A charity is gifting vulnerable families and children in Ballarat an opportunity to have a fun time together during the school holidays at one of Ballarat's most loved attractions.
SJD Foundation is providing 100 Sovereign Hill family passes and hampers of treats to Cafs (Child and Family Services Ballarat) kinship care families.
Cafs kinship carer Wendy Ryan has been caring for her niece for two years and is looking forward to a trip to Sovereign Hill.
"The first eight months with hard but now it has become enjoyable, seeing her grow and change every day," she said.
"She is growing up into a beautiful young lady."
The number of children and their families seeking support from Cafs this Christmas has grown to over 700.- Wendy Sturgess, Cafs CEO
Ms Ryan said purchasing a ticket to Sovereign Hill was outside of their regular budget and she had not been to the attraction since she was in primary school herself.
"It is going to be an experience for both of us," she said.
Kinship carers are family members or close friends who care for children who can't live with their parents.
Living with a grandparent, an aunty or an uncle, a close family friend or someone with the same cultural ties is often the best choice for many children who can't stay at home.
Being cared for by someone they are familiar with helps a child feel safe and secure.
The SJD Foundation donation was made as part of Cafs Christmas Appeal.
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Cafs chief executive Wendy Sturgess said the generosity of the Ballarat community meant Cafs could ensure each family received a gift this Christmas.
"The number of children and their families seeking support from Cafs this Christmas has grown to over 700," she said.
The Cafs Christmas Appeal is on track for one of its biggest years for donations from local businesses and members of the community.
Nicole Roberts from the SJD Foundation said the foundation had supported the Cafs Christmas Appeal for a number of years.
"For 2021 we see SJD's support as two fold," she said.
"We wanted to provide an opportunity for local families to spend some quality time together at Ballarat's most significant tourist attraction.
"As well as playing a part in the recovery of the visitor economy by encouraging visitors to come back through the doors here at Sovereign Hill."
SJD director Brayden Dorney said kinship families gave a lot and the foundation wanted to give back to them.
Sovereign Hill provided a significant discount to family passes for the hampers.
SJD raises funds through donations from the Ballarat community.
Signature Software and TBC Plus IT also made a $5,000 donation towards the Cafs 2021 Christmas Appeal.
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