Cottage by the Sea gives children and young people a chance for a happier and healthier childhood, which adds value to the whole community.

Increased confidence is the most valued outcome for children who participate in Cottage by the Sea programs according to children, parents and teachers. Children’s increased confidence supports their access to new opportunities and inspires children to lead fulfilling lives.

As well as direct benefit to the children, this also benefits families, schools and adds value to our wider community.  These findings come from a recent independent study into the work of Cottage by the Sea conducted by SVA Consulting and funded by the R. E. Ross Trust.

The research found that the social value created by Cottage by the Sea is around $3 dollars for every $1 invested. Financial proxies were used to value social outcomes. These values are inferred from the value of a related market price and reflect the value that the stakeholder experiencing the change places on the outcome.

The analysis into the impact of Cottage by the Sea also revealed key insights about what makes the Cottage unique as described below.

Learning from fun is important, and creates significant value for kids

Children’s experiences at Cottage by the Sea, offer them inspiration, fun and opportunity that achieves complementary and mutually re-enforcing outcomes. The most significant outcome experienced by kids is an increase in confidence. This is complemented by outcomes such as an increased ability to form healthy relationships, a sense of belonging and increased hope for the future. In addition to generating positive value for the children and young people themselves, this creates positive social value for their families, parents and carers and the wider community.

The impact of the Cottage perseveres beyond the duration of the camps, and can last a lifetime

The Cottage by the Sea experience impacts children well beyond their time on camp. Most children, parents and teachers agree that the Cottage by the Sea influences the children beyond 12 months, and there are numerous examples of participants who attribute a change in their life trajectory to their time at the Cottage by the Sea. For some, the Cottage’s impact is a lifetime journey. Nearly every week we are contacted by alumni of the Cottage going back over 70 years. For so many, the pleasure of a safe and carefree seaside holiday brought a glimmer of hope. So many memories reflect on the generosity they experienced which inspired them to lead positive, fulfilling lives that could also give back to the community.

The Cottage’s impact on children is positively compounded with more frequent engagement

Cottage by the Sea programs target children at different stages in their life. Our REEF and Mentor programs also offer some children the opportunity for continuous engagement over many years. Those young people who are involved in the more intensive REEF and Mentor programs are, unsurprisingly, impacted more significantly than those that attend one camp. Multiple touchpoints deepen the outcomes and the value experienced by young people.

A child’s happiness benefits the whole family

Feedback from families tells us that the happiness the young people who attend Cottage by the Sea permeates the whole home. Further, the Cottage alleviated the financial and emotional pressures on families by providing opportunities that their carers or parents may not have been able to afford, easing the pressure on the family unit and giving them the chance to take a break.

The Cottage is an enduring part of the community

Founded in 1890, the long history of Cottage by the Sea has made it an icon in Queenscliff, and the wider Victorian community. It provides our community with a sense of belonging and constancy, particularly for those that may have experienced a turbulent childhood. This sense of community is exemplified in the devoted community support the Cottage receives through donations, volunteering, raising of awareness and fundraising efforts, and the constant string of people reaching out to the Cottage to reconnect with their past.