A unique organisation at Cedar Creek has won the Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation not-for-profit Excellence Award.
Established in 2015 by Ronnie and Michael Benbrow, The Carers Foundation is the only charity in Australia providing three-day wellness programs to carers at no cost to them.
In the past six years The Carers Foundation has grown to employ four staff, supported by about 20 volunteers.
Ronnie says she’s dreamed of running a wellness centre for carers since she was a 17-year-old nursing student.
“It’s taken a lifetime – I has a vision when I was 17, when I was a young nurse because I used to see the carers or families at home caring for their loved one and they were the ones falling apart,” she explains.
“I had a vision back then that I was going to have this wellness centre when I finished nursing.
“A lot of carers reach the end of their tether, they can’t cope any longer, so this is a program to prevent a health crisis breakdown.”
Ronnie – who was named Moreton Bay Regional Council’s 2021 Australia Day Awards Citizen of the Year - provides comprehensive three-day programs to restore the physical and mental health of carers.
She knows first-hand the difference carers make in the lives of their loved ones.
“I’ve been a carer most of my life, I’ve been a registered nurse and a personal carer.
“I know exactly how hard it is to be a carer.
“When you think about it, every single person with a medical condition, a mental health issue, cancer diagnosis - there’s somebody at home caring for them.”
Ronnie says COVID-19 has placed even more pressure on carers, amplifying mental health issues.
“We have grown significantly, so we need a new centre and we would love our new wellness centre, the first in Australia, to be in the Moreton Bay Region.
“It’s just the most magnificent area in Australia and we have great support in the area,” she says.