pdf icon  Step by Step Recovery Support Service Newsletter - Autumn 2021
pdf icon Step by Step Recovery Support Service Newsletter - Nov-Dec 2020
pdf icon  Step by Step Recovery Support Service Editorial - September 2020 
pdf icon  Step by Step Recovery Support Service Newsletter - Winter 2020

Step By Step Newsletter header Aut 2021


Step By Step Bushfire Recovery Support Service offers practical, emotional and holistic support for you and your family. We are here for you through this second year, which can still surprise sometimes with how tired we feel and how long recovery can take. Try to remember that there’s no strict time-frame for recovering from bushfires. It truly is a step by step process so remember to pace yourself – it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Maybe you have ongoing insurance claims, or you’re still waiting for block clearing, repairs, replanting or rebuilding. Some of us are just now ready to talk about what happened with the bushfires. Wherever you are, we are a listening ear, and we have information and support from services who can assist with small projects, funding and personalised care for your wellbeing.

For more information, a chat or a cuppa, give your local Step By Step worker a call, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Development Applications

Mid-Western Council gives priority to applications relating to rebuilding bushfire damaged or destroyed buildings. Fees are waived for Development Applications, Complying Development Certificates and Construction Certificates. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 1300 765 002 or 6378 2850.

Lithgow Council Building on bushfire prone land webpage:
Contact Rachel Nicoll, Community Recovery Officer 6354 9999 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hawkesbury Council prioritises DA’s related to bushfire recovery and related fees are waived. Free pre DA advice service for people rebuilding following bushfire. Contact Liz Murphy, Community Recovery Officer 4560 4489 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Blue Mountains development application fees waived for bushfire impacted properties with no time limit. Fees waived until mid-2022 for land use advice,
pre-lodgement fees, tree removal permit fees, Roads Act application fees & Annual onsite sewage system fees. Contact Rebecca Evers Community Recovery Officer 0439 620 163 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Hawkesbury Community Advice & Support Service 
(CASS) Hubs 9.30am to 12.30pm
Kurrajong Heights Bowling Club Tuesdays fortnightly from 16 March
Colo Heights Hall Thursdays fortnightly from 18 March
Bilpin District Hall Tuesdays fortnightly from 23 March
St Albans School of Arts Thursdays fortnightly from 25 March
call Liz 4560 4489 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Disaster Assistance Finder

Mental Health Navtool
Find local wellbeing supports, services and programs

Legal Aid Disaster Response Legal Service Helpline
1800 801 529

Community Wellbeing Grants
Up to $1000 from Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network
Supporting community (not businesses) to organise community activities. Keep an eye out for up to $10 000 coming soon!
Call Esther Perry 0419109358

Free Bushfire Psychological Therapy Services (PTS).
Up to 10 free sessions with a professional therapist. Contact your GP for more
information or to be referred

Headspace Bushfire Recovery Service
For young people aged 12-25 who were affected by the 2019/20 bushfires Katoomba & Lithgow area 4720 8850
Hawkesbury 4720 8850

Black Dog Institute Bushfire Support Service
Mental health support for emergency service workers and family members
8627 3314

FORTEM Australia
Wellbeing support to first responder families 1300 33 95 94

NSW Bushfire Recovery Financial Counsellors
Free and confidential service provides information and assistance to primary producers on financial position, business planning , budgets call Dev Tahal
0417 241 338

Salvos National Bushfire Recovery Services
Financial assistance, emotional support and referrals Karen 0429 549 494

“How to Prepare for Emergencies” Free Seniors Week workshops
22nd April 10 -12pm, Springwood Hub morning tea included.
23rd April 10-12pm Wentworth Falls Community Hub morning tea included. Lucky door prize for each workshop.
Call Rebecca 0439 620 163 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We acknowledge with great respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first people of this land.
We pay respect to the Darug, Gundungurra & Wiradjiri people-their elders, past and present, and to the children of today who are the elders of tomorrow.

Step By Step Newsletter Nov Dec header




Well here we are, approaching the anniversary of a year since the fires of late 2019, early 2020. We are wondering how you’re travelling with it all now?

Integration can be a Step By Step process, it can feel at times like we’re moving forward quickly, and at other times slowly or even backwards.
Our team have been walking alongside many of you, supporting with some practical, some emotional recovery steps – we are here to support you with this longer-term recovery process, and we know the journey is unique to each person.

