Trust support helps families

UnitingCare’s Biala has welcomed a $22,000 funding grant from a philanthropic trust to enable them to continue to provide vital respite services to children.

A not-for-profit centre, Biala doesn’t receive any government funding so relies on trusts and donations.

Established in 1981, Biala provides respite to local families with children who have additional needs. It operates from Ringwood Uniting Church site in conjunction with the church’s kindergarten.

UnitingCare’s Early Childhood Services Consultant Joy Williams said the self-funded centre in Ringwood has received $66,000 since 2013 from a generous trust, which gives children aged 0-6 years a chance to play with others in a safe environment.

“The trust is committed to helping parents in the local community, and never seeks recognition for the valuable funding it provides,” Ms Williams said.

“Parents can leave their child with confidence, they will be well cared for by loyal and strongly committed volunteers, under the direction of a coordinator.”

Biala President Ian Ware said that, as well as the trust, the generosity of community donors continues to have a significant impact on the centre.

“We need just below $30,000 to operate every year,” Mr Ware said.

“A gentleman came in from the street and offered us money because he wanted to do his bit. We are always very thankful.”

Around 45 volunteers are dedicated to bringing hope to families and support their children.

“I know what parents are going through and there is no doubt it’s tough,” Mr Ware said.

“Without our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to provide any of our services.”

The volunteers are fully trained and supported to enable a happy program with appropriate activities suitable for each child’s abilities.

“They enjoy spending time with the children and you can see how much it brings joy to the children’s lives,” Mr Ware said.

“From painting to outdoor activities, the children have so much fun and are happy.”

For more information on the Biala respite program go to www.bialaringwood.com.

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