THE Bulahdelah Community turned out in force to show their support for the Great Lakes Women’s Shelter at a Christmas in July fundraiser last weekend.
Christmas trees, bonbons, tinsel and a life-sized inflatable Santa greeted the mass of revellers as they arrived for the festivities at Bulahdelah Bowling Club.
The Olde Time Rock and Roll band pumped out the golden hits as the guests merrily mingled, carolled, kicked-up their heels and danced the night away.
Spirits were bright as the constant sound of jingling coins flooded donation jars.
The charity event was organised by the Great Lakes Women’s Shelter (GLWS) Fundraising Committee in conjunction with Bulahdelah Bowling Club.
The GLWS opened in January this year and has two refuges for women escaping domestic violence and abuse.
GLWS President Julie Brady said their service was in high demand.
“While the MidCoast District has the oldest demographic, it also has third highest level of domestic violence in NSW, which is daunting,” Ms Brady said.
“Within two weeks of opening, the centre was at full capacity.”
Unlike other women’s shelters, the Great Lakes facility allows women to bring their children with them where they can stay in safety for as long as they need.
The women are provided with counselling and are also taught life skills and anything else needed for them to reach independence.
Ms Brady said in order to break the cycle of domestic violence and abuse, it is important to start teaching child about it.
“Coming from a home where domestic violence occurs also means kids get stuck in the cycle, they witness and are victims of it,” Ms Brady told News of the Area.
“The cycle can start through teasing and bullying of other people at school, we need to teach children that they can say no and even small things like this are just not on.”
The GLWS is funded through the Women’s Community Shelters Organisation, Forster and Tuncurry Bowling Clubs, donations and community fundraising nights.
The Christmas in July Cabaret Night was one of five functions to be held throughout the region.
The next fundraising evening will be held in Hawks Nest on 3 September.
By Daniel SAHYOUN