Royal Far West has been announced as a global finalist for a $10m Macquarie 50th Anniversary Award to transform health services for country kids.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Macquarie, $50m will be awarded to five non-profit organisations ($10m each) over five years to fund projects globally that will have a lasting community benefit. The global award seeks to initiate or build on bold ideas that address a social need and will have enduring outcomes.

The six-month decision process has whittled down 1,000 applicants to just 12 finalists with Royal Far West being one of five local not for profits still in the running.

Children living in remote and very remote regions – a large proportion of the Australian landscape – are far more likely to be at risk and vulnerable than kids in the city. With our deep commitment to the needs of country children, families and communities, Royal Far West put forward to the Macquarie Foundation our plan and vision for delivering transformative change to health and wellbeing services for kids in the bush.

Royal Far West’s Macquarie Grant submission re-imagines health and learning outcomes for children in rural and remote Australia by proposing a scalable and sustainable developmental health service driven by video conferencing technology (“Telecare”) and strong community engagement, to overcome distance and chronic workforce shortages and strengthen the developmental health of country kids.

There is irrefutable evidence that timely intervention for children with developmental challenges can make a significant improvement to their life achievements. Conversely, disadvantaged and vulnerable children who can’t access the help they need, can carry that disadvantage and vulnerability well into their adult life.

We cannot alter the physical distance between country families and the help they need. But we can remove the isolation and the despair, and the feeling of being “invisible” to the health system, by delivering specialist mental health, disability and speech services directly into remote schools, homes and communities. We are honoured to partner with Macquarie in this important initiative”, says Royal Far West CEO, Lindsay Cane.

The Macquarie Foundation Award would enable Royal Far West to scale up its proven paediatric Telecare and Community Engagement services through investments in information systems and infrastructure, workforce, service delivery, and research.