3 May 2021

Cooma's new Recovery Hub helping community get back on its feet

| Hannah Sparks
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Kristy McBain opens The Hub

MP Kristy McBain, Richard Spencer of Business Australia and Snowy Monaro Mayor Peter Beer open The Hub in Cooma on Monday, April 26. Photo: Supplied by Mitchell Sariovski.

Snowy Monaro Regional Council and Business Australia have opened the Business and Recovery Hub in Cooma as a one-stop shop for members of the public and businesses to gain access to support following drought, bushfires, floods and the pandemic.

The Hub is now open 8:30 am and 4:30 pm Monday to Friday at 57 Vale Street in Cooma, and offers information about grants, financial counselling, legal advice, mental health and wellbeing support, rebuilding support services and community activities.

Bumbalong Bees owner Liz Cotton lost all but one of her 14 beehives in the bushfires and then her workshop in the recent floods.

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This not only impacted her mental health, but she was also ready to give up on her small business that makes products from beeswax when she realised insurance wouldn’t cover the damage.

Just before she did give up on her business, she met Business Australia’s regional business manager Ben Verning who is overseeing The Hub.

“He has been supporting me to get everything back up and running. Until now, I’ve been vaguely ticking along,” she said.

Mr Verning helped Ms Cotton apply for grants that would cover the cost of purchasing new bees and rebuild her workshop and access mental health support.

She now has beehives thriving at her sister’s property in Googong and is using Canberra beeswax until she is able to harvest her own.

Mr Verning said that all conversations at the Hub are confidential and businesses and members of the public can make an appointment or simply walk in.

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“We’ll start by having a really open and honest chat about where they’re at and where they’re wanting to go. Then we refer them to the expert agencies and support them on that journey,” Mr Verning said.

The Hub is funded by the state and federal governments and there is nothing else like it in the area.

Mr Verning said it’s been rewarding to see businesses come out on the other side of a difficult period.

“There are so many support agencies out there set-up to work with businesses, from start-ups to those in financial duress, but there’s nowhere they can come to when they don’t know where to start or who to be talking to,” Mr Verning said.

For more information visit: https://www.snowymonaro.nsw.gov.au/1725/Snowy-Monaro-Business-and-Recovery-Hub

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