Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen (right) presents The Haven a cheque for $60,000.
THE future of local women and children escaping domestic violence is looking brighter thanks to the fundraising success of Penrith’s Mayoral Charity Ball.
In front of emcee David Campbell OAM and more than 220 guests, Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen presented a cheque worth $60,000 to The Haven – Nepean Women’s Shelter.
Cr Hitchen said she was blown away by the heartfelt generosity of the Penrith community and its supporters, as every dollar collected would go towards saving the lives of women and children when they are at their most vulnerable.
“I am overwhelmed by the incredible show of camaraderie and community spirit on display tonight and I wholeheartedly thank each and every one of you for your contributions,” Cr Hitchen said.
“It costs just $100 a day to keep a woman and her child safe for 24 hours and $700 to provide full case work support for a family for a week,” she said.
“Together, we are tackling the issue of domestic violence at a community level and making a difference in the lives of these women and children who call the Penrith region home.
“The Mayoral Charity Ball has shone a light on this important issue and I hope that these conversations continue beyond this event to give women and children in our community the courage to speak up and reach out for help.”
Every ticket purchase to the Mayoral Charity Ball included a $50 donation and attendees took part in a silent auction via GalaBid to raise more money.
Penrith residents who were not able to attend the event were invited to leave monetary donations via the website.
Penrith City Council staff have also held internal fundraising events in recent weeks to boost fundraising efforts.
Chair of The Haven, Sharon Levy, said she was grateful for the support of Council and the broader Penrith community as this donation would ensure that the organisation can keep its doors open and give women and children access to a safe space during their time of need.
“We continue to be amazed by the generosity of the Penrith community and The Haven community generally; they have stood with The Haven since before we opened our doors and for the five years since,” Ms Levy said.
“The Haven is a true community initiative that demonstrates the commitment of society and of Penrith to eradicate domestic violence.”
As one of the largest employers in the region, Penrith City Council promotes a zero-tolerance approach to any form of violence, bullying or harassment in, or outside the organisation.
As an accredited and practicing White Ribbon Workplace that supports gender equality and champions a culture of respect, Council’s policy incorporates Domestic Violence leave to support staff.
Council has had a Gender Equity Steering Committee and Project Team since 2010, promotes a better work-life balance for all and helps women grow their careers.
The Council works closely with local services and community partners to enhance the quality of life for women in our City and contribute to building capacity in the women’s services sector.
Council’s Community Safety Team facilitates the Nepean Domestic Violence Network and last year, Council supported the Domestic Violence Forum.
The Council holds International Women’s Day initiatives and supports the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.
The Haven provides emergency accommodation and support for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.
Since opening in 2018, the organisation has provided over 18,000 safe bed nights and supported more than 330 women from the local area.
In 2022 alone, The Haven provided emergency accommodation and case work support for 22 local women and 28 children.
Shelter residents can stay for up to 12 weeks and during this time, they are assigned a specialist case worker who guides them through housing options and goals, education and study, employment, their finances, and overall well-being. The children are nurtured based on their individual needs.
Within a homely setting, women and children interact in shared living spaces, and through activities such as cooking classes, gardening, and art sessions.