By Jo Rittey


Congratulations to local Brunswick West Community group, TLC for Kids for winning one of the five $10K Grace Gives Community Grants in December, 2017.

Winning one of the grants is an apt way for TLC for Kids to celebrate their 20th anniversary this year. Founder and CEO Tim Conolan says that the Grace Gives Grant means they can continue their work and catch kids before they fall through the gaps. “Any additional support we receive goes straight to providing the kids and their families with support were they need it the most.”


TLC for Kids is the leading Australian children’s charity helping sick children and their families cope with the challenge of everyday life with illness. Upon referral TLC give tailored practical and emotional support both in and out of hospital, almost a million times each year. Whether it’s a one off hospital visit or a prolonged struggle with illness, TLC is part of an extended support network for sick children, aiming to reduce stress and help everyone face what’s ahead.


The Grace Gives program is designed to recognise and give back to five deserving community groups with a $10,000 grant to go towards their local community.


Sub categories include groups that focus on marginalised, excluded or disadvantaged communities, create relationships and environments where people are empowered, actively involve people and communities, build inclusiveness, and Involve approaches that are likely to bring about solutions to complex problems.


Over 100,000 people voted to select the finalists, which is a reflection of how important this initiative is and the community and the groups it supports.


TLC for Kids will put the grant towards their rapid TLC. Approved healthcare professionals identify a child or family requiring help and submit requests on their behalf for items, services, memorable experiences or financial assistance. Within 24-48 hours we action the request, providing practical and emotional support to kids and families in need.


“We spend on average $500 per child per request,” says Tim. “The Grace Gives Grant will help us fill 20 rapid TLC requests to families who would otherwise have missed out or be forced to go onto a waiting list for additional support. We see ourselves as a hand up for families to get them out of the rut they might be in and let them know they’re not alone and people are supporting them.”


Tim says that he started TLC for Kids because he was in the right place at the right time. He had been doing some work with families in Geelong and had to visit the children’s hospital to see one of the children he was working with and found out how many children were missing out. “There was a thing called conditional empathy,” he explains, “and while I have a lot of respect and admiration for the charities that are out there, unfortunately they had conditions and criteria and if children had certain illnesses they weren’t eligible or if they’d had support from one organisation they weren’t eligible for support from another one. Or they had to go on waiting lists. I didn’t understand why any child would have to go on a waiting list. So I started TLC for Kids with the notion that I could encourage other charities to do a little bit more. Then it turned into an organisation where other charities started referring children to us because we didn’t have a waiting list. The focus of what we do is to get on with what needs to be done. We raise funds each year but if the funds come in first, it makes it a lot easier to fill the requests.”


When Tim first started, he was working as a professional DJ and pretty much funding TLC himself. “We had a funny system at the start where we’d do the fulfilment first and then work out how to pay for it later.” I wouldn’t change a second of what we’ve done to be here today; all the ups and downs, because we’re shy of 8 million times we’ve provided relief in almost 20 years.” Now TLC is a national organisation providing relief for many children and their families every year. “It’s so heart-warming. I have the best job in the world.”


If you would like to help out in some way, there is a list of opportunities on the TLC website. Whether it is advocacy or volunteering or fundraising or donating, Tim and TLC welcome your support.



Jo is a French teaching writer, has a PhD in Medieval French Literature and is caught up in the myth she can cram as much as possible into every day.




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