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We love receiving wonderful testimonials and letters of gratitude from our families who receive their family respite experience through Homely Retreats.

Here are some of their beautiful stories they have shared with us.


The Close family were referred to Homely Retreats by a loving friend of the family in early 2020. Nicole, Nathan and young Caleb were facing what no family should have to, Nathan’s terminal diagnosis. Nathan has been fighting and receiving treatment for an aggressive lung cancer and has recently ceased treatment to spend more time at home with his family. As a young Dad and husband, boat builder, fisherman, The following month we organised for the Close family to go to Coles Bay for a weekend of quiet family time to rest and spend quality time together. Dean at Zanzo Portraits has become a sponsor of Homely Retreats and offers photoshoot gift vouchers for all of our clients (Wow!). When we contacted him about Nathan and his family- Dean was there. He convinced Nathan , who was not a fan of being in front of a camera, to spend a couple of hours capturing their family in their home suburb/neighbourhood. Now they have so many more beautiful photos to remind them of how awesome Nathan was, even when he’s not with them anymore.

We are so fortunate to be able to offer these wonderful regular Tasmanians an opportunity to create and capture their precious family memories.

Nicole emailed us: ‘Thank you so much this is amazing. I know we are going to have such a special time and make some lovely memories. Thank you again, Nicole, Nathan and Caleb’


Claire, Toby, Campbell, Isla and Elsie were referred to Homely Retreats through Mummy’s Wish in Queensland in 2020.

Claire was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. With three young children, life suddenly became very challenging for Toby and Claire. Homely Retreats was able to offer the Symons family a weekend away at an incredible Airbnb property (with a spa- a highlight for the kids) in Orford. The accommodation was kindly donated by the lovely local Airbnb owners. Claire and her family enjoyed a fun weekend of exploring the local beaches, paddling in the spa, relaxing and making family memories together.

We are happy to report that Claire is recovering beautifully and is well today.

Claire emailed us after their trip: ‘Thank you and the Homely Retreats team so much for our wonderful weekend away in Orford. The generosity of everyone involved, from the beautiful holiday house to the gorgeous hamper, has blown us away – from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

This was just what our young family needed in a time of appointments and chemo – some time together “away from it all”. We have made some beautiful memories over our lovely weekend away and will treasure that time. Kindest regards, Claire, Toby, Campbell, Isla and Elsie Symons’


Skye Riley contacted Homely Retreats in January 2019. Her father Scott had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had ceased treatment. Skye and her family were heart-broken. We helped Linda (Skye’s mum and Scott’s wife) organise a long weekend in St Helens for the family to take a break together and enjoy some fishing which they love!

Family from interstate travelled to visit Scott and the family, they reported that they had a fantastic weekend together and so much fun catching up with interstate relatives.

Skye messaged us just one week later- days before Scotts 50th birthday: ‘This time last week, we were away in St Helens making memories. Yesterday we found out dad has a fever and infection & had days left with us.. who would have thought a week ago that he would be leaving us so soon.. ’

Since Scott’s passing, the Riley family have actively supported Homely Retreats. Skye organised a fundraiser raffle at her workplace. Ryan participated in a fundraiser at his High School and Linda has hosted interviews on local news programs to spread the word about the value of Homely Retreats respite services.


Kirsty Willson met Jay Chipman of Homely Retreats in 2019. Kirsty, kind owner of KWUIRKY and mum of 3, offered to knit special beanies to fundraise for Homely Retreats. That year she launched the first annual fundraiser beanie for Homely Retreats and raised $300 for the cause.

In 2020, Kirsty’s husband Mark was diagnosed with cancer and their family began a long road of treatment and interstate travel for treatment interstate as well as facing the travel challenges of Covid 19. It hit hard. The Willson family went from supporting to us on our mission , to being on the receiving end. In 2020, we organised for the family to visit our first accommodation partner site- Abs by The Bay in Taranna. The family spent the weekend exploring the Tasman Peninsula and rested watching the sunset. The kids had so much fun. We are so happy to report that Mark is recovering from treatment well and Kirsty and the Willson family has continued to support Homely Retreats.

Kirsty is now an active committee member/Secretary of Homely Retreats.

Kirsty shared: ‘After supporting Homely Retreats for the last three years my family and I got to experience the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity of this local charity first hand. Mark was diagnosed with leukaemia at the beginning of last year and this amazing trip away was just what our family needed after what we have endured.

Homely Retreats sent us to beautiful Abs by the Bay in Taranna. The accommodation was so lovely, clean and comfortable and the owners were warm and welcoming. Set right on the waterfront, we enjoyed the beautiful sunsets, hunting for crabs and sea urchins and teaching the children to skip rocks on the water.

Our welcome hamper was filled with goodies to entertain and inspire connection including a trip to UnZoo Wildlife Park and a delicious meal at the Port Arthur Lavender Farm.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are so grateful to have been offered this wonderful experience.

If you know a family with a parent undergoing cancer treatment I highly recommend you encourage them to apply for a Homely Retreat. And if you are in the position to support a charity in any way, I can personally vouch that every dollar will be used appropriately and thoughtfully to uplift families in your own community!

If you’re not in a position to help right now but are in need of a new beanie, my little knitting business, Kwuirky donates $10 from every specially selected ‘Homely Retreats’ beanie sold directly to this cause.’


Thank you so very, very much for our wonderful weekend away at Bay of Fires. It was a weekend that just would not have happened without Homely Retreats and The Cove.

We left Hobart on Friday afternoon with excited kids heading to our weekend retreat at The Cove in The Bay of Fires. The photo’s online certainly gave us a sense of luxury before we even got there! Lyndon was feeling really well and the timing was perfect as he was on a 6 week break from chemo due to his liver function. So he was actually feeling like his old self.

We arrived at our accommodation and we were all completely blown away. What a spectacular property in a spectacular location. The kids quickly sourced the best bedrooms (sensibly deciding to share the one with the TV), while Lyndon and I stood and admired the views across the bay. We headed into St Helens for a bite to eat on The Wharf (highly recommend the restaurant) before heading back to our home away from home to watch a movie.

Our son desperately did not want to miss his sport, so Saturday morning saw us set up at St Helens Little Athletics centre to wear the kids out a bit! But not before we went to the Lighthouse café for a delicious breakfast and coffees. Jay, thank you also for the voucher here, what a great little café.

Saturday afternoon was spent relaxing – reading, admiring the view, looking for whales and a lovely walk around the cove that we had direct access to from our back yard. We got home right before a storm blew over and avoided getting drenched! Dinner, wine and a soak in the lovely large bathtub and our night was complete.

It was hard to leave, so we made sure we didn’t until we absolutely had to! All of us saying how we hope to return one day soon. With the beautiful Tasmanian coastline to admire as we headed back home, we all discussed how grateful we are to organisations like yours that provide the means for us to make beautiful memories such as these.

Cancer is a tough disease and knowing there are people like each of you in our corner makes it far more tolerable. We are incredibly humbled and grateful for the kindness and generosity of people every day. It is hard sometimes to see the silver linings in our rain clouds, one of the silver linings to our cancer story is seeing and feeling the love and support from so many people.

Thank you so very much, Melita, Lyndon, Luke and Eloise


“Thank you so much for our weekend away at Penguin Water Front Escape. Such a lovely place to stay from such a lovely organisation in Homely Retreats.

Thanks Jay for sorting this out and the vouchers. It was just what we needed as we hopefully near the end of my treatment.

To be able to enjoy quality family time at this point perfect. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

Regards Mark, Carmon , Colby and Charlie Reid.”