A shopping voucher program for fire-affected families is proving to be a win-win for them and businesses getting back on their feet after the St Patrick’s Day fires.
The $20,000 Cobden-district voucher program has six weeks to go, with fire-affected residents redeeming about $10,000 at local businesses so far.
The town’s Uniting church and Progressing Cobden combined in July to launch the program, using funds from donations to the Uniting church, the Cobden Reformed Church and some proceeds of the town’s Anzac Day relief concert.
Progressing Cobden spokesman Kelvin White said it was pleasing to see the vouchers being used.
“It’s a win-win situation with local Cobden businesses also seeing the benefits,” he said.
“They found it very difficult during the period after the fires with the issues around the peat smoke affecting them for an extended time.
“It’s proving to be a long period of recovery for all involved.”
Cobden Uniting Church treasurer Barbara Cowley said the $20 and $10 cash vouchers were made possible thanks to generous donations from people and organisations across the state.
Many donations were directed to the major South Western Victoria Bushfire Appeal, with $20,000 set aside and converted into shopping vouchers to be used at Cobden businesses.
“We know that the fires and then the peat smoke had a dramatic effect on our shops because people were sometimes reluctant or unable to spend long periods in town, so we hope this will support those affected by the fires, and our Cobden businesses at the same time.”
Mr White encouraged all those with vouchers to use of them at any Cobden business as soon as they could, with vouchers aimed to be spent .
“It would be fantastic for everybody if the vouchers are expended by the end of September,” he said.
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