After living through the fires that tore through Kangaroo Valley, Andi Csontos, EY Partner in Climate Change & Sustainability Services set up a drop-in centre, where locals could get practical help at no cost. The centres helped people apply for grants, make sense of the support systems available and find a new way forward.

Working with the Dept of Regional NSW, EY scaled up the concept and launched a network of virtual business support drop-in centres for the communities of Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Snowy Monaro and Kangaroo Valley.

EY senior manager leading the Eurobodalla centre Daniel Harris said: “Blending EY’s skills with local knowledge on the ground made all the difference. Understanding the individual nuances of each place was essential to providing practical help. The local Community Leads also helped us build trust.’’

The centres have helped 536 small businesses, boosted local morale and assisted the economic recovery of each community. Through these drop-in centres local businesses have accessed tangible support, enabling them to rebuild operations by securing $1,381,700 in COVID-19 and bushfire grants. 197 businesses have been able to access JobKeeper and 212 have accessed other schemes with EY’s assistance.