australia's most well-loved philanthropic organisations.
Like it was for so many ... our world got tipped utterly upside down a month ago when COVID hit. We lost an entire year's worth of bookings and income in the form of me attending events across Australia in a speaker and educator capacity. It was an utterly devastating blow after years of volunteer-work and sacrifice, and it left me reeling.
Since then - two miracles happened for us. The Snow Foundation has stepped in and around us to offer further support, and a new partnership has emerged thanks to The Yulgilbar Foundation.
These two organisations both support initiatives within the rural sector and both share our vision to catch people falling through the cracks.
Both have also committed to walking alongside Sober in the Country and in supporting my vision and work as the CEO.
For me that means to continue being a relentless driver and leader in terms of positive social impact and cultural shifts across the bush when it comes to the complex topic of alcohol.
As many of you already know, myself and our team (Ally, Tim, Flip, and our other pro-bono support partners) all dwell within and love rural and regional Australia with all our hearts. As people who live here and see the seasons in and out, we know first-hand the challenges, joys, realities, and complexities that come with remote living.
We also know that far too many of our peers are struggling. The good news is that thanks to our ongoing advocacy and education and 'real talk' - many have stepped up and acknowledged that they need a bit of a hand to drink less or perhaps quit their alcohol habits altogether - BUT are finding they cannot access adequate support and guidance to achieve those changes (or they are not comfortable seeking help in environments where anonymity isn't possible).
SITC is working relentlessly to fill those gaps where possible, but it's a job far beyond the capacity of a few passionate volunteers. As it is we are supporting almost 700 rural professionals, and we reach about 50,000 through our socials daily. And for some context; until late November 2019 that was down to a single volunteer (myself).
Imagine the possibilities if we do this with a united front, and support of our leaders?
Here's the crux of it all:
If we want to see sustainable food and fibre production (and therefore national food security) enjoyed by all - then it's pretty obvious that we must ensure the skilled people and associated businesses and employees who know how to grow that food and fibre are sustainable and can access support during difficult times. And the fact is: when it comes to the complex topic of alcohol addiction, there are far too many gaps and far too many people still falling through them.
I've been in the arena fighting for almost six years on this, and after a decade of drought, fire, and now this pandemic - it's no longer just me but ''we'' who are now uniting on the frontlines. To have two national philanthropists join us is simply awesome - and we will continue to honour all those who've been striving so hard with us and for us to keep the change and the momentum happening.
We would love to thank, in particular, Georgina Byron and Maddie Noble who are the amazing women behind The Snow Foundation and The Yulgilbar Foundation who made this happen. And of course to the Trustees, Board, and decision-makers.
If you've got a second - head over to our brand new look website: www.soberinthecountry.org or catch up on our episode on Australian Story & learn more about SITC below.
Thank you to everyone who believes in this work - we are making a profound impact Australia wide. Read some of our Bush Tribe testimonials here: https://www.soberinthecountry.org/bush-tribe
Stay safe. Stay well.
And remember : it's ''OK2SAYNO''