Spreading the Christmas Spirit in Bayside

On Wednesday December 13th 2017, the Rotary Club of Brighton in conjunction with Hampton RSL, plus the support of Hampton Rotary, and members of Bayside Police and Bayside City Council joined forces in the Christmas spirit to host the 2017 Bayside Family Christmas Event for socioeconomically disadvantaged clients of BayCISS and Family Life. During one of the hottest mid-December days on record, a merry little band of Santa’s helpers including special guests Tim Wilson - Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein and Cr Laurence Evans, Mayor Bayside City Council, worked tirelessly together spreading some Christmas cheer, to one and all.

Although the temperature reached 39 degrees, there were lots of happy faces enjoying a variety of activities from face painting, carpet bowls, giant games of Connect 4 and Snakes and Ladders, plus an amazing art class facilitated by Irena from www.awaken-creativity.com. With kids aged between 1 to 16 years old, and their families joining in some fun and games, engaging with our volunteers, Bayside Youth Services and some of Bayside’s finest from Victoria Police; then sitting down to a traditional Christmas dinner conjured up by Mike Anglim (Hampton RSL’s Catering Manager), it made for a very enjoyable and unforgettable evening. However, our Christmas party would not have been complete without a very special visit from Santa, who arrived bearing gifts for each of the kids.


The evening was an amazing show of Christmas Spirit, and made possible by a dedicated bunch of volunteers (Rotarians and other Baysiders wanting to make a difference) and other members of Bayside Community together who have helped with donating their time and expertise – with hands on help with planning and  organising the event, securing donations, sourcing presents plus much more. A massive thanks to Moose Toys, Bunnings Mentone, and Bayside City Council, Brighton and Hampton Rotary, plus Rotary District 9800* for the toy donations Santa's elves were given. These generous donations enabled not just the kids attending, but also 100+ lucky children through BayCISS and Bayside/Moorabbin Police (Victims of severe cases of family violence) to have a little extra joy this Christmas :-)

In the words of Karyn Doyle, Manager BayCISS, “On behalf of BayCISS and the Bayside Community, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of you who contributed to making last night a very special event for some of our families. 

Although it may have been disappointing that families were deterred by the heat of the day, we were fortunate to be able to bring a little bit of Christmas to many children and families who may not have that opportunity.

The smiles on the faces of both children and adults as they left the venue last night, was a true testament to why we do what we do!  If we are able to bring a smile or a little bit of sunshine (if you’ll pardon the pun) to their day, then it is certainly worth every effort!

I think Santa will be exhausted if he takes that much time with all the children he has to visit this year!  What a wonderful sight it was to see the delight on the kids’ faces and the time that he took to spend with them!

Thank you very much for all your hard work and your efforts to make this event happen!  It was a pleasure to be involved and we look forward to the next one.”



In summary, a huge heart felt thank you to all that came, but especially the people behind the scenes that have been involved in the planning and organising for the 4 weeks prior to the event, plus on the day all that volunteered time and effort to help make the event a success. A special shout out to Sergeant Arran Ferguson (A special guest), Mike Anglim, Karyn, Anne, Christine, Eddie, Jan, Wendy, Lis, Liz, Niki, Drew, Graeme, David, Barry, Alan, Sally, Jodie, Lachie, Amelie, 

Irena from www.awaken-creativity.com for the amazing art class, and Dean Sarailis (for his graphic design skills)


*Funds from Rotary District 9800’s New Member Grant were used to support this Brighton Rotary project initiative. For more information on New Member Grants or other project initiatives, please speak to Robyn Lichter


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