Ten children from the NSW far west will be given an opportunity for a “sea change” to the Royal Far West School at Sydney’s Manly Beach, thanks to funds raised at the Schwartz Family Group hotels in NSW.
$10,000 was raised by the Schwartz hotels in 2013, and the target for 2014 is $20,000, to fund the trip for the ten children and their families to Sydney.
Royal Far West offers a team of specialist clinicians who work together to deliver a comprehensive range of multi-disciplinary healthcare services, complemented by educational programmes, and accommodation at Drummond House for visiting outback children and their families.
School of the Air teachers will identify the ten children from the western NSW regions of Dubbo, Hay and Warren, and Royal Far West will fly them to Sydney in July for their week in the Royal Far West’s specialised school in Manly.
For many of the children, the sight of water has been a rare event in recent years, let alone traffic lights and a classroom (with other children in it). The children will get to spend a week at the Royal Far West facility where each child will receive a thorough health check to identify any areas of concern and will enjoy a full schedule of school and recreational activities.
“The School of the Air does a great job, but early intervention with children to help them with learning and developmental issues is really important, and that’s what we will be looking at during the week-long programme,” said Penelope Sinton, Development Manager, Royal Far West.
“For most of the children this will be the first time they’ve been in a formal classroom in their lives, so they really benefit from the interaction with the teachers and other children. It is only one week, but we can achieve a lot in that week and then follow up via video-conference on a more regular basis.”
Penelope thanked the Schwartz Family Group for their support of the project, which she said would have life-long benefits for the ten children selected.
Greg Brady, General Manager of Mercure Sydney Central, presented the $10,000 cheque to the Royal Far West organisation on behalf of the Schwartz Family Group hotels.
“Because of our location next to Central, we have always been a very popular hotel with country visitors, so this is a great opportunity for our hotels – and the others in the Schwartz group – to give something back to these communities,” Brady said.
“They have just gone through another devastating drought and the pressure this places on communities is intense, so if we can do something to help with the future development of the regions’ children, then we see it as a very worthy contribution.”
Schwartz hotels that were involved in the programme include: Mercure Sydney Central, Ibis World Square, Ibis King Street Wharf, Novotel Newcastle and Fairmont Resort.