Thank You Thursday: Dedicated Doulas

With less than 10% of Australian women having the same medical professionals through pregnancy and birth, a doula can bring continuity and fill the gap.  But what is a doula?

From the Greek word meaning ‘servant of a woman’, a doula is a trained birth support companion who provides practical and emotional support and information to a woman during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

Fish Chick elected as Fellow of FIA

At the 2019 Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) conference, during the 20th AGM, our own Fish Chick was elected as a Fellow of the Institute.

Election as a Fellow is a professional honour that is awarded following intense peer review and careful consider by the FIA Board of Directors. Fellowship recognised the achievements of an FIA member in their drive to be an outstanding fundraising professional.

This is a wonderful honour, and quite humbling, to be recognised in this way by my peers,” said Bianca.

FIA Chairman, James Garland, and CEO, Katherine Raskob, presented Bianca with her certificate, as pictured above.

 

Thank You Thursday: A Delicious Destiny

December is here and Christmas is fast-approaching. It’s a time of giving, sharing, tinsel and, of course, pudding! So, when choosing your pudding, Christmas treats or even gifts why not look for an option that is also having some social impact in the world too?

The Diamond Collection is a boutique range of quality goods handmade with love and care by some very special women in regional NSW. The collection includes an exclusive chocolate range made with the finest Belgian Callebaut® chocolate and at this time of the year, they specialise in Christmas puddings!

The Diamond Collection operates as a social enterprise of Destiny Haven, a non-profit residential place of healing for women whose lives have been shattered by life-controlling illnesses such as addiction, eating disorders and self-harm. Set on a beautiful 42 acre property in the picturesque Hunter Valley, Destiny Haven provides the professional, physical and emotional nurturing needed to restore the health and capacity of women.

In addition to generating income to support the much-needed service for our most disadvantaged women, The Diamond Collection also provides training and opportunity for them to learn skills that can transfer into employment in the future.

Destiny Haven’s residential program is unlike many other recovery programs in that it is long-term and women can reside there for up to a year or more. Residents live in a warm and caring family environment, sharing daily life and responsibilities of the household.

The Christmas puddings are made from quality ingredients with a three-generation recipe, cooked in the traditional coppers and wrapped in calico. Also on offer are the pudding truffle balls, a beautiful milk chocolate ganache blended with the homemade puddings and encased in a rich dark chocolate shell.

So this Christmas, we’d like to give a shout out to the team at Destiny Haven and their Diamonds. And, if it’s not with Destiny Haven, try to find others where you can be a little more sustainable with your shopping and gift-giving.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: Community Connections

A recent report by VicHealth suggested that there is a new public health challenge emerging and it might not be what most of you would think. It’s loneliness.

According to VicHealth “loneliness is proving to be more than just part of the human condition. New research shows it’s a serious public health problem, for young people as much as the elderly“.

While it may not be a surprise that loneliness can have links to depression, global studies are showing links but the idea that loneliness can be associated to poorer cardiovascular health, faster cognitive decline rates and possibly even dementia.

There’s a stigma to loneliness too, but a new Australian non-profit is here to change that.

Friends for Good raises awareness of loneliness as a significant issue in the community and addresses gaps in services to foster a greater sense of connection and wellbeing for individuals and communities. They are doing research, educating the community and providing services targeted to socially isolated people.

They are currently conducting an online survey, called Time We Talked, where from almost 600 respondents they are learning that over a quarter are currently feeling lonely. Earlier this year Friends for Good launched Friendline, a support line for anyone who is suffering from or affected by loneliness.

And in November, the organisation will host the first national conference on loneliness in Australia. The Australian Loneliness Dialogue aims to bring people together to understand loneliness in our communities, raise the profile of this issue and to develop recommendations for actions required by government, policy makers and practitioners.

This Thank You Thursday we give a shout out to the team and Friends for Good. In a short amount of time this small non-profit already seems to be punching above its weight. We look forward to seeing how they foster connections and build community further as they grow.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: Bales of Love

Here in Australia we live in the second-driest continent in the world with average rainfall less than 600mm every year on most parts of the land.  Across the country, April to June this year has been the fourth-driest in over 100 years. Drought is definitely upon us.

For many Australians this concept of drought is an abstract thing, but for the farming families living on the land it is their every day reality.  Diminished crops, dwindling feed for livestock, water levels in creeks and dams dry up and eroding land is damaged.

For many farmers, even some in their 60s, this is the worst drought they’ve experienced in their lifetime. And recent rainfalls across parts of NSW have not really made much difference. It will take much longer, and much more rain, to see improvements in agriculture, let alone end the drought.

Two small non-profits have been working to help Aussie farmers before the drought, but are really stepping things up and advocating for them through this really tough time.

Rural Aid was founded in 2015 by Charles and Tracey Alder to provide a holistic support program to rural Australia after hearing about how some farmers were having to shoot their own cattle and being forced off the land. One of their main initiatives is Buy a Bale and helps get bales of hay to farmers in need. A trailer of hay can cost up to $2,500 and sometimes up to $5,000 in transportation costs which can often mean the difference between cattle surviving or not.

Friends Natasha Johnston and Nicki Blackwell began Drought Angels just over four years ago when they heard stories of farmers – who were working hard to feed Aussie families – were struggling to put food on their own tables. Among the support that they provide, they ensure a personalised approach with the provision of food hampers, care packs, prepaid visas, local store vouchers, stock feed and hay.

Rural Day Off is one of their initiatives that invites farming families to a day off their properties. They have a whole day to socialise, feel valued and reminded they are not alone. Mental and emotional wellbeing are an important part of healthy farming communities and the Rural Day Off helps provide some time out in a relaxed and friendly environment.

So this Thank You Thursday, we say the heartiest thanks to the founders of these two wonderful organisations and the work that they each do in supporting farmers.  But perhaps the biggest thanks should go to the Aussie farmers who work so hard, day in, day out, for their entire lives to grow the crops and breed the livestock that help feed our country.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

 

Thank You Thursday: Less Plastics, More Boomerangs

On the weekend, Western Australia and Queensland introduced state-wide bans on thin plastic bags, joining Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania and South Australia – who was first to ban the bags almost 10 years ago now. We’re hoping Victoria and NSW will follow suit soon as some of the biggest retailers also introduced national bans. Billions of single-use plastic bags are given out at major retailers across the country and millions end up in landfill, or damaging the environment in other ways.

There’s been one little non-profit that has been working to reduce plastic bags for a few years, and with these recent bans, things are really heating up for them. Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags – community made, using recycled materials.

Businesses and shops in towns and suburbs across the country have been introducing Boomerang Bags in the hundreds. The idea is then that customers treat them like boomerangs, using them to take their purchases home and then bringing bags back to the store another day.

Boomerang Bags began on the Gold Coast in 2013. Two locals, Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer, wanted to do something about reducing the number of plastic bags in their local beachside community of Burleigh Heads. Today there are hundreds of Boomerang Bag communities across the country and has expanded internationally now as well.

Boomerang Bags are a simple, yet meaningful way to connect with others in just four easy steps…

  1. Connect to a bag community or start your own
  2. Collect materials – scrap materials, old quilts, table cloths are great
  3. Make the bags – get together with your group and get sewing
  4. Put them to use again, and again, and again!

Have a watch of this short video…

 

While plastic bags are not the only problematic materials creating havoc with our environment – and most notably sea life such as fish, whales and turtles – reducing the usage of plastic bags is a great first step as a country we can do in reducing our waste. And it’s been so fabulous to have the team at Boomerang Bags – and the many communities of volunteers around the country – making headway with this journey.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.