August 2020 Newsletter

This year has provided us with unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. But as a generous supporter, you’ve helped to make possibilities a reality for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.

During these tough times, your kindness has supported people with an intellectual disability across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

When we were deeply concerned for the mental wellbeing and safety of the people we support during isolation, you made sure that they were not alone.

When services across our community closed, you helped to quickly adapt our services and reach everyone in need.

Your generosity has helped provide the care and connection needed during uncertain times.

Andrew Donne, CEO

Impact in action

Here are just some of the ways you have helped our community during COVID-19

Thank you to all our incredible supporters and staff who have helped to make this, and more, happen during a great time of need.

Keeping in touch during COVID-19

You have helped provide the care and connection needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restrictions and changes to routine can increase feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety. With the closure of many services and programs, we wanted to stay connected, despite being physically apart.

This soon led to the launch of new and exciting initiatives, including ‘The Big Box of Fun’ and the ‘Thrive Online Hub’.

These initiatives have only been possible with the support of our valued donors. Our community pulled together and made sure no one was left unsupported, unhelped and alone. With new ways to have fun, get creative and learn, you’ve once again helped make possibilities a reality.

A joke from Alex

Get ready for a genuine giggle.

Here’s the latest rib-tickler from our ambassador and resident jokester, Alex.

Q: What kind of candy is never on time?

A: ChocoLATE

Thanks to donations from kindhearted supporters, 158 boxes with a variety of arts, crafts and games were packed and distributed.

Each care package is filled with opportunities to learn, create, connect and play while staying safe at home. And half the fun is unpacking them!

Home residents in Lawnton, Queensland, were all smiles when their boxes were delivered, challenging one another to rousing games of Dominoes and Connect 4.

In Southport, Queensland, residents tested their skills and concentration with Jenga blocks, carefully building towers to rival our famous Gold Coast skyscrapers!

Arts and crafts supplies were also used to fold beautiful origami cranes. These colourful paper birds now decorate their home—a happy reminder of what can be achieved during times of crisis.

Helping our customers flourish at home

You’ve helped people across our community to thrive, even during the challenges of COVID-19. Thanks to the generosity of supporters, the Thrive Online Hub was launched. At the height of the pandemic, it was an accessible and adaptable resource which helped support the health and wellbeing of our community and their families at home.

Some of the hub’s most popular sections have been cooking, keeping in touch and arts and crafts. Gardening is another favourite, sparking joy, purpose and relaxation for customers and their families.

The Thrive Online Hub has also allowed us to take our Learning and Lifestyle program online with a series of easily accessible videos.

Check out our Thrive Online Hub resources

  • Simple steps for thriving at home
  • Staying connected with loved ones online
  • Practising numeracy and literacy
  • Growing a vegetable garden from kitchen scraps
  • Using relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety

Getting creative in the kitchen

There’s never been a better time to learn to cook at home. Whatever your age or taste, cooking and preparing food is a valuable life skill that builds confidence and independence.

The Thrive Online Hub includes a compilation of easy and nutritious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

The recipes offer an opportunity to practice skills like chopping, grating, baking and using kitchen appliances.

Some, like JP (pictured above) from Bunya Creek QLD, don’t just prepare and cook the food, they shop for it as well. It’s heartwarming to share with you how proud he is of his culinary creation.

Pulling together to get the job done

With many programs and services shut down due to COVID-19, our Service Design Team was keen to support our community with at home activities, including Sudoko, crosswords, word searches and colouring pages.

The team was spending hours each day printing and collating materials to send out to over 150 homes.

Peter Dirkx, our Corporate Partnership Manager, shared that it was important to get the material out as quickly as possible.

“But with almost 12,000 pages to print, collate, staple and box, it was more than our team could handle.”

When Canon Business Services heard about their efforts, they were keen to get involved and make life a little easier.

Within 48 hours of emailing the files, all of the documents were printed to order and delivered to our Service Centre.

“It would have taken three or four of our staff an entire week to complete this job. We’re so grateful for our valued partnership with Canon Business Services and their willingness to help out in a time of need.”

Smartphones put the social in distance

Connections with family, friends and community play a significant role in our mental and emotional health.

