Support for struggling families

Jan-Maree and Henry Blatman. 217863_01

By Alesha Capone

An Albert Park couple have started an online fundraising campaign to help vulnerable Tarneit families pay their electricity bills during the pandemic.

Henry and Jan-Maree Blatman established the GoFundMe campaign last month, titled Helping Hand for Tarneit (Victoria), with the goal of raising $6000.

Mr Blatman said they hoped to divide the money between 20 or so Tarneit families, to help them pay their electricity bills for a period of two to three months.

Mr Blatman said that he and his wife decided to start the fundraising campaign after watching an episode of the ABC’s Four Corners program, which showcased a Tarneit family struggling to pay their electricity bill.

“We felt helpless watching these people talk about their distress and decided we would not go back to our relative comfort without doing something,” he said.

Mr Blatman said he and Jan-Maree started the GoFundMe campaign the next day, and also posted a video on YouTube.

So far, the campaign has raised $3580 in donations.

“I’ve been blown away by the support we’ve got, I’m still determined to get to $6000,” Mr Blatman said.

He said a Four Corners producer had put him in touch with the United Sikhs, who are working to help Tarneit families who have lost income due to the pandemic.

Mr Blatman, an accountant, said the United Sikhs would decide which households to allocate the Helping Hand for Tarneit funds to.

Mr Blatman said while some people felt helpless to assist others doing it tough due to the pandemic, he and Jan-Maree had decided to be proactive about the issue.

“This is a small drop in the ocean, but it’s doing something,” he said.

“It’s helping people who, through, no fault of their own, are in need and need to maintain their basic needs.

“I think it’s a good thing for the western suburbs, to know that people on the other side of town are thinking of them.”

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