Media Release November 8, 2011
CEO saddles up for Horizon House
St John of God Health Care CEO, Dr Michael Stanford, is gearing up for the Santos Great Bike Ride to help raise awareness of his organisation’s Horizon House service for homeless young people and the wellbeing benefits associated with cycling.
Horizon House provides 16 to 22 year olds who are homeless with long term accommodation and support, providing a path to independent living. Young people usually enter Horizon House in a vulnerable state but care provided in a supportive environment allows youngsters to escape often unsafe situations and realise their potential. Horizon House is a one of three charities to benefit from the Santos Great Bike Ride for Charity being staged in Perth on Sunday, November 20.
Several Horizon House residents took part in the event in 2010 and will do again this year alongside St John of God caregivers who have already raised $5,000 towards the event. The bike ride brings significant benefits for both the health of those taking part and for the countless people who are helped by the three charities every year.
Dr Stanford said: “Our caregivers have shown tremendous support for the Santos Great Bike Ride for Charity and I am looking forward to joining them on November 20. St John of God Health Care has five teams in the event, riding under the names of our Horizon Houses in Western Australia – Broome, Bunbury, Geraldton, Wanneroo and Wilson.”
“With Horizon House residents and caregivers taking part in the same teams it is a great way to share stories about what the service is doing for young people while we all engage in positive healthy activity. Horizon House residents who took part last year experienced significant health benefits from cycling and the young people in our care are encouraged to take part in sport and physical activity on a regular basis.”
Horizon House helps young people on a pathway to independent living through dedicated long term support with education, training and employment as well as counseling where necessary. In this way St John of God Health Care tackles the social determinants of health and plays a role in arresting the cycle of homelessness which many young people experience.
“Our Social Outreach and Advocacy services aim to intervene early in situations where people are likely to experience poor health – such as homelessness – and this is an important commitment from our organisation in addition to our hospitals, pathology and home nursing divisions,” Dr Stanford said.
“While most of the budget to run Horizon House is provided from our annual revenue, fundraising allows us to make a bigger difference in the lives of young people. Some of the funds raised from the Great Bike Ride are likely to be used for a special Christmas trip because most of these young people don’t have the opportunity to have a happy family Christmas due to the circumstances which they find themselves in and we are keen to provide formational experiences which will stay with these young people for the rest of their lives. There is a strong culture of fundraising and community amongst our caregivers and I hope that we can be amongst the top fundraisers for this iconic event.”
Dr Stanford is not the only doctor involved in the ride – two of St John of God Hospital Subiaco’s specialists will also be joining the team alongside dozens of caregivers from various parts of the organisation, including staff from as far away as Geraldton and families with young children.
“Our Subiaco hospital has a number of doctors who are very keen cyclists but one of the great things about this event is that it caters for all abilities and all of the family can get involved,” Dr Stanford said. “There will be a great community atmosphere around the course on the day with all funds raised supporting three vital charities so it’s an excellent event to be involved with.”
Dr Stanford is raising funds as part of the Horizon House Bunbury team, which has a fundraising target of $10,000 – you can make a donation in honour of the team’s efforts at: www.everydayhero.com.au/st_john_of_god_healthcare It is hoped that the overall fundraising total from the event will exceed $150,000 with funds split equally between three charities; Horizon House, Heart Foundation and Hope for Children.
Public Relations Manager
Social Outreach and Advocacy