A working party from the Australian Maritime Warfare Centre (AMWC) recently lent a hand at The Infants’ Home in Ashfield, Sydney, carrying on a 50-year Navy tradition of support for the charity.
The facility offers an integrated childcare service that provides early childhood education, early intervention and health services for more than 2600 children per year across Sydney.
One third of these services are for children and families at risk due to additional physical or emotional needs, or because they were living in vulnerable circumstances.
The Australian Maritime Warfare Centre supports The Infants’ Home as its unit charity and visits the facility monthly to assist with maintenance and upkeep of the property and its extensive gardens.
The final visit of 2019 saw four volunteers take on a range of tasks, including laying new paving and synthetic grass.
Australian Maritime Warfare Centre Chief of Staff, Commander Michael Hicking, who was also part of the working party, said the visits were mutually beneficial.
The Infant’s Home gets regular help with maintenance, while for Navy it’s a valuable exercise in team building.
“I haven’t found anyone that doesn’t enjoy coming out and helping to make a difference.
“It makes people feel good, but it’s also a great team-oriented exercise where everyone chips in and works together,” Commander Hicking said.
The origins of the Navy’s support to the home dates back to HMAS Voyager (II), which adopted it as its unit charity.
HMAS Sydney (III) took over this commitment and has passed it on between each crew until HMAS Sydney (IV) decommissioned in 2015.
Following the decommissioning, the Australian Maritime Warfare Centre stepped in to ensure the home had regular support to assist with tasks and ensure the relationship with the Navy was maintained.
Commander Hicking said the AMWC would continue its support in 2020, but will also be joined by the new crew of NUSHIP Sydney when she goes into service next year.
“From next year, The Infant’s Home will have two Navy organisations, with the new crew of NUSHIP Sydney having already re-established its connection,” he said.