Wombat’s Special Work Recognised

Geelong Advertiser Story - November 2020

Wombat’s Wish is a specialist service which offers support to bereaved children who are dealing with the grief and challenges which follow from losing a parent.

Being the only service of this kind available in Victoria, Wombat’s Wish organises weekend programs down at Burnside Camp in Anglesea, bringing together children and families sharing a similar sense of loss.

Vice-Chair, David Trott, described the purpose of the camp as two-fold, providing necessary bereavement services, as well as making the weekend a fun escape.

“We provide the services and knowledge the families are wanting to get out of us, but we also make it fun, from high rope courses and a disco on the Saturday night for the kids to let their hair down.”

For David, one of his main take-aways from being a part of Wombat’s Wish is being able to witness the change in confidence and growth these families take over the weekend, knowing they now have a sense of direction and can start to move forward with their lives.

Wombat’s Wish participant, Jo Bets, lost her husband to a sudden asthma attack in September 2017. Jo and daughter Heidi, who was 4 at the time, decided to partake in a Wombat’s Wish weekend program in early 2018.

Before the camp, Jo was coming to the realisation that not only had she become a widow, she was also a parent of a bereaved child, and was feeling overwhelmed and alone in her grief.

Jo describes her experience with Wombat’s Wish as being welcomed with open arms, and was happy to see Heidi starting to feel less alone, being around kids going through something similar to her.

“To be put in a situation where there are other parents and children going through the same thing, it seemed really important, as it was hard to identify with others.”

For families hesitant of signing up to a weekend program, Jo’s main piece of advice was to never shut off the idea completely. She took away a lot more from the camp than she first anticipated she would, and is glad to have found a community where she can connect with people who can understand her.

The Geelong Community Foundation has continued to help and support Wombat’s Wish, with previous funding going towards Tele Health Services and making those available, which came at a perfect time considering the COVID-19 pandemic.

As David describes it, the Foundation has allowed Wombat’s Wish to answer their main question – what additional work and services can we provide bereaved children beyond our successful programs?

“The Geelong Region is so incredibly lucky to have the services of Wombat’s Wish available to young people here in our community. We are a very special community made up of insightful and caring people and the Foundation is proud to support the work of Wombat’s Wish” said Gail Rodgers CEO of the Foundation.