help a child at St Mary’s Children’s Home this Christmas

jane-and-babyI always try and wrap a bit of kindness into my Christmas each year, doing small things in the hope it makes someone’s Christmas a little brighter. But my friend Jane Shakespeare has taken this sentiment to a whole new level this Christmas – she has started a charity in Australia to support an orphanage in Sierre Leone, West Africa.

St Mary’s Children’s Home, in Bo Town, Sierre Leone was established in 1999. It offers shelter, food, care, love and support to war orphans, homeless, vulnerable and separated children. St Mary’s is currently home to 38 children, and there are a further 80 children being supported in an outreach program.

Jane first travelled to Sierre Leone in West Africa in 2006 as part of her university degree. Jane was immediately struck by the poverty, and the plight of women and children, in this war ravaged country.


Wanting to do something about it, on her return home, Jane set about raising money and collecting non-electric sewing machines.

“I placed an advert in the local paper asking for non-electric sewing machines to be donated to send out to the women’s groups I’d come across. It was obvious to me that if the women had their own sewing machines they could make their own fabrics into garments to sell, cutting out the middle man. I thought I might get 20 or so donated and ended up collecting 176 which was quite overwhelming,” she says.

On that trip, Jane also met Father Peter Konteh, founder of St Mary’s Children’s Home, an orphanage in Bo Town, Sierra Leone. He was also president of the Desert Flower Foundation that fights against genital mutilation of young women, a practise still rife in parts of Africa.

Having seen first hand the orphanage, Jane became a sponsor of a child at St Mary’s, and actively encouraged friends to also.

Over the years, Jane stayed in contact with Father Konteh and earlier this year heard about the increased number of orphans due to the Ebola outbreak, and the problems his orphanage was experiencing. St Mary’s resources were being stretched beyond capacity and raising money became increasingly urgent. Jane again decided to do something about it and set up a Australian charity to help raise funds for the orphanage.

“My objective is to show ordinary people around the world how they could help in their own small way.”

For $10 you can buy a child pens and pencils for a whole year, for $25 you can send a child to school for one month, and for $33 you can buy a bag of rice – the orphanage need eight bags of rice to feed the children.

“Every little bit counts” Jane says.

Jane would be very grateful for you to consider a gift big or small to help the kids in “her” orphanage this Christmas. To learn more about what Jane is doing click here, follow on facebook click here, to make a donation to St Mary’s click here.

“It is inspiring to think we are capable of reaching out and helping in whatever little way we can. I consider myself a normal person – not particularly special – all I did was help the only way I knew how,“ she says.

Learn more about St Mary’s Children’s Home here, visit

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Brisbane Christmas market for charity – 1pm to 4 pm this Sunday 30th November 2014

If you live in Brisbane and dont have anything to do this Sunday 30th November, then check out the Indulge Designer Markets at Brisabne Montessori School, in support of Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation.


The market will have stalls selling designer accessories, ladies fashion, swimwear and lingerie, beauty products, home décor, gift ware and children’s products, gourmet food and more.

There will be plenty to do, including entertainment, including a fashion show, make-up technique demonstrations, and a presentation by Annette Sym who will share “How to Survive Christmas, Have Your Christmas Cake and Eat it Too” with a live cooking demonstration.

There are free activities for kids too, free sport activities run by I Feel Good 24/7 Middle Park gym on the main lawn, face-painting and a toy workshop run by Touchwood Toys and Crafts.

When: this Sunday 30th November 2014 from 1pm to 4pm
Where: Brisbane Montessori School Hall, Mactier Street, Fig Tree Pocket, it is a free local community event with free onsite parking.
More info: visit Indulge Designer Market or visit their facebook page
Charity that it supports: This market will raise funds for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation.The first 100 families will receive a jam packed goodie bag for $2 donation and will be in the running to win a $1000 Xennox Diamonds voucher. Plus there are also amazing raffle prizes donated by generous sponsors with all proceeds going to RBWH Foundation.

