On October 20, 2017 there was a small gathering (around 200) of Karinya  Friends, including a number of the founding group, to celebrate 20 years of service to the Canberra and Region community.

Karinya House opened its doors on 29 September 1997 and since then has provided over 5,500 support periods and supported thousands of women, babies, siblings and some partners.

The evening was very fittingly held at the Canberra Southern Cross Club. Woden.  The Canberra Southern Cross Club Board, Executive Staff and Members have been a key partner since before the doors of Karinya House were opened. They hosted many a fund raising dinner as the $250,000 seed fund was established during the years prior to 29/9/2017.  Fitting also, as Karinya House was humbled to be announced this financial year as the Inaugural Key Partner. This partnership is over 3 years from 1/7/2017 to 30/6/2020, and provides financial and inkind support to the value of $50,000 for each financial year.

The Club’s function manager, Lynda Pearce, again played an instrumental part in helping us set this event as an evening of celebration.  We were fortunate to have Matt on duty for the evening ensuring the event was smooth. The wonderful bar and service staff were also at their best as always.  The three course meal was again superb and we were very fortunate to have our dear Friends at Clonakilla, provide the Red and White wines for the evening. What a wonderful combination of food and wine.

The evening was led by our Emcee, Michael Cooney. We think we can say he is ours now.  Always manages our evenings with his natural charm and an obvious passion also for the work of Karinya House and a fundamental respect and recognition of the women supported by Karinya House.   Chief Minister Andrew Barr was well represented by MLA Rachel Stephen-Smith, and we welcomed long time support MLA Vicki Dunne as well.

Entertainment for the evening was a joy.  The young lads who comprise Blue Steel were a delight as they entertained us on arrival and through dinner.  We think they have a great future.

We had a few formalities after dinner, with Committee President Sarah Kelly addressing the gathering, recognising founders present and absent, our corporate and community funding partners, especially those present, and our government funding partners also present.   Sarah also acknowledged the twenty years of community support from those present and so many in our community.  With 50% of our annual operating funding coming from you, the Canberra and Region community, upwards and beyond $500,000 every single year these days, twenty years of service would not have been provided without you. Every single one of you … sharing our purpose of supporting pregnant and parenting women in our community.  What better way to show you a little of what you have done than through this little compilation put together for this celebration.  We thank the wizard, Ben Wade, Missing Bits Productions, for again sharing his wonderful skills with us (just for love).  You can see the video here.

Executive Director, Marie-Louise Corkhill, 2017 ACT Woman of the Year, spoke briefly after the video sharing her reflections of the past 20 years.  She ended with a quote from one of the women of Karinya….

“I truly don’t know what I would have done without Karinya. They gave me so much more than a place to stay after the birth of my daughter. They’ve been like family and helped me to turn my whole life around. They have helped me set up my life so that I can confidently go on by myself being a good Mum and offering my daughter a positive future. I can’t thank all the Karinya staff enough. Thank you for helping me find the true person inside of me.”

The last of the formalities was the single live auction. The item  generously donated by the Audi Centre Canberra, was impressive.   Four tickets to Paul McArtney in Sydney, in the fully catered Audi Centre Corporate Box.  The auction started at $1,300 following the close of online bidding earlier in the day. Our sincere thanks to All Bids for their support again.  The item ended up in the hands of another wonderful Karinya supporter,  William Cole Funerals.  Thank you Bill and Christine, Judy and Naithan.  Just fantastic! We hope you have a great night.

One of the guests on the ACT Government, Child and Youth Protection Services table, was the winner of the raffle. All items in the raffle pack were generously donated items from our sponsors:  a wonderful Sharwood Hamper, a gift pack of Clonakilla Wines and a Kovu Hairdressing Pamper Pack.  Our thanks to Sharon, Tim and Samantha respectively.

Following all the formalities,  the inimitable Sean Trenoweth, sometimes know as DJ Carbolic, then stepped up the entertainment.  Clearly the best DJ ever! And as a Friend of Karinya, his skills also provided for love alone.  The dance floor was packed for the rest of the evening from around 9.00pm through to 12.00pm.  From our line of sight we do think everyone had a great night.  Feel free to email us and let us know!

We also extend our thanks to one of our volunteers, the wonderful Michael Thorne (MET Photography) who volunteered his photography services for this event. You can see more of his wonderful images here.

It was a wonderful evening. Thank you to all who were able to be with us. We hope you enjoyed it. Thank you also for the many emails of support and congratulations received from so many who were unable to adjust their social calendars or make it to Canberra in person.  All the messages were so lovely to receive. And we thank you all for sharing in these celebrations.  The services of Karinya House could not have been sustained for these past twenty years without you. You have invested in the lives of thousands of women, their babies, and their families.

Thank you.