Each year Hepburn Regional Community Cheer (HRCC) distributes donated goods and food and fuel vouchers to people in financial hardship throughout the shire. The Xmas Cheer Day of Giving has become an institution in our community and gives us all an opportunity to share our festive season.

A Christmas in July celebration, hosted by The Farmers Arms Daylesford, has been Community Cheer’s major fundraiser for years but the COVID-19 restrictions mean that we can’t gather at the hotel this year.

Instead, HRCC is inviting everyone to celebrate at home.

Mark your calendars for Christmas in July at Home on 22 July. Dinner will be a two-course meal picked up from The Farmers Arms Daylesford the day before. Hosting and entertainment, music and comedy, will be live-streamed to YouTube from 6.30 and alongside the virtual party there will be raffles and a virtual silent auction.

Under normal circumstances their fundraising would include barbeques and street stalls which can’t take place at the moment, so Community Cheer are hoping for a huge “turnout” for the at-home celebration.

Last year, the Xmas Cheer project supported more than 730 people in the Shire. Community Cheer raised $44,000 and, in addition, distributed toys and gift vouchers worth more than $35,000 to local children and Aged Care residents. They also provided $2,500 to Central Highlands Rural Health to help ease the financial stress locals often experience at the start of the school year. Michelle Clifford, the President of the Committee of Management, said yesterday “We expect to have many more families, individuals and children register this year due to COVID-19.”

Community Cheer needs your help with donations of cash, toys and items for the auction. People and businesses in Hepburn have always been very generous and so far, even at this early stage, the items for auction include accommodation, a car-detailing package, artwork and legal advice.

You can make cash donations through the Daylesford District Community Bank – BSB 633000, acc. 162925689. Donations are tax deductible.

Hepburn Regional Community Cheer’s Facebook page will keep you up-to-date with information about joining the Christmas in July at Home party, the silent auction and their other community-building activities.