From the Newsroom

Kate Macfarlane from Resilience NSW spoke about the services provided to the local community at the recovery centres which have been established following the recent flooding in the region. Image: Emma Pritchard

Breakfast meeting an informative occasion

Emma Pritchard


The Grafton Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast meeting drew a sizeable crowd of local business owners and residents to the Clocktower Hotel last Wednesday.

In recognition of NSW Small Business Month, one of the guest speakers, business strategist Sarah Poole, shared her insights into the theme of the annual event, rebuild, recharge, and renew.

As she thanked President of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce Natasha Watkinson for inviting her to speak at the breakfast meeting, Ms Poole also reflected on the recent devastation following the unprecedented flooding across the region and said now is an important time for local businesses to receive support as they enter into another recovery phase.

Ms Poole addressed key concepts for local business owners including rapidly recovering revenue, rebuilding operations, reimagining businesses, accelerating the adoption of digital solutions, resilience and renewal, and looking after themselves.

“It’s so important to have on the ground support as you get back on your feet,” she said encouragingly.

“It is also really interesting to see how business owners and business leaders have really had to have a think about the element of self-care and having the tools in their toolkit to survive these challenging times we’ve seen.”

In identifying positive strategies to assist local businesses, Ms Poole spoke about the importance of employees and how a team works best together.

She said the adaption of local businesses in cross training staff to build more operational resistance and alter how they reach and respond to the needs of their customers with the assistance of digital platforms and technology has proved critical in accomplishing success.

“In reimaging your business, look at who you are, what you stand for, your flexible working structures, how to grow and value creation with partners, data driven decision making and technology,” she said.

“Business resilience is influenced from the top, how does this flow down to your team?

“It’s important you create a long-lasting discipline into your daily and weekly schedule in a way that works for you so you can support and encourage your team and you work together to rebuild, reimagine, and renew.”

The second guest speaker, Kate Macfarlane from Resilience NSW, spoke about the recovery centres which have been established in Maclean and Grafton to assist residents who have been adversely affected by the recent flooding.

At the time of publication, Ms Macfarlane confirmed more than 400 residents have walked through the doors to seek help.

“It definitely shows there is a high demand for the services we provide,” she said.

“Our recovery centres are quite unique, like a one-stop-shop.

“People are greeted by Red Cross staff who have been trained in psychology and first aid, and they are assisted in applying for the help they need.”

Ms Macfarlane said Services Australia, Services NSW, Legal Aid, mental health support, business concierge and Department of Primary Industry (DPI) representation was available at the recovery centres, with planning currently underway to introduce an insurance council to offer additional support.

Ms Macfarlane also confirmed a recovery committee will soon be established locally, describing the organisation as very action orientated.

“People coming through the doors are really grateful to see us,” she said.

“We’re here to do everything we can to help those who need it the most.”