More Accommodation for Port Stephens Women’s Crisis and Support Group

Counsellor Sandy Tawa with Lynn Vatner, Manager of the Yacaaba Centre and Port Stephens Women’s Crisis and Support Group Inc. Photo by Jo Finn
Counsellor Sandy Tawa with Lynn Vatner, Manager of the Yacaaba Centre and Port Stephens Women’s Crisis and Support Group Inc. Photo by Jo Finn

THE Port Stephens Women’s Crisis and Support Group Inc. (PSWCS) is extending their accommodation services to include another three one-bedroom units on the site with a one-off grant from Community Builders, together with much-appreciated donations from the community.

Soldiers Point Marina – a past contributor to the Yacaaba Centre – has generously donated $40,000 to the project and Rotary Nelson Bay has donated $35,000.

“This contribution means that rather than build the units in stages we will be able, together with the other funding and donations received for the project, to complete all three units at once which will keep the cost down considerably,” Lynn Vatner, Manager of the Port Stephens Women’s Crisis and Support Group, said.

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“The DA has been approved and we are just waiting on some council regulations to be clarified.”

The accommodation is for women who find themselves homeless due to domestic violence, who have reason to stay in the area, have supports, and have no other way to afford to pay current market rents.

The rents are subsidised.

“We are also very careful that the clients do not have an ex-partner in the area that may cause distress to anyone else living at the site. There are very strict policies regarding the accommodation at the site,” Ms Vatner said.

PSWCS has been operating in the Tomaree Peninsula for over 20 years without any ongoing government funding.

In that timeframe, a growing level of awareness about domestic violence has been evident.

“I do think people have a better understanding of domestic violence because of the combined efforts of so many people and organisations bringing it to the attention of the community,” she said.

“Media, police and the public in general have said ‘enough’. More money is always needed to implement these strategies; however, so many services are working really hard to make a difference.”

But the role brings its own challenges, not least “managing the site with all the problems a 100 plus-year-old house brings with it [and] organising maintenance and gardening,” she said.

Ms Vatner urged women to seek the support and guidance offered by the service.

“Anyone needing support in the community only needs to call the Yacaaba Centre on 4984 2176, Mondays to Thursdays – never on a Friday, and make an appointment to see a counsellor.”

For further information, visit: www.yacaabacentre.com.au. People can send through an email request on the ‘contact us’ link.

“That first contact is always the hardest part, however it will be worth it,” Ms Vatner said.

By Jo FINN

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