Lifeline prepares to celebrate 50 years of supporting the Canberra community

Lottie Twyford 3 June 2021
Shannon Noll performing at Lifeline Canberra Gala

Shannon Noll entertained the crowd at the recent Lifeline Canberra Gala event. Photo: Lifeline.

Hot on the heels of its recent glittery, star-studded annual gala, Lifeline is set to continue the celebrations this July as the charity approaches a major milestone: 50 years of service to the Canberra community.

Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie-Ann Leeson said it will be wonderful for the organisation to gather the community together to thank everyone for their support.

The Lifeline team is riding high after the resounding success of the Lifeline Canberra Gala 2021, held on 30 April.

“Even before the fundraising totals are in, we know this was our most successful gala to date,” said Ms Leeson.

“The whole community dug deep, whether it was donating their time, objects and experiences for the auction, or funds.”

Ms Leeson said the vibe at the gala was exceptional, with everybody thoroughly enjoying themselves and Shannon Noll putting on a great show.

The decision was made to hold the gala slightly later in the year to allow other charities to host events that had been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Ms Leeson said Lifeline was fortunate to host its 2020 book fair and gala between the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19 lockdown.


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She said all the team is excited to reflect on how far Lifeline Canberra has come in 50 years and to celebrate anybody who has contributed in some way to the history of the organisation in the capital.

According to Ms Leeson, some of the highlights along the way include the decision to start up a book fair by former Lifeline chairman Terry Birtles.

Canberra was the first place a Lifeline Book Fair was ever held, and now they are the largest fair of their kind in Australia.

The Lifeline Book Fair has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a suburban garage, and pre-COVID-19 was attracting 25,000 to 30,000 people during a weekend.

“So many Lifeline centres in the country are now kicking off their own iconic Book Fairs so it’s great to know it all started here,” said Ms Leeson.

Peter Munday, Carrie Leeson and Omar Muscat at Lifeline Canberra Gala

From left: Peter Munday, Carrie Leeson and Omar Muscat at the recent Lifeline Canberra Gala. Photo: Lifeline.

The organisation’s 50th birthday celebrations will provide the opportunity to reflect on the support offered by the thousands of fully trained volunteers who man the Lifeline crisis helpline every day.

Most people will work between three and four years with the charity, but there are some who have been with Lifeline for more than 40 years.

“The great thing is even when people leave us, they hold onto those valuable skills they have learnt,” said Ms Leeson.

“It’s a real legacy for Lifeline because these skills stay in the community for a lifetime.”


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Ms Leeson also said Lifeline events have become pretty well known in the community as glittery affairs, and the birthday party will be one of the biggest.

The Lifeline team is planning a cocktail event so it will be a little different to the recent gala.

“This time it won’t be a fundraiser,” said Ms Leeson. “It’s really all about saying thank you and having a great night.”

Table settings at National Arboretum for Lifeline Canberra Gala

The National Arboretum provided the perfect setting for the recent Lifeline Canberra Gala. Photo: Lifeline.

While details of Lifeline’s 50th birthday celebrations are yet to be confirmed, the party will be held at the National Arboretum, which partners closely with Lifeline.

Ms Leeson urges all Canberrans who want to find out more about Lifeline’s services or volunteer positions to visit the organisation’s website.

If you or anyone you know needs help, you can call Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line on 13 11 14.


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