Wednesday was a day of celebration as Eugowra resident Grace Katon moved back into her own home - and watched the temporary pod she has been living in lifted out of her backyard.
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NSW Government Ministers and local MPs were on hand to celebrate the milestone, and also to acknowledge the work ahead for so many other flood-affected residents and businesses.
More businesses will be eligible for support with the availability of medium business grants of up to $200,000, and individuals through the ongoing roll-out of the Pods on Private Property program in Forbes, Ministers Paul Scully and Jihad Dib confirmed on the day.
Both ministers have responsibility for Reconstruction NSW and described their days in the region, meeting with local government and community leaders, as "a listening tour".
They announced that a community recovery officer will soon begin with Forbes Shire Council to work with community groups, disaster management and recovery stakeholders.
Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, said their visit was giving insight into how levels of government could better connect to ensure, "that people and their protection - in the first instance - but also their return home, is the priority."
The offer of business grants of up to $200,000 for medium businesses impacted by flooding was confirmed in the ministerial visit to Eugowra this week.
Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said he was very happy to announce the grants would be available soon - with a working date of 1 September.
"I know that (funding) may be the key that gets (businesses) up and running again," he said.
"We want people to open up their businesses again, we want to see communities thrive even better than before this terrible disaster."
The grants are to be administered through Service NSW.
Minister Dib said communication had been identified as an area that needed improvement in his visit to the region
"What I've asked Service NSW - and I'm the Minister for Customer Service as well - is they within the next couple of weeks will start contacting businesses to let them know that they will be eligible for this grant," he said.
"The other thing I've asked is for assistance in terms of making sure that people don't get caught up in paperwork and red tape."
More information will be on the Service NSW website.
Moving into a pod has been life-changing for Bec Higgins and her family as they wait for repairs on their flood-damaged home.
The modular home, provided through Reconstruction NSW, came fully furnished and has been installed on their own block - and what a relief it's been.
Ms Higgins paid tribute to Mayor Phyllis Miller for her work to bring the pods to Forbes and to connect her to the program.
Ms Higgins says it's taken the pressure off as they wait for tradespeople - through their insurer - to make the repairs needed so they can move back into their home.
"The (pods are) fantastic," Ms Higgins said.
"They're life-changing, really, they have just made such a huge difference to our life, to our comfort - they're fabulous."
Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib on Wednesday in Eugowra confirmed the pods are available to flood-affected Forbes residents through Reconstruction NSW.
To date, 88 pods have been installed with another 10 in the final stages of fit-out. More than 130 are expected to be installed across the Central West by the end of August.
Minister Dib said it was important that everybody eligible know what assistance they could access.
"It is important that any support that's out there, we don't have people feeling that they're too embarrassed to ask for it, or too shy," he said.
"This is the support that's been provided to ensure that we can help communities who have been affected by really terrible natural disaster.
"I think the really important point to make is that when we announce a grant or support of some sort we don't just want to announce it by media release and leave it at that, we really want to announce it to ensure people can access it."
Ms Higgins would certainly encourage others to reach out.
"That option to be back on your own land in your own property is just fantastic," Ms Higgins said.
"It's a hard situation, at least this gives you some breathing space or some time - whatever situation you're in whether you're doing the repairs yourself or through an insurance company.
"You have somewhere to be, it takes that pressure off."
Grace Katon is incredibly grateful for all the assistance - family, community and government - that has seen her move back into her home with her little dog Honey.
Mrs Katon spent four hours on the roof of her car as floodwaters raged around her on November 14, 2022, seriously injuring her fingers when she began to feel faint and grabbed at the roof of her carport for support.
Thankfully family were there and rescued her that day, and she was eventually airlifted to the Showground, then on to Orange hospital.
Almost nine months on, she's back in her own home - and it really has been a community effort.
On Wednesday she shared just a couple of examples - the business who didn't charge her for a new window, the op shop volunteers who found her down the street to refund her for furniture she had purchased, family, volunteer painters - and the Reconstruction NSW team.
"I am so grateful ... it's been marvellous," she told media as the temporary pod was removed from her backyard. "And the generosity of some people, I've got no words for it."
NSW Government Ministers Paul Scully and Jihad Dib, Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee, State Member for Orange Phil Donato and Cabonne Mayor Kevin Beatty were all in Eugowra to celebrate her move home, and to wish her a very happy birthday as she celebrated that occasion.
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