AS drought fundraising and awareness efforts ramp up around the region, the Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry is doing its bit to help out.
Offering a variety of services such as workshops and online help guides, the chamber is pitching in to help struggling farmers know what assistance is offer.
Chamber president Stacey Cooke told the Namoi Valley Independent the chamber was “here to help whoever needs it.”
“We know that times are pretty tough right now for those in the local agriculture industry,” she said.
“While there can be a bit of a stigma around asking for help we really want to try and break that down as much as possible and let people know what help is available.”
Mrs Cooke said the drought had so far not had a major impact on the Gunnedah economy.
“I think there may be a small down-turn happening at the moment,” she said.
“It is difficult to tell, however I think in industries such as retail the impacts are not so much going to be felt straight away, I think they are more likely to see some negative affects in the next 12 months.”
The current chamber president said she believed less farmers were currently spending money in town.
“Farmers are feeling the economical impact of the drought right now,” she said.
“While some industries wont see the impacts for another 12 months, farmers are feeling it right now and are immediately being more cautious with what they’re spending.”
As well as offering support, the chamber has also agreed to take part in a drought fundraising effort at the Courthouse Hotel on July 27.
“William Price came to us recently with the idea of a drought fundraising idea and we were more than happy to get involved,” Mrs Cooke said.
“Our role will be to help ensure all the funds raised not only go to farmers who need it, but specifically go to local farmers who are in need of help.
“It really is a great idea and we are really happy to help support it.”
Mrs Cooke said the chamber had signaled water assistance as a priority for local farmers.
“Everyone in the chamber is involved in local business and we have heard about a lot of people running very low on water,” she said.
“A lot of the current fundraising efforts are based around fodder and basic household needs, don’t get me wrong those things are important and the generosity of people has been great to see, but we think the need for water is getting somewhat overlooked.
“That’s why as a chamber we will be doing whatever we can to ensure as much of the funds raised from the event on July 27 go to helping supply water to those that need it.
“We are hearing of people having to buy their water not just to keep the stock going, but for consumption and household use as well.
“So any help we can give them will be excellent.”
The fundraising evening will kick off on Friday, July 27, from 7pm at the Courthouse Hotel followed by a charity market stall at Woslely Park on July 28.