South West Refuge to expand thanks to Lotterywest grant

South West Refuge chief executive Michelle Bickers, chair Alison Comparti and Bunbury MLA Don Punch at Guppy Park on Monday.
South West Refuge chief executive Michelle Bickers, chair Alison Comparti and Bunbury MLA Don Punch at Guppy Park on Monday.

The South West Refuge is getting ready to embark upon an expansion project after being awarded a Lotterywest grant earlier this week. 

Bunbury MLA Don Punch said he couldn’t think of a more worthy recipient with Lotterywest providing a grant of $492,000. 

“The South West Refuge provides such an important service in our community, providing sanctuary and support to women and children experiencing domestic and family violence,” he said.  

“As a result of this funding, the overall capacity of the refuge will increase from five bedrooms to seven, a homework area will be created for the children and there will be improvements to the offices, interview and waiting rooms.

“Women access the refuge at a time of great crisis and vulnerability so any improvements to the refuge and its capacity to help will make a huge difference.

“I would like to thank Lotterywest for recognising the importance of the South West Refuge to the regional community and for providing it with the financial support it needs.”

South West Refuge chief executive Michelle Bickers said the funding would make it possible to complete the expansion project, which had been in the pipeline for several years. 

"We are very grateful to Lotterywest for their continued support and allowing us to make a real difference to the lives of women and children who access our service," she said. 

“In 2017/18 we unfortunately were unable to assist a large number of women due to no available accommodation, so the addition of the rooms will allow us to accommodate up to an estimated 70 women and women with children during their time of need.”

Ms Bickers said the expansion would allow the organisation to evolve and provide the service into the future. 

The project will include improvements and expansion to the administrative area, staff amenities, improvement to the child advocate area to include a designated homework space for older school aged children, dedicated interview and waiting areas and the addition of two rooms.

“With the improvements to the administrative and advocate areas, this will allow for increased privacy and dignity for clients during intake and support periods,” Ms Bickers said. 

“It is unfortunate the level of family and domestic violence experienced within our community is increasing, which will only lead to an increased the need for services such as ours.”