Friends with Dignity has been able to help more Newcastle and Hunter people fleeing domestic violence thanks to a $7,680 grant from Alinta Energy’s Community grants program.
The grant helped Friends with Dignity to gain extra storage space for its life-changing Sanctuary Program and assist with creating 12 sanctuaries.
Friends with Dignity National Grants Manager, Peggy Vlismas said the Sanctuary Program transforms houses into sanctuaries for people who have escaped domestic violence.
Peggy said that when registered referring agencies gain a social housing or private rental property for a domestic violence survivor, they contact Friends with Dignity.
Its volunteers pick up the keys to the house and transform it into a welcoming sanctuary using sourced or donated items. They may need to take in furniture, whitegoods, linen, food, or personal care items.
“With thanks to our donors and generous corporate support from businesses such as Alinta Energy, we’re helping people to start their new journey with dignity, free from abuse,” Peggy said.
“COVID-19 has seen a rise in domestic violence issues, and we are seeing a rise in requests for assistance. And while we have seen reduced cash donations, we continue to get donations of new and used home items.
“With the extra storage space, we can take more donations and be able to provide a sanctuary for victims more quickly.”
The funding was also used to pay contractors to safely move items from the storage centre to 12 sanctuaries for Hunter people.
“We totally rely on grants like this one, and community donations, to support refuges and victims of domestic violence,” she said.
“To create a home where people can re-build their lives with purpose, dignity and hope.”
Alinta Energy’s community development program provides funding of $500,000 per year through bi-annual grants of up to $20,000 to support projects that make a difference in social disadvantage and environmental sustainability.
The company also gives employees a day of paid leave each year to use in volunteering for a community organisation they are passionate about.
Research shows that one in three women and one in five men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.