Demand soars for Women’s Resource Centre

  • Big plans: from left, Cheryl Minors, executive assistant at the Women’s Resource Centre; Elaine Butterfield, executive director at the WRC; Kathy Olsson, WRC fundraising chairwoman; Alison Morrison, WRC board member (Photograph by Fiona McWhirter)

A charity that supports and empowers women has seen demand soar in recent months, its executive director revealed.

Elaine Butterfield said that a combination of factors including a more central location has led to a spike in service provision at the Women’s Resource Centre.

She added that, like other charities, the organisation was faced with “an exponential increase” in requests for its help alongside mounting fundraising challenges.

The WRC will hold its first quiz night next week, with auction items and raffle prizes, so that more people can benefit from its services.

Ms Butterfield said: “For over 30 years the Women’s Resource Centre has been a place of refuge and support for women, and their families, who have found themselves in difficult situations.

“We have undergone several improvement changes recently including a strategic review, new leadership and a physical move to Sofia House on Church Street, where our services are more accessible. This has resulted in an increase in overall services demand and provision by 160 per cent.”

She explained that the WRC’s work included handing out groceries, counselling, organising workshops, assistance with job searches and arranging Life After Incarceration group sessions at the Co-Ed facility.

Ms Butterfield said the charity helped women through the provision of legal clinics or by collating the necessary documents for Family Court. She added that the work also included trying to find accommodation for mothers and their children, who could be “living in a car, on the beach or on the street”.

Ms Butterfield explained that service requests leapt from about 50 a month in 2018, to an average of 130 a month since last April.

She believed that a more focused approach to workshops as well as “lunch and learns” that catered to a wider section of the community also contributed to the increase.

Ms Butterfield said: “We are like every other charity in our community, who is juggling the reality of an exponential increase in the demand for services versus the growing challenge of attracting the funding needed to provide those services. Events such as the quiz night are ways in which both organisations and individuals can support in providing our essential services.”

Alison Morrison, a WRC board member, explained that the event at the Spanish Point Boat Club on October 19 was designed to make more people aware of the charity’s work.

She said that highlights of an auction on the night included a chef-cooked dinner for ten in the winner’s home, as well as a “nine and dine” package for golf and a meal at Tucker’s Point.

Raffle items will include gift certificates. Ms Morrison added: “Prizes for the quiz evening are more like bragging rights. We’ve got some little trophies for the prize winners, tissues for the losers.

“We honestly don’t think that the money we are raising should be spent on giving people significant prizes because the whole idea is to raise as much money as possible for the Women’s Resource Centre.”

Kathy Olsson, the WRC’s fundraising chairwoman, hoped members of the community would turn out to support a “light-hearted” event. She added: “It doesn’t matter if you’re not smarter than a fifth grader, all that matters is that you have fun with your friends.”

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