Blue Haven Illawarra | Friends of Blue Haven: A community legacy
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Friends of Blue Haven: A community legacy

Back in 1977, a group of passionate individuals came together to form the Friends of Blue Haven committee. Their primary objective was to raise funds for the local Residential Aged Care Facility and provide support to our elderly residents. Little did they know that their dedication would create a legacy that would span decades.

Year after year, the committee members worked tirelessly, organising various events and fundraisers to raise money for our Aged Care Facility. The community rallied behind them, recognising the importance of providing a comfortable and enjoyable environment for the Blue Haven residents.

The money they raised went towards buying games, puzzles, books, material for arts and crafts, bingo prizes, welcome bags for new residents, memorial items for families after a resident has passed away, Christmas gifts, wheelchairs, furniture, TVs, paintings – the list goes on.

In 2010 the Friends of Blue Haven, along with the support of the Masonic Lodge, purchased a brand new bus for Blue Haven worth over $60,000.

The Annual Fêtes raised thousands of dollars for Blue Haven over the years. An impressive $16,000 was raised at the 2017 Annual Fête, under the stewardship of long serving Friends of Blue Haven member Col Rathbone and his wife Ronnie. Mr. Rathbone was subsequently named Kiama Citizen of the Year, for his contribution to Blue Haven, as well as his work with other community groups such as the Kiama Sports Association.

Friends of Blue Haven President Annette Young expressed her gratitude to all who supported her during her tenure as President. “It was a real pleasure to work with such a dedicated and talented group of people whose goal was to fundraise for our Aged Care Facility,” she said.

“I also want to extend a special acknowledgment to my First Secretary Col Rathbone, Renelda Arthur, and Treasurer Carolyn Crowe-Maxwell,” she says. “Their contributions were indispensable in achieving the remarkable amount of money we raised”.

“We were unable to hold any fundraising activities during the two years of COVID-19 but the ladies kept up their craft work so that when we had our first mini-fete there was a wonderful display of goods for sale”, says Ms. Young.

As time went on, the nursing home transitioned to a new location in Bonaira. The Friends understood that the needs of the aged care residents continued, even in a different setting. Recognising this, they decided to redirect their efforts and support the residential aged care Lifestyle Team.

Each month, the Friends contributed $300 to the Lifestyle Team, ensuring that they had the necessary therapy and leisure materials to enhance the residents’ quality of life.

Additionally, every three months, a significant amount of $1,500 was allocated to cover entertainment expenses. Recently, they funded the rental of two mini-buses, enabling the transportation of residents to last year’s Christmas concert in Nowra.

However, despite their ongoing commitment, the Friends faced an unfortunate reality. Due to the dwindling numbers of the committee and its members ageing, the group has made the regrettable decision to disband.

We at Blue Haven are filled with nostalgia and gratitude for the tremendous impact the Friends of Blue Haven have made over the years. We thank them for the countless hours they have dedicated, the funds they have raised, and the difference they have made to the lives of our aged care residents.

Though the Friends may have disbanded, the spirit of compassion and dedication that inspired its formation lives on. The legacy of the Friends of Blue Haven committee will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of our community, reminding us of the power of unity and the profound impact that can be created when people join together to support those in need.

Bushman the horse visits Bonaira


Back: Renelda Arthur, Annette Young, Joan Cox and Val Sherlock. Front: Carolyn Crowe-Maxwell, Jan Tarbert and Glenda Waples.



Lena Brennan, Judy Canham, Carolyn Crowe-Maxwell and Mary Douglas.



Carolyn Crowe-Maxwell, Annette Young and Col Rathbone. Farewell to Col after many years on the committee.



Back: Barbara McClure, Glenda Waples, Renelda Arthur, Mary Douglas, Carolyn Crowe-Maxwell, Mercy Kibbey,
Jan Tarbert and Annette Young. Front: Val Sherlock, Elaine Pratt and Joan Cox, Iris Tasker.


19th Jul 2023



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