Jenny’s Place found out in 2021 that wishes do come true, when we received a visionary gift of $350,000!
It all started last December with a mysterious message on our web contact page. An anonymous donor with an interest in our region was looking for grass-roots charities to support. They wanted to contribute to domestic violence support and to youth education. Could we talk to their representative about our organisation and our needs?
Donna George and Kim Britton had only been job-sharing in the newly created Community Relations Coordinator’s role for two weeks. When they ‘met’ the donor’s representative in a virtual meeting, they were invited to think big. They were asked to share their game-changing ‘wish list’ for Jenny’s Place.
With 30+ years’ fundraising experience between them, this was a first for Donna and Kim. Together with Executive Manager Marcia Chapman, they compiled their list of capacity-building projects that, if funded, could herald a new era for our organisation and for the highly vulnerable women and children who we serve.
Then came the startling news that the anonymous donor had granted their wishes. The funding, received in August, will enable four new or expanded projects that will change the future for Jenny’s Place and our clients. They are:
- Newcastle Domestic Violence Resource Centre (DVRC): significant support for our early intervention and prevention counselling and support centre will support the role of Coordinator of the Resource Centre for 12 months. Our long-serving Chairman, Nicole Bailey, was appointed to the new position in December. She not only brings domestic violence counselling experience but also has additional skills that encompass community education and training.This will enable us to revive our Healthy Relationships and Positive Communities training program. This program is designed to help workplaces respond to disclosure of domestic violence, and to support employees to help them remain at work. It is a community intervention that aims to help break the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness in our community.
- Sustainability resourcing
A portion of the grant will enhance the efforts of the Community Relations team to grow our services, in order to help more women and children in our community to escape from violence and homelessness. Community Relations Coordinator Kim Britton will contribute an additional day’s effort to the team. Kim and Donna will also welcome Jodi Brooker to their team in a new administrative assistant role, thanks to this generous donation. Jodi will oversee our busy goods donation program.
- Children’s support program at Jenny’s Place
This program aims to improve outcomes for children who have experienced domestic and family violence, by developing an innovative support program. Jenny’s Place cared for 109 children in our Newcastle crisis shelter in 2020-21, and 191 in 2019-20.A children’s support program previously offered by Jenny’s Place lapsed at the end of 2018. Our donor’s support is enabling us to partner with the University of Newcastle to reinstate programs for children in our care. Building upon the former program, the new program will better support children to cope with the challenging family situations and traumathey confront when fleeing domestic violence. We will feature developments in this program in the new year.
- Regional collaboration initiative
This project enables the creation of another new role at Jenny’s Place in 2022. The Regional Collaboration Coordinator position is expected to be appointed in December.Jenny’s Place is already a leader in regional collaboration between service providers. We auspice the operations of the Newcastle Domestic Violence (DV) Committee and our staff play active roles on the Committee. This funding will enable greater cooperation, elimination of duplicate services and deliver greater choice for clients. It will allow for research and advocacy, which has the potential to grow regional funding for these important social services. The Regional Collaboration Coordinator will also greatly enhance partnership opportunities for Jenny’s Place as we seek to close the gap between demand for our services and our ability to deliver them.
We look forward to working with our donor to achieve some amazing outcomes from these programs over the next six to 12 months.
Meet our new staff and hear more about our inspiring programs in The Buzz in the new year!