Page 1850 - Week 06 - Thursday, 14 May 2015

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Project Box Seat

MR COE (Ginninderra) (5.13): I rise this afternoon to talk about Mr Cliff Armitage PSM OAM and his charity, Project Box Seat. Project Box Seat is a charity which provides a state-of-the art entertainment unit for seriously ill children and their families. The unit contains a large television and a surround sound system, as well as several videogame consoles and the most up-to-date DVDs and games.

The system is provided free of charge to families across the ACT and New South Wales for a month at a time upon referral from medical staff and other charities working with children. For seriously ill children and their families, the fun and enjoyment of the latest videogames, DVDs and online movies provide welcome relief from the day-to-day struggles that they face.

On top of this, the charity maintains a set of entertainment gear at the Canberra Hospital and a collection of movies and books at the Leukaemia Foundation respite house. Project Box Seat is also flexible in its endeavours and has previously provided relief to a terminally ill parent as well as to families who lost their homes in the 2003 bushfires.

The charity was started 15 years ago by Mr Cliff Armitage, a former lawyer and public servant, who played a very influential role in the Howard government’s gun buy-back scheme. Project Box Seat was originally managed through the auspices of Camp Quality, although control now has moved on to the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Mr Armitage got his idea for Project Box Seat after lending his DVD collection to his next-door neighbours. The neighbours had a severely disabled son, and they found the DVD collection to be really helpful. From that moment Mr Armitage and Project Box Seat have been providing entertainment to children right across our region.

One of the biggest challenges faced by Mr Armitage is the rapidly changing technology market. In order to provide the best possible entertainment, something with a wow factor, Project Box Seat must continue to update their equipment. Today’s top-of-the line curved HD LED-LCD smart televisions bear no resemblance to the old-fashioned tube television, and children are no longer playing Mario Kart on Nintendo 64.

To ensure that Project Box Seat continues to thrive, Mr Armitage has worked tirelessly to raise funds, mostly through book fairs, so that the project can continue to amaze children. He needs to raise about $57,000, and I am hopeful that this speech will in part increase awareness of what Mr Armitage is doing so that some generous Canberrans might be able to contribute to this very worthy cause.

The charity survived a scare last year when its centrepiece item, a curved LG TV, was damaged irreparably. Thankfully, WIN News were able to bring some media to the charity’s plight, and Westfield Canberra kindly donated $6,000 to meet some of the costs. Mr Armitage is now looking for partners in order to help him continue to raise funds.

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