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Penrith: Queen of Hearts Foundation to close

Penrith-based child sexual abuse and domestic violence support service Queen of Hearts Foundation will close.

The four-member board has distributed a proposal to its members to fold the organisation at its next meeting and anticipates majority support.

The decision was a difficult one for the board and took some time to reach. However, the Queen of Hearts Foundation has become increasingly financially unsustainable.

A planned restructure from a service orientated not-for-profit charity run almost entirely on community donations to a pre-funded program model with timeframes and monitored outcomes could not be successfully implemented by a board of volunteers, all of whom are small business owners in the Penrith community.

Despite the generosity of the Penrith community, the growing number of charity organisations in the area has broadened the giving pool, meaning less available funds for each worthy cause.

The board has been unable to fill the part-time volunteer CEO position vacated when Queen of Hearts Foundation founder Michelle Ellery resigned from the role in March. The major fundraiser, a charity ball in July, also failed to raise sufficient funds.

Surplus funds will be donated to the national Bravehearts Foundation and unfulfilled grants will be returned to their respective government agencies.

Queen of Hearts Foundation was established in 2014 by current Penrith Citizen of the Year Ms Ellery and operates from the old Penrith Council chambers building in Henry St.

A board spokesperson thanked Ms Ellery for her tireless efforts and passion in raising awareness for the needs of survivors of child sexual abuse and domestic violence: “Everyone involved in the Queen of Hearts Foundation is proud to have been part of such a high profile organisation and is disappointed to have to make this decision.

“However, we are realistic and know that a charity that struggles to keep its doors open week to week cannot provide the ongoing support and services our customers need.’’

The Queen of Hearts Foundation board encouraged the Penrith community to continue to support similar organisations such as the Bravehearts Foundation, The Haven Nepean Women’s Shelter and Penrith Women’s Health Centre.

  • Queen of Hearts Foundation is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Faeriestorm Nanny Service makes family life easier

By Ellen Hill for Faeriestorm Nanny Service             Photos: David Hill

Race home from work. Pick the kids up from school. Feed them afternoon tea. Get the washing off the line. Supervise homework. Take one child to music lessons, another to soccer training and a third to a play date. Bath the baby. Prepare dinner.

What if a fairy godmother did all that for you and all you had to do was enjoy your children? In your dreams right?

Wrong.

Brenda Edwards and her team at Faeriestorm Nanny Service take the hard work out of your busy life so your family can spend more time focusing on, well, being a family.

Running a household, holding down a job and dedicating time to your kids is hard work,’’ Mrs Edwards (Miss Brenda’’ to her charges) says. “Sometimes it’s even impossible. But we can make it easier.’’

While the central focus of all Faeriestorm nannies is always the children in their care, “our second priority is to make your life a little less stressful’’.

Unlike a babysitter who only looks after the child, a nanny cares about the whole family.

Most nannies conduct light duties around the home such as laundry, meal preparation and tidying depending on their individual skills and the wishes and needs of the family.

The first role is to look after the children: their washing, their learning, their food, their play,’’ Mrs Edwards says.But it’s also about helping parents have uninterrupted bonding time with their children.

“One of my clients needs to have her two boys picked up from school, homework done and a little bit of dinner preparation so that when she comes home she can just enjoy quality time with her boys.

“I’m like an aunty or another grandma.’’

All Faeriestorm nannies have Certificate III in Childcare and first aid certificate qualifications, a working with children check and wear a uniform while working.

Most have children of their own and many have worked in childcare centres.

 

“It helps if you’ve run a home for the little things – you won’t step over the toys, you’ll ask the children to help pick them up or you will pick them up yourself; you’ll wipe the kitchen counter over; you’ll fold the washing. You won’t have to be asked to do those things.’’

While the service is tailored to each family’s short or long-term needs and nannies are matched to families, honesty, reliability and discretion are paramount in all cases, Mrs Edwards says.

The mother-of-six became a nanny in 2009 and, for two years, worked six days a week, rarely seeing her own family before employing other nannies.

Today, Faeriestorm Nanny Service operates in private homes throughout the Penrith, Blue Mountains and Sydney region with a team of nannies, and can cater for children with special needs.

Nannies are also available to care for individual children or groups when parents attend events such as weddings and parties and for travellers in hotels, especially while parents enjoy evening fine dining experiences or grown up activities such as adventure sports or ghost tours.

Contact Brenda Edwards on 0417 448 318 or at nanny@bluemountainsnanny.com.au for more information.

  • Faeriestorm Nanny Service is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media

Escarpment Group, Blue Mountains: indulgent dining on the edge

Local and regional produce is served throughout Escarpment Group properties

Local and regional produce is served throughout Escarpment Group properties

 

 

By Ellen Hill for Escarpment Group                                        Photos: David Hill

Discerning foodies seeking to savour the flavour of crisp Blue Mountains air and earthy tones of the Central West will find it in every bite served at Escarpment Group properties.

