Keeping Watch gives at the right time

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kiz Burtenshaw (author), SGT William Guthrie (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

The Director of General Navy People, Commodore Peter Laver (standing) with members of the 'Keeping Watch' Grants Committee in Russell Offices, Canberra. (photo: SGT William Guthrie)
The Director of General Navy People, Commodore Peter Laver (standing) with members of the 'Keeping Watch' Grants Committee in Russell Offices, Canberra.

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.
 
After 12 months of accumulating funds from both Navy and corporate donors, Commodore Peter Laver, Chair - Keeping Watch Grants Committee, was pleased to confirm that four applicants had now received grants with a combined total of over $15,000.
 
“Applications were considered across all rates and ranks. Some applications were initiated by the members themselves and some by Command on the member’s behalf. In this round of applications, the members were suffering from financial strain due to medical expenses and other costs of caring for ill family members and special needs children. It is pleasing to see Keeping Watch reach the next phase of its life whereby we can now utilise the funds that have been donated and benefit the member, their families and ultimately the Navy,” Commodore Laver said.
 
From 13 February 2015, members of the Australian Defence Force who have previously allotted their donations to 'Keeping Watch' through the pay system will no longer be able to do so. The new method will be through the website http://www.keepingwatch.org.au and will be achieved through a new automatic recurring payment arrangement via either direct debit or credit card. Current donors will soon be contacted with an offer of assistance to move to the new system, and new donors are encouraged to visit the website and sign up to this very worthy cause.