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The Children Act – 6pm Tuesday 25 November, Brisbane

YAC The Children ActYou are invited to a very special book reading. A reading of ‘The Children Act’, at 6pm Tuesday 25th November at Banco Court, Supreme Court Building, Brisbane.

Dame Quentin Bryce will be reading from Ian McEwan’s lastest novel ‘The Children Act’ followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Matthew Condon, author and journalist, with:

Justice David Boddice, Supreme Court of Queensland
Dr Richard Roylance, Eminent Paediatrician

Dr Conor Brophy, Chairperson, RBWH Ethics Committee
Gwenn Murray, Criminologist/Children’s Rights Advocate

Ian McEwan is a UK author.  He has written 13 novels so far. His best seller ‘Amsterdam’ won the highly prestigious Man Booker Prize in 1998.  He is also well known for his novel ‘Atonement’ which was made into a movie starring Keira Knightly in 2007.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 10.10.29 am‘The Children Act’ is a story about a UK High Court judge dealing with a case involving a 17 year old. The boy urgently needs a blood transfusion, but he and his parents are Jehovah’s Witness and they decline the treatment on religious grounds. The case comes before a judge (as the child is under 18), and the novel tracks her deliberations.

There are many parallels with this story and the work that Youth Advocacy Centre does, representing and advocating for young people under 18.

Youth Advocacy Centre was established in 1981 and offers free legal services, youth support and family support assistance and services to young people generally 10 to 18 years (inclusive) particularly those who are in, or are at risk of being in, the youth justice and/or the child protection systems, and who live in or around the greater Brisbane region.

Youth Advocacy Centre have asked Dame Quentin to be involved in this fundraiser, as she was involved in helping establish Youth Advocacy Centre more than 30 years ago.

Dame Quentin will be doing a reading from the book, which will then be followed by a panel discussion to debate some of the key issues in the story from a legal, medical, ethical and advocacy perspective.

Event details:
6pm – 8pm Tuesday 25th November 2014
Banco Court, Supreme Court Building, Law Courts Complex, 304 George St, Brisbane
$50 per person, including light refreshments
Tickets can be booked through ticketing website Eventbrite

To allow for court security procedures, please arrive punctually.

Copies of ‘The Children Act’ will be available for purchase on the night through Avid Reader

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The FIRST HOUR is most critical – be Stroke aware

I have had a bit of a realisation lately.  A realisation that I am getting old.  People my age are dying of health conditions, that I had thought only affected “old people”.  I was shocked, and saddened to hear about a 39 year old Victorian man who had a heart attack at the Mooloolaba Iron Man last month, and thanks to a Stroke Awareness campaign kicking off tomorrow. on World Stroke Day, I have learnt that 30% of stroke survivors are of working age – and that is me!

I have learnt that in the hour I spend having my morning coffee (I wish I had a hour to have my morning coffee!); six people will have a stroke. Two of these people will recover, two will die and two will be left with a disability that will impact their ability to carry out everyday tasks, for the rest of their lives.

Stroke is the second biggest killer and leading cause of disability in Australia. 

Stroke does not discriminate – the stroke community encompasses people from all walks of life, ages and from across Australia. These people are our parents, partners, friends, colleagues, children and even me!

So, what is a Stroke?

Blood travels to the brain in blood vessels, called arteries. A stroke is when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly cut off.  This can happen in two ways:

  1. Blood can stop moving through the artery when it gets blocked by a clot;
  2. When an artery bursts.

A stroke can cause the same kind of brain injury as a serious car crash and needs the same urgent medical treatment.

Around 65% of those living with stroke suffer a disability that impedes their ability to carry out daily living activities unassisted. Because the brain controls the way we think, move, speak, eat – stroke can leave people with a wide range of problems including difficulty getting about, difficulty thinking and remembering, difficulty doing everyday tasks and difficulty speaking or understanding.

