The Business of Benevolence
One local business so rich with goodwill is ensuring families fleeing domestic violence find some comfort in independent living. Carlie Wacker uncovers a collaboration that is caring for our most vulnerable.
It is a heartbreaking thought that some people in our community find themselves in situations where they must leave their most precious belongings and memories behind as they flee danger. In most domestic violence cases the victims are forced to leave with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Thankfully local charity SunnyKids is committed to supporting vulnerable children and their families and to create a society in which everyone feels safe, belongs and has a chance to reach their full potential.
CEO of SunnyKids Kathleen Hope says that often when families engage with its Domestic Violence service, they come with little more than a few bags of clothes.
“As it is often unsafe to return to their previous property, families are frequently left with the choice to leave everything they have ever owned behind and start from scratch,” she said. “Imagine if you had to leave your home right now with only what you could carry.
“Imagine knowing you will never see your family photos again. Imagine the keepsake box of children’s drawings stored in the garage, left behind; school report cards left behind; baby journals left behind.
“Imagine throwing clothes in a bag but forgetting socks and underwear. Imagine having no option but to choose safety over everything you have ever owned.”
This is a harsh reality for many people, but the benevolence of one local business is turning the transition from life in SunnyKids DV shelter to independent living a little less stressful.
Director of Blink Living, Dianne Conley and her remarkable team are the angels that appear and create comfortable and special spaces for families that are trying to rebuild after frightening experiences.
They donate their ex-display furniture to furnish homes for families moving out of the SunnyKids shelter and starting fresh with their own homes.
Blink staff donate their time and work with Dianne to personally select and install furniture, beds, bedding, rugs, and accessories to create a new home for each family.
Kathleen explains “Di does not simply furnish a house; she creates a home.
“Thanks to the ongoing (and often last minute) support of Blink Living, we have the pleasure of seeing tears of joy from women and children exiting the safety of refuge into independent accommodation,” she said.
“So clearly overwhelmed with gratitude, these families are seeing firsthand what a difference a village can make. Di not only fills the home with furniture, but she also lays rugs, adds lamps and hangs art.
“The team know how important is to feel comfort in new surroundings. To feel that they are in a community that cares. To show their children they are not alone. To begin a life free from violence, terror and fear.”
For a number of years Di has been the go-to person for SunnyKids when a family is in need of a fresh start.
“There is no one we trust more when it comes to maintaining confidentiality and the risk associated with the families we support,” Kathleen said.
“SunnyKids are so proud to partner with Blink Living and know that without amazing people like this in our village, our work would be much more difficult.”
What a beautiful way to give back but it requires more than extra hands to do the heavy lifting. It takes a village!
Di is so grateful to the local trucking companies that complete this team of caring community members, Combined Coastal or Noosa District Removals donate their truck and time to help deliver the items.
“This is a huge help as transporting goods is expensive, but we are able to deliver a whole house load or whatever items are required so the families can get settled quickly and easily,” she says.
“Most families recovering from DV are moved away into a new community so having a comfortable and attractive home allows them to settle in more easily and be proud to invite new friends to their home.
“This helps families recover their self-esteem and feel positive about the future, knowing that people in the community are willing to help them in this way.
“We are passionate about offering this service to SunnyKids as a way of giving back to our community and helping families in need. It is an easy thing for us to do but it makes a huge difference to the families who are just amazed and thrilled to receive our help.
“I am so delighted to be a part of a community full of big-hearted businesses quietly doing good behind-the-scenes.”
Let it not be a secret anymore – it’s time to recognise the people and businesses that put the kindness at the top of their priorities. Bravo Blink Living!
SunnyKids exists to support vulnerable children and their families. If you would like to help or if you need help phone 5479 0394 or visit www.sunnykids.org.au