Julia Fleming, Education Officer, Women’s Community Shelters, with Mercedes, Clare and Ryan House Leaders.
Julia Fleming, Education Officer, Women’s Community Shelters, with Mercedes, Clare and Ryan House Leaders.

Catherine McAuley Westmead will again be partnering with the Parramatta Women’s Shelter as the social justice focus for Term 2.

Led by Ryan, Clare and Mercedes Houses the fundraising efforts have had a fantastic start with the Mother’s Day stall held on Tuesday this week raising over $1800! This is the largest amount ever raised from the Mother’s Day stall and the school is extremely grateful to all who donated and purchased items.

At the school assembly on Wednesday students and staff listened to guest speaker Julia Fleming, Education Officer, Women’s Community Shelters, who said that they are very grateful that the school has chosen to support the Parramatta Women’s Shelter this term. Women’s Community Shelters support 11, soon to be 12, shelters across NSW. They take care of women and children who are homeless and escaping domestic and family violence.

Catherine McAuley Westmead students raising money for Parramatta Women’s Shelter
The Mother’s Day Stall held on Tuesday 7th May raised over $1800! This is the highest amount ever raised from this stall.

Julia told the assembly that it was particularly appropriate that she is talking to the school during the month of May because May is Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month. In addition, Julia said that many at the assembly may have heard much about domestic and family violence in the media recently. “It is important that we turn outrage about the current situation into action because unfortunately we do have a national crisis on our hands”, she told the assembly. “The number of women and children who are seeking help keeps going up and sadly there are not enough services to help them all”.

Julia told the assembly that since the Parramatta Women’s Shelter opened three years ago they have supported 504 women and children to rebuild their lives. The shelter also houses 11 families in their property consisting of 11 units. These women and children are not only given a safe place to sleep but are surrounded with the support they need to help them get back onto their feet. “However, every month the Parramatta Women’s Shelter turns away between 50 - 80 women and children who come to us asking for help. So later this year we will be opening a second property which will enable us to look after even more members of the community”.

As the Parramatta Women’s Shelter expands the need for funds will grow and Julia said “when we hear about the support from communities like Catherine McAuley it really, truly warms our hearts and fuels our work. I am so grateful to be able to stand here and say thank you to you as a community for supporting us. This is now an ongoing relationship and you have done wonderful work for us in the past - raising money, collecting bed linens and gift vouchers - every bit of support you give us counts!”

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Written By

Jacqui Hamilton | School Development Officer

Jacqui Hamilton | School Development Officer
Catherine McAuley Westmead

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