But with social distancing measures, many vulnerable members of our community haven’t been able to socialise as they normally would.

With the generous support of people like you, over 124 smartphones were delivered to homes across three states. By using apps like Skype and Messenger, loved ones and their friends are able to talk in real-time, on a regular basis.

Like Heidi, (pictured above) who was delighted to get a video call from her friend Michelle.

“We chatted about doing crafts, making coffee, baking, dancing and exercising.”

Like many other friends and family members, Michelle was grateful for the peace of mind she got from the conversation.

“It was so reassuring to see my friend happy, safe and coping well in home isolation.”

Art to honour Katie

Katie and her mother Mandy loved to visit QArt Gallery in Kew, Victoria.

Part of Endeavour Foundation, QArt Studio and Gallery provides employment, mentoring and training for a talented group of professional artists with disability.

Katie and Mandy would spend many happy hours viewing the artwork and browsing the store. They enjoyed supporting the artists by purchasing unique gifts and cards for every occasion. Living close by, Katie would even sneak in occasionally and buy gifts for Mandy, knowing how much her mum loved

the jewellery, the artworks and the crafts.

Mandy says Katie was her own distinctive personality. “She had a passion for social justice, and she was known for her love for others, her wit and her insight.”

“She loved children. She volunteered at a special school and worked with young children with disabilities.”

When Katie passed last year, her loss was deeply felt. Mandy wanted to make sure Katie was honoured with an urn that truly represented the life Katie lived and the person she was.

After searching for a long while, Mandy approached QArt manager Jan Rowlinson about commissioning a special piece, it felt like the perfect solution.

“We could pay tribute to Katie’s vibrant personality while also supporting the artists Katie admired.”

Jan agreed, and once COVID-19 restrictions permit, Jan and Mandy will meet to finalise the urn’s design.

Just as it was for Katie, QArt continues to be a source of joy and inspiration for many. Here, artists with disability are supported to reach their artistic potential thanks to the generosity of people like you.

If you’d like to know more about QArt and how you can help further their activities, please visit

Creating a lasting legacy

Endeavour Foundation residents in Mackay, Queensland, have a sparkling new pool, thanks to a generous gift left by Mr William Bickmore in his Will.

Two of our accessible homes in Mackay have always shared a pool and outdoor area. It’s a unique set-up that provides highly valued exercise and recreation opportunities.

But the pool was in disrepair and unusable. Mr Bickmore’s gift funded the installation of a new pool and refurbished outdoor area. Operations Manager (Home), Andrea Dobson said the residents were involved in every step of the renovation process.

“They helped make decisions, right down to choosing the colour and texture of the tiles for the pool.”

Residents wasted no time testing out the upgraded facilities. The new pool is already providing physical and mental health benefits and will continue to do so for years to come.

Generosity runs in the family Mr Bickmore was a long-time, respected member of the community. He was married in Mackay on 28 August 1928 and his son John was born in 1931. John, who passed in 2018, was also a well-known local. He raised funds for and supported the Mackay Souths rugby league team for many years.

Considering making a gift in your Will?

Contact our Planned Giving Coordinator, Sharon Johnson by phone (07) 3908 7134 for a confidential discussion or email to find out more about leaving your lasting legacy.

A place that feels like home

You are helping to provide modern and accessible homes with the recent renovation of a residential house in Doolan Street, Nambour.

The once vacant and unsafe property has been transformed into a spacious, fit-for purpose home with lovely surrounds.

Properties like the one at Doolan Street provide an opportunity for people with disability to be independent, living how and with whom they wish.

Having access to supported accommodation that is affordable and specifically suited to the needs of people with disability can be life changing.

We’ve seen how sharing a home with someone the same age, or with the same interests, can improve a person’s mental wellbeing, friendships and community connections.

But finding suitable accommodation for people with disability isn’t always possible. In Australia, there is a severe shortage of affordable housing that supports people with disability in accessing critical services, work and transport.

The best way we can help is to build new homes and refurbish properties to meet the needs of someone with disability. And it’s the generous support of our donors that helps make this happen.

Together, we can create a place where people feel at home.