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: 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.

Jodie O'Shea Orphanage Fish Community Solutions

Thank you Thursday: Hearts and Smiles from Bali

This month’s #ThankyouThursday is one from The Fish Chick archives. In 2014, Bianca experienced a life-changing stay at the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage:

Arriving at the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage last month wasn’t the easiest of tasks, even my driver got a bit lost. It’s in south Denpasar, Bali, and not at all in a tourist area, so I knew I was in for an eye-opening experience.

Jodie O'Shea Orphanage Fish Community Solutions

The Jodie O’Shea Orphanage was established in August 2005 in loving memory of a young Australian woman who was a victim of the 2002 Bali bombing. It reminds us all that even out of the most tragic events, truly wonderful acts of kindness and humanity can blossom and bring light to the lives of many.

I was here for almost a week, and most of that time sharing a room with two other volunteers, and I’m happy to say, I was in the top bunk! (A place I haven’t spent much time for many years!) My first morning I was awake about 7am, and I could already hear the kids running around outside. It was a Saturday, but they were already up and about, getting breakfast and ready for school. Some had already left to get to school for a 7am start! The 70 children here range from two years old to about nineteen, and go to nine different schools in the region, attending school six days a week.

Jodie O'Shea Orphanage Fish Community Solutions

There are some really fantastic volunteers spending their time here, including one very lovely young woman I met, Lauren, who is from London. Every afternoon from about 2-5pm they have activity time, organised by the volunteers. Some days we did arts and craft activities, including making masks, and other times we played games and even did some musical activities. Each day, the children have an hour of reading time, spent enjoying both Indonesian and English stories and, on a rotational basis, with an English tutor also.

The kids here are beautiful. Well looked after, they are given three nutritious meals a day, plus vitamins, and an environment that really is just like a big family. (Or an enormous family – with 70 other siblings hahaha.) Even the older kids that have left in recent years and started working come back to visit on the weekends, often staying over on the Saturday night. Like all siblings there is occasional bickering and tears, and often it’s the teens that are stepping in to sort out the younger ones.

Jodie O'Shea Orphanage Fish Community Solutions

I’ll be honest, my time at Jodie O’Shea’s was somewhat challenging, but an experience that while short, will stay with me forever. It opened my eyes a little more and confirmed that while there is hardship there is still much kindness in our world.

So this Thank You Thursday, I’d like to give a big shout out to everyone at the Jodie O’Shea Orphanage. Thank you for welcoming me during my stay. Thank you for the love and support you provide to such beautiful children. And thanks, most of all, to the kids who showed me that with big hearts resilience can always have a big smile.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

More Conferences and Meeting The Footy Lady

March was a busy month, with The Fish Chick presenting three different presentations at two conferences. The Collins & Co Not-for-profit Conference was held at the MCG on 15th March and the inspiring Susan Alberti AC was the keynote speaker.

Bianca’s two presentations, The Power of People and Key Tools for Small Charity Success, were well received and some attendees provided some really lovely feedback.

Excellent presentation Bianca. Many thanks. Your clarity and relaxed style makes it a pleasure to listen to you.

The Fish Chick was thrilled to here Sue speak about respect, responsibility and making a difference. And as a successful businesswoman and philanthropist, Sue told her story of passion, generosity and an incredible ability to take on the seemingly impossible and triumph.

Bianca was also later both delighted and honoured to meet Sue in person, and, as a fellow Western Bulldogs fan, have her sign a copy of her biography, The Footy Lady.

FIA Conference 2018

The Fish Chick recently presented at the 2018 Fundraising Institute’s conference in Sydney as part of the Toolbox track.

Her presentation was a practical session that delved into the key components of a fundraising strategy – a key document that every organisation needs.

The 8am session attracted a room full of eager participants ready to learn and early feedback has been very positive:

I attended your session on at FIA 2018 and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. There was a lot to take in given the time available but it was choc-full of useful tips and a simple guide, which I plan to use as a framework as I build our own FR strategy.

 

Fundraising strategy is a topic that comes up as you know at every conference (and I have been to a few of them), but your approach really stood out for me as a way to demystify the thinking around this. Your fundraising strategy structure is so simple and practical but is still comprehensive in terms of what needs to be covered. Thank you so much for sharing.

 

It was great to be part of such an inspiring conference this year and big thanks to all involved in organising a fabulous program.