We’re curious to know how you are looking after yourself at this time. We are hearing that many people are feeling fatigued. When we are stressed over long periods of time, our bodies become tired with elevated cortisol levels – the hormone that we release when we need to keep going through challenging times.

So it’s really important to rest and take time for self-care. And to find ways to reflect and acknowledge where you’ve come from and where you are now.

There are people available to talk things through with, people who don’t judge and who understand about the experience of recovering from a disaster. Sometimes we can be caught off guard when an anniversary brings up feelings or memories of experiences we think we should have moved on from. It can help to know you’re not alone with those feelings.

It’s really okay to not be okay sometimes. Recovery can be a longer process than we expect. Dr Rob Gordon explains about anniversaries for significant events:

step by step imageDec2020


Like so many families in our region, Leam Dzwinek and his two children had bushfires impact their property at the end of last year. While Leam and a friend managed to save the house, his surrounding property was burnt, and he lost many of his much loved animals.

For Leam there have been a variety of challenges on the recovery journey. He found it took time to work through the experience of having stayed to fight the fire. The bushfires and then the effects of Covid have also taken a toll on his plumbing business. And the burnt land has meant the immediate loss of the rural lifestyle he and his children enjoyed.

Ruth Myers from Step By Step has been in touch with Leam since earlier this year.
“When I first met Leam he said he was “okay” but I was aware that he may be feeling overwhelmed with the ‘what to do’s’,” said Ruth. “What to do first, how to start, and the financial processes. I met with him and had a good yarn, and over time I could just check in on him; meeting him at a coffee shop, or in the office, or at his home.”

Leam says Ruth told him about some available grants and helped him to apply for them. She has stayed in contact and supported him by letting him know what services and financial support is available.

Leam was able to receive a small business grant from the NSW Government and he has also received help from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. “Thankfully, I had a great number of friends who helped out. The financial support helped get some things started,” said Leam.

Approaching the one year anniversary of the fires, Leam has been planting flowers and shrubs to bring some colour back to his garden. With the risk of fires much lower this year, Leam says he feels safe. He is looking forward to creating some new play spaces for his children, and after an initial lull he’s getting his business back up and running. He is looking forward to a family Christmas, doing some rebuilding and enjoying time with his children.

I’m really grateful for Leam’s sense of community and sense of moving forward. In a word, he lives resilience,” said Ruth.

step by step image2Dec2020



Step by Step Recovery Support Service Editorial - September 2020


No-one can say that 2020 has not been a year of profound challenges and changes.   As we approach the first anniversary of the bushfires (and floods) it’s really important to step up your self-care and the care of your loved ones.  Some people may want to attend community memorials, others will choose to spend time with family and friends. For others it may be important to spend the day alone. This important milestone (one that nobody invited) can bring with it painful memories and reminders of what has been lost and what has been changed forever.  It can also be a time to reflect on the journey travelled so far and the road ahead.  You may feel very uncertain about the road ahead…that’s OK.  None of us are sure of what the future might hold.  This is a time for respite, rest and reflection, reaching out and connecting with each other.   It’s OK to not feel OK.  It’s OK to grieve.  Tears can be healing.  You’re not alone and you’re not forgotten. 

Step by Step bushfire recovery support service is here to walk alongside people (affected by the bushfires and floods) living in the Hawkesbury, Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Mid-Western regions.  We can meet you for a chat and a cuppa wherever you feel comfortable, at home, your favourite café, over the phone or online.  We can also help you with disaster recovery grant applications, practical support, recovery updates and link you with your local network of health and community services.

Step by Step is here to listen and to walk with you.   There’s no blame, there’s no shame….. we help give your feelings a name.  Remember that you are resilient, you are courageous, you have suffered and you’ve been through so much…but look how far you have come.  Believe that you can keep moving forward step by step. 

Go to this youtube video to listen to disaster recovery expert and clinical psychologist, Dr Rob Gordon talk about what anniversary events mean to individuals, families and communities.

Step by Step can be contacted on 0417 298  832  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Go to our facebook page

Lifeline's 13 HELP (13 43 57) is a dedicated bushfire recovery line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any person needing support as a result of the bushfires.

