Kids Fund is an Illawarra-based charity managed by The Disability Trust that purchases essential aids and equipment for children with special needs and significant disabilities. Example equipment includes: walkers, orthotics, communicators, hoists, wheelchairs, and seating systems. For the child and family, these items can help achieve greater levels of inclusion and independence.
By Kids Fund purchasing the aids and equipment for the child, a significant financial burden is removed from the family. Kids fund assists families when all other funding options have been exhausted.
Kids fund receives no government funding and relies on the community for all donations. Each year, Kids Fund allocates approximately $100,000 on aids and equipment for children in the Wollongong, Kiama and Shellharbour local council areas. Now 12 years old, the fund has raised close to $1 million and has assisted over 400 local families.
The Disability Trust convenes an inter-organisation allocation committee every 6 months to review and approve applications received. All items have been identified by a suitable qualified health professional such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist who understands the child's needs.
History was made on July 14/15 2012, when the Wests Illawarra Bandage Bear event was held twice in less than 24 hours.
Already considered one of Australia's premier fundraising evenings in its 13th year, Leigh Stewart (MC) rallied the community to up the ante and repeat the traditional Saturday night on the Sunday afternoon. The Sunday event was aimed at engaging with smaller businesses and the general community and far exceeded all expectations.
"One Bandage Bear event is outstanding as is, but for you to achieve two inside 24hrs had us all glowing with pride. I was particularly taken by the vibe,
community spirit and excitement in the room on Sunday, where most were first time Bandage Bear attendees." Luke Walker, Chief Executive Officer, Wests Illawarra
Leigh Stewart was humbled by the event, simply saying that he is so proud of the Illawarra and is committed to making this vision a reality.
The format for Saturday and Sunday was similiar with attendees treated to entertainment including Glenn Shorrock, Diesel and the Mike Whitney Band. Silent and live auctions assisted with the fundraising, along with a live car raffle held on both days.
Highlights of the weekend included:
- Professor Don Iversion re-iterated the creation of a new role for the Illawarra - Professor of Paediatrics - to help drive and improve the level of healthcare for children in the Illawarra.
- Margaret Bowen - CEO of The Disability Trust and Illawarra Business Women of the Year 2012 - announced that Kids Fund would be moving south and
offering services to the Shoalhaven
- on-stage panel discussion with Professor Don Iverson, Dr Stewart Birt (Wollongong Hospital) and Susan Wallis (local mum whose daughter Gracie had to be flown to Sydney to receive specialist care at birth)
- update on Thomas Costello and his progress in the last 12 months
- interviews with Kids Fund recipient Clara Bates and her family