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CASPA wins national award for frontline response to Lismore floods

The Lismore App

08 June 2024, 10:01 PM

CASPA wins national award for frontline response to Lismore floods CASPA CEO Naarah Rodwell helping cleanup after the February 2022 big flood

Leading child welfare and care services provider CASPA has been honoured for its team’s heroic response to the devastating 2022 Lismore Floods, navigating treacherous conditions to ensure the community's most vulnerable were not left stranded. 


Receiving the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) Delivering Through Adversity award, CASPA and its CEO, Naarah Rodwell, were recognised for their fearless leadership and unwavering dedication, orchestrating critical, life-saving rescues and instilling hope in the local community. 



“Naarah’s front line response during the 2022 Lismore floods ensured CASPA's vital services to the community's most vulnerable continued, showcasing her profound dedication to both people and community," said Nicolas Harrison, CASPA Chair. 


The first flood on February 28 surpassed predictions by over 2 metres, peaking at 14.4 metres, catching residents and businesses off guard. The aftermath saw businesses destroyed and over 3,000 residents displaced, including many CASPA staff, children, and Carer families, prompting a community-driven recovery effort. 



CASPA Services operated out of two office locations – one in Lismore CBD, completely submerged by floodwaters, resulting in the destruction of all equipment and leaving the operations teams without a workspace. Despite flood damage, the second location on Keen Street remained partially accessible, providing some relief amid the disaster. 


“Naarah, leading CASPA through flood preparations and their aftermath, tirelessly provided emergency aid, including crucial support for an NDIS client with significant disabilities. With his support workers cut off and his family displaced, Naarah personally helped the young person evacuate and ensured his ongoing safety at the local hospital,” said Mr Harrison. 



“In the aftermath, Naarah mobilised her team to sustain vital services for the community's most vulnerable children and young people, many grappling with disabilities, trauma, and mental health challenges. She prioritised support for Carer families and staff, allowing them the necessary time and assistance for recovery. 


“Employees of CASPA sprang into action with their boats and jet skis in treacherous conditions, visiting flooded locations to conduct welfare checks on staff, children, young people and families.  


“Many people connected with the CASPA community reached out to Naarah and CASPA networks to coordinate serious and potentially life-threatening but vital rescues. These volunteer heroes later became known as members of the “Tinny Army.” 


On March 30, Naarah swiftly guided her team through flood preparations, shifting focus from cleanup to community wellbeing after the second flood. She orchestrated collaboration with local organisations, leading to the creation of the Wellbeing Hub—an extension of CASPA's support services, aiding the community in its recovery. 



The Wellbeing Hub provided counselling and culturally centred services free to the community to support their recovery for the next two years. These were accessed by approximately 50 community members each week, predominately women and children.  


Being co-located at the CASPA Keen Street site with The Tuckshop ensured anyone who needed extra basic supports such as clothing, a meal, a safe place to relax and make human connections and relationships received them. 


The prestigious ACWA Awards unite local and international child and family specialists to address disadvantage and celebrate the dedication of industry leaders across the state. 


ACWA is the NSW non-government peak body representing the voice of community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families. 


For more details on CASPA, visit: https://caspa.org.au/home.

 

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