Biloela respite provider, Endeavour Foundation, has said that the fundraising efforts of the local community have helped to give families invaluable support in the most challenging of circumstances.
For local mum Julie, that means the opportunity to re-charge her batteries after caring for her ten year old son, Clayton, who has complex needs.
“Clayton is a very full-on little boy – a beautiful child but very challenging. You never know what you’re going to get in a day, but you can guarantee it will be hard work!
“Accessing respite has been life-changing for us, once we were able to get over the guilt of handing his care over to someone else for a few days. I think, as a parent, you feel like you’re not doing your job if you have to ask for help. Fortunately we were persuaded to give respite a go and, while it took a good 12-18 months to stop feeling bad about it, we now realise that those days help you to recover and find the energy for another few weeks of round-the-clock care,” Julie said.
“You’re always so busy concentrating on staying strong and looking after your child that you don’t look after yourself. That’s where respite has been amazing. We get a long weekend once a month where we can relax and do some things for ourselves. And Clayton loves the team at Endeavour Foundation – if he didn’t, I can tell you now there’s no way we’d get him there!
“For a time he went there once a fortnight, but we stepped that back because we were conscious that there are a lot of other families who need the service too, and we didn’t want to be greedy.
“Knowing that there’s somewhere he can go at short notice, where he feels happy and people understand his disabilities means the world. At a time when people have less and less family support, having that sort of back-up when you need it is invaluable.”
Thanks to the work of the Biloela Reference Group, who will once again host their annual Cent Sale on Sunday, 27 November and Carols by Candlelight event during December, the facility continues to provide individualised support to people with a disability from a single night up to two weeks.
Local woman Aileen Trace says that the group is motivated by a desire to ensure that the community remains aware and supportive of disability issues.
“Endeavour Foundation has always had fantastic support in Biloela and, having been instrumental in securing a respite facility for the area, the Reference Group decided to keep going and ensure that those services continue to meet the needs of the local community.
“Our numbers have gone up and down over the years but one of the really wonderful things is that most group members don’t have a personal connection to Endeavour Foundation - they simply recognise a need and want to help.”
Since the establishment of the centre, the group has continued to raise funds to provide equipment and enhance its facilities.
“We have three fundraising events a year. Their purpose is both to keep a focus on disability within the Biloela community and to supply the house with any extra things they might need. We previously bought a lot of play equipment, and future funds will be ploughed into making the outdoor play area even better,” Aileen said.
“We raise roughly $8,000 a year, which is incredible. The success of our events has just grown and grown. Biloela has always been a generous town, particularly in support of Endeavour Foundation. The general public give us an amazing level of support, which has meant we can do great things for local people with a disability.
“All the money stays in Biloela, and that’s a good thing. Everyone knows exactly where it’s going – they know their money stays within this community and is put to the best possible use.”