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Saturday, May 15, 2021

‘Hands Up 4 CBR’ to raise funds for 55 local charities

Hands Across Canberra has announced the region’s largest charitable fundraising appeal, the Hands Up 4 CBR Giving Day, joining with 55 local charities to raise $500,000.

The Canberra Day Appeal will be held on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 March across a 48-hour period to raise funds for local charities.

Peter Gordon, CEO of Hands Across Canberra (HAC), hopes the Canberra Day Appeal will help the ACT community realise there is a need to give where they live.

“Each person in Canberra donates about $400 to charity every year, something we should be very proud of. However, the majority of our donations leave our city. The perception is that Canberra is a prosperous place which often means our generosity goes to national or international causes,” he said.

“Canberra Day will be a day that we also think about what we have done locally and generously … It will be the biggest fundraising event in the Canberra calendar.”

Hands Up 4 CBR Giving Day will be introducing 55 charities to the broader Canberra community by letting them tell their story and allowing Canberrans to donate more money locally.

“Essentially all we have to do is shift the way that the donation dollar is spent to get a large proportion spent here.

“We’re not asking people to necessarily donate more to charity, just donate more to Canberra in Canberra. Give where you live.”

According to Mr Gordon, the charities involved range from perinatal to palliative care and everything in between.

“We have Oz Harvest, we have Canberra City Care who do amazing work out of Charnwood, we’ve got Raw Potential who provide youth workers who work on the streets every night … Canberra is a diverse community and the charities that we’re supporting reflect that diversity.”

2020 saw a huge increase in demand for not-for-profit services due to the impact of bushfires and COVID, but the sector has not recovered financially as the charities faced a dramatic reduction in usual donation and revenue streams as well as decreases in access to volunteers due to movement restrictions.

The Perinatal Wellbeing Centre, an organisation that cares for the perinatal mental health of new parents who are having difficulties adjusting, saw a 40% increase in demand. Yvonne Luxford, CEO of Perinatal Wellbeing Centre said the organisation is starting to feel the effects of the ongoing stress.

“The number of counselling calls we were doing went up by 57%. Not only did the number go up but as you can imagine they were much longer and intense so that was quite difficult. If you think about it from the opposite side, out staff were also incredibly anxious,” she said.

“Being at home due to COVID may have sparked some people to call more but it was really due to the bushfires, the smoke, the hailstorm, everything else that happened in the build-up and it was like COVID was the catalyst for all of that.”

For Heidi Prowse, CEO of Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT), 2020 was also a year of challenges that saw a significant increase in their clients’ needs.

“In 2019, we delivered 150 youth sessions to ACT secondary schools. We have 146 booked in February 2021,” she said.

“What I really love about the Hands Up 4 CBR Giving Day is it’s Canberra supporting their own. What we know is we’re facing big challenges in Canberra; homelessness and mental health are just some.

“Being able to provide support to this campaign and the charities coming together really allows us to have greater impact within our whole community and really support each other when moving forward to make Canberra the best place to live but also making sure it’s the best place to live for everyone.”

Any donations made during the 48-hour period will go directly to the participating charities, with every dollar doubled, supporting thousands of local lives.

“It makes such a difference to have the matching funds; it really makes a difference to donors to feel that their $1 that they’re giving is going to mean $2 going to the organisation … We almost couldn’t survive without it, it really makes a massive difference,” said Ms Luxford.

To make a donation or find other ways to get involved, visit canberraday.org.au

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