Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The Women’s Shelter Armidale have celebrated International Women’s Day with the grand opening of their new office.

Centrally located on Beardy Street, in the heart of the main mall area, the office is designed to help manage the increased demand for support services for women in the area.

“Our old office was just too hard to find, this new space gives us somewhere that is far more recognisable, so that people can drop in and get the face to face help they need,” the CEO of Women’s Shelter Armidale, Penny Lamaro, said.

The new centre also features a training room or meeting space that will be utilised by the Shelter, as well as other community groups.

“It’s such a bright open space and we were so happy with the turn out on opening day, it felt really auspicious to be able to have the grand opening on International Women’s Day,” said Ms Lamaro.

“Local MP Adam Marshall attended, and he said in his speech that this helped bring the work we do out of the shadows and that really resonated with me.”

Ms Lamaro also said the new facility couldn’t come at a better time as demand for their services is greater than ever.

“We’ve seen a 25% increase in the last 12 months in requests for support and, what’s an even more interesting statistic is that 48% of our clients now have full time or part time work whereas before most were unemployed – even with jobs people are really struggling at the moment.”

The Shelter is continuing with a range of programs and initiatives that they successfully implemented last year, including a program to assist women with gaining birth certificates, 250 weekly free meals for the community, a community drumming circle, and a playgroup at the shelter. The playground for this group recently gained a $20,000 upgrade thanks to Armidale Rotary.

Ms Lamaro also says their hopeful that 4 new units for crisis accommodation will be completed later in the year.

“We also have a lot of community members wanting to help us, so being in a more visible location will also help with our fundraising, we’ve had a 40% increase in expenditure this year to try and keep up with the demand for support so we’re really relying very heavily on community donations,” said Ms Lamaro.

The new office is located at 127 Beardy Street Armidale and is open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday with walk ins more than welcome.

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