Unpaid carers inspire ‘singing heroes’

Published 12:30pm 21 March 2024

Unpaid carers inspire ‘singing heroes’
Words by Jodie Powell

Mango Hill’s Jodie Shipway is taking herself out of her comfort zone to raise money for Cedar Creek charity The Carers Foundation.

The City of Moreton Bay Deputy Mayor is one of 11 Singing Heroes taking part in this year’s Unsung Heroes gala in October to generate funds to bring Foundation co-founder Ronnie Benbow’s dream of creating a wellbeing centre for carers to life.

A big fan of car-aoke, Jodie says she’s never sung in public but has complete faith in the event’s singing coach and agreed to the gig because she’s inspired by The Carers Foundation’s work.

“This is a personal thing that I’m doing all in my own time,” Jodie says.

“I’ve had a fair bit to do with Ronnie and I really believe in what they’re doing.

“Ronnie’s been doing this for many years but a wellness and wellbeing centre is a dream of hers and she can’t get there without some influential people in her corner.

“I said to her ‘have you heard me sing?’ and she said ‘no’ and I said ‘there’s a reason for that’,” Jodie laughs.

Supporting a wonderful idea

Unpaid carers inspire ‘singing heroes’

She says knowing how hard unpaid carers work inspired her to rise to the challenge of hitting the stage at The Fortitude Music Hall.

“(Olympian and fellow singing hero) Libby Trickett and I both said the same thing – the initial thought was ‘I am not doing that’ and then you think ‘it’s the least we can do when there’s people out there struggling every day’.

“They’re at breaking point and talk so highly of The Carers Foundation and the programs they run - imagine if they had a respite centre?

“Anyone could become a carer at any time, so why not support this wonderful idea that Ronnie has.”

Raising money

Unpaid carers inspire ‘singing heroes’

Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $350,000 for The Carers Foundation Australia, with performances by the singing heroes and the support of corporate partners and 350 guests.

Each performer is tasked with raising at least $20,000 and the ultimate goal is to raise $5 million in three years to build Australia’s first 24/7 Wellbeing and Education Support Centre for unpaid carers.

The 2024 cohort – Jodie Shipway, Joan Wilson-Jones, Peter Maniatis, Natasha Price and Adam Sheppard, Stefanie Fontana and Victor Doree, Libby Trickett, John Lazarou, Kate Middleton and Deb Myles – will perform at the Fortitude Music Hall on October 5.

Ronnie says the Wellbeing and Education Support Centre will give unpaid carers the chance to recharge their batteries and look after themselves in a supportive environment.

“Unpaid carers are the true unsung heroes in our communities, placing the needs of others before their own, often at the expense of their physical and mental health.

“Our aim is to ensure that these carers receive the 24/7 support and care they deserve, when they need it most.

Learning new skills

“This year we have prominent business and community leaders warming up their vocal cords as they prepare to transform into rockstars and raise awareness and funds for our unpaid family carers,” Ronnie says.

“Although many of our singing heroes are known for their confidence and successes in the board room or sporting arena, they will need to draw on new skills to take on the challenge of stepping on stage to sing in front of 500 people.”

The singing heroes will work with vocal coach and creative director Lisa Lockland-Bell from Performance Studios to help fine-tune their best voices for the gala night.

Click here to find out more, book tickets or donate.

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