With few exceptions, food and wine served at the Hydro Majestic Hotel, Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and Parklands Country Lodges & Gardens is sourced from within a 100 mile (160km) radius of the kitchen and served to a delectable standard.

Executive Chef of Darley's Restaurant Lee Kwiez.

Executive Chef of Darley’s Restaurant Lee Kwiez.

A growing proportion of ingredients are even sourced from the 1000sqm edible garden at the Parklands property at Blackheath. Menus across Escarpment Group now carry a specially-designed logo printed next to items which include at least 80 per cent local and regional ingredients.

Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger, himself a career chef, compared the Blue Mountains food scene to that of northern Italy: “The food I have tasted up here is absolutely sensational.

“Our eventual aim is total fruit, vegetable and herb sustainability for all kitchens at all four Escarpment Group properties.

“It makes sense economically, it fits in with our business ethos and our guests expect it.’’

Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg

Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg

 

Hydro Majestic head chef Mate Herceg, whose team served 21,000 guests during May alone, said: “Things I can buy locally I will buy locally for my kitchen.

“We roughly know what type of produce is around at what time of year and we talk to suppliers about what’s coming up. We always know that artichokes are good in autumn but don’t use asparagus because it’s not in season here and comes from Peru or Mexico.’’

All items sold at the Hydro Majestic Pavilion are locally sourced from areas such as Lithgow, Orange, Bathurst, Mudgee, the Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.

Escarpment Group restaurants routinely use local and regional produce such as apples, chocolate, berries, herbs, bread, eggs, carrots, nuts, nasturtium flowers, tomatoes, quince, pears, plums, kale, broccoli, carbonero, trout and yabbies. Regional meat is served wherever possible.

Escarpment Group is committed to further developing the Parklands Kitchen garden and has also installed a state-of-the-art composting system which already takes all kitchen waste from Parklands and the Hydro Majestic.

Darley's Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez

Darley’s Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez

Multi award-winning Darleys Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez said: “I grew up on a thirty acre farm at East Kurrajong in the Hawkesbury so I really appreciate quality fresh food.

“It’s easy for us to serve our guests food fresh from the garden. We just send through a list of ingredients we would like to use in our menus and it is grown for us. The gardener also sends us lists of what is in the garden, as do our other local and regional suppliers and we incorporate those ingredients in our menus.’’

While he creates unique fine dining dishes for five-star guests at the hatted restaurant, the underlying influence on Kwiez’s cooking is his childhood.

“Mum was cooking shepherd’s pie when I was 14 or 15 and I thought `I want to be a chef’. For me, it’s all about the flavour – it’s all about the yum. Simple.

“Freshness, seasonality and locally grown: there’s not much of a carbon footprint because you’re not hauling vegetables from here to Sydney and then back again. We’re also looking after other local businesses.’’

(l-r) Darley's Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez and Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg at the Parklands kitchen garden

(l-r) Darley’s Restaurant executive chef Lee Kwiez and Hydro Majestic Hotel head chef Mate Herceg at the Parklands kitchen garden

Mr Bruegger said Escarpment Group was committed to regional produce in its delivery of high-end tourism and hospitality on a scale rarely seen in regional NSW.

“The Blue Mountains has been renowned for its innovative cuisine and fine wines for a long time and we are proud to be a part of that reputation through our established Darley’s and Echoes restaurants at our five-star properties and now the various dining venues at the Hydro Majestic.’’

The full suite of Escarpment Group dining experiences is:

Wintergarden, Hydro Majestic: The light-filled restaurant with spectacular views over the Megalong Valley offers a premium afternoon high tea and a gourmet dinner menu in refined surrounds.

Eastern High Tea in Salon du The at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Eastern High Tea in Salon du The at the Hydro Majestic Hotel

Salon du The, Hydro Majestic: The Flying Fox and Cat’s Alley have united to form the Salon du The, offering a refined Asian-inspired menu and a range of cocktails and wines with magnificent views of the Megalong Valley.

The Boiler House, Hydro Majestic: Casual all-day dining featuring traditional pizza, pasta and Australian cuisine overlooking the Megalong Valley.

Echoes Restaurant & Bar: The award-winning restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine with Asian influenced menus with specially selected local and important wines. Open daily seven days a week.

Darley’s Restaurant & Bar, Lilianfels: The multi-award winning hatted venue offers modern Australian cuisine served as a la carte or degustation menus with specially selected local and imported wines.

Go to www.escarpmentgroup.com.au for more information about individual properties, events and special offers.

The historic Darley's Restaurant

The historic Darley’s Restaurant