$250,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

Representatives from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and RIDBC at the official cheque presentation.Representatives from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and RIDBC at the official cheque presentation.

The Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation (Charitable Foundation) has provided RIDBC with a $250,000 grant to install state-of-the-art remote video conferencing technology in the RIDBC Hunter, Central Coast and Lismore centres, marking one of the largest ever one-off philanthropic donations to RIDBC Hunter.

The funding enables RIDBC to provide enhanced educational and therapy services to young children with hearing or vision loss who live in the more remote areas of the Hunter, Central Coast and Northern Rivers regions.

RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, said RIDBC was extremely grateful for the generous support of the Charitable Foundation. 

“Without this grant, RIDBC would not be able to provide this vital service for children with hearing or vision loss in the region,” Mr Rehn said.

“Children who are deaf or blind require consistent, expert early intervention to achieve the best outcomes – particularly through the critical early years of speech and language development. 

“The technology we can now provide families will enable them to have both in-home face-to-face education and therapy, complemented by visits to RIDBC Hunter when possible.

The establishment of this ‘Blended Service Model’, along with the installation of high definition Polycom equipment, will ensure that families enrolled in RIDBC services in the Hunter region will have far greater access to regular, high quality early intervention services along with first rate specialist parent and staff support.

Families will now have even greater access to specialist support and assessment services from RIDBC’s Sydney based resource team, including psychologists and other specialist therapists.  Parents will also be able to use the technology to connect with each other during the times when they cannot access group sessions in the centre.

“The capacity for parent-to-parent link-ups and comprehensive parent education and information sessions is so important for parents who have a child with a disability.

“The equipment installed in the RIDBC Hunter Centre will not only ensure more frequent early intervention sessions for families, but also allow staff to access regular professional development. This system upgrade would enable those teachers and staff to simply log into the Sydney Campus via videoconference to attend vital training and avoid long driving distances,” said Mr Rehn.

RIDBC Hunter opened 21 years ago in Floraville in response to increased demand for specialist hearing and vision loss services in the Hunter region. Since opening, the centre has provided education and therapy services to hundreds of children and families in the region through a preschool, early learning program, parent support groups and early learning groups.

The Charitable Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million annually to local not-for-profit organisations in the Hunter, New England, Central Coast, Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast.