Arabella Gibson, CEO of the Gidget Foundation, explores some of the amazing work the organisation is doing to support new and expectant parents.

Q: Tell us about the Gidget Foundation and the work you do?

A: Gidget Foundation Australia is a really wonderful organisation. We are a not for profit that exists to promote emotional wellbeing for expectant and new parents. We aim to raise awareness of perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) amongst women and their families, along with their health providers and the wider community, ensuring that vulnerable people receive timely, appropriate and supportive care. PNDA and the difficulties of early parenting affects approximately 1 in 5 new mums and 1 in 10 new dads. This equates to over 100,000 new parents every year experiencing some degree of mental health illness in association with pregnancy or early parenthood – a staggering figure. Over 50% of new parents will experience adjustment disorders so the cost to the workplace, the family and the community is significant and poorly recognised. Sadly, suicide remains the leading cause of maternal death.

 

Q: Where did the name come from?

A: Gidget was the nickname of a gorgeous, spirited and vibrant young Northern Beaches Sydney mum who tragically took her own life while suffering from unrecognised postnatal depression. As well as a very happy marriage and a beautiful daughter, she had a wonderful and close-knit family, and a really lovely group of friends. Not long after Gidget died, her friends and sisters decided to start the Gidget Foundation in her honour to ensure that what happened to her would not happen to another new mum.

 

Q: What’s the connection between Shorty’s Liquor and the Gidget Foundation?

A: With a close family connection to Gidget, Shorty’s have been a wonderful supporter of the Gidget Foundation for many years. In just the past year alone, Shorty’s has donated over $50,000 – a very significant donation! We are really proud of, and grateful for, our long-standing partnership with Shorty’s. There are many synergies which exist between our two brands, though at the very core our organisations are both built around family.

 

Q: On a personal level, what’s it like working with the Gidget Foundation on a day-to-day basis?

A: The Gidget Foundation consists of a fantastic and dedicated group of people who are all involved with our organisation for the right reasons! But there are many times when I will read a story written by one of our Gidget Angels or talk with someone who has felt incredible distress and it will bring me to tears. Personally, as a mother of twins, I do what I do because I want to ensure that families stay together for the longer term. I want to drive awareness and provide education to create a stable foundation  for our own children to manage the pressures of parenthood if one day they decide to be a mummy or daddy too!

 

 

Q: A big part of your job is to raise money and spread awareness… Your yearly lunch is a bit of a fixture on the Sydney social scene, with over 1,500 people attending. Any tips on organising large-scale events?

A: The key is planning, planning, planning. Find suppliers you trust and then lean on their expert opinions wherever you can - the caterers will know more about food types and volume than you will, the florist will be able to advise on the flowers, and of course Shorty’s will be able to advise on the styles, volumes and brands of the drinks needed.

 

 

Q: A big part of your job is to raise money and spread awareness… Your yearly lunch is a bit of a fixture on the Sydney social scene, with over 1,500 people attending. Any tips on organising large-scale events?

A: The key is planning, planning, planning. Find suppliers you trust and then lean on their expert opinions wherever you can - the caterers will know more about food types and volume than you will, the florist will be able to advise on the flowers, and of course Shorty’s will be able to advise on the styles, volumes and brands of the drinks needed.

 

 

Perfect Planning

When the day comes, chaos rules. It’s inevitable that some things will go wrong and even if it doesn’t, you’d prefer to have some fun and enjoy the fruits of your hard work, right? Put in the hard yards early and ensure everybody in the organizing team knows what they’re doing on the big day. Schedule out time sheets, divvy up responsibilities clearly, and keep a running checklist on the day. If something doesn’t happen when it should happen, at least you’ll know immediately

 

Balance 

The temptation with organizing a large event, particularly for a non-profit like ours, is to break up the day into big chunks of required activities – a long block of speeches, an auction, meal, and then social time. For guests, though, this can be a little defeating –it’s hard to pay attention for so long, particularly if they’re coming off an hour of welcome drinks. Try to sprinkle the content throughout the event and ensure that your entire day/night is enjoyable –not only will you have a captive audience for the speeches and fundraising efforts, it will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy all aspects of the event.

 

Food First

Yes, we know that food is an expensive part of any event, but it’s important to serve your guests a meal they'll enjoy and talk about long after the event has finished. When preparing the menu we recommend seeking advice from the venue and requesting a tasting pre-event. The menu should be perfectly paired with beverages to complete the dining experience.

 

Lean On The Experts

Specialist help for areas you are not an expert in makes life a lot easier. Keep a running list of businesses you trust and it will make each year easier. Despite the size of our events, we ensure that we only choose venues that are happy for us to supply our own drinks. This means that we get the expert staff from a venue used to managing large crowds, as well as being able to lean on Shorty’s Liquor for advice and delivery of all of our drinks needs. When it’s time for the big day, we know that our drinks are going to be at the location, cold and in appropriate volume.

 

Create A ‘Take-Away’ Moment

At the end of the event, everybody heads home feeling energised but returning to their reality. To keep your cause or event top of mind, try to craft an experience or gift that guests can take home to remind them of what it was all about. It could be supplying a Photo booth with branded Polaroids for the fridge, a gift pack with some marketing materials sprinkled through, or some wonderful gifts from Corporate Supporters. It’s a useful way of extending the conversation and memory of the event beyond the day.

 

Shorty’s Liquor are proud to support the amazing work the Gidget Foundation Australia are doing to support expectant and new parents.