The most interesting fact is that most strokes are preventable. There are some simple steps we can do take control of our own health. Too many people are unaware of their stroke risk and what steps they can take to reduce that risk.

For example, around 64% of Australians have three or more risk factors for stroke. Nearly four million Australians over 25 have high blood pressure, but many do not know their blood pressure numbers. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Risk factors for stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, high alcohol consumption, being overweight or obese, and being physically inactive.

Simple things can make a big difference. Making postive changes to your lifestyle such as stopping smoking, controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol can drastically reduce your risk of stroke.

Time is a vital weapon against stroke

Would you know what to do if someone were having a stroke?  Every single minute counts. The sooner a person having a stroke gets help and critical treatment, the better the chance of survival and quality of life.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 29th October is World Stroke Day, and The Stroke Foundation would like to educate more Australians to recognise the signs of stroke – and what to do when they see one happening – to ultimately cut the level of death and disability dramatically.

FAST is an easy way to remember and recognise the signs of stroke, and it is easy to remember:

Face – Has the persons mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs call, triple zero (000).


This World Stroke Day (Oct 29) the National Stroke Foundation have a goal to educate all Australians to recognise the signs of stroke and to know what to do – FAST.

This knowledge could save the life of your colleague, family member or friend.

The National Stroke Foundation would like to ask you to support their First Hour campaign, and donate one hour’s pay on World Stroke Day.

Just one hour’s pay.

It doesn’t seem like much, but collectively it will make a huge difference.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of stroke, and critical funds to deliver life-saving education and support to thousands of Australians.

Visit The Stroke Foundation to find out more, like them on facebook and twitter.








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The Women’s Weekend High Tea – this Saturday 11th October 2014

Fancy an outing with the girls this Saturday, 10am the 11th October, yes TOMORROW, in support of the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers?  Then read on – there are still tickets available to this fabulous event, featuring two very stylish, clever and funny ladies: Lise Carlaw (Re:MY Style) and Sarah Wills (Pearls of Willsdom).


There will be fashion styling featuring designs from Leina Broughton and Dress Temple and there will be fabulous prizes from supporters VN Hairdressing, Putia Pure Food Kitchen and Pantry by Chef Dominique Rizzo and Hilton Hotel.

Be Breast Aware! October is breast cancer awareness month and as part of this tickets can be purchased for $50 if BREAST is entered on checkout.

Tanya Hornick is organising this High Tea as part of her fundraising as a participant in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers.  Tanya’s goal is to raise over $3,200 for the charity prior to walking 60km on 25 and 26 October. Women’s Cancers is close to Tanya’s heart as her mother, and other family members and friends have all been affected by women’s cancers.

The money raised will be used for breast and gynaecological cancers research and treatments at QIMR Berghofer and RBWH.


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make charity the winner this #MelbCup 2014

MelbourneCupI seem to have collected a highly organised, fun-loving and philanthropic Queensland based Melbourne Cup group who wait for this very post each year.  I have been given several nudges to hurry up and collate their charitable Melbourne Cup options in Brisbane for them, so without further ado, here it is!  Please let me know by comment if I have missed any.  I hope this encourages lots of punters to seek out charity as the true winner this Melbourne Cup day:

In no particular order….

PJFMelbourne Cup Garden Party supporting The Pyjama Foundation
Where: 11am – 3pm at Victoria Park Golf Complex
Price / inclusions: $145 pp incl.canapés on arrival, three course gourmet luncheon, 4 hour Platinum beverage package and Moet ‘Ice’ cocktails, fashion parade (Petrol and Studio 196) sweeps and live coverage of the race. Raffle proceeds to The Pyjama Foundation.
More info / buy tickets: email or call 3252 0666
About the charity: There are 39,000 Australian kids in foster care.  The Pyjama Foundation screen and train volunteers called Pyjama Angels, our Pyjama Angels are matched with a child in foster care, they visit the same child every week, for 1.5 hours to read books aloud, play educational games and work on their numeracy skills.


