Fire-affected residents of Bell, Clarence and Dargan are a step closer to realising a long-held dream with the announcement of a new community hall at Clarence.
After losing their only community building a few days before Christmas in the 2019 fires, community members gathered recently to “turn the sod” and celebrate the news of a new hall, along with how far they have come in their recovery.
Following the devastating impact of the fire, which saw 32 homes lost in the area, representatives from each of the communities came together to form the Association of Bell, Clarence and Dargan (ABCD) Inc, to maintain connections between the villages and take a community-led approach to recovery and resilience.
ABCD Inc worked with Lithgow City Council to secure the vacant community land and at Petra Avenue, Clarence, for a community building.
Blue Mountains Rotary clubs banded together, led by Rotary District Governor Mina Howard and Upper Mountains Rotarian Phill Isaacs, to support the community through grants and fundraising to kick start the build of the hall.
“When emergencies and disasters strike, being connected to your neighbours and community makes all the difference. Having a place to come together, heal, and build our resilience is so important for our community.” ABCD Inc president Kat Boehringer said.
“Recovery is a long journey, and we have come such a long way, however the scars of the fire are still very present in our community – in the landscape and in our people. We are so grateful for the support of Rotary and many other organisations who have assisted our community since the fire.” ABCD secretary Susan Alexander said.
The community was joined on the day by the Hon Andrew Gee MP Calare, Lithgow Mayor Maree Statham, Councillors Eric Mahoney and Almudena Bryce, members of Blue Mountains Rotary Clubs, and local support organisations.
The Association and community are now seeking further funding and support to complete the build of the hall. To donate, visit donations.rawes.com.au/55-2021-22