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Freya’s legacy lives on

VARIETY Tasmania has launched its Variety Freya Fund, providing one-off financial relief payment of up to $500 for Tasmanian families who care for a child with additional needs or a severe disability.

The Freya Fund was established by John and Deb Williamson, and their daughter Mia, in honour of their daughter Freya and their own experience of caring for a child with disability for 21 years.

After receiving a financial gift themselves during a time of great need, they were inspired to provide assistance for other families who had children with severe disabilities.

The Freya Fund began in 2015, two years after Freya died, with support from family, friends and carers who had all been connected to Freya.

“Over the six years it has been in operation, the year 12 students at Fahan School have generously contributed through their annual fundraising efforts and Tas Care Society for Children, who originally administered the Freya Fund, made a substantial donation as well,” the Williamson family said.

“We are excited that Variety Tasmania has embraced the Freya Fund wholeheartedly and as a result of this launch, the Variety Freya Fund will be able to reach Tasmanian families across the state who are in need, especially at this crucial time of year.”

The Williamson family said it aimed to provide a compassionate and understanding response to the added physical and emotional challenges for families caring for a child with a severe disability or additional needs through its relief gift of up to $500.

“Caring for a child with a disability or with complex additional needs can be extremely overwhelming,” they said.

“During the 21 years caring for Freya, we were very fortunate to have an amazing band of family, friends and carers who supported our family in so many ways.

“However, not all families are fortunate to have this support, so the Variety Freya Fund aims to offer some help and relief through the gift fund.

“As a community it is important to find ways to offer assistance to those in need and through a small gift to a family, the Variety Freya Fund seeks to provide support and acknowledgement of their needs.”

“For our family, the Variety Freya Fund is an incredibly important way to continue the legacy of our daughter and to reflect in a practical way our understanding of many other families who are in similar situations.

Variety Tasmania chief executive officer Mohammad Aldergham said they had been working to launch the Variety Freya Fund in July 2020, but during a global pandemic the Williamson family couldn’t stand on the sideline and watch more Tasmanian children with sever disability miss out.

“The launch of the Variety Freya Fund signifies a compassionate and understanding response to the added challenges children with severe disability find themselves in because their parents and carers can’t earn adequate living to support their additional needs,” he said.

For more information or to make a nomination for a family, visit https://www.variety.org.au/tas/grants/variety-freya-fund/.

Caption: From left, Mia, Deb and John Williamson.