Supporting the community that always supports us
In early March, the Department of Education and Training announced that all school camps were to be postponed until further notice. With great sadness, Cottage by the Sea closed its doors to children for the second time in our 130 year history, the last being when the Australian Army took over the Cottage as a military hospital in 1939.
In the weeks since then, our world has changed in ways none of us could have really imagined. Each day the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the physical requirements of social distancing are increasing the numbers of vulnerable people in our community, while those who were already vulnerable are becoming even more so. At Cottage by the Sea, we find ourselves in a unique position to reorient our operation to support this emerging group in need.
While we had no children on site, we did have stocks of toilet paper and other essential toiletries that we all started to see disappear from supermarket shelves. It was our Chef Marc who realised how we could immediately help some of the elderly around Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale, who like most of us were struggling to do a normal shop. For residents who shop infrequently at the best of times, not being able to get essentials was becoming serious.
Cottage staff and volunteers quickly started to assemble Care Packs and contacted the Borough of Queenscliffe to help get them to people who needed them most. Within the hour, Council Care Workers started arriving to deliver out over 100 Care Packs into our community.
Next we moved on to food. The children and staff at Cottage by the Sea all know what a genius Chef Marc is when it comes to transforming rescued food from Second Bite into the most delicious meals you would expect from a five star restaurant. Marc started with soups and then meals that could be safely frozen for re-heating in the home. Friendly Council Care Workers have been helping to get these yummy meals out to the vulnerable, and we have put out the word for people to contact Cottage directly.
One of the beautiful things that does happen in times of trouble is that people come together to help one and another. Over the past weeks at Cottage by the Sea, we have seen that happen every day. The Borough of Queenscliffe, Point Lonsdale Civic Association, Queenscliffe Neighbourhood House, Bellarine Community Health and so many local groups have offered to support the Cottage and our community.
We reached out to Feed Me Bellarine, a private community driven food sharing program developed by Chef Anthony Woodbury & Lana Purcell, that takes potential food waste and cooks it into amazing meals to feed families across the Bellarine. Along with Feed Me Bellarine, Cottage by the Sea is now working with Bellarine Community Health, Borough of Queenscliffe and Libby Coker’s office (Federal Member for Corangamite) to ensure that together we deliver a co-ordinated approach to supporting and feeding our community.
Through all this we continue to keep our kids central to our hearts. Our Programs Team are keeping in regular contact with all our REEF and Mentor children, to support them and their families through this difficult period. Meanwhile Capital Works continue in earnest, so when children do return to the Cottage we can offer them more inspiration, more fun and more opportunity in an amazing space.
For generations our local community has supported Cottage by the Sea in so many ways. They have volunteered their time and their skills, they have helped us fundraise and generously donated to enable us to support children in need. We are so pleased that we are now able to help these very people and their families when they need it most.
If you need our help, please contact us.
Would you like to help?
Last year over 1,000 children were inspired, had fun and accessed new opportunities through our children’s programs. As Cottage by the Sea programs receive no government funding, we rely on the generosity of corporate sponsors, individual donations and contributions.
If you would like to make a financial donation, please click here or call us on
03 5258 1663
Everything we do at the Cottage
reflects Our Values: