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Keeping Watch Lends A Hand To Family In Need

Able Seaman Rhiannon Walker and her young children.

A sailor and mother of two says Navy’s Keeping Watchgrant program has saved her family from being swamped by medical bills.

Both of Able Seaman Rhiannon Walker’s young children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.

“One of my children in particular requires substantial support for her disability,” AB Walker said. Over time the family have used many of the available financial support options from private health funding, including the ADF Family Health Program and more recently the government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. But the bills kept piling up. “Sadly financial gaps still arose whilst providing the medical care required for my family,” She said.

AB Walker says the option of applying to Keeping Watch was brought to her attention by her supervisor. “When a signal came out for applications for the Keeping Watch Grant program,myChief suggested I apply to help with my outstanding medical bills”. AB Walker said. “With the help of my divisional chain I was able to submit the Keeping Watch application which was approved and has been a huge financial relief for me”.

The burdens that come with a medical crisis can be staggering. Families can experience significant financial and emotional stress if a member has a permanent condition, a disability or if a family member is injured and requires intense medical support. Often there is a flood of logistical problems, the offshoots that accompany a medical crisis. Getting to and from hospitals or medical appointments grows into an obstacle on top of daily living; errands like grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and ferrying children around requires more planning and mental effort when a family member is not well. Individually, these problems are small, but combined with less time, increased stress and additional costs; together they can be monstrous and may affect family relationships and mental health.

Keeping Watch’s Chair Rear Admiral Peter Laver says it’s these situations which Keeping Watch is designed for. ‘We were delighted to help AB Walker and her family,’ he said. ‘Every application is carefully considered and we have helped twenty four families in the past 12 months.  Keeping Watch has real flexibility in the assistance it can provide. It is an important means by which members of the naval family can access such help in times of crisis.’



  • M Bult - HMAS Hobart

    When there was an unfortunate circumstance that resulted in financial hardship for a family member, Keeping Watch was eager to help out as much as possible. My divisional staff were more than accommodating to ensure that I understood the process, and between them and the Keeping Watch team I was constantly reassured that the help my family desperately needed at the time was being organised. Keeping Watch is the light at the end of the tunnel, you just need to reach out and ask for the help.
  • D Smith - Canberra

    I cannot thank Keeping Watch for helping us in our time of need. We were struggling with living expenses after a death in the family and I found out about Keeping Watch. I'm so glad I conatcted them to see how they could help. They were amazing throughout and the money could not have come at a better time. We are now moving forward positively and looking to the future. Thank you so much.
  • R James - Canberra

    I would highly recommend Keeping Watch if you need financial help and are a Navy family. We experienced an unexpected family crisis and we were struggling to meet daily living expenses and child care costs. Keeping Watch helped us through this difficult situation with a grant and offered some very valuable advise on how to deal with the loss. If you need help, contact Keeping Watch.