A new race day is on the way at Thoroughbred Park, and one-fifth of the $250,000 prize pool will be shared between a dozen local charities and community partners.
All but one were selected by an independent panel in October, but the final place in the Canberra Community Chest race day is reserved for an organisation chosen especially by the public.
Voting closes on 10 November for the lucky last beneficiary, which will join contenders on 25 November for a day filled with live music, food vans, wandering entertainers and a chance to win up to half of the $50,000 community share.
Local founder Mary Liondi-Barlow was thrilled when Good Omen Goodeze was announced as one of 11 event participants last month. Beginning in 2017 as a needle-craft project between friends, the not-for-profit became a registered charity in 2020.
“We are a small group of volunteers that make handcrafted goods like beanies, scarves, slippers and quilts for patients and their families using Canberra health services,” Mary says.
“We have a special focus on bringing comfort to those in intensive, paediatrics, aged and palliative care units.
“GOG relies on volunteers and donated materials to operate. As a young micro-charity, the chance to get our name out there a little more and be recognised amongst so many well-established, deserving groups is absolutely a dream come true.”
Affectionately known as GOG, the charity also runs free workshops teaching basic knitting and crochet skills. Mary says these workshops have become especially important for students, seniors and people from culturally diverse or socially isolated backgrounds.
“Our members get to come together and enjoy learning a new skill, which is a great confidence and wellness boost,” she says.
“But it’s also a chance to socialise and create lasting connections, which can be difficult for people who have just moved to Canberra or don’t have a social support network close to home.
“For me, the best part is seeing the pride our volunteers have when they see the joy their little creations bring. We even got to make little mascots for the Belconnen and Gungahlin walk-in centres – Bella the fish and Gunners the goose.”
Mary and her fellow volunteers are ”beyond excited” for the race day on 25 November, with hopes to put a share of the Canberra Community Chest towards better infrastructure.
“Currently our HQ is my lounge room and garage,” she said. ”We would benefit greatly from a central office and storage space, and since we all work full-time jobs in addition to our work on GOG, it would be wonderful to bring on an admin assistant to help fuel our growth.
“We are blown away by the opportunity to receive financial support, improve our visibility by meeting the community and make someone truly happy by raffling off some items from our stall.
“Thoroughbred Park have been amazing in making us feel so welcome and valued. They have made the entire process, which is completely new to us, far less intimidating and I’d like to thank them on behalf of our whole team.”
Public voting for Thoroughbred Park’s final beneficiary at Canberra Community Chest race day closes on 10 November – don’t miss out, jump online to put your choice forward. One vote per person.