Hi, my name is Jacqui and I am the Business Director at Royal Far West.
What is your role at RFW?
My role as the Business Director at Royal Far West involves many of the commercial aspects of the charity, most importantly securing funding to allow us to deliver more services to more country kids, including from government, philanthropy, corporates and individual donors. At the same time the role is accountable for growing our brand and championing country kids by advocating for systems change that will improve access to services in rural and remote areas.
How long have you been here?
I have been at Royal Far West for three and a half years and in that time, I have witnessed a huge increase in demand for our services. I have also observed an increase in the complexity of kids attending the service. Many factors contribute to this but the drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are exacerbating stressors on families that can have adverse impacts on children.
What do you think makes RFW unique?
Royal Far West is unique in several ways, primarily because we are the only charity dedicated to the health and wellbeing of country children. What I find most compelling however, is how we go about doing that. We often use the phrase “no distance too far”. Although that relates to geography, in my experience it is also a reflection on our commitment to every single child and family to leave no stone unturned when it comes to delivering the best possible outcomes. We also punch above our weight—as a charity and as a health service. We deliver the only one-stop shop developmental assessment and diagnosis program in the state—and possibly Australia—and we are not frightened to go to the hardest places. One of our proudest partnerships is with Marninwartikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing WA, which is around 4,000 km from our base in Manly. Someone once referred to RFW as “humanity with smarts”. I think that about sums it up.
Tell us about a project you’ve been working on recently…
I am very fortunate to lead an amazing team who have put together a community led response to the 2019/2020 bushfire season.
We can deliver a world’s best practice response because of our innovative partnership with UNICEF Australia, who secured funding to support bushfire affected communities. This builds on our deep relationships within these communities based on decades of care and support. Our goal is to minimise the long-term adverse impacts of the disaster on the children in those communities. I visited several of these communities earlier this year and was amazed by their tenacity and resilience, however they were very clear with us that they needed and wanted help beyond the emergency response. The road to recovery will be a long one, so we will continue to stand alongside these country communities as we have done for almost 100 years.
What’s the best thing about working with families from rural and remote Australia?
The families we meet in Manly and in community always inspire me with their courage and their dedication to get the best help for their kids. They are not asking for hand outs just a hand up. It is hard when you are born and bred in the city to understand the challenges of remoteness and drought and all that comes with it. When families tell us, “you saved our family”; “you saved my child”; “we now have hope”, it is humbling and always a good reminder about why we do what we do. Ultimately it is all about the kids.
Find out more from Jacqui about how you can support our Bushfire Response Program.
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