Federal Member for Lindsay, Emma Husar, has today announced a community campaign to open an additional women’s shelter in Penrith in partnership with not-for-profit organisation Women’s Community Shelters (WCS).
The announcement was made at Ms Husar’s inaugural Women of Lindsay Awards Breakfast this morning, held in celebration of International Women’s Day.
“We know that across a one month period this year already, 56 women and 95 children in our community were turned away from crisis accommodation because there were simply not enough beds. These were women fleeing violence in their home, and many of them were forced to return to that violence,” said Ms Husar.
“While this might only affect a small portion of our community, we know that domestic violence is a significant issue in our area, so we need a safe place to go for women and children experiencing violence.
“These women could be our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our grandmothers. They could be our neighbours, our co-workers, or our friends.
“In the absence of adequate funding from state and federal governments, we’re reaching out directly to the community to get this project off the ground.
“We’re asking locals to help raise an initial $25,000 to get this project started.”
WCS Chief Executive Officer Annabelle Daniel, who was the special guest at the Awards Breakfast, kick-started the community fundraising campaign which will be supported by WCS throughout the lifetime of the shelter.
WCS will match the initial $25,000 through their corporate and philanthropic sponsors, and then provide two thirds of the recurrent operating funding for the first two years, and 50 per cent thereafter.
“The best thing about our shelter model is the local people who are involved,” Ms Daniel said.
“The people on our Shelter Boards and committees are incredible local champions on the issue of domestic and family violence and are keen to help their communities respond.
“We have representatives from all levels of government, service clubs, women’s groups, educational organisations and NGOs working together to create more crisis beds for women (and children) who need them.
“There are many ways to participate – through volunteering, fundraising, and donations in kind are all welcome. In each location we work with, we are delighted to see a ‘whole of community’ response to what is a pressing national issue.”