A local charity has received a welcome $5000 donation from a Gunnedah business.
Forsyths Foundation chose Sober in the Country (SITC), a local charity supporting people in country towns who may suffer from alcoholism, as their major donation recipient for 2020.
SITC founder Shanna Whan was "gobsmacked" when she heard the news.
"To see some support from our own backyard was an incredible surprise, and so we are terribly grateful to the Gunnedah community at Forsyths for getting behind our charity," Ms Whan said.
"It was an easy choice for us to send the donation their way this year. Alcohol is so ingrained in the culture of rural Australia and yet the availability of services in regional areas is severely lacking," she said.
"The work Shanna and her team are doing to not only bridge that gap in services but to also remove the stigma around alcoholism in rural and regional communities is so important."
Ms Whan said the $5000 would be used for set-up and establishment as the team consists of one paid staff member and one volunteer.
"We are in urgent need of much more funding to secure additional support as we prove ... that our charity is reaching many with a simple and life-saving message that it's 'okay to say no'," she said.
The founder said those who needed help or someone to chat to used the online support network The Bush Tribe, which was "an online space for 700 peers who share the same wish to cut back or stop drinking".
"We've created a safe, friendly online space and community with a common point of identification - and within that community we share resources, ideas, and our own stories," she told the NVI.
"The ability to be rural and a professional and anonymous at the same time was essential - and something most of our members couldn't get access to."
SITC was established as a national charity to catch the overlooked demographic of hard-working rural men and women who are at risk of slipping through the cracks.
This includes those who have the overwhelming task of overcoming addiction in isolation or in a small town or community where they don't feel safe to seek out help because of stigmas and judgment.
"As a local North West woman and a recovered alcoholic myself, I tried for two-and-a-half years to run a recovery support meeting, but it was basically a failure because the model of anonymity isn't really possible in districts where anonymity isn't even possible," Ms Whan said.
"We aren't prohibitionists - we don't care if you can enjoy a beer or two. We are here to make sure our mates who cannot do that have a place to go, and the chance to say no, and to let no be no."