Ballarat charities that are helping children experience the best start to life are using community fundraising to improve and expand their support for local families.
Charity fun run event Run For A Cause raised more than $40,000 for seven charities that support early childhood in November.
More than 2000 people put on their running shoes to participate in the Ballarat Foundation event that aimed to raise funds and awareness.
Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins said he was thrilled with the success of this year's Run For A Cause.
"We've seen improvement across the board, in both the quality of the event and the fundraising outcomes," he said.
"Ultimately, the huge amount of time and effort the Ballarat Foundation invests in delivering this event is to benefit our community; to bring people together, to increase awareness of important social issues and to raise money for the organisations who are doing great work.
"This year we achieved all of those things and we hope to see year on year growth into the future."
Ballarat Foundation program Ballarat Reads received $3,774 from the event.
This will fund an additional 251 books which increases the capacity of the program to include five more young children.
A book is delivered to the homes of children aged zero to five-years-old each month through the program.
The Ballarat Foundation has plans for Ballarat Reads to expand beyond book delivery to establishing free book exchange programs across the city, a pop up reading and activity space at Stocklands based on the themes of books delivered to homes and workshops with members of the Yuille Park Young Parents Program.
Around 300 children are currently enrolled with the Ballarat Reads program.
Playgroup Victoria received just over $600 from fundraising as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
The funds will support the establishment of an outdoor play space for the Sebastopol Playgroup Hub based inside the Sebastopol Primary School.
Seven playgroups per week are held at the site, including Spanish and Japanese playgroup sessions.
Playgroup Victoria says being located inside the primary school helps children see the school as a safe place to learn and play which takes the fear out of the unknown and builds their confidence for when it is their turn to go to school.
EUREKA COMMUNITY KINDERGARTEN ASSOCIATION
Eureka Community Kindergarten Association received $850 as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
These funds will allow ECKA to purchase new literacy and numeracy teaching aids.
They will be added to the organisation's resource library for kindergartens to borrow.
The lending library consists of educational toys and books for children, as well as a range of resources to support kindergarten teachers with their teaching practices.
BALLARAT COMMUNITY HEALTH
Ballarat Community Health received $5235 as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
The funds will support the growth of the health service's new paediatric clinic.
The clinic has been established to specifically service children in family services and out of home care to enhance their health and well-being outcomes.
Ballarat Community Health general manager Katherine Cape told The Courier there was a great need for accessible proactive health services for young children who have experienced abuse and neglect.
Eureka Mums received just over $4700 as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
The funds will support the everyday operations of the Eureka Mums.
The organisation does not have a revenue stream other than donations.
"Even though we have many items donated and amazing volunteers we still need to pay for the rent and power," operations manager Trinsa Lewis said.
"This money will ensure that we can continue to assist the families in the Ballarat area."
Uniting Ballarat received $2508 as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
The funds will to go to the organisation's early learning services to support vulnerable families in the local area, with a particular focus on providing additional equipment and resources to meet the demand for early childhood services at Cardigan Village and Buninyong.
Uniting Ballarat opened a kindergarten service at Cardigan Village in 2019 and has seen a 'substantial' increase in enrollments for 2020.
BALLARAT TOY LIBRARY
Ballarat Toy Library received $1100 as a charity partner for Run For A Cause.
The organisation has already made use of some of the funds by providing 10 free memberships to families in need to be distributed through Noah's Ark Ballarat.
The rest of the funds will be used to support the Isolated Playgroup Project and provide special sensory toys.
The Isolated Playgroup Project delivers toys on loan to families in isolated areas who may find it difficult to come into Ballarat to loan from the library.
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