16th November, 2020

High risk and vulnerable children who are in crisis situations will benefit from a landmark $10,000 grant from The Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation.   

Wishlist announced the grant today to help to provide ‘Kits for Kids’ for children of all ages who enter out-of-home-care.

The ‘kits’ are essentially backpacks filled with new clothes like pyjamas, underwear and casual clothes, plus a soft toy, books, baby care items if needed and basic grooming necessities.

This year alone, almost 100 vulnerable children have been given these backpacks from Child Protection Liaison Unit (CPLU) officers which operate out of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS).

Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said the unit had facilitated the care of around 430 children and adolescents over the past year.

“This simple gesture of a bag with resources and special items for a child can offer comfort in the most distressing and traumatic time in their life,” Ms Rowe said.

“Children who enter out-of-home care often have no personal items of their own and are in crisis situations. The CPLU officers are now able to provide resources on health, developmental and trauma to support and educate parents and carers on key issues and services, thanks to the funding of these Kits for Kids.”

The Heritage Bank Foundation’s Executive Officer Paul Olds said Wishlist’s application for funding struck at the core of the foundation’s mission to support organisations who deliver lasting and positive impacts in the lives of people.

“It was not an easy task to select the successful recipients for our first grant round at a foundation, as we received applications from so many terrific charities,” Mr Olds said.

“We chose Wishlist because our staff really like what Wishlist do and want to get behind such a great project.” 

Ms Rowe said for children in care, the resources not only provided basic provisions, but comfort and assurance that someone cares.

“A CPLU health advisor recently told me of a little boy who had just entered care who was very excited to receive a pack. He thanked the staff member and said it was his birthday the week before but he didn’t get anything because he mum and dad had a big fight. There had been a major domestic violence incident which resulted in the children entering care. 

“He then proceeded to pull everything out the bag and was most impressed by the $3 torch, he immediately changed into his new shorts and t-shirt and went around all household members saying ‘look at my new clothes’.”

The Heritage Bank Charitable Foundation has directed $10,000 to Wishlist for ‘Kits for Kids’ to be purchased and distributed to vulnerable children accessing care through the CPLU over the next 12 months.