It is a historic moment nearly four decades in the making but now Liberty Family and Domestic Violence Specialist Service officially has a new, permanent address.
Formally known as the Port Macquarie Hastings Family and Domestic Violence Specialist Service, the service offers a range of help for those experiencing domestic violence. From front line help and crisis accommodation to long term housing options and help connecting with other local services.
On December 3, their outreach centre, Liberty Cottage, now based at 22 Table Street officially became the main hub for the service.
Staff have been working at the cottage since September but came together with local service providers, past and current board members and friends to mark the new chapter for the service.
Liberty CEO Kelly Lamb said their new home is a strong statement to the community that they are here for a long time to come.
“We have been overwhelmed by the turn out at our opening today. The outreach centre was the idea of Lesley Tierney, back in 1980 and now having a place all of our own we are showing the community we are here for a long time,” Ms Lamb said.
“This building shows we are completely committed to the long term support of women and children who are in family and domestic violence situations.
“It is because of the people who have worked so hard for so long that we can stand here now and be proud of what we have done.
“There is no accommodation at the outreach centre but rather it will be a place where most of our staff work from and people in the community are welcome to come and seek support of advice on what we can offer.”
Mrs Lamb said the new, refurbished Liberty Cottage will mean crisis accommodation at Galbaan House will go back to being a private residence for those who need immediate housing and care.
“We have a bright future ahead and as well take steps to expand our services and our team will be continuing to take a whole of family approach to what we do,” she said.
“Liberty means freedom from control, freedom from physical restraint and the power of choice and it is this sense of empowering women and children to live safe lives and achieve their full potential that underpins everything we do.”
Michelle Vassallo, chair at Liberty said the service has a long and proud history and is excited to see where it goes in the future.
“Many hands have brought this project to life over many years,” Ms Vassallo said.
“From the original idea to strengthen the organisation’s financial viability through capital investment, through to planning and approvals.
“After securing the property, major renovations took place to make the building fit-for-purpose, and then all the finer details to make it the warm and welcoming space it is today.
“This move has positioned the organisation for ongoing growth and development to support more local families.”
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