Making sure no one is forgotten

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From left: Grace Smith and mum Georgie, Alanna and daughter Lola Nicols, Nicole and her daughter Aria Clancy. Photo: Giovanni Portell
From left: Grace Smith and mum Georgie, Alanna and daughter Lola Nicols, Nicole and her daughter Aria Clancy. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Rather than look forward to treats from their child’s Mother’s Day stall this year, some school mums have banded together to arrange luxurious hampers for local women in need.

Nicole Clancy, one of the Parents and Friends’ team at Our Lady of Good Counsel Primary School in Forestville, said the “amazing” group of mums, and dads as well, wanted to counter some of the materialistic side of Mother’s Day and start something different.

With support from principal Fiona Dignan they decided to brighten up the day for some of the women of Sydney’s northern beaches and the lower north shore who are escaping domestic violence with the help of crisis accommodation and other support services offered by Women and Children First.

“Last year it was more low-key but we received feedback that the women who received gifts from us were really overwhelmed and touched.”

“We were seeing in the news every day terrible things happening globally during the pandemic that affect families, things like financial difficulties and domestic violence going through the roof, and wanted to do something here for our own neighbours who are struggling with some of these things,” Nicole said.

“Last year it was more low-key but we received feedback that the women who received gifts from us were really overwhelmed and touched.

“The children also have been really excited and wanted to help and so we’ve expanded it for this Mother’s Day. Every classroom has a donation collection point for things like bed socks, hand cream, nail polish and facemasks.

“We’ll collect them, gift wrap them as hampers and deliver them before Sunday. We just want to give these ladies back a bit of time and opportunity to treat themselves that they might not have had for a while.

Rather than receive gifts this year, mums at Our Lady of Good Counsel worked with their children to give gifts to women staying in local shelters. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Rather than receive gifts this year, mums at Our Lady of Good Counsel worked with their children to give gifts to women staying in local shelters. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“It’s been really good for our children too in terms of sparking conversations about social justice and just being aware that not everything is fair and not everyone has the support networks that we do.”

CEO of Women and Children First Soheyla Gholamshahi said she was delighted to receive such thoughtful gifts from the school.

“It not only reduces the pain that is experienced by the women we serve because of what has happened to them, but it also encourages us to keep going with the work that we do in supporting them,” she said.

“They can feel very isolated and alone when they come here so something like this is wonderful, it will really put a smile on their faces.”

“It gives us all energy and hope. Hope is the most important thing for these women. It is very powerful for them and their children as they look to the future.

“They can feel very isolated and alone when they come here so something like this is wonderful, it will really put a smile on their faces and it helps them to feel part of the community when they see that there are people who really do care.”

The service manages three refuges; Bringa Women and Children’s Refuge in the northern beaches and Delvena Women and Children’s Refuge in the lower north shore, as well as a temporary refuge in Manly called Manly Safehouse.

Details: www.womensrefuge.org.au