Shantelle Browne and family

Shantelle Browne with her children, from left, Ella-Rose, William and Takoda

By Paul O'Rourke

Shantelle Browne and two of her three children are taking a winter swim on June 18 at Mersey Bluff to give back to Devonport Chaplaincy and Loaves and Fishes Tasmania.

Shantelle, who gained her licence on May 5, honed her skills through chaplaincy’s learner-driver mentor program, her oldest son Takoda has a student mentor, and Shantelle has completed a cooking course sponsored by Loaves and Fishes Tasmania in partnership with TAFE, East Devonport Primary School and the local neighbourhood centre.

She says the organisations are desperately needed to support struggling families.

“So many people don’t have family and friends to help them.” she said.

"The school breakfast programs are nothing short of amazing.

“I had a car but not much support to be able to learn to drive.

“I also suffer from anxiety and a lack of confidence.

“They have helped me gain my licence and given me confidence and practical skills to help my family.

“Having my licence means I can get to my work placement as a teacher’s assistant at Devonport Primary School, take the kids to medical appointments, school, sport and the beach.

“My driver mentor Lexie (Nichols) not only helped me with my driving, but became a friend as we shared life.

‘It has made a huge difference to our lives.

“I want to be able to give back to say thank you.”

Shantelle, from East Devonport, will be joined in the water on hr 35th birtdhay, by Takoda, 15, and Ella-Rose, 13. William, 4, will watch from the shoreline.

Devonport Chaplaincy is hoping to raise $50,000 for its mentoring, breakfast, mental health first aid and chaplaincy programs through the Winter Solstice Splash at 8am at the Mersey Bluff.

Loaves and Fishes is aiming to raise a similar amount from two swims, one each over the winter solstice at Greens Beach on Saturday, June 18, and Kingston Beach on Sunday, June 25.

Participants have to raise a minimum of $50 each to take part in the swim.

Yvonne Perry and Shantelle Browne

Shantelle Browne (right) cooking up meals for East Devonport Primary School students with mum Yvonne Perry. Mother and daughter completed the cooking course last year.