Taree refuge receives gifts from Quota

Working to help disadvantaged women and children: Mandy Bradley and Bianca Van De Straat from the Taree Women and Children Refuge, with Quotarians Trish Webber, Margaret Northam, Deb Steber, Dawn Beer and Janette Towers. Taree Quota has provided padded post covers for the refuge’s playground.

Working to help disadvantaged women and children: Mandy Bradley and Bianca Van De Straat from the Taree Women and Children Refuge, with Quotarians Trish Webber, Margaret Northam, Deb Steber, Dawn Beer and Janette Towers. Taree Quota has provided padded post covers for the refuge’s playground.

THE faces change but the story is the same. A vulnerable woman will flee a domestic violence situation with her children to be welcomed into the safety of Taree Women and Children Refuge.

She is offered a haven, accommodation and in the first moments of her arrival she is given gifts from Quota a pack of toiletries and now a YMCA Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre tag that will give her and her children access to the centre and all of its facilities.

Quota recently purchased a $1898 family membership for the refuge and according to president, Trish Webber, the organisation will look to making it an annual gift if it is found to be worthwhile for the women and children who will use the refuge this year.

Trish says Quota worked "very much in conjunction with the YMCA on this idea" and says "they have been very good because usually a YMCA family pass is for two adults and dependent children. This family pass could potentially have 25 people using the facilities," Trish said.

"The aim of the membership is to help them to get out of the house, to be able to go outside and do something that is enjoyable and it won't cost them anything. To get outside the walls, to be active and hopefully feeling a little better.

"We (Quota) work to help disadvantaged women and children and we understand that many of the people who come here can never get to the pool or simply can't afford it. Well, this is our way of helping.

"We want children to have access to the pool, the experience of being in water and to get some water confidence. We know they probably won't be able to learn to swim in the time that they will be at the refuge, but we would love it if some of the children develop confidence in the water."

The average stay at the refuge is six weeks but each case is managed individually and so access to the YMCA provides a valuable opportunity for learning water safety and community interaction. According to case worker, Bianca Van de Straat, "the reaction of the women is very positive, especially from those women who have transport and can easily get there."

Since the refuge was established about 30 years ago, it has always welcomed women in any form of danger.

The refuge includes five bedrooms and a communal living area, which can accommodate five women and up to 20 children. They also have some units in separate locations and focus on early intervention and prevention.

"Bedlam" is how case worker, Bianca describes the refuge environment if they have a full house of women and children. That is why a safe, shaded outdoor play area is essential - to get some of the kids outside playing in the sunshine.

Quota again dipped into its coffers to spend $1150 to provide four padded post covers for the playground area.

Bianca says the addition of padding to the posts is wonderful "so that if any child is very enthusiastic with playing and runs into the poles, well, they are not going to hurt themselves!"

Trish says Quota will continue its support of the refuge on an ongoing basis and works to collect and provide essentials to help the refuge stretch its funding further. Each month the organisation targets a specific need, be it, personal hygiene items, sanitary items, undergarments, and its members will continue to rally to donate goods.

According to Bianca, this practical form of assistance helps the refuge to better utilise its emergency relief funding.

"It assists us because we can focus our emergency relief on other items like food vouchers. When Quota brings us these things it means we don't have to look at that expense," she explained.

"The different bits and pieces can make a whole difference to a woman and a teenage daughter who may come here, and for that we are so thankful."

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