Royal Far West workers Lucy and Emma are preparing to cycle the 10th Ride for Country Kids.

Local health workers Lucy Morrison and Emma Robinson are so dedicated to their work at Royal Far West (RFW), they are busy training in their spare time to participate in the charity’s 10th annual Ride for Country Kids.

The Northern Beaches locals will join like-minded cyclists for the 330km ride through the NSW South Coast, doing their part to hit the fundraising goal of $600,000. This money will assist RFW in delivering vital developmental and mental health support to children living in rural and remote Australia. The ride will take place from 17 to 19 March.

Psychologist Lucy Morrison leads the schools and early years service at RFW and is squeezing her training in around work and the demands of a baby. It’s the Balgowlah resident’s fifth time participating in the ride. “I took a break last year to have a baby, but I’m delighted to be back in the saddle,” says Lucy. “I must admit it’s a bit trickier these days to find the time to train, so I’m focusing on shorter rides on the indoor trainer and hill repeats.”

During her eight years working at the RFW’s centre for country kids in Manly, Lucy has witnessed first-hand the need for services. “Through my clinical work, seeing first-hand the difficulties faced by country families accessing health care, and the impact delays have on kids, is my motivation to (train),” explains Lucy.

“Getting support at the right time is truly life-changing for families.”

This year cyclists will venture through areas affected by the 2019 Black Summer bushfires, including Merimbula and Cobargo, highlighting the ongoing need for children’s health services in these areas where kids are still recovering.

Funds raised will support children through the charity’s flagship paediatric development program. The program is delivered to families at no cost, but has a $4 million gap a year which is raised through fundraising, partnerships and philanthropy.

Speech pathologist Emma Robinson says her job at RFW has inspired her to tackle the ride – a first for the Northern Beaches resident. “Through my work with country kids, I see how important it is that these kids have access to critical assessments, services and support to thrive,” Emma says. “Often there are no other services available to these kids locally and without our services they would not be able to get the support they need to participate at school, make friends and learn.”

The ride will go through rural communities. Lucy (far right) has completed the event five times.

“The Ride for Country Kids is an amazing opportunity to ride in some of the most scenic countryside and visit the wonderful communities and children RFW supports.”

Established in 1924, RFW has more than 150 paediatric clinicians supporting country kids aged two to 12 with speech and language delays; behavioural and conduct disorders; early-life trauma and mental illness; autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders.

They also offer a program where country kids and their families visit the Manly centre for a week, accessing services onsite.

Jacqueline Emery, RFW chief executive officer says she has seen an increase in the number of country kids needing access to their services, particularly those affected by climate disasters.

“Recognising your child is struggling and needs extra developmental support is the first step. However, for rural families it is only the start of a long and difficult battle. These kids have the compounded misfortunes of less access to allied health care, larger distances to travel to get help and waiting lists that extend into years,” Jacqueline explains.

More than 21,413 families, educators and health professionals received support from RFW last year.

To sponsor Lucy, Emma or other riders in the event, visit