Chaplaincy fundraisers are as diverse as the regions our chappies serve in. For the Local Chaplaincy Committee in Clermont, in Central Queensland, they’ve taken fundraising to a whole new level of classiness – high tea style.
More than just tea, the 120 women who attended the event late last year were treated to a three-course spread which included finger sandwiches, delicate desserts, fruit galore and some delicious cheese platters.
But beyond the pretty window dressing of this elegant affair, these 120 big-hearted guests gathered together for a much greater cause than raising one’s pinky-finger while drinking from a cup – they were there to raise awareness and funds to promote positive mental health in the local primary and high schools.
In a revamped hall, with elongated tables decorated with teacups, saucers and roses, the women enjoyed a fashion parade showcasing clothes from local stores, and listened to an inspirational guest speaker talk about normalising vulnerable conversations in every-day life.
Helen Farrell has been a school chaplain for seven years, and says she has watched the conversation around mental health in Clermont shift in recent years.
“Our women especially, are concerned about mental health because we have the mines close by and their husbands are away working while the drought is still continuing. Being out in the bush also means you have to drive four hours to the closest facility, which is difficult,” says Chappy Helen.
“I think society is beginning to understand that children are affected by trauma and recognising that it’s really important. If you ask any chaplain, they’ll say mental health and resilience in kids are two of the biggest issues, because of the way our society is with fragmented families and hardship.”
Thanks to the generosity of the attendees, the Clermont Local Chaplaincy Committee (LCC) were able to raise $3,502.64, which will be used to run positive mental health programs.
LCC Chair Bec Allen-Ankins, together with the committee, worked tirelessly to ensure that the fundraiser was a success, and is excited to see their town embrace mental health programs through the funding.
“Mental health is a massive issue in this area, and I too have a personal connection with these struggles. Looking at our schools, mental health structured programs is what we’re lacking – the kind where kids are guided through regular learning and discussion sessions as a group, and are supported with books and resources to aid learning and implementation,” says Bec.
“I’m confident these programs will make a big difference in our schools, and that’s all thanks to the money raised from our generous women and local businesses.”
It’s true that events like this don’t happen without careful planning, and Bec was kind enough to share some of her pearls of wisdom.
Bec’s Top Five Tips to running a Successful Event:
1. Connection, connection, connection – remember events are all about people! The effort you put into building relationships with both your sponsors and your community will make a big difference to how the event goes.
2. Plan as far in advance as you can – Get the big details confirmed early (dates, venues etc.) and it will save you from many unnecessary stressful moments down the track.
3. Get small jobs done as early as you can – Remember that small things add up and take up more time than you’d expect.
4. Delegate to the right people for the job – People with the right skills will do it twice as fast, and probably to a better standard, so it’s important to know everyone’s strengths and allow them to work in that area.
5. Don’t be afraid to create awareness – I know social media can seem daunting, but get creative and run competitions to get people talking about your event. You can afford to give away a few free tickets if it means you have 100 people liking and sharing your event.