Mateship matters - Christmas loans rise across the fleet

Published on CDMR Fenn Kemp (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Topic(s): Keeping Watch, RAN Relief Trust Fund

Trustees with the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund formally endorse annual Christmas loans to Navy members at their end of year board meeting in Canberra. From left: Mr Lakesh Sundar; CMDR Christina Ween; LS Joanne Andrews; RADM Brett Wolski, AM; LCDR Susan Harris; CAPT Peter Dowton, CSC; WO Karen Sellars; and LEUT Luke Reynoldson. (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Trustees with the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund formally endorse annual Christmas loans to Navy members at their end of year board meeting in Canberra. From left: Mr Lakesh Sundar; CMDR Christina Ween; LS Joanne Andrews; RADM Brett Wolski, AM; LCDR Susan Harris; CAPT Peter Dowton, CSC; WO Karen Sellars; and LEUT Luke Reynoldson.

Christmas has come early for hundreds of RAN members, who are struggling to make ends meet this festive season. Figures published by the RAN Relief Trust Fund show 426 loans have been approved or are awaiting approval - up from 377 loans the year before.

RANRTF Board chairman, Rear Admiral Brett Wolski says Christmas loans have become an increasingly popular method for helping members over the holiday season.

“These figures show that more of our people understand what a great benefit the loans from RANRTF are,” RADM Wolski said.

“Our staff have worked very hard to make sure each application is properly processed and approved in a timely manner.”

The total amount of funding being distributed this year is close to $620,000. Most applicants have asked for $1500 with others requesting a lesser amounts. 

The RANRTF was established in 1913 with the objective of providing welfare assistance to current and ex-serving members of the Royal Australian Navy and their families.

Today, the Trustees of the RANRTF, who are all volunteers, are focused on assisting members of the RAN and their families past and present, through the provision of interest free loans and grants. 

In addition, the Keeping Watch program was established in 2013. Keeping Watch enables the Trustees to accept tax deductible gifts and donations and use those gifts and donations to benefit current serving members through non-refundable grants.

Since Keeping Watch began in 2013, there has been over $200, 000 used to grant Navy people some form of financial help. 

“Keeping Watch is increasingly being selected as the charity of choice for Navy,” RADM Wolski said.

“That’s very encouraging but we can do more.” 

“As we prepare to spend time with our loved ones over Christmas, I would urge all Navy members to go to the Keeping Watch web site and donate to help their shipmates facing tough times.” RADM Wolski said 

To find out more or make a donation go to http://www.keepingwatch.org.au.