Kinship Carers Retreat – May 2024

It was a beautiful weekend to finally meet at the Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre for the Kinship Carers Retreat held from 4 – 5 May on the traditional lands of the Wadawurrung people. After the event was postponed due to the bushfires in February, it was wonderful to invite more carers to attend and engage with each other opening with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Traditional Custodian Shannen Mennen. Laura Grace from Awesome Beings led a beautiful session on yoga and mindfulness offering simple techniques to take home and Chrissie Davies from Chaos to Calm Consultancy presented expert advice on therapeutic parenting with radical acceptance: a motto for life, work and play.

The next day a few carers braved the elements for a crisp morning walk around Lake Esmond which was relaxing and Dr Linda Wells from CFECFW held a valuable writing workshop focussed on self-expression and wellbeing. Naomi Whyley from Kinship Carers Victoria led an informative Carer Tips session covering expectations and challenges for carers and frequently asked questions. Finally, the afternoon was bursting with creativity as carers engaged in art and music wellbeing activities facilitated by Ballarat Art Therapies.

Feedback from Kinship Carers indicated that they deeply valued the experience:

“It is the first time that I have connected with other carers and I learnt so much about the system that can help me advocate for my child. Thank you for an amazing experience. It far exceeded my expectations and I know now that I am not alone and much of what I experience as a carer is ‘normal’. Everything was so well organised. Sessions were brilliant and everyone created a safe supportive space.”

“Not only was I cared for extremely well it has uplifted me to continue to explore all avenues of support for each child.”

“It was informative as well as relaxing.”

“I wanted to recharge my batteries and that I did and came home very refreshed and wealth of knowledge.”

“I really enjoyed the chaos to calm with Chrissie that resonated a lot with me and a lot of that I'll be implementing in our home.”

“Was great to get away and just relax and talk to other people in similar situations.”

“I came away feeling I had learned some things valuable to me and had shared my experience to help others move forward.”

“The areas that were touched on were relevant to me and my family. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I felt my worth, appreciated and celebrated thank you ❤️.”

All Victorian-based carers of children are welcome to fill in an EOI for the National Conference in August here which close on 12 June.

Don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with the latest Carer Kafe information, as well as like and follow us on Facebook.

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