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.34.02 pmVeuve Cliqout Rooftop Garden Party supporting Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
Where: 11:30am – 3:30pm at Limes Hotel 142 Constance Street, Fortitude Valley
Price / inclusions: $165 pp (or $155 for groups of 5+) for canapes and substantial meal option, 4 hour beverage package incl flowing Veuve Cliqout Champagne, live coverage of the race, sweeps, prizes for best dressed – hosted by Mike Goldman
More info / buy tickets: online
About the charity: The Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF) hopes to connect all mitochondrial disease sufferers. To provide support and practical information that will improve the quality of life for sufferers and their families.

MontroseAccessMelbourne Cup Day supporting Montrose Access
Where: from 10am at Verdant Restaurant, GardenWay Darra
Price / inclusions: $69 pp incl. glass of sparkling on arrival, three course alternate drop menu, pamper station, lucky door prizes, big screen, sweeps and raffles benefiting Montrose Access.
More info / buy tickets: phone 3375 2108 or visit
About the charity: MontroseAccess provides therapy, respite and recreation services to more than 600 children and young adults with physical disabilities throughout Queensland.


GuideDogsQLDMelbourne Cup at Cloudland supporting Guide Dogs Queensland (TWO OPTIONS)
Where: Cloudland, 641 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

Price / inclusions: $180 pp ($1,700 for a table of 10) incl. canapés and three course sit down lunch, 3.5 hour drink package including Mumm Champagne, $10 from each ticket will be donated to Guide Dogs Queensland.
Price / inclusions: $99 pp, selection of appetising canapés, 3 hour drink package incl. French Bubbles, raffle proceeds go to Guide Dogs Queensland.
More info / buy tickets: email or call 3852 5000
About the charity: Guide Dogs Queensland aim to equip, empower and educate Queenslanders who are blind or vision impaired.


Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.15.02 pmMad Hatters Melbourne Cup supporting Celebral Palsy League
Where: 11:30am at Loft West End, 100 Boundary Street, West End
Price / inclusions: $95 pp (early bird $85) includes a three hour beverage package, three course lunch, live entertainment, fashions on the field, raffles, sweeps and more
More info / buy tickets: online or phone 07 3846 6680
About the charity: The Cerebral Palsy League is a non-profit organisation that provides vital support and services to more than 8,000 children and adults with disabilities in Queensland and Northern NSW. Visit the CPL website, follow on facebook and twitter.

hearandsayMelbourne Cup Spring Carnival supporting Hear & Say
Where: 12-3:30pm Spring Food & Wine, 26 Felix Street Brisbane CBD
Price / inclusions: $140 pp incl. three course lunch, 3.5 hr beverage package, charity sweep, prizes, games and an after party.
More info / buy tickets: call 3229 0460, email or online
About the charity: Hear and Say aim is to help deaf children to hear, listen and speak so they can attend a regular school, have wider career choices and can more fully participate in the hearing community.


Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 12.34.02 pmAlfred and Constance (two options) supporting Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
Tiki Bar Cocktail Party – 11:30- 3:30pm, $90 pp for canapes, 4 hr beverage package, live coverage of the race, sweeps – MC/ host Luttsy
Vanguard – 12 – 3pm, $130 pp (min booking 8 pax) three course meal, 3 hr beverage package, live coverage of the race, sweeps, live music – MC/host Luttsy
More info / buy tickets: call Laura on 3251 6500, email or book online.
About the charity: The Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF) hopes to connect all mitochondrial disease sufferers. To provide support and practical information that will improve the quality of life for sufferers and their families.


