Help for Carers comes full circle

The Millennial generation are often labelled as the ‘me’ generation but the uncomfortable truth is that 420,000 Australians under 24 are caring for a disabled or severely ill parent, brother or sister.

This phenomenon is something Founder of Carers Foundation Australia, Ronnie Benbow, is determined will not go unnoticed.

This year, with the help of a $50,000 grant from Queensland giving circle Women and Change, Ronnie provided respite for almost 100 Queensland teen carers suffering stress or depression associated with caring.

“We have given these teens, who are often isolated from friends because of their caring responsibilities, the opportunity to be supported and connect with other people in similar situations,” Ronnie said.

“This is often for the first time they have met other teens and friends who can relate to exactly what they’re going through,” she said.  “Teenage carers arrive to our wellness programs totally stressed, full of anxiety, mostly depressed, angry and resentful – the suicidal thoughts amongst them is a great concern.”

They have no choice but to do what they do and they see things as children they should never have to see,” says Ronnie.  “Yet after three days in our care they are transformed.”

Ronnie explained that funding for this important respite is hard to come by and that a group of community minded Queensland women had come to the rescue.

“Women and Change, a group of over fifty women, pooled their funds and chose us as their grant recipient last year,” says Ronnie.

Women and Change is Queensland’s first ‘giving circle’ and has given away over $250,000 since it was established in 2014. Each year at least 50 members donate $1000* to provide an annual $50,000 grant to a Queensland charity helping people in need.

Our grant process uncovers hidden figures like Ronnie and the Carers Foundation who are putting their heart and soul into helping people whose needs we either don’t hear about or understand,” says Chair of Women and Change. Genevieve Fraser.

“As individuals we could not afford to support a programme like this but together we have been able to change the lives of these teens,” she said.

“Previous grants have helped change the lives of Queenslanders in need from refugee women in the city (Muooz restaurant) to families geographically isolated from health services in outback Queensland (Outback Futures).”

“When our members heard from Ronnie at our voting night they saw that the Carers Foundation permanently changed the lives of these teenage carers.

“Finding funding for these activities is a constant struggle for a grass roots community group like Carers Foundation.”

“Our 2019 grant application process closes at the end of August and we are keen to see which great causes this uncovers,” said Genevieve.

*Women and Change

Women and Change Young members donate $500 per annum while Ordinary members donate $1000 in either a lump sum or monthly payments with 100% of funds being tax deductible. 100% of donated funds are provided to the charity selected by the members.

**Carers Foundation mid-year report to Women and Change showed that

  • 100% attendees learnt a new strategy to use when returning home so they can cope
  • 98% of children stated they were less depressed than on arrival (reduction in suicidal tendencies)
  • 97% reported reduced anxiety with levels of up to 10/10 on arrival, reduced to 1-3/10 on departure
  • 99% reported they were much happier and less stressed