Gold Coast International Marine Expo 2012 makes a difference for local charities

The second annual Gold Coast International Marine Expo has raised $12,900 through gold coin donations alone for local charities, which is a significant increase from last year and will go a long way in supporting the local community.

The Rotary Club of Coomera River provided 68 volunteers over the three days of the Expo who assisted with car parking, marshalling, security on entry points, tagging children, counting entrants and driving the courtesy buses.

A further $4,000 was raised at the charity art auction and Expo organisers have distributed funds today between not-for-profit organisations Sailability, Paradise Kids and the Westpac Surf Life Saver Helicopter Rescue Service.

Rotary Club of Coomera River vice president, Pam Roberts, said the funds raised from the Expo would be utilised in various areas within the local Coomera community.

“Our first priority is to provide and set up play equipment, fencing and shade sails at the Beattie Road Community House, as well as a garden shed to safely store equipment to avoid theft and vandalism,” Ms Roberts said.

“This house is used everyday for services delivered through the Communities for Children (C4C) Initiative, which focuses on the development and delivery of education and support for families within the local community.

“Our second priority is to donate $2,500 for 50 Christmas food hampers to be distributed to needy families in Coomera. These hampers will contain ingredients for a Christmas dinner, as well as gifts for each child. Our Rotary Club members will assist in the purchase and packing of these hampers.

“This is our second year at the Expo and the sense of community is palpable during the three days of the event with thousands of families visiting the site and so many of the exhibitors from local and interstate marine businesses. It is great to see families really enjoying the day for free, particularly in the current economic climate and we look forward to next year’s Expo.”

Program co-ordinator for the northern Gold Coast Communities for Children (C4C) Initiative, Bronwyn Lacy, said about 400 families use the centre every week and the play equipment was desperately needed to facilitate some of the programs.

“We offer family support programs, active and healthy programs, parenting programs, child-focused music and sporting hubs, legal services, indigenous health services, and disability services use the centre every Saturday,” Ms Lacy said.

“I really appreciate the relationship we have built with community groups such as the Rotary Club of Coomera River and the Gold Coast International Marine Expo, together we can make a difference to the lives of so many people in our local community and their support is greatly appreciated.”

Westpac Surf Life Saver Helicopter Rescue Service chief pilot, Peter Bird, said funds raised at the Expo would go towards upgrading rescue equipment on the service’s state-of-the-art air craft.

“We have 40 voluntary crew and we were very pleased to be part of the Expo. We are also extremely grateful for the support that the industry has given us in the past,” Mr Bird said.

“The Westpac Surf Life Saver Helicopter Rescue Service puts thousands of beaches per year under guard from the NSW/QLD border to Fraser Island.

“We use the helicopter as a roving mobile patrol to keep people safe in Queensland waters and we are one of the premier white water rescue services in the world.”

Sailability Gold Coast is a local charity that supports, promotes and encourages sailing among people with disabilities and diminished capabilities.

President, Peter Board, said the funds raised from the Gold Coast International Marine Expo would go a long way to help maintain the equipment they use every week.

“The Expo was fantastic, not only did it help us to attract some new volunteers but the funds raised at the charity art auction and gold coin donation will help us buy much-needed new life jackets and assist with funding general maintenance for our equipment. We feel extremely honoured and privileged to be one of the charities supported by the Expo,” Mr Board said.

“It was wonderful to be invited to attend the Expo this year. We had our own stand and it was pleasing to see a lot of people at the Expo who were interested in volunteering.

“Today, I am at Hollywell and I am pleased to see that we have a few new volunteers with their sleeves rolled up helping us to launch our boats. We have about 90 sailors here today who need assistance so we are always looking for new volunteers.”

Arundel based charity Paradise Kids supports about 400 Gold Coast families every year who are experiencing grief or loss.

Community relations manager, Mireille Allan, said proceeds raised from the Gold Coast International Marine Expo would go to support more families in 2013.

“We don’t receive any government funding for our programs so we really appreciate the support of the local community and the organisers of the Gold Coast International Marine Expo,” Ms Allan said.

“We had a kids club at the Expo with jumping castle, face painting and games. It was a privilege to be included in the Expo and our presence there also helped raise awareness about what Paradise Kids offers the community.”

Gold Coast International Marine Expo president, Stephen Milne, said funds for our local charities and organisations was up by 34 per cent, which was a fantastic achievement for us all.

“In keeping with the Expo’s philosophy of being a totally family and community focused, not-for-profit event, we are extremely grateful to the public for their generous support during our three day event,” Mr Milne said.

“Attendance at this year’s Expo was up by 24 per cent, exhibitor numbers increased with more than 40 new exhibitors; and once again the live entertainment, factory tours, presentations, workshops, and seminars that took place every 15 minutes over the three days, plus the free entry and free on site parking, all helped to make the Expo a major attraction for boating enthusiasts around Australia.

“We had a significant boat display this year with more than 500 vessels on both the land and in the water ranging in size from kayaks to superyachts. The Expo also boasted the largest superyacht display with seven vessels over 85 feet.”

The 2013 Gold Coast International Marine Expo will be held on November 1, 2 and 3. For more information contact the Expo office on 0447 758 884 or www.gcmarineexpo.com.au