MNDandMeThe Jetty South Bank Melbourne Cup Lunch supporting MND and Me Foundation
Where: The Jetty South Bank
Price / inclusions: $150 pp incl three course lunch and beverage package
More info / buy tickets: online or call 07 3899 6113
About the charity: This is the second year that The Jetty South Bank have supported MND and Me Foundation, helping people living with MND and fund vital research to find a cure. Visit the MND and Me Foundation wesbite, follow on facebook or twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 8.34.46 pm

Mercedes-Benz Brisbane Melbourne Cup Gala supporting AEIOU Foundation, for children with autism
Where: 11am – 3pm at Brisbane City Hall
Price / inclusions: $250 pp (table of ten $2500) for an “exquisite long lunch, finest champagne, Craggy Range Wines and fashion show.  MC Channel Nine’s Melissa Downes.
More info / buy tickets: online, email or phone 07 3212 1112
About the charity: AEIOU is Australia’s largest provider of full-time early intervention for children with autism aged 2-6 years old. Visit AEIOU Foundation website, follow on facebook and twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 8.42.56 pmMelbourne Cup Luncheon supporting people with a disability supporting Endeavour Foundation
Where: 11:30 – 3pm at Moda Events, Portside, Brisbane
Price / inclusions: premium two-course lunch with drinks, race day activities, entertainment and much more.
More info / buy tickets: $100 pp (table of ten $950)
About the charity: Endeavour Foundation is one of Queensland’s oldest charities, founded in 1951 by a group of mothers refusing to accept their children with an intellectual disability could not be educated. Visit Endeavour Foundation website, follow on facebook and twitter.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 8.57.43 pmMelbourne Cup on the Green supporting RBWH Foundation
Where: Rush Bar, Post Office Square, Brisbane CBD
Price / inclusions: $175 pp (early bird price book by 30/09/14) for a premium Queensland seafood buffet, champagne and cocktails and watching all the action from Flemington on the big screen. There’ll also be live jazz music, a dessert bar, sweeps and Fashions on the Green
More info / buy tickets: online, email or phone 3211 9511
About the charity: RBWH Foundation is the charity arm of Royal Brisbane and Women´s Hospital – Queensland’s largest and busiest hospital. The Foundation´s primary purpose is to raise money to purchase vital pieces of equipment and to fund world-class clinical research conducted at the hospital. Visit RBWH Foundation website, follow on facebook.

 Missing your event?  Please leave me a comment below with your event details, and as long as there is a charitiable aspect, I will happily add it.  I would love to hear about charitable Melbourne Cup events happening in regional Queensland too!



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GLAM it up for Charity Dinner is on again – Thurs 23rd October 2014

GLAM it up for Charity dinner is on again, and you are invited! 

This little charity dinner in Brisbane, is in its 8th year and has raised over $50,000 for small, local and grass roots charities.  Some of the charities who have benefited from GLAM it up for Charity in the past are Mummy’s Wish, Pindari Women’s Shelter, Second Chance Program, Chisholm Inc, Olive McMahon Lodge and Encore at YWCA.

This year I am proud to dedicate GLAM to the MND and Me Foundation – who help people diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).  MND is a neurodegenerative disease that causes rapidly progressive muscle weakness. Specifically, the disease affects nerve cells (motor neurons) that control the muscles that enable you to move, speak, breathe and swallow.

I am hoping to raise enough for the charity to buy multiple communication devices for people with Motor Neurone Disease who can no longer communicate.  This dinner is in memory of my friend Scott Sullivan who started this amazing foundation to help others.

Tickets are now on sale now and selling fast, so grab your favourite guys and gals and book your tickets today, also like the GLAM it up for Charity facebook page here too.

Heartfelt thanks to LOFT West EndLady Marlene’s School of Arts and I heart brownies for supporting MND and Me Foundation at the 8th Annual GLAM it up for Charity dinner! THANK YOU!

An extra special thanks to Jacqui and the team at White With One Graphic Design, who have again created this beautiful invite!

I hope you can come, full invite details below! Kind regards, Tara

GlamItUpforCharityInvite2014 copy


Posted in Brisbane Events, Causes, Community, GIVING, MND and Me Foundation, Mummy's Wish, Second Chance, Uncategorized, YWCA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment