The Camden Valley Inn is pledging $150,000 to support the opening of the region’s first women’s shelter.

The shelter is the first in the Macarthur and Wollondilly region and will help protect women and children from domestic violence.

The shelter, which is scheduled to open in November 2021, has been named the ‘Porchlight Program’ and is being built by not-for-profit organisation Blue Wren House to provide safe, supported accommodation for five women and their dependent children for up to three months who are escaping domestic, family violence or homelessness.

Camden Valley Inn’s funding will be delivered in amounts of $30,000 annually for five years. 

Expenses for a refurbished three-bedroom cottage and a two-bedroom second dwelling on the site is already paid for, but ongoing help is needed to cover recurring expenses such as food and accommodation, as well as medical, legal, educational and other crucial support programs.

This is where Camden Valley Inn, which is owned by Lewis Land Group, comes in. The hotel’s general manager Kayla Seeney said anti-domestic violence campaigns have been ramping up in the region, so she was surprised to find the region had no shelters.

She told Australian Hotelier she discovered this last Christmas when seeking to donate children’s toys on behalf of the venue, however she was informed that one was in the process of being built.

 “I spoke to our owners, Lewis Land, and they agreed that we needed to help them. We’ve committed to them for five years so they can get the most out of the money to give the women and children support to get back on their feet, and that could include counselling, or helping them to go to job interviews.

“It’s one thing to encourage victims of domestic violence to take action, but we need to make sure that if they do, they can be housed for an extended time, not just in a just a safe house for a couple of days. This shelter gives them the time they need to be able to move forward,” Seeney says.

Last year, the group also helped the local fire brigade, which was stretched thin after the disastrous 2019-20 bushfire season. “They needed a new fire shed so we gave them $100,000 early last year.”

“We are always looking for ways we can support and empower people in the region. We are hoping that through our donations to the Porchlight Program, we will be able to change the lives of women and children who truly need this support.”

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