Strong communities are those built on the generosity of individuals.
It is everybody’s responsibility to give back to their community, to ensure it grows stronger and changes the lives of the people who live in it.
That is why charity organisations such as the Robert Fergusson Foundation, the Rotary Club of Launceston and the WD Booth Charitable Trust use their fundraising efforts to support The Examiner’s Winter Relief Appeal.
Winter Relief has supported those in need in Launceston and Northern Tasmania for 60 years.
To commemorate the anniversary, The Examiner has set a fundraising target of $60,000.
Robert Fergusson Foundation family member Margot Smart said the foundation has been supporting Winter Relief since it was formed, but the family had supported the appeal for a lot longer.
“We always give to Winter Relief and Empty Stocking [The Examiner’s Christmas appeal], it was always at the top of the list,” she said.
The family and foundation have supported the Winter Relief Appeal for about 30 years.
“It was what Bob [Robert] wanted,” Mrs Smart said.
She said he was instrumental in establishing the foundation before he died, and he was always supportive of Launceston initiatives.
Mary Fergusson, Bob’s wife, said the community had supported the business for many years and this was their way of giving back.
“We like to support the people in the community who are doing it tough, especially at this time of year, when heating bills and the like are piling up,” she said.
In the past two years, the Fergusson Family Foundation has given $16,000 to Winter Relief.
“In the past year The Examiner has redoubled its efforts to raise money for the campaign, we hope the business community and individuals redouble their efforts.”Fergusson family stalwart Margot Smart
Mrs Smart and Mrs Fergusson said they would like to throw down the gauntlet this year to other businesses, to step up and raise money for the appeal.
Businesses and individuals can have a Winter Relief Appeal tin, donate or hold an event.
Rotary Club of Launceston has also supported the appeal for more than 10 years, and donates through various activities.
Project director John Williams said Rotary’s whole focus was on giving back to its community.
He said Winter Relief had always presented itself as a worthy cause.
“There are always those in our community who are in need, and everyone who buys a sausage helps to contribute to that because the proceeds always go to causes like this,” he said.
Rotary Clubs raise funds throughout the year through sausage sizzles and community events, among other things.
Mr Williams said the media had an important role in highlighting the plight of those in the community.
“Newspapers are vitally important, they have their fingers on the pulse and they can really help their communities,” he said.
“Newspapers have to be there to make people aware of what some people in the community are going through.”
Mr Williams said he hoped appeals like the Winter Relief Appeal helped those less fortunate and, in turn, would make Launceston a better place to live and work.
“Launceston is a great place, everybody is friendly, and they are always willing to help,” he said.
“But we can make it even greater.”
The Winter Relief Appeal launches June 1 and runs until August 31.