News & Events

  • Quilts have deployed personnel covered

    Canberra base, HMAS Harman, welcomed representatives from 'Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags)' during reception at the Bonshaw Mess recently to thank them for their support to members deployed overseas.
     
    The reception brought together representatives from around Australia to express their appreciation to volunteers from the group, with many attendees having received a handmade quilt or laundry bag while on operations.
     
    The quilts and bags are hand crafted by the volunteers and sent to personnel serving overseas, bringing comfort and a reminder their service is making Australia proud.
     
    Retired Rear Admiral Trevor Jones highlighted the significant achievements Aussie Hero Quilts had made in recent years.
     
    “Aussie Hero Quilts has become an iconic organisation among Australian Defence Force personnel serving on operations as well as those suffering serious illness,” Rear Admiral Jones said.
     
    “The quilts, lovingly embroidered, often to each individuals' desire, become family heirlooms which offer, in many instances, operational memorabilia of more personal significance than the campaign medals accompanying operational service.”
     
    Rear Admiral Jones described the wonder, joy, gratitude and sense of purpose which passes across the face of each recipient when they open their quilt for the first time and show them off to their mates.
     
    Aussie Hero Quilts was founded in 2012 by Jan-Maree Ball who had previously made and sent personalised laundry bags to a team of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
     
    “Aussie Hero Quilts is a community based organisation that makes and sends personalised quilts and laundry bags to our deployed men and women serving overseas to say thank you for your service and the sacrifice that service asks of you and your loved ones.” Ms Ball said.
     
    “This is a rare opportunity for my Aussie Hero Friends to get a better understanding of the impact of their quilts and laundry bags on our deployed men and women first hand.”
     
    Rear Admiral Brett Wolski, Head People Capability and Chair of the Navy Relief Trust Fund, and Warrant Officer of the Navy Gary Wright, presented Ms Ball with a cheque for $2,000 in recognition of Aussie Hero Quilts and its volunteers’ hard work. The funds were from a grant approved by Keeping Watch, the Navy’s official charity.
     
    Ms Ball was thrilled to receive the funds, which will be used to make many more quilts for personnel serving overseas.

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    Published on  LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author)

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  • Navy Health donates $5,000

    Navy Health CEO and Chairman proudly presented to the Chief of Navy a $5,000 cheque to support Navy's own Keeping Watch Charity.

     

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  • Giving goes both ways

    Leading Seaman Matthew ‘Matty’ Andrews has given 15 years of service to the Royal Australian Navy and would not have it any other way. He thoroughly enjoys his role training new officers at HMAS Creswell, teaching them the basics of going to sea during initial training. However, unlike many of his peers, to be able to focus on his work life, has had quite a few obstacles to overcome on the home front.

    Leading Seaman Matthew ‘Matty’ Andrews has given 15 years of service to the Royal Australian Navy and would not have it any other way.

    He thoroughly enjoys his role training new officers at HMAS Creswell, teaching them the basics of going to sea during initial training. However, unlike many of his peers, to be able to focus on his work life, has had quite a few obstacles to overcome on the home front.

    Leading Seaman Andrews and his partner, Adrienne, who has also served in the Navy, had their first baby, Rhiannon, in 2008 – 12 weeks premature, requiring not only immediate life saving treatment, but subsequent ongoing treatment for several years. In 2010, their son Rhys was born without incident. In 2013, when Adrienne was nearing term with their third child, the family lost baby Annabelle, and almost lost Adrienne, too.

    “We were so unsure of what… how… why… the only things that kept us going were Rhiannon and Rhys because they depended on us,” Leading Seaman Andrews said.

    Although far from healed in 2015, they decided to try for another baby. In October, at 34 weeks pregnant, things took a turn for the worse for both mother and baby. Both pulled through but were in different hospitals resulting in a logistical and financial nightmare for the family who were already dealing with their previous loss, as well as two other children.

    This is when Navy Chaplain Dan Hynes stepped in. Leading Seaman Andrews hadn’t heard of Keeping Watch, the Navy’s own charity. Chaplain Hynes explained that grants were available for Navy personnel in need.

    He stepped him through an easy application process and Leading Seaman Andrews was successful in receiving a grant of $1200, which significantly helped ease his family’s burden.

    “We used the funds for accommodation, meals and fuel so that the two older kids and I could easily transfer between Sydney and Nowra,” Leading Seaman Andrews said.

    “It was such an incredible help and really took the load off.

    “We had enough stress going on, the last thing we needed was the added stress and embarrassment of borrowing money of friends and family.”

    Things are now on the upswing and the whole family was able to spend Christmas together. Leading Seaman Andrews said his advice to anyone facing hardship was simple.

    “Talk to your divisional system – usually when times are tough you will require some leave, if you are going to have that conversation, talk about Keeping Watch as well," he said.

    “They are an amazing charity who give to people in need, but require support from all of us, too.”

    Published on LEUT Kiz Burtenshaw (author)

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  • The Director of General Navy People, Commodore Peter Laver (left) with members of the 'Keeping Watch' Grants Committee in Russell Offices, Canberra. Navy needs help to keep watch

    Published in the Navy Daily on 18 February 2015 - LEUT Kiz Burtenshaw (author), SGT William Guthrie (photographer)

    The Royal Australian Navy’s own charity Keeping Watch is hoping to continue its charitable ways by securing essential sponsorship to support its initiatives for 2015 and beyond.

    Keeping Watch has been working towards providing care and support for Navy people since its inception in 2012. At the end of 2014, Keeping Watch had accumulated enough money to commence providing grants to Navy families in need. The charity achieves its aims predominantly through the provision of financial assistance to individuals and their families when times are tough or unexpected crises occur.

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  • The Director of General Navy People, Commodore Peter Laver (standing) with members of the 'Keeping Watch' Grants Committee in Russell Offices, Canberra. Keeping Watch gives at the right time

    Published in the Navy Daily on 19 December 2014 - LEUT Kiz Burtenshaw (author), SGT William Guthrie (photographer)


    As Christmas approaches, four families in need have been provided with some welcome relief to ease the hardships of caring for seriously ill loved ones. Operating as an arm of the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund (RANRTF), Keeping Watch, the Navy’s own charity, has celebrated its first birthday by meeting its prime objective - giving to those in need.


    Through non-refundable grants, Keeping Watch’s aim is to provide financial assistance to serving members and their families. Funds can assist with essential living, medical and child care expenses after a family crisis such as a house fire, or an unexpected fatality or serious illness of a loved one. Grants can also be used for education or retraining for Navy members, as well as scholarships for their dependants.

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Mission Statement

Keeping Watch is a perpetual charitable fund that provides assistance to serving members of the Royal Australian Navy and their families who are in financial need.

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