It’s great to have children on-site. Our COVID Safe-modified program has been successfully operating since Term 4 2020
- We provide an update on enrolments, program modifications and site restrictions as outlined in our COVID Safe Plan
- Children from fire-ravaged areas of the South Coast of NSW visited for a much-needed break
- It’s our birthday! We are celebrating 90 years of service for public school children-in-need
- A note on the challenges of fundraising during a pandemic
We are delighted to be off to a promising start in 2021!
With the emergence of the virus in the Northern Beaches cluster in early January 2021, the Stewart House Board made the informed decision to continue with one-week groups across the first and second terms of 2021. All non-essential access to our site remains restricted. Donations in-kind are welcome and we request that you contact our office to arrange a time for drop off. Thank you!
Welcoming Those Who Missed Out in 2020
As part of our priority scheduling of those groups cancelled due to the pandemic lockdown in 2020, the first group of children arrived in February from the greater area of Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast.
The 2019/2020 summer bushfires directly impacted many of these children, experiencing emergency evacuation and property loss. The pandemic then dealt them with further setbacks.
Under our strict COVID Safe Plan, 20 children enjoyed a five-night stay where they received medical, dental and optometric assessments and treatments under our modified program before being escorted individually by Stewart House supervisors to their home addresses on Day 6.
By all accounts, it was just the break they needed!
It’s our 90th Birthday!
We are celebrating 90 years of service for public school children-in-need, and the task of fundraising remains integral to our work
“In schools, there are children badly needing disease-preventative treatment. Stewart House exists solely for these”. From our early beginnings as a Preventorium in 1931, offering respite care and remedial care and nutrition for children identified by their own teachers as being in great need, raising funds for the day-to-day running expenses was a voluntary task accepted by the Hospital and Relief Society of the NSW Teachers Federation. “The Society ask for the hearty sympathy and co-operation of every teacher in the State to make this scheme a success”.
They implored teachers in public schools and the broader community to raise money. Often, across the Great Depression, the Preventorium would be placed into temporary closure due to funding shortfalls. In those days it cost £50 per week to keep our doors open.
Fast forward to today, the fundraising load remains, and we require $5 million annually to fund our unique residential program.
We are grateful to all those who champion our cause, and in celebrating 90 years of service, we are also celebrating the support of people like you. Happy birthday and THANK YOU!
Past Student Testimonial
“…thank you for all the great times at Stewart House. I have been incredibly lucky and got to go while I was in school. I was going through some of the hardest things in my life and being there showed me to look at the positives in life and to have fun, even when things are tough. I would love to thank [the staff] for all they have done and for being there when needed. The cook with all her delicious food, amazing dinners and the rest of the staff, the ones who we don’t see who are in the office. The teachers and night staff I didn’t have. Everyone in the Stewart House staff team. I’d just like to thank them for everything.” Iesha (Facebook – February 2021)
A Note on Fundraising Challenges During the last 12 months of operating in a pandemic, we experienced challenges never before encountered in the history of our 90-long years in operation. It went beyond the most apparent setback, which was the detrimental cancellation of all face-to-face fundraising events. Uniquely the case for Stewart House, the forced shutdowns meant that: • Our doors closed immediately and without warning to the most vulnerable children across NSW and ACT • We were unable to adapt our activities online due to the nature of our program, which provides children with an out-of-home experience • The closure of all schools resulted in the suspension of school fundraising support. Traditionally, public school children, through school-based fundraising, contribute around $500,000 annually. You may know a friend, family member, or colleague interested in lending their support. Please consider forwarding this newsletter or directing them to our website to share our cause. We welcome all levels of support! We thank you for your consideration. Together we can ensure the Stewart House Program's ongoing success into the next 90 years!
On-site Wall Art
The playground in our Stewart House School received a bright update with some fun wall art
From a drab red-brick wall to a bright and cheerful cottage-style house complete with a Volkswagen Kombi in the garage, the new artwork was created by artist Hugues Sineux and took three and a half weeks to develop.
We are excited to reveal this amazing artwork in a time-lapse video that also features the musical talents of Jack Hickey, our Aboriginal Education Officer. Click on the image to view our time-lapse video of the artist in action.