Country children’s charity Royal Far West launched its state-of-the-art Centre for Country Kids facility in Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches, in December 2018. The launch was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Michael McCormack MP; New South Wales Premier, The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian MP; and New South Wales Governor, His Excellency General, The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d).
Ushering in a new era for the 95-year-old charity, the Centre for Country Kids is Australia’s only integrated health, education and disability service dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of country children, supporting thousands of children with developmental challenges and their families. The children access support for a wide range of issues including speech and language difficulties, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, behavioural difficulties, disabilities, and mental health.
Royal Far West expects the new Centre will help increase the number of children and families supported each year, and increase the impact on rural and remote communities doing it tough in the face of severe drought conditions. Specifically, it will support the expansion of the Telecare for Kids program, as well as dramatically improving the experience for clients with complex needs who attend the charity’s Paediatric Developmental Program in Manly, strengthening Royal Far West’s goal of ensuring every country child can access the same level of health and wellbeing services as city children.
The 150 staff at the Centre include speech pathologists, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, dentists, business and corporate services teams, plus the teachers and support staff from the Royal Far West Department of Education School.
There are 25 clinic rooms, 20 Telecare Pods, breakout rooms to help regulate children between school and appointments, and recreational play spaces.
Funded by Royal Far West in conjunction with the New South Wales Government and Australian Government, and marking more than a decade of planning and building, the Centre for Country Kids will help to ensure health services for country kids are more equitable and effective.
“For nearly a century, Royal Far West has been supporting the families of rural and remote Australia. Now their reach will extend even further with this state-of-the-art facility”, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“I am thrilled the New South Wales Government has been able to give more than $15 million to support the Centre for Country Kids, which will gain international attention for its unique, integrated health, education and disability services."
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack said the Australian Government’s $10 million investment ensures rural and regional children can get the access to health and educational support services they deserve.
“For generations, Royal Far West at Manly has held a special place in the hearts of country families when it comes to making sure distance is no barrier to accessing integrated health, education and mental support”, Mr McCormack said.
“The expansion of this wonderful facility means Royal Far West can support even more country children and their families and provide the support, respite and care they need."
“We’re incredibly grateful for the funding that came from the New South Wales and Australian Governments, as well as from our corporate supporters and the public. Without their support, we wouldn’t be opening the doors on this beautiful new facility which promises to enhance and expand the depth of our help to vulnerable children in Australia who have long been falling between the cracks. This cutting-edge facility will bring us closer to meeting the ever-growing needs of country kids and communities across the nation”, said Royal Far West CEO, Lindsay Cane.