Ever wondered …?
Ever wondered how children are chosen to take part in the amazing Cottage by the Sea programs?
Throughout its 130-plus year history, Cottage by the Sea has taken children on referral from those who know the children best. Remaining true to the same mission: to reach those children who need it most, to enhance their lives by providing inspiration, fun and opportunity within this amazing holiday environment.
As well as welfare or health agencies, the schools that are eligible to refer students score 999 or below on the ICSEA (Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage). ICSEA is a scale that identifies the socio-educational advantage of a school. Key factors in students’ family backgrounds (parents’ occupation, school education and non-school education) have an influence on students’ educational outcomes at school.
“A few weeks ago, a lady popped in who last visited as a 10-year old in 1961,” says Adam Wake, CEO at Cottage by the Sea. “She said that from an impoverished childhood, the memories created at her one-off weeklong stay ‘have lasted forever’. She told me that it was an experience that she would have never otherwise had. She remembers the staff, the food, the walks on the beach and shelling a huge tub of peas with other kids. She remembered laughter and happiness. All parts that are so important to a young mind and give hope.”
Cottage Programs now offer more now than they ever have, with add-ons including fishing, swimming with seals and dolphins, surfing, The Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre and all the local historical sites, including the Fort and lighthouses. These give the children more new experiences, and more good memories for life with the opportunity to be inspired, to strive for their best life.
All the activity and opportunity of Cottage programs are designed to provide early intervention into childhood trauma that helps build resilience, confidence and self-esteem in young people. Staff, trained in Trauma Informed Therapy, provide these fun opportunities in a safe environment.
“With all our programs, we take care of every detail,” explains Adam. “Our busses collect the children and accompanying teachers. We organise all their activities and nutritious meals. We even provide a welcome gift, donated by caring supporters, all essential for building happy memories.
“Families, and the teachers who accompany the children, only need to think about ‘what to put in my bag.’”
In January, the Cottage had great success with the auction of a charity house in Point Lonsdale, built by leading Victorian builder, Boutique Homes, in partnership with Moremac Property Group. The money raised at auction will go a long way to funding necessary capital works the at Riptide facility on the corner of Henry Street, but will not contribute to an increased need for program funding (which receives no government support). The motel, purchased by the Cottage in 2006 is in much need of attention to bring it up to current safety and accessibility standards to enable Cottage to support an ever increasing number of children being referred.
Riptide is used for small program groups and accommodation at no cost to families referred to the Cottage by welfare agencies and other charitable organisations, families who would otherwise not have a holiday.
“I have recently been reflecting deeply on what we at Cottage offer, and how exactly is it that our programs do so much,” says Adam. “I believe the answers are clear to all of us here day to day but taking care with the selection process is just part of that. We hope to share this greater understanding with you and our wider community through a number of means, not least, with the findings of a Deakin University research study currently underway.”