Step by step team

 The friendly Step by Step Team

Step By Step Newsletter header


Blue Mountains Region

It’s been about 7 months now since the bushfires in our region. You might find it interesting to know that the recovery process does go in stages. As a community, the intense time of directly responding to a disaster is known as the Heroic phase – there’s high adrenalin, lots of stress and people come together to help in heroic ways. When the immediate threat has passed, we experience the Honeymoon phase of having survived and of naturally wanting to help each other. There are lots of promises and donations and a hope and expectation of action and support in recovery.

By 6 months or so we realise things are moving slowly. It might be that government support is not quite forthcoming, you may experience insurance delays or impediments to cleanup or reconstruction. Disaster response agencies have moved on and the press and wider public interest have dropped away. People are tired with the ongoing effort of recovery – this is known as the Disillusionment phase. We get on with taking care of our own lives, properties and losses, communities can feel fractured and disconnected from each other.

It’s in this phase that local support is so important. Communities can lean on local services who will walk alongside them through this phase of recovery, understanding that rebuilding and integrating the recovery experience takes time.

Lasting for several years after a disaster is the Reconstruction phase. Having the right support available, whether it’s financial, emotional or practical can really assist communities and individuals to recover well and move forward with their lives.

Step By Step are here to support you with this longer-term recovery process, and we know the journey is unique to each person – we’d love to hear your story.

Senga and Michael



We’re a group of local outreach services who can support you and your family in whatever way you may need, with practical, emotional and confidential support – no judgement, no labels. No door is the wrong door and you won’t have to retell your story to lots of different people.

We can help with applying for grants, small property repairs, essential household items, grocery vouchers and a professional listening ear to support the whole family’s emotional wellbeing.

Step By Step Bushfire Recovery Support Service: providing practical, emotional and holistic support for the whole family. Call Ruth 0466936747
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program: linking people to local mental health services and resources, education, mental health and wellbeing, contact Sonia on 0448 125 676 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Headspace Bushfire Recovery Team: youth wellbeing and youth care coordination, contact Charley for the Blue Mountains on 0438 871 120 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Salvos National Bushfire Recovery Service: assisting with your practical needs, goods and grants, contact Karen 0429549494 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

NSW HEALTH Bushfire & COVID 19 Trauma Recovery Team: supporting your emotional wellbeing. Call Vanessa 0429 011 134 or Beaver 0427 309 823 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Winmalee Neighbourhood Centre Bushfire Recovery: providing practical assistance and vouchers, call Morna on 4754 4050 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Rural Recovery: assisting primary producers, contact Anthea on 0409 440 297 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


NSW Primary Producers Special Disaster Grant $75,000
Extended until December 15, 2020.

Red Cross Primary Residence Rebuild & Repair Grants
close August 31st 2020 Call Red Cross on 1800 733 276 or check We can help with completing your application

NSW Small Business Grants
Up to $50,000 available if your business has been directly affected by bush fire. There are also $10,000 loans available Call 13 77 88

Register at Service NSW for Block CleanupMYST or call 13 77 88
Property owners will be contacted to discuss damage and eligibility
For complaints call 1800 007 539
or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Free Counselling & Mediation
Counselling for individuals, couples or families -
By phone In person Online 1800 864 846
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Financial Counselling Australia
Call 1800 007 007

Disaster Assistance Finder

The Recovering our Backyard Expo was presented by the Blue Mountains Reccovery Wellbeing Committee, Resilience & Preparedness Group and Blue ARC on February 29, 2020.

Speakers included Sue Cunningham, Team Leader, Natural Area Operations, Blue Mountains City Council;  Holly Parsons, Birdlife Australia;  and, Dr Kellie Leigh, Executive Director, Science for Wildlife, Blue Mountains Koala Project.

In addition to speakers, tables with representatives from local groups and organisations were set up on the day with more information, and opportunities to voluteer.

Themes were around:

  • What can you do in your own backyard?

  • Are you interested in volunteering to:
    • Help wildlife impacted by the bushfires in the Blue Mountains region?
    • Assist with recovery of our natural environment?
    • Join a local wildlife or conservation group?

  • What skills can you offer to our community?
    • Can you sew or knit;  make things from wood;  write grants;  draw or take photos;  have skills using social media;  enjoy gardening;  have a car to help with deliveries etc?

Recovering our Backyard presentations from the day can be viewed below.

Blue Mountains City Council recovery programs following the 2019/20 bushfires & what residents can do in their own backyards, Sue Cunningham, Natural Area Operations, Blue Mountains City Council:


How to create a safer place for birdlife in your own backyatrd, Holly Parsons, Birdlife Australia:


Assisting wildlife recovery following the 2019/20 bushfires & the Science for Wildlife Blue Mountains Koala Project, Dr Kellie Leigh, Science for Wildlife:


recov backyard4 text logos

Practical Help with Recovery for Residents

In response to the heavy rain and floods in March 2022:

A lump sum payment is now available for eligible people living in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury seriously affected by flooding through the Services Australia website.  You might also be eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant through Resilience NSW. To check, see this website.

Service NSW has a tool to help find a personalised list of available programs and services  and you can also call 13 77 88.  The Disaster Assistance Finder  can also help with finding what you may be eligible to receive.  For advice on insurance claims, visit the Insurance Council of Australia’s website.

Centrelink has advised its emergency information line is open if you need help claiming the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or if you’re affected by a natural disaster. Call 180 22 66 if you’re affected by a natural disaster and need to claim a payment from Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm, or Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.

If you are experiencing water supply or wastewater-related issues, contact Sydney Water on 13 20 90.

Anyone who needs help with stock or animal welfare issues impacted by the floods can contact the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

For those who might find wildlife in need due to flooding, increased rainfall and heavy winds, WIRES can be contacted on 1300 094 737. You can also report a rescue online.

Legal Aid can also assist with insurance claims and disputes, financial hardship, tenancy and Centrelink. Visit the  Disaster Response Legal Service or phone 1800 801 529.

From 5 March, residents in flood-affected areas can contact Service NSW to log NSW SES clean-up requests and seek essential items. The Service NSW call centre will be open for extended hours, from 9am-10pm on weekends and 7am-10pm daily.

Residents can log a resupply or clean up request with Service NSW by completing this short online form or calling 13 77 88. 

 Bushfire & Other Disaster Recovery Assistance:

Support with Recovery for Residents


About Us


MCRN represents and advocates on behalf of our member organisations, builds community sector capacity through networking, collaboration and partnership development and delivers a central infomation hub for our members and information to support out community.

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Our Community

Facts & Figures


Fact sheets are available about our vibrant and diverse community.

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Support Groups

 A number of support groups run regularly at various locations in the Blue Mountains.

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Community News & Events


 Our Blue Mountains 4 U facebook page provides community news and events. 

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 Service Directories

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Download a directory for services available in the Blue Mountains.

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Or click here to download the larger print version (4 x A3 sheets)

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 Emergency Resources


Learn how to prepare for an emergency &/or get help with recovery. 

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Our Projects

Resilient Villages Project

Resilient Villages is a three-year pilot project which supports a community-led approach to build resilience within the Blue Mountains.

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 Our Sector

About Our Sector


The Blue Mountains Community Sector is a rich and diverse sector delivering a range of programs and services that strengthen our community.  The Sector convenes through a range of interagency groups to facilitate a coordinated approach across the region.

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Resources for Our Sector


Resources by service type, for emergency preparedness and recovery, and MCRN publications are available to all services, access to referral information and Blue Mountains interagency minutes is available only to MCRN members by log in.

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Member Login

Sector Meetings

28 May 2024 BMCI Meet
09:30AM - 11:30AM

Community Sector Jobs

APS 5 Office Manager, National Disability Insurance Agency, Penrith.
Closes Wed 15 May.

Project Officer - Finance / Corporate Services, NBMLHD, Penrith.
Closes Fri 17 May.

AOD Counsellor/Case Manager - Identified, Lives Lived Well, Lithgow.
Closes Fri 17 May.

Senior People & Culture Advisor, Life Without Barriers, Richmond.
Closes Sun 19 May.

Aboriginal Shift Supervisor, DC&J, St Marys.
Closes Sun 19 May. 

Expressive Art Therapist, Bridging the Gap S...

Grants and Funding

Current Opportunities

Ingar Rice Foundation Grants, up to $5K for early intervention programs, family support programs, specific resources for programs or specific training required for implementation of programs.
No closing date.

National Indigenous Australians Agency, grants for proposals that address a need for ATSI people.
No closing date.

Grants and Funding Websites
Community Connective - Funding
Funding Centre - Our Community
Community Grants - BMCC
NSW Governemnt eTendering
GrantConnect - Australian GovernmentAustralian Government
Philanthropic